"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, May 7, 2013

The Girl Who Was Too Young

Dear Twenty-Two-Year-Old-Me,

I know you're in love. I know that the first time you saw him with that ruck strapped to his back, packed with everything he needed for two weeks back at home, I know that brings you butterflies. I know you are deeply, unapologetically, consumingly in love with a man who wears a uniform. 

I know that terrifies you.

I know that every person who doesn't understand this, who thinks you're too young to marry him, who says you have "too much ahead of you", I know they are saying that because they love you as dearly as he does. 

Don't fault them for that. You are young. 

You do have so much ahead of you. 

They want the best for you. They can't know what the future holds. Forgive them that. 

I know you worry about leaving your beloved city - your home, your family. I know that very idea keeps you awake in the darkest hours. I know you never imagined a life that would not include the draping limbs of the great oaks of City Park, the festivals, the music. I know you never thought you would do anything other than your set plan. I know you will mourn that for some time.

That's okay. 

I know you never thought you would marry a man who has sworn a vow to give his life for his nation if necessary. Never entered your mind before him. 

It's okay to be scared about that, too. 

I know you think you will be able to ignore that part of your life - the military side of your new world. I know you think you can separate yourself from it, avoid it, pretend it isn't there. Oh how I know you want to believe you can

Sunshine, somewhere down the line you're going to learn the more you try to swim away from it, the more you are going to find yourself drowning. Somewhere down the line you are going to realize it isn't all about you and about how you didn't sign up for "that". Somewhere down the line you are going to have to wise up.

You are going to have to be humbled.

Somewhere down the line you are going to watch your husband's face when he stands at a memorial honoring his fallen friend - you are going to want so badly to hold his hand when he raises the other to salute. You are going to spend your first anniversary mourning the man who took his place. You are going to want to take that guilt away - you are going to want to make it all end - to feel the hurt so he doesn't have to. You are going to have to know that you can't. Somewhere down the line you are going to rub your finger over the bracelet on his wrist - engraved with a name you do not know - and you will notice in all the time that you have worn his ring, he has worn that band on his arm. Somewhere down the line you are going to watch a government vehicle drive down your street and you are going to fall to your knees praying it doesn't stop at your house. You are going to fight for air the moment you realize you've been holding your breath. 

Dearheart, someday you are going to watch that man march away from you and not know if he is going to come back. Someday you are going to have to hold a screaming child back who wants to run after him. Someday you are going to pray daily that the infant you are holding will get to know the man who created him. 

Someday you are going to need to be part of the life you live. 

Someday you are going to hear news that you don't want to - news about that little one you didn't plan on having so early - that is going to break your heart. Someday you are going to sit in a doctor's office and wait for results that will change that child's - and your - life forever. You will sit there without your partner - without the other half of who that child is - and you are going to have to be strong enough to carry that.

You are going to have to have love great enough to embrace that, to fight through that, to win the battle.

You are going to have to have the support of a community that knows - that heart-breakingly knows - that we need to carry each other. You are going to have to have enough grace to let your pride go and let them carry you a ways.

You have to choose to be part of that - and you have to realize that now - right now. From the get-go.  Because, twenty-two-year-old-me, embracing that, accepting that, Oh, the world you will belong to. 

You will have the honor of watching a child be born by one of the strongest women you will ever know. You will know how to hold a woman whose body collapses in your arms from the weight she has carried for too long. You are going to see joy - absolute JOY - when a daddy holds his child for the first time. You are going to have the most intimate understanding of what it is to see the deepest pain in that same moment - in that same father's eyes. You will know grief that forces you to look for good. You will face darkness that demands of you to bring light. You will learn that it is by giving that you receive and that by serving you are fulfilled. 

You will find a purpose in the uncertainty. Strength in weakness. Hope in despair. You will learn what it is to feel broken and what it is to feel whole. You will learn to share that with others. To empower those around you to do the same.

You will hurt until you cannot feel. You will ache in a way that will make you question. You will age in a way that you never thought possible; you will find wisdom you didn't dare to seek. 

You will love beyond words. Understand what it is to be grateful in the pit of your soul. You will be shown this life is worthy of your tears, worthy of the sadness. Worthy of your joyYou will know you were made for this. You will thrive.

You are too young for this. You are too young

But, my dearest self, you are able. You are worthy. You are ready


What would you tell yourself when you entered into this life if you could?


  1. I would have told myself to "Hold on! It's gonna be a wild ride!" Of course you put things so much better than I do.

  2. Absolutely amazing. Balling my eyes out. So beautifully written.

  3. Wow..I appreciate your writting. Truly good work. You speak for me!

  4. I married my soldier before I was 21 we are still together after 22 years and he has served 24 years. Lovely sentiment


I LOVE comments! Thanks for sharing : )