It's amazing how just when you think you're having a random day, something grabs your attention and speaks to your heart. With Memorial Day right around the corner I though it'd be the perfect time to share this. About a week ago, my good friend's husband got deployed. Having been a military wife for 5 yrs (my husband served in the Army for 9 yrs) this truly hits home.I was able to speak with her the day of his deployment. I wanted to make sure she was ok and figured she'd want someone to talk to. They have two beautiful children! She's decided she's staying in Germany since her daughter is in school and they like it there. While I talked to her, I wanted to truly see how she felt, how the kids felt. She seemed ok but did ask me to please pray for her husband's safe return. Her son was doing good since he's little but her concern was with her 5 yr old daughter who is fully aware that her daddy won't be back for a while. My friend shared with me that her daughter told her the other day, "mommy I don't want you to die." I got teary when I heard this and is one of the reasons why I'm writing this post.
You see, I have been raised in what you can call a military family. My uncle, cousin and best friend were in the Navy and a good friend was in the Marines. I always thought I knew what military life was all about mainly because of what they shared with me but it wasn't until I married my husband and became a military wife that I truly experienced the military life. It is a completely different world that you have to live to truly understand. I quickly learned what ACU's ATC, deps,ranks, HOPS all were, what "going to the field" doing "PT" in the morning, and wearing a barrette in public all meant. I learned cadences, saw my husband march, leave for 6 long weeks to train,clean his gear including weapons and shine his boots. I embark on a brand new journey of several moves having to start all over again each time, new friends, home, church something that can make one feel lonely, out of place.Let me tell you though what is learned right away and is not always the easiest thing to endure...the many sacrifices that are made. There are many articles out there that talk about the fact that America doesn't honor their soldiers enough and all but I wanted to open my heart to you and share it. With the crowning of a new American Idol, Biggest Loser,Amazing Race, the basketball playoffs and the World Cup right around the corner we seek to find "the winner" we want to root for "the best" the one that makes us proud, the one that shines and makes us smile. This is all entertaining BUT what about the good ol' American soldier? When does he/she gets a standing ovation, an applause, a thank you or simply noticed?
We spend so much time delegating whether the President kept his word of bringing the troops back, whether these soldiers are needed or if they should send even more. Truth is, while the going back and forth takes place a soldier is saying his/her goodbye, with a knot a his/her throat hopping on a plane to head overseas. Oh the sacrifices..they are inevitable and countless. These soldiers can't say "no thank you" or "I'll pass maybe later." They commit themselves to answer when duty calls leaving it all behind fully aware that they might not make it back the way they left. Most of soldiers make that sacrifice not because they want to earn points, make an extra dollar an hour, get an award at the ceremony but because they love their country enough to die for it and for it's people. It's interesting to see that this is not something new...it's Biblical. King David was a solider. He was chosen by the Lord to be the head of his army..the Lord's Army. With God's power, guidance and protection he fought and won many battles. What about the ultimate sacrifice....Jesus Christ? He died to save us, his people, from a very ugly eternity in hell. We are to be like Christ and follow His footstep. I believe these soldiers are chosen to serve God through the military so they too can fight for their people.
While there are many sacrifices that are made, deployment is by far the toughest one.
One moment you look like any other family making memories, spending time together
celebrating life. This is my friend Maria and her beautiful family!
The next moment..well let the images below speak for themselves.
I starred at these pictures of our good friends and couldn't help but imagine what they felt as they say their goodbyes. I've never been through a deployment but it's not difficult to guess how they felt. Imagine telling your children "see you in one year(or more)", missing birthdays, first tooth, first word, going to church as a family, Christmas,graduation, baseball games, award ceremonies, not holding them when they have a tummy ache, not having a meal with them at the table, no kisses, no hugs, not even a smile. What about the wife who stays behind to take over all the responsibilities and laying her head at night feeling accomplished but very exhausted and lonely? I truly admire these women who have to pick up the pieces to their broken heart and somewhat keep them together so they can be strong and fend for their children. I once had a friend tell me that she cried at night when the other side of the bed was empty and cold when her husband was deployed. When the Army sent my husband away on a training for 6 wks I cied myself to sleep and walked around in his sandals. Can't imagine doing this for one year. We (civilians) have so much to thank God for. While we take all of these things for granted, these soldiers would do anything to hold their wife and kids just once. All they have to hold unto are the wonderful memories and thoughts of a possible future with their family. Many say that being deployed is not as hard as it used to be back in the day. Yes with technology so advanced, emails, skype, cameras and phones, the pain of being apart is somewhat alleviated but truth is the sacrifices are still the same.
Let me ask you something? When you say you pray for these soldiers and their families do you really take time to pray for them? You know we may feel that there's not much we can do but prayer is powerful and a very powerful God hears them. Are you proud of them regardless of which candidate's point of view about war you shared? Because either way, we still have soldiers away from home, from their families. The love they have for their country is incredible. I know my husband loves his family but he'd go fight for his country in a heartbeat if he had to. One thing I did noticed in the pictures is that the kids are not afraid of their daddy's big gun. While we try so hard to protect our kids from danger, military kids learn to be ok around weapons...just part of being a kid in the military. Another good friend who's husband is also deployed told me just the other day you marry the husband, his family and the Army. Some say that those in the military have it made. Being in the military has it's perks but it's hard work like any civilian job. As a recruiter my husband worked 12 hours a day 6 days a wk, had to work some Sundays, went away for long trainings, and brought work along on vacations.
I want you to know that with all said, I am not trying to discourage anyone from joining and serving their country. If it's a heartfelt desire it could be God's will for you like King David. It's a huge honor to serve besides the benefits are awesome. I shared this because I want us to pause for a moment and mediate on this.Just want you to put yourself in their shoes for a minute and realize what goes on. Whether we agree on war/deployment, we are all involved. They do this for all of us. I don't a soldier was willing to leave his family and even his life if his heart wasn't in it. I want to encourage you to truly pray for these soldiers and their families because they really need it. I want you to have an appreciation for what they do. Soldiers, their supportive spouses and children. They may not realize it or admit it but they are heroes and deserve our respect and support. We need to celebrate life but like Chirst who came here to serve, let's not forget those around us, we are also here to serve.
Besides my uncle, cousin and two friends who served, I now have my brother-in-law and my other cousin in the Army.
This Mark my brother-in-law with his lovely wife, my sister, Maria Gabriela. Please keep them in your prayers as they leave mid June to Ft. Bliss El Paso, Texas.
This is a tribute to all the soldiers and their families:
My husband's grandma had two brothers who both lost their lives fighting for country. That is the real reason why we have Memorial Day..to remember and honor those who laid their lives down for us!
This memorial day will be different for us because i want take time to honor these fallen men and women as well as those away from home right now.
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!