Thursday, November 11, 2010

With Honor

It is God that girds me with strength, and makes my way perfect...He teaches my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by my arms. Lord, you have also given me the shield of your salvation, your right hand upholds me and your own gentleness has made me great. (Psalm 18)

"Mom, I enlisted today." I cried in secret for days after hearing that from my only child. I was proud and terrified. After Basic and Advanced Infantry he was headed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne.

His father and I took him to the airport and watched him walk away from us into his destiny. We sat in the car in the parking garage and cried so hard I do not know how we didn't set off the car alarms.

That was difficult enough the first time. When he had to return a second time it was almost more than we could stand. I felt like the universe was playing Russian Roulette with someone irreplaceable to us. As if John David's returning to Iraq was not bad enough, we learned he would be going to one of the most awful and dangerous places in Iraq. The Triangle of Death.

When he called to tell us this he said an amazing and insightful thing. He said, "Mom," don't worry." (Like I was going to take that advice. It reminded me of all the Mom don't worries of his high octane childhood) "I told God to cut my orders and to send me wherever He would be able to keep me. So if I am going to that terrible place then that is the place where His grace will be found and He can keep me. Not everything that feels good is a blessing and not everything that feels bad is a curse." He was right. He had the situation squarely illuminated by his spiritual high-beams. When had he become so wise?

God kept our son and our son kept God. My son knows a lot of scripture but in JD's Bible the only verse he has underlined is "Thy gentleness hath made me great." It is his testimony. My son is a warrior but there remain gentle places in his soul. He is loyal and loving and best of all he is home. God did in fact keep him just as JD said He would. John David can now teach that confidence to his own son.

There are many sons and daughters who "Gave their last full measure of devotion" in Iraq and Afghanistan these past years and even more in all of our other wars. May those who returned and those who remember them honor their memory today.

May all of our military who serve and our veterans who have served, be made to feel the grateful embrace of this nation under God. May they know we are thankful for their service in confusing times. May they possess the assurance that even though those of us who were left behind cannot fully, experientially grasp what they have endured and often suffered; nevertheless our hearts are knit with theirs. That we pray God's soothing, Almighty love into their souls and lives.

May God continue to gird them with strength and make their way perfect. May He heal them and reward their faithfulness. May God continue to be God for America.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war's desolation,
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
(National Anthem)

Thank you to all who did not, do not, bear the sword in vain.

John David, your parents love you, thank you and honor you. You are our best day and a good man. God has my heartfelt gratitude for sending His Angels to the battlefield to bringing you home. Mom

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