"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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where it Comes From

These last two days have been an emotional roller coaster. It has hurt my heart to have people take something that I think to be so beautiful, that is so very special to me, that I feel does so much good and taint it. I know there is a reason for this. I know there is a purpose here. I know that at some point it will be shown. From adversity comes strength. From trials come determination. 

So many people have read promises now and I do not care where they read it or who they think authored it. The good is that people are reading it. It is touching people. It is helping people the way it helps me to know these things, to know the promise. I cannot find any sadness in that. 

I have decided that after this I am throwing my hands in the air, falling to my knees, and giving it up. The accusation of plagiarism will no longer hurt me. I know I would never take from anyone else - especially, especially, a soldier and his spouse. I know where I was when I wrote this. I know how I cried the entire time. I know how much I struggled with publishing it. And the reason I struggled with it was because I feared criticism. I feared people would not be able to accept the reality of it. And that never happened. It only did good. Yesterday was the only day anyone publicly criticized it - if the internet is public. So one time out of thousands, well, that isn't too bad.

On the Facebook page I linked to this criticism written by a Navy spouse. So many of you read it and came back to respond. I took it down - not because I didn't love what you all said in response - I cannot tell you how much your responses meant to me - but because of how much higher it was raising her post in rankings on the internet because so many people went to go read it. But I think my response is important to have on record, since she hasn't approved it to be shown and there may be others like her. Whether they are questioning that the experience behind the words are mine or find a wife who allows her soldier to leave her to be weak, meek, or for the soldier that does so to be less Christian as this young Navy wife believes. 

I am not sharing the link - you can find it if you look - but I will share the basis of what she says. She took The Soldier's Promise to be between a couple who hated to be together. To criticize women like me for not being selfish enough, that we must not really love our husband's enough, that they must not truly love us. That we stand in their shadows. That how less-Christian a man must be to lie to his spouse, to share things with his comrades that we don't know. She implies that we take our soldiers for granted. That we find them to be bothersome. She calls Promises "Shenanigans." 

I know other people must think that too. 

Yes, I know it is very few - a minuscule number of people but you all know how much it boils my blood when people criticize a life they don't know, don't understand. I believe in being kind in all things and to judge a life you have not lived - to question my character, to claim that C can't be Christian and live this life - that is far from kind. 

Below is my response that she did not publish - the same one I had up on my other page for an hour or two last night. I am putting it here so that other's may share and help others to understand what "Promises" means, the reality behind it, where it comes from. 


I wrote this.  I entitled it “A Soldier’s Promise”.

There is a response to it called "The Army Wife's Promise".

There has never been a day that I have prayed for a deployment to come. There has never been a day that I have wanted him gone or to lie to me or to shut me out.

My husband has served for fourteen years. He has lost dozens of friends. He has stood at funerals to honor the fallen. He has called families to tell them that their son lost both his legs. (By the way, that REMARKABLE soldier still serves).  

My husband joined at seventeen with every intention to stay in until the day he is too old. There is no six-year timeline for us. Your sailor’s service is admirable. Your dedication to him is admirable as well.  But it makes our perspectives far different.

Mine is a combat soldier.

When he walked into the house of an Iraqi family who had been murdered for helping US troops, when he saw the body of a toddler filled with bullet holes, left for so long, maggots were eating at her skin … The only person that can understand that, the only person who can deeply, completely understand what he felt in that moment is his comrade that was beside him in tears. I will never understand what it is to make the choice between destroying a possibly bomb-rigged truck speeding straight towards you, ending the life of a possible suicide bomber, and defending your men. I will never understand the moment of that decision. But the soldier who followed his order, who fired that weapon to destroy it before it destroyed them … HE understands it. He knows what it is to be forced to choose between life and death. I have never had to make that decision. Have you?

You have never gone through the month before a combat deployment to the third deadliest area in a war zone so you cannot understand what I mean by “shut you out.” No words I can say will make you understand that. But if you are balancing in your head leaving your family, the young men you are bringing with you who will leave their families, that some of them may not come back, that you may be taking sons from their mothers, fathers from their children, husbands from their wives ... You have never carried that. Neither have I. So if in those weeks before that mission, if my husband has trouble telling me “What is wrong?” Well, I can understand him not knowing what to say. It has nothing to do with PTSD.

If he tells me that he is going to CHOW when he is really going to a meeting with higher-ups, that is going to quiet and comfort my heart rather than him telling me  “I can’t tell you.” When your husband is in a war zone, and you don’t know the next time you will talk to him, have fun for that week or two or three when the last thing he said to you was “I can’t tell you.” See what happens to your sanity.

Unless you have had your husband gone for an extended period of time, you cannot know what it is to reintegrate. You cannot know what it is for things to “fall back in place.” What it is to move from survival mode to partner. What it is to move from a war zone to a house. Yes, it is like crashing back in. But you couldn’t know that.

