"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, March 28, 2012

What We Choose For Them - Post for the Homefront United

Check out my newest post for The Homefont United Network and leave a comment if you can! This is an incredible resource for military families - especially Guard and Reserve.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Great Courage

You have heard me say before that we are placed where we are meant to be. That the way things happen are the way they are meant to. In the last week I have told myself these things again and again and again. 

And it isn't just during these several days that I have had to remind myself. It is not just with these uncertain changes that we all need to remind ourselves. It is anytime that an assignment comes up that we don't want, a location comes that we do not want, a job, or a unit, or a deployment, or a school, or a housing assignment, it goes on and on and on. 

The things that come up in our journeys that we do not want are the very things that can destroy it. The very things that take something from us that we don't get back. These are the very things that can put enough stress and strain on a marriage to end it.

How you face them, how you endure them, has everything to do with whether or not you survive them.

Whatever obstacle put before you exists to teach you who you are, what you can do. There is a purpose set within it.

The deployment C is facing makes my skin crawl. Speaking with another spouse today about the uncertainty surrounding it literally gave me continuous chills, goosebumps, my body was shaking. Everything about it makes me uncomfortable. 

But despite all of that, despite anything strangers tell me, or what I hear on the news, this deployment is going to happen. He will be leaving. I cannot change that. I cannot stop that from taking place. 

He will kiss us good-bye and board a plane with so much of what happens after that up in the air. Logan will have his first day of kindergarten without him present. Children will be born. Graduations will be missed. Loved ones will pass while they are away. Precious moments will happen and pass while they are not here. 

I can't change it. I can't stop it. 

These things will not go away.

But everyday until then and every day that follows after matters. Every day is given to us for a reason. Everyday is worthy of joy. Everyday is deserving of your whole heart, your complete self.

Every action that you take or do not serves a purpose, makes a difference along the journey. We are not promised to know the path ahead, to know when the rough spots will comes, to know how they will end. But you do choose how you make it through them.

It isn't always pretty. It won't be without tears. But there is another side to every hurdle, the simple reward of making it through, of not being beaten down by it waits on the other end. The strength that we gain is waiting.

This life takes your whole self. It takes every tiny, tiny speck that makes your character. It requires every ounce of courage God ever put in a woman.

And He made you the strongest of women. 

Whatever is looming ahead of you, whatever uncertainty, whatever fear, whatever obstacle, you are ABLE to live through it. You are ABLE to thrive through it, to learn from it, to gain strength in it.

Loving a soldier means letting him go with grace, holding his hand when there are no words, smiling through tears, trusting in the journey, and living every single day - apart or together. 

You are a woman of greatest courage. There are thousands just like you, thousands more who have lived through this, who have lived IN it, and have come out stronger. Thousands who were given this life because they were able to love through it. There are thousands more who will follow behind. 

Show them your joy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bloom Where You are Planted

I think that every military family can feel the tension, the worry encompassing the military community right now. To ignore it just isn't possible (believe me, I've tried). We are all on edge. We are all wondering what the many changes being implemented will do to our family, to our soldier. Everyone is sitting tight. 


And in the middle of it all, our soldiers are still training. Our soldiers are still deploying. Our soldiers are still giving legs and arms and lives.

War doesn't wait.

I have had great difficulty sitting down to write. I have struggled over information about the lessening numbers - how they will affect C's particular branch, how this may affect him. I have struggled over how very real all of this is to Us and how non-existent it is to the rest of our country. 

We see it daily. We are living the worry and the hesitation daily. We understand.

All of it has been eating me up inside. While C is in the field again. While Logan keeps asking when his daddy is coming back from camping with his soldiers again. While I watch them sleep, and hang his uniforms, and wonder what will we do if this stops being our life.

I have not been able to shut off my mind. I have worried and worried and worried.

I see it in the faces of the soldiers. I hear it from our spouses. Hushed whispers, some not-so-hushed. Questions I can't answer. Fear that I cannot calm. People are worried

A reader emailed once telling me how good of an "Army Mom" I was to her and I laughed out loud. But I understood the term. When I was at my lowest in some time, I called my "Army Mom" and poured out my heart. She listened. She let me cry and vent and share my fear. 

These are the moments that she would usually turn to humor. We are similar in that way. Sometimes you just need to laugh through the rough spots but this particular call was not the time for that. She said, "Megan. (breath) You are a woman of deep faith. Do not let that be shaken now. He will put you where you need to be - wherever that is."

The message was firm. Strong.

Do not let your faith be shaken.

I know so many of us are beaten down. That we feel forgotten, abused, thrown-away. I know that we are angry and tired and maybe even in disbelief at what is happening. 

But it is happening.

Our lifestyle is changing. Our paths are changing.

