"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.

Monday, December 5, 2011

To Find a Way

I am very much of the mindset that we choose how we will respond to this life. No we cannot choose when deployments do and do not come. We can't choose where they go to, if they are in harms way or if they are support. No one consults us about not having a spouse around for the birth of a child, or the first year of life, or through potty-training, or through grad school, or undergrad. We do not get to call our spouse for support when we get a flat, or a pipe bursts, or there is a giant, unidentifiable insect climbing up our bedroom wall.

The world will begin to fall apart at times. Our lives will become more and more difficult as time passes. Any change in the plan - whether it's a deployment being extended or, yes, even shortened - these changes, challenges, can break us down, rattle the spirit, put into question our own resolve.

We have all lived through the moments; and if you haven't - you will. I think that may be the key to overcoming them - knowing they will come. Knowing that so much of this is a battle - a battle that so often just lies within ourselves. Recognizing our reality- understanding what this life requires - prepares us for what it will bring.

This life takes your whole heart - I mean in its entirety. The soft spots that allow us to love easily, to greet each other joyfully, to embrace each other, to hold one another in the harder moments. The parts that contract in and out, allowing us to adjust, to bid farewell, to begin again, to keep strength in and to allow it to venture out.  The worn parts that carry the heartache and the fear and the sadness - the parts that keep us feeling, that always seem like they cannot become anymore broken but somehow can just one more time. The places we always carry, quietly, heavily. The parts that can never leave us. That humble us. That come quickly forward and then just as quickly fade. Recalled again and again and again. There are the solid parts that hold our pride, hold the vows, hold the joy. The parts that we remind ourselves of when the darkness comes forward and the days get harder and the nights are long. Yes, it takes the whole heart.

It all makes up our strength, our armor. Everything that happens in this life can happen to or for us. We are victims or warriors. Every struggle is a moment for Grace. Every heartache, every moment they cannot be here for, brings us closer to the One who made us for this. Every moment that we survive - without distain for the separation, without anger towards a spouse who "chose a country over us" - every moment that we recognize something has been put there for a purpose - to help us to grow in love, in faith, in patience is a moment that we thrive. Sometimes we must find it on our own - sometimes we must allow someone else to grow by serving. Every obstacle we overcome, or struggle through, and sometimes even succumb to, adds to what our hearts hold.

How we love through this life has everything to do with how we respond to what it presents. There is always a choice, to flail or thrive, to be victimized or to overcome. Every moment has a purpose - every single moment.

This is a daily battle, a daily challenge, a daily life that always, always offers a choice.

It is never a question of "if" you can thrive through. I'm sorry, but it isn't. Asking that question sets you up to fail. It is always a question of "how".

All of us - all of us - can find a way.


  1. Hello,
    My name is Amber and I have been following your blog for about 4 months. The amount of time my Husband of 10 yrs has been in Afghanistan. Your writting has touched me so much, and even helped me to heal a lot of sorrows and anxieties. My husbands mother has not been so fortunate as I. When we(Myself, my Husband and his Mother) learned about this deployment She was soon after diagnosed with breast cancer. This being aggressive and needing a masectomy. In the days following she began Chemo and the realization that her little boy would soon be on his own battlefield... The reason I am telling you all of this is because though My Mother-in-laws chemo has ended her little boy is not yet home. The struggle to come to terms with all the new life changing events has not been easy for her. I am stepping out on a limb to ask if you could find it in yourself to write a post about the trials of the deployed's Mother. Any words of wisdom you might have to help them through this difficult time. Because it is so different from that of ourselves, being spouse. Just one last addition is that My Mother-in-law is as close to me as my own mother, and to see her struggling with something I have come to terms with breaks my heart. Thank you for listening and her name is Judy.
    Prayers Always,

  2. I can't tell you how much your blog encourages me!

  3. Kitchenmomma: My heart goes out to you and yours!!! A friend of mine went through the cancer battle with her husband deployed. She even tried to keep it from him at first. I wrote a little giving a child to this life in "To Give a Child". I am going to try to find a mother to write about this. I can write about it from my perspective but the thing is I don't know what that is like. I have never lived that. I cannot imagine. So very often the parents are forgotten in this. Can you email me? I would like to send you something for you MIL. I know that may sound crazy but there is something I gave to mine at the start of our last deployment and I would like to do the same for yours.

    Sarah - THANK YOU!! That is one of the main reasons I started this blog!! We all need to see that we all go through the same things and that we can THRIVE THROUGH THEM!! : )


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