"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Grace-filled Life

It could be said that there are certain moments that define who we are. They are usually the big moments. The moments that other's notice, that other's comment on. They make us good or bad, patient or hot-tempered, out-of-control or filled with grace. The big moments matter. I've talked about them before. The times when someone questions what our spouses do, who asks a question that we know is inappropriate, who shamelessly degrades the American soldier with little thought to their words. How we react defines us - at least to the person (or persons) who witness what we do or do not do.

How we react (or don't react) is for each one of us to decide. There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent. We each have to choose in these moments.

"Aren't you scared he will die?"

"Aren't you mad at him for leaving?"

"Why can't he come home for Christmas?"

"Don't you think he'll cheat on you?"

"He can't come home now that they got Bin Laden?"

"What if he loses his legs?"

"I thought he only had to deploy once? Don't they only have to do one each?"

"Why are you moving again?"

"He has to leave to train? Why can't he train where you are?"

"When can he get out?"

"Why did he join? Couldn't he get another job?"

We all hear them - over and over and over and over again. Day in and day out. From strangers, from friends, from family. And these are the most testing of times.

We all have to remember how much people truly don't know about this life. How many people think that they are doing the right thing by asking such questions - thinking it shows compassion, sympathy, understanding. We know how much it doesn't. But you must be patient. You must keep grace. 

These questions can be big moments or small moments, sincere or combative, but whichever they are you must be the bigger person. You must make a choice. These questions all stem from the same place - a misunderstanding on what it is to be a soldier, to love a soldier, to support our families. And in these moments you make the choice whether or not you will change one person's way of thinking - whether or not you will help to break the cycle. Because if you can help one person to not ask another new wife if she is scared her young husband will die, or lose his legs, or cheat on her, or come back a different person ... If you can help one person to see the danger in asking a young wife if she is angry with him for leaving, or isn't it hard to do it alone, or saying how wrong it is for her to have to ... 

Think about the change you can make. To help just one person understand the service that those we love have chosen to perform - who love this country. To help just one person understand the choice that they have made. To help a single person understand what things they should and shouldn't say. 

It's the little choices that truly define our character, that mold who we are and determine how we will be when the big moments arise. How we live daily, what we believe daily, what we choose daily, gives the grace for these questions, gives the strength to make a difference, gives the strength to be patient.

Each of us just needs that little extra bit of grace, that little extra bit of patience, to give just one person a little better understanding. A better understand that they share with another who shares with another who keeps it going and fights against the misunderstanding that breaks our hearts.

Just a little bit, little choices everyday, and we can begin to break the cycle.


  1. All you've got to remember at the end of the day is that the love you share is between YOU & your S/O.. no one else.. everyone else just doesn't understand that we are in it for the long run.. regardless of the 'silly' questions that we are faced with. Of course we are all scared & worried to bits.. but they are as trained as soldiers to do their jobs. if they weren't strong enough, they wouldn't be doing their jobs to serve & protect their country & family. This is why WE as military spouses & S/O's are with our honeys.. because we were made strong enough to put up with more situations than "normal" couples. And it's true what people say about military love: It's the STRONGEST & PUREST of loves. :)

  2. So true and so well said. I try very hard every day to show that grace and patience with others. Since we are National Guard and far from a base, I find that I get tons of questions from people around us (not that those who live near a base don't) and have come to realize they simply just don't understand. Some want to understand, some just want to put in their two cents. It used to drive me crazy, but now I do my best to share my experience and be positive. I actually wrote an article for SpouseBUZZ about this a few weeks ago, but probably not as well said as this! :)

  3. Oh my goodness I am SO sorry! I copied it from a friend's Facebook page and thought nothing of it! Shame on me! I updated the post so the credit will go to you.

    When my husband went on his last deployment, I went home and was faced with a lot of these questions. I was working with women who had NO clue. It made it so tough when I would receive a phone call and want to chat. I guess they thought I could just call Afghanistan back.

  4. Ty, NO WORRIES! Thank you for correcting it so quickly!

    I went home for most of this deployment as well. Its the MAIN reason I started the blog. I knew people around me who didn't understand this life would read it. I cannot tell you how many people in our community told me they just didn't realize what they were saying.

    Amen, Kayla!

    New Normal - email a link to your SpouseBUZZ! I would LOVE to read it! And I am sure you hit the nail right on the head. You usually do!

  5. This is so well said, I felt I had to share it!
    As the wife of an Australian soldier, I am too often at the receiving end of such comments.. Being told by "well meaning" civy friends and family that "If he really cared about his family, he would find a job that kept him home", or "You didn't get married to be alone all the time". Or the one that hits me in the guts and leaves me speechless, "It's not something a man with a wife and kids should do, It's selfish of him"
    He would not be the man I loved, the man I CHOSE, if he did not have the amazing strength of character to put aside his desire to be safe and surrounded by family, to do what he feels is RIGHT.
    I see it as selfLESS!
    No, I didn't get married to be alone all the time, but, I'm NOT alone! I carry him with me! And I am surrounded by the most fiercely loyal, supportive bunch of amazing women in the Defence community who understand EXACTLY what I'm feeling!
    I am PROUD of my Soldier beyond words, even while my heart is breaking when he leaves.
    Thank you, for your heartrending honesty and your beautiful words! Keep it up!! xx

  6. MelR - EXACTLY! So very well said. Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts! I couldn't agree more!


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