I do not feel my husband needs to “make up” days he is not physically present for. I would never in my life expect that of him. I am not physically present for days just as special to him during deployments.  Those days are precious either way – but what is most precious in a family like ours is knowing the other is safe for one more day. The other is surviving. The other’s heart is still beating. That is the greatest gift on the birthdays they “miss” and anniversaries they aren’t here for. To think that I expect him to “owe me” for them … you couldn’t be more wrong. You cannot understand what the emotions are behind missing the birth of a child. This wasn’t talking about anger or an “I owe you.” I can understand why you wouldn’t understand that. You have never held a friends leg while she gave birth with her husband on the phone six-thousand miles away. You cannot understand the strength that takes of a marriage to show that love across the world. You cannot understand that beauty.

This was written for men and women who choose – please understand that – CHOOSE to serve this nation – day in and day out, for as long as it will allow them.

Our deployments are twelve months long. My husband has served in both wars. He will serve again. And if asked again after that, he will go. And I will never hope for those days to come, or for him to leave, or “hate when he is home.”

He is the father of our children. The love of my life. My partner on the journey.

I do not stand in his shadow. I stand beside him – proudly. I carry him with me in everything, EVERYTHING, as he does for me. I am so very sorry you cannot see that. So very sorry you cannot respect those of us who live this life for so long. I see no respect in what you wrote.  

There is such beauty in the life between this kind of soldier and his wife. It is a selfless love. No, I guess I am not selfish enough to understand what you are saying.

I am so very sorry you question the love between my soldier and me – and, yes, you are questioning it. So very disappointed you can say it makes him less of a Christian. How dare you.

My husband’s boots hit the ground, have walked the streets of Baghdad, have lived beside Afghans in Kandahar. And in all the times that he is gone, I LIVE our life, I HONOR my soldier, I raise OUR children, and keep him with me, always.

How much you do not understand.

I thank your husband for his service to our nation. 


  1. I saw the link on your facebook page last night. Coming from another Navy wife with a VERY different view than hers, please please please don't assume that all Navy wives feel like she does because I surely DON'T. I related so whole-heartedly to all of the emotion, love, pride, fears, and compassion you expressed in your "Promises." I am so sorry she so ignorantly tore apart your beautiful words. I am so proud of my husband and so proud to stand beside him during his service. Thank you for you and your husband's service to our country and thank you for opening your heart up to the world to share your military experience. Doing so unfortunately makes you vulnerable to situations like this, but you have certainly risen above it! God bless!!

  2. I have been following your "Promises" journey from the moment I heard about it. Your work is so beautiful, as are your responses to those who have so ignorantly torn it apart. I understand all you've written in "Promises" and too have felt those same emotions. I'm so proud of my husband, despite the hardships his service in the wars have brought. Like you said, even though they're not physically with us, our husbands remain by our sides ALL the time. Don't let people discourage you for sharing your heart. You have been a blessing and encouragement to so many. Let the majority warm your heart. Satan will do everything he can to discredit the work God is doing through you. But God always has the victory, and you can rejoice in that! Stay strong and keep writing. You're touching more lives than you'll ever know.

  3. That is all you can do. You have shared your heart, you have blessed others, and you have done what you feel God has called you to do. In this world, we will be beat down for what we do. It hurts. Shoot, it downright stinks. But, I encourage you to do just what you are doing. Throw your hands up, and choose to rejoice. Use those same hands to keep hugging your family, typing words that encourage others, and find little joys to help carry you through the days.

    Words hurt, they do. Unknown faces with mean words seem to hurt even more.

    Don't stop. Your words bless others.

    Her words hurt others.

    Don't let the hurtful words win.

  4. Leslie - Oh no! I do not think it is a Navy thing - or even an age thing. I was twenty-two when I married my husband. Age is a number - not a maturity level. Thank you for being so devoted to your sailor and for sharing your thoughts!! You are very kind! : )

    Lydia - Thank you so very much for the encouragement! EVERYONE has been so sweet and have warmed my heart. I am humbled by everyone's kindness.

    Thank you, Queen. Thank you, Thank you. I will not stop. This has been far too great of a blessing to walk away from it. Thank you so very much.

  5. Megan, your words have gotten me through so much. You have been the support that I needed, never ceasing to give advice or prayer or understanding. There are no words that can express my thanks enough. Your voice is helping to give people the raw, uncut image of the military family. Don't let one person kill you beautiful spirit.

