Yes, my eldest child, AB and his wife, KM, are U.S. Air Force veterans. AB enlisted only a couple months after the U.S. invaded Iraq and KM enlisted a few months later. I am very proud of their decisions to serve our nation. They are now civilians and working on building a "normal" life.
A very close, dear friend of mine, just returned from her son's graduation from basic training. Her son and my son, JP, were/are childhood friends. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy. I am proud for her and her son. I am confident the Lord will use the U.S. Navy to continue growing her son into the man he was created to be.
As a mother whose experienced "handing the apron strings" over to the U.S. military, I can relate to the various fears, concerns, pride, joy, and yes, even sadness and sometimes helplessness that mom's go through while their children are serving our nation. We worry about their physical safety during this time of war. We not only worry about them being sent into combat, but we also worry about the angry, hateful, anti-military civilians who may inflict harm upon them because they choose to defend even those who hate them. We are concerned about their spiritual growth or maybe even lack of. We experience a pride that can come only from realizing that he/she has made a commitment to serve our nation unto death if necessary - that type of pride is difficult to express. We share in their joy and excitement of new adventures and experiences. We all share a sadness that comes from being separated from them, often by 1,000's of miles. Unlike those whose sons or daughters get into trouble or an accident while attending a college of their choice far away, we can't run to rescue our military children during a time of crisis because the military stands between us and them.
How does a mother handle this melting pot of emotion? AB had been out of high school for a year before he decided to join the military. Our family had been experiencing a very difficult time of rebellion with him, so his decision was actually a welcomed relief for us. Although relieved on one hand, I still experienced the above mentioned emotions. My first and primary emotion was one of fear since our nation had just invaded Iraq and tens of thousands of young men and women were being deployed into combat weekly.
My first born. Since I was a teen aged mother, I had literally lived my entire life for him. Words will never express the depth of fear that gripped me. When your child enlists in the military during war time, the possibility of losing that child is totally and completely in your face. During this time, I looked to the Bible for an answer to my fear. Our Lord is always so very gracious and kind to His children when they are heavy burdened. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 - "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." In studying God's Word, I found not only the comfort I needed but the promises listed for each of my children in the left margin of this blog. Our Lord did more than answer one prayer, He gave me promises to cling to for each of my children - no matter what their futures may hold.
There are times, as I am sure with all mothers, that I experience emotions of doubt or worry regarding my children's spiritual growth, or maybe even stagnation of such. Whenever I sense these emotions creeping in, or I receive some discouraging news about one of my children, I look at a photo of my precious child and I quote the scripture promise the Lord has given me for that particular child. No matter the circumstance, no matter the nay sayers, I stand on God's Word. I know beyond any shadow of doubt that God will honor my prayers for my children because I know that God is a God of His Word. He will not forsake me. Isaiah 49:16 - "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."
I often hear people state that they wish they had a manual for life. In reality, if they own a Bible, they do. The Bible will address any situation we find ourselves in. The Bible provides us with comfort when our hearts are shattered beyond repair. It will stop fear and doubt dead in their tracks. It will show us a way to light and life when we find ourselves in the dark. It shows us how to achieve order when there is chaos. It offers us instruction and correction when we are lost. The Word of God will bring us hope when we are facing hopelessness. Today, I'd like to encourage you to look to God's Word, the Holy Bible, for comfort, peace and sustenance in all things.