This is not a time to lose our resolve. This is not the time for me to crumble and beg for answers. He has never failed me while I have failed Him again and again. He has never led me to where I am not meant to be. He has never let me take a step alone. He has never taken me where He did not walk beside.

The road ahead is uncertain. The future is never promised. 

But His promise to bring us through is certain. His Grace will always rain down.

It is taking every part of me to let my human worry go. To live in the today, the right now. C is working each day as if there is no worry, the same way he always has. He is fulfilling the promise he made fourteen years ago - to serve as long as his country will allow him. None of that has changed. I have been humbled by his unwavering commitment, shrunken by his will to work just as hard for his men, for his nation.

Do not let your faith be shaken.

Bloom where you are planted. Every day, wherever that may be.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Around the World

I don't know much about technology (which I know by now you all know). I don't know much about blogging. I don't know much about what makes a "good" blog and what makes a "great" blog. I don't know where mine would rate among the military blogger community. Don't have a clue. It isn't why I started this. It isn't why I continue.

But I do know that when I started this I didn't expect to receive what I have. I never expected to get email after email from new spouses and guard spouses and MOM's about what hearing their thoughts put to "paper" has done to comfort them. I never thought I would hear from military families around the world. I never thought I would get to "meet" women in Australia, in Canada, in the United Kingdom, in India. I never thought my journey was so similar to the journey of thousands of women around the world. 

I cannot tell you what your emails and messages and comments do to lighten the load. I cannot tell you what the short minute it takes to leave a comment saying "Yes, I have BEEN there!" does to bring strength. And not just to me - but to everyone who reads.

I want to thank the many of you who came to my defense when Promises went under attack. I want to thank those of you again who fought for me. Who understood how much I was hurting through that - strangers who have very much become friends. 

I cannot tell you how often your messages have brought me to tears, have humbled me to my core, who have understood me when I wondered if anyone would. I am honored to share the story of this Army Family. I am honored to hear from civilians who say they now "get it" a little more, who understand a little better, who can now empathize and share our pride.

The moments that a spouse says her husband shared Promises with friends saying, "This, this is what it is." The people this has connected me to ... I could not be more grateful.

I want to ask forgiveness for slowing down my writing. I'm still here! I promise. And I don't plan on going anywhere. But the things I want to write about, I can't right now. The things that bring me to my mac to type aren't things I feel right publishing.

But I am here. 

I wanted you to know - just incase you were wondering. 

And while I wait for that *Spark* to come please keep sharing the blog. Take your favorite post (maybe one that you have never shared) and share the journey. If this has done any good for you, please continue to pass it along. 

Y'all are the best. Thank you for sharing the journey!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Encouraged Ignorance

There are times when I wonder how people can have such a skewed perception of soldiers. How some people can think that they all are messed up in the head, that they are cold, uneducated, unable to think on their own. Most of the time I just can't understand how so many Americans can lump all soldiers into one stereotype. 

Most of the time.

Then there are days like today when ONE soldier commits a horrendous act against humanity and the line is blurred. There are days like today when I see what I saw on a major news network this morning and I have to turn it off because of how sick it makes me feel. There are days like today when an "expert" gives his "professional opinion" on why evil has taken place at the hand of an American soldier.

Because then it makes sense. Then I can understand why some people ask me if I am scared my husband is going to snap on me, or if I worry about him around our children. If I worry that he may kill me in his sleep. Then I understand why some people think our soldiers are broken.

Because someone, with some degree, and some title that people think matters gets ten minutes of airtime spent talking about how just being crammed into a vehicle causes PTSD, and how one tour of duty causes EVERY soldier - "in (his) professional opinion"- to suffer from PTSD, how any soldier has the potential to become a murderer at any time, how soldiers cannot separate threat from innocent women and children, how we have to be prepared for soldiers to "snap" at any time. How our soldiers cannot re-integrate into society. How they don't know how to "be" civilians anymore. 

And at no point in this interview - that seemed to last far too long (and I didn't watch it all) - were there the words "some" or "few" or "at times". It was always definitives, always communal language, always inclusive. Not "some", not "a minute amount", not "in rare occasions", not even just "often."  

Listening to this "professional," should have made me fear my husband. Should have made me question if he should be around our children. Should have made me look at him as a "potential murderer." 

That's disgusting. It's disrespectful. It's harmful and contagious and offensive.

Because he was convincing in his language. He is a "professional" on one of the largest news stations in the world receiving ample air time and never once being questioned on his wording. 

If he is going to call my husband a "potential murderer" well, it must be true. 

Surely our society - or those who broadcast it - doesn't have such a strong distaste for our service men and women. Surely no one would encourage this view of our soldiers - encourage such ignorance.