  6. Megan, I've been quietly following the promise post for many reasons...the most important being that when I was going through deployments with my now husband I could never put into words my feelings for my soldier and the situation. It is a "flash back" to those times for me reading your blogs and a breath of fresh air to finally see those feelings so beautifully put to paper. My soldier is now out due to injury so I more presently relate to the re-adjustment of being home and a spouse not a boss. It makes it feel more normal when I wake up in the middle of the night and he's calling orders or coordinates to know that others out there get similar wake up calls. (: We now live near a Navy community and I have run into far more wives than I ever care to meet again who feel similar to the person who you responded to above. I know not all Navy wives are like that, I have also met some awesome ones. Those who are not "awesome" have no clue about life with year long deployments, limited phone/computer time, etc... They deal in months. Months on a boat with regular communication and no one trying to hurt them. Months on shore somewhere with clean showers, free time, etc... but never years. Please don't let someone with such limited understanding and respect for this life bring you down. You have an amazing gift with you words. Share it! As you have said, "this life is not for everyone, it is a choice"...those who can't understand it, could never survive it.

  7. Megan - I am the blogger who (unknowingly) stole and reposted your beautiful work, "Promises" on my blog. First, I want you to know that I did go onto edit and post credit to you for that. And again, I do apologize!

    Second, I want you to know how deeply that piece touched me. I think you could tell that by my post about it, but I wanted to take some time and tell you how much it meant to me - ESPECIALLY considering what you are going through right now.

    "Promises", although certainly written by a combat soldier's wife, spoke to me, a Navy wife, on such a personal level. The Hubs has been in for almost 19 years. We've done six 6 month deployments, 3-4 three month-ers, too many stupid weeks turning in the pond to count, and so on. I am blessed that my husband's career choice put him at sea and not on land. My heart bleeds for soldiers' wives, as I cannot imagine your daily anguish at the unknown.

    But know this. "Promises" is the voice of every military couple. The heartache of separation, and fear of the unknown, and, yes, unwanted knowledge of the realities of war. It is haunting and beautiful; soul sucking and whole-heart loving; it IS the military family experience.

    THANK YOU for sharing that with the world. ((HUGS))

  8. Lindsay, Thank you to you and your husband for your service. Thank you for supporting your wounded warrior and thank you for your words. This life can be so very hard to understand and a lot of what I write it to try to provide that understanding for those outside of this life. Promises was written for US - for military men and their spouses. So much of it applies to the combat soldier and marine but some parts of it speak to all who serve (I hope). I think this piece is special because those who live it lead such a unique life. Thank you so very much for sharing.

    Kelly - You need to know that you did NOTHING wrong. You didn't claim this as yours. You shared something that touched you. There is no malice in that. Thank you for sharing the original link. I really am so very happy people are sharing the words. I hold NO anger with people who are sharing it and don't know from where it came. My frustration lies with people who are implying that they wrote it. That is where the anger comes in.

    Thank you and your husband for your long service and thank you so very much for empathizing with those of us who live the combat side of this life. Every job serves a purpose, EVERYONE serves. No service should be lessened for another. A friend of mine is a Navy Wife - she has said very similar thing to you.

    You description of Promises gave me goosebumps. Thank you so very much for your kindness and for sharing Promises with your readers. I do think it does a lot of good. Thank you so very much for your kindness. : )

  9. I must say that I absolutely love that you write this. I understood your "Promises" post from multiple angles.

    I am the daughter of a retired Navy Submariner. My parents have been together through it all. I have seen every aspect of the "Soldier's Promise" with my dad. He served during multiple wars, and we will never know what he went through. I watched my mom go through all the things in a "Spouse's promise". My mom raised me with pride in my dad, and all branches of military for what they do. For us, we didn't get to talk to my dad for 3 months at a time. There was no contact, then he would be home for three months and have to reintegrate. We would finally be settling in, when he would deploy again.

    Please understand that I am not trying to compare my childhood, with what you go through on a daily basis. I have always understood that every branch has its difficulties when it comes to home life.

    Now I am the girlfriend, of a Soldier. Almost our entire relationship he has been serving overseas. I am so proud to be with him, and of what he is doing. I thank God that I grew up with such a strong military wife to set the example for me. I am extremely grateful and honored to have been chosen by an Army soldier to be part of his life.

    Thank you again for this. It helps me know that there are still military spouses out there that I have as much pride in their husband/wife, as I have in my boyfriend, and hopefully future husband.

  10. Katie Mac,
    Thank you for commenting! I cannot say how wonderful it was to hear your perspective. I hope that I give the same experience to my children that your mother gave to you.

    Most of my husband and I dated through a deployment. It is such a unique experience. Thank you for sharing! I hope you continue to do so in the future!!

  11. You have a wonderful ability to put into words what so many of us are feeling! With a deployment knocking at our doorstep, I am overwhelmed with emotions that can teeter from positive to negative in a matter of seconds. You really capture those emotions perfectly. Thank you!

  12. Thank you so very much for your kind words. I pray for strength to you and yours in the coming weeks.


I LOVE comments! Thanks for sharing : )