Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Son At War #11: Coming Home

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, dates are being thrown around, plans are being made and anticipation is building. I love to decorate for holidays and with Garrett's homecoming around July fourth, our house is exploding with red, white and blue.

As preparations are being made it is not lost on me that homecoming for soldier's families are not always a celebration and Satan is there to ask "What if he made it this far and right before he leaves he is killed?". I go through the "what if's?" and remind myself of the thing that has gotten me through this past year. My God is in control.

Before we know it we are standing on the scorching, black tar mack at the Greenville airport. Home made signs are being waved, voices are crying out hoorays and the plane lands bringing our soldiers back to us. Tears of happiness are running down faces to the smiles below. They unload into formation as we search with our eyes for the one that belongs to us. We are fixed on the line that we cannot cross right now but as soon as all speeches are given and the word is given, it is every man for himself!

Of course I am the first one to reach Garrett, it's my baby boy. As I wrap my arms around him, the end of a long year has come. I am very proud of this soldier and very thankful to the God who brought him home.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Poor Whitney

As some of you know, I am a professional clown (Maggie Mae) and one of my magic tricks is a game about choices. If you know anything about magic, it's called a forced trick. The person picks a number between 1 and 16 and no matter what number they choose, as we count on a game board I can make them land on the color I want. Behind this color is always Jesus. As we talk about the things they didn't choose, we are talking about things the world has to offer.

Behind the green square is a bag of money, a lot of people think money is the key to peace and happiness. You can't eat but one meal at a time, you can't wear but one set of clothes at a time. Money can not buy you true friends but can open the door to many stumbling blocks. It cannot buy you happiness and I want my volunteer to be happy so I haven't allowed them to land on that.

Behind the red square is a crown, representing fame and popularity but we know that can't bring you happiness either. I remember when I was in school I thought the answer to happiness was to be one of the "in" kids. We grow up reaching for the stars, look at all the reality shows on TV. If only we were famous we would have everything, right? No, it's hard to tell who your true friends are when you're famous and you are always trying to out run the microscope you are living under. When we get to the red square I always think about Princess Diana but today I think about Whitney Houston. They seemed to have everything the world has to offer but their lives were so troubled. Fame and popularity cannot bring you happiness and can open the door for many stumbling blocks. I want my volunteer to be happy so I haven't allowed them to land on that.

Next is the blue square and behind it is the word "nothing". Now we know right away that's not good! The world is filled with people who feel like they have nothing to live for. We all are searching for meaning and purpose to our lives and so many times we try to fill that emptiness with the things of the world, which will let you down every time. The things of this world cannot bring lasting peace or happiness and can open the door to many stumbling blocks. Again I have not allowed my volunteer to land on this.

The last color is yellow and I have forced my volunteer to land on this color and behind it is Jesus! I explain how Jesus has come so that we can have life and have it abundantly. Only He can bring the lasting happiness and peace that money cannot buy, He can be the friend like the most popular person has never known and only He can fill up that emptiness inside each and every one of us.

Yes, it is a game, a magic trick but it teaches a very important lesson. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could force people to choose Jesus like Maggie Mae? We can't, we can only share what He has done in our lives. Every one must choose Him for themselves. It's more than just choosing Him, we must follow Him and obey His word. Only a relationship with Jesus can bring lasting peace and happiness, if we could talk to Diana or Whitney today they would tell you, it's the most important thing!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I've Been Still

Well I am still here, I just haven't had much to say. I let life swallow me up and on the inside I shut down. Do you ever do that? Those I come in contact with on a regular basis would never know because like most of us I know how to put on my game face. To put one foot in front of the other and do all thats expected of me, all the while you are dead on the inside, finding it difficult to find joy in anything.

Imagine that, and I am a christian. I have a living, breathing, real relationship with the God of the universe. That doesn't make me perfect, I wont get that till I get to heaven. I'm human, made of flesh. Flesh that hurts, that gets angry, feed up, overwhelmed, and weary. I know God tells us to keep our eyes on him but guess what? I slip and when I do, I loose myself, so I've had a few weeks of that. To me it's kind of like throwing a fit with God. After I was finished screaming on the inside I cried out to God and had to get quiet and listen.