Because that would be horrible and wrong. 

My husband is a servant -  who, YES, has seen horrible things - things he will never forget. He lived through them and now he holds his children tighter. He loves his family fiercer. He defends his nation against the horrors he has seen in other countries so that our innocent eyes never see them here. He has seen a bullet-filled, maggot-ridden toddler left dead in her bed in another country, by a foreign enemy, and he has vowed to never let that be an American daughter. He has made the decision between life and death and saved the men that he was responsible for, that he promised to bring home. 

He has buried his comrades. He has held their parents, their spouses, their children.

That doesn't make him broken. 

It makes him someone that this worldly place cannot understand. 

It makes him selfless. 

How dare the world be told any different. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Didn't you Hear?

They are coming home, didn't you hear?

No more war.

Didn't you know?

No more deployments.

They are coming home. The war is over.


God, give me grace.

Part of me wants to think that hearing this hurts a little less after hearing it for so long. Part of me wants to think that I "know" how to not let this get to me - when strangers ask how I didn't know! When strangers tell me that my husband isn't deploying. Part of me wants to believe that I can just shut this out. 

That it doesn't affect me. That it doesn't make me angry. That it doesn't make me want to show whoever is saying it how wrong they are to speak such words.

I so want to be at that point that just has to happen somewhere down the road where such words don't make me cringe. Where such completely ignorant statements won't hit me like pings to my ears. 

Didn't you hear? No more War.

No, no I didn't. 

During the day-and-a-half that I saw C between his month-long-"adventure" to the desert of California and his three-day-joy-ride in the field he must have neglected to tell me. 

I'm sure he meant to.

It somehow must have slipped his mind while scheduling training-after-training, and field-exercise-after-field-exercise, sitting in meeting-after-meeting talking about a deployment that some stranger says isn't happening. Because if a stranger knows surely C has been informed.

No more deployments! Didn't you hear?

No, I hadn't heard.

Somehow someone must have forgotten to tell the instructors that teach us how to care for the families of the fallen, how to support them, how to speak to them, how to honor them. How to hide our tears, how to stay strong while their world crumbles before them. Someone must have forgotten to tell them to cancel those. Someone must have forgotten to tell them we no longer have soldiers fighting. That we no longer have soldiers dying. That there is no reason to fear the doorbell. That the loves of our lives are safe. 

Someone should tell them. They must have not heard.

Somehow someone still feels a need to train these men and women. Someone still finds it necessary to take them from their families, to have them miss lives while they are still at "home", to take them for months and weeks at a time to prepare for something that apparently isn't happening anymore. Someone should tell them because I miss my husband. If there is no more war, surely there is no more training. Surely he can be home every night. Surely he will not miss anymore of his children's lives. Surely there is no longer a reason. 

Someone must have forgotten to tell my friends whose husbands are in a war zone ... oh wait, what is it called then? Someone should tell our friend who just watched his girlfriend leave to go to ... um ... the desert for a nine-month-vacation. I'm sure she is just there for those awesome tan lines the helmet and chin strap give. Someone should tell those soldiers. Maybe I should knock on my five neighbors' doors whose husbands just left on twelve-month orders. Surely they haven't heard yet. Surely not. Someone should let them know.

Didn't you hear? No more war.

No, no I didn't.

Someone should tell them.

They must not have heard.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Military Child

There is something very special about a Military Child.
Something that comforts and carries through this life of trial.

There is a strength found within them born from the love of a Father who serves.
A quiet patience breathed inside them born of a Mother who loves through hurt.

There is a goodness prior given, an innocence meant to protect.
There is a pride, a joy, a longing for a Freedom one must ne’er reject.

There is something very special about a Military Child’s hands
That wait outstretched and empty while Daddy fights in foreign lands.

There is something very precious in the touch of these daughters and sons
Who unknowingly bring comfort to others who wait til’ mission’s done.

There is something much too deep in the eyes of the children they must leave
There is a needing and a sadness, a cry for understanding as they grieve.

There is something too unnoticed in the children of those who give
They hold keys to bringing joy, to making the hardest moments, thriving moments we can live.

There is something beyond special about these children’s tiny arms
Who hug heroes into battles and know little of guns and bombs.

There is something far too sweet in the little voices of the children
Who heartfully sing the anthems, cover their hearts, and pledge their allegiance.

There is something left unspoken when they see that he’s come home
A beauty far too precious, far too deep to feel alone.

There is something that moves the heart about these smallest tears
The ones that roll down their cheeks when they finally see that he is here.

There is something very special about a Military Child
A world of strength and joy and pride held within their tear-filled smiles. 

Written By: Megan Kratochvil Williams 
© 2012, all rights reserved
Do not use without permission.