Before Jason proposed, he joined the United States Airforce. Away he went to basic training in Texas, leaving my heart full of want and worry.
Gathering his brother and his parents (whom had never flown before), we went to Texas to see Jason graduate.
After the ceremony, we walked along the river in downtown San Antonio in search of a restaurant. Sweat beaded along my hairline, my clothes stuck to my body like Saran wrap … I recall having little patience for Jason’s hesitancy to make a lunch decision.
Jason asked for my hand in marriage at the end of our visit to Texas. I said yes, not knowing where or when. He has not received official orders for Technical School yet.
And I would not come to believe God is real until the year 2010.
Swimming in selfishness, I was not a fan of the military lifestyle, bowing to their directions.
Jason and I married in 2003, on the beach in Biloxi, MS. No friends or family because Jason only had a weekend pass from Tech School to be with his bride.
On Sunday, I drove Jason back to base. My flight home left the next morning. Packing my bride’s dress in my suitcase, my heart was heavy. After 33 years of feeling alone, I wanted to be with my husband.
Soon enough, we were reunited in Biloxi. In a heartbeat, I left my career in Pennsylvania to join my man.
Those looking at me would not see my brokenness. My husband sure didn’t.
You may wonder why I am telling you about me when this post is to honor the fallen. Stay with me until the end. You will see.
In the Fall of 2005, the Airforce deployed Jason and many others to Afghanistan. The war became personal. Snipers skulked through the desert surrounding the base. Grenades landed where they may, reminding U.S. Airmen they were not at home. While eating at the mess hall one day, a bomb landed nearby. Jason and all hit the floor, under tables, wherever they could find cover. So much for that meal …
At that time, I did not take care to learn what my husband was going through. I had no interest in him staying in the military. I wanted to return to my career.
December 15, 2005, my father died suddenly of a heart attack. In the middle of the night, while alone except for our toddler son, I got the call.
Somehow I found myself with our son in the office of the Sargent, telling my woes. Numb to my toes, I held myself together well, or so I thought.
The United States Airforce arranged for me to call my husband in Afghanistan. Working nights, they had to wake him to get to the phone. In his sleepy state, his first thought was that something happened to me or our son Braedon.
“No, we are fine. It was my dad. He’s gone.”
I could hear Jason’s tears. We had been separated for three months, not as long as some.
After this phone call, the powers that be in the military worked swiftly to get me and my son on plane to the United States (we were stationed in Italy). They also told Jason to pack his stuff and sent him back to be with me.
In the heat of the dusty desert, feeling like a million miles away from his grieving wife, Jason hurled his bag into the plane. His seat was in the back. I think he had a seatbelt, not sure though. With him were bags holding bodies, cadavers … each of whom had a name, each of whom created by our loving God, each of whom died fighting for our freedom.
Military men and women who have died in war … did so whether we honored them or not, laid down their lives whether we loved our country or not, sacrificed so that we may be free whether or not we use our freedom wisely.
I thank God for continuing to teach me how to respect my husband in our marriage.
He has grown me to honor Him by honoring others, whether I know them or not.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10).
Whether you personally know a military member who died in war, would you join me in a moment of silence honoring those who rearranged their lives for us, knowing they could die?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-4).
Then, would you join me in this prayer?
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You, Father, for creating our United States Military System with all its branches comprised of Your sons and daughters serving selflessly.
Today, we ask boldly in Your Son’s Holy Name, that You be near to those mourning, both openly and secretly. For You know the hearts of those who lost a loved one in war. You know their unanswered questions. You know their unresolved grief. Please, Lord, make Yourself known to them as Memorial Day is another reminder of their absence.
In Jesus Name we pray,
Breathe. Inhale through your nose. Exhale through your mouth.
I needed to do that, too. After writing this post, remembering my shame when I realized how sin-full and pride-full I had been. Truly, I must be on guard and alert or the devil will lure me back to that place.
Thank you, Jesus, that there is no condemnation for those who receive You, that You died to cleanse our souls.
Thank you, Jesus, for Your patience in teaching us how to love each other in truth, as we love You first.
And to you, the readers here … those new and those who have been with me awhile … thank you for your presence. I welcome connection with you through your comments here on the blog or privately via email. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to share with me those you are missing or thinking of this weekend.
All photos in this post are from Pixabay.com.
Seek God first in all things. He will never lead you astray. He will never leave you alone.
Love in Christ,