He tells us in His word to Be still and know that I am God. Its hard to pay attention when you're throwing a fit even when it's just on the inside. He has lifted me up again and renewed my spirit, just like He has promised He would. We all find ourselves in that condition at times and I don't know how those whose hope is in anything in this world gets through it. Jesus Christ is the only hope and as I get up and follow Him through out this fallen world, trying to accomplish His will for my life, not anybody else's, I am waiting for Him to come again and take me home.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blessings On A Rainy Monday

I'm sitting here on a rainy cold Monday realizing how blessed I am.
#1 I was born in America, the land of freedom and choice. Lord be with all those who struggle under the oppression of their government.
#2 I have a loving and supportive husband, who also loves God and seeks to live for Him. Lord be with all those who are cringing in fear of their loved one.
#3 I have two healthy sons whose hearts belong to God. Lord be with those who are caring for children they don't know if tomorrow will come, those who have children who have chosen to travel a dark and dangerous path and have put up a wall that separates them from the ones that love them most.
#4 I have a daughter-in-law who loves the lord and loves me. Lord be with all those who have in-laws that seek to keep them out of their child's lives.
#5 I have a warm house, plenty to eat, a car to drive, nice clothes to wear and so much more than I need. Lord be with all those who struggle for the necessities of life and help me be an answer to their prayers when I can.
#6 I have the sweetest most loving dog (Heidi) in the world that brings me so much joy and love. Lord be with all those who can't find joy in the little things in life.
#7 I am basically healthy. Lord be with all those who are facing life changing illnesses.
#8 War is far away from my door step. Lord be with those who live with war right outside theirs.
#9 I have clean water to drink and use at the turn of a knob. Lord be with those who have to do a days work to have a safe drink of water.
This could go on forever but I'll wrap it up.
#10 I have a relationship with the one true living God and salvation through His son Jesus Christ. Lord be with those who Satan has deceived into thinking that You aren't there or that You don't care. Help me to be a reflection of your love, grace and forgiveness.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Son At War#10: Life Goes On

 Life goes on around you and you have to carry on. We broke the time up with holidays to make it more manageable. We concentrated on getting through Thanksgiving, then Christmas and New Years, Valentines,etc. I put together care packages and goody bags celebrating these holidays so the soldiers wouldn't feel so left out and give them something to look forward too. It was my way of loving on them from home, it made me feel connected.

I never felt alone in this, our family also showed their love and support to Garrett with packages and letters. He always had plenty to share with his company. Also every time I went to church, my church family would ask how Garrett was doing and reminding me they were still praying for him. They also sent packages and cards, Garrett was well known in the post office on their post and as he shared his loot it gave him an opportunity to share about the family of God.

The days go by and God continues to walk me through it with a peace beyond all understanding. Until one day the mail truck pulls into my drive way and unloads Garrett's foot locker. Heidi is barking her head off and I look out the window to see it being put on my porch. I cannot contain myself, throwing open the front door, running out with my camera, shouting for joy! I don't often show excitement but this mail lady almost had a heart attack. She knew what this foot locker meant and rejoiced with me even when I ask her to unload it again so I could take her picture! This marks a new chapter, preparing to come home.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Those in-laws!

It's been the source of many jokes and subject matter for many horror movies.  I guess it can be a difficult relationship if there is not love and respect for the roles that each person plays in their loved one's life. I've been pretty blessed as far as in-laws go, I was accepted into my husband's family with love. Though none of us are perfect, we have loved each other in spite of it.

I know it can be difficult to navigate and learn your new place when your child gets married. I've watched how painful it can be when parents are shut out of their child's life once they marry, I don't think that's what Christ meant when He said cleve. What an eye opener when in a group of women who were brought together in the deployment of their soldiers. I saw the battle between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws and the hurt from mother-in-laws who were just left out or pushed out. I was very grateful Garrett wasn't married and very sad for the others.

There are many good relationships between in-laws and they are priceless. It's where there is love and forgiveness and realizing you are not perfect so don't expect other's to be. I prayed for my son's wives to be when they were small and God certainly answered in the case of my oldest. She is everything I prayed for and more, a woman after God's heart and a spirit as sweet as honey in the promised land. She is a gift to me and our entire family, I'm counting on Garrett to do as well.

So what's the difference? It's really very simple, it's all about whether people are living their lives to honor God. I didn't say easy, I said simple. We are human, we make mistakes, we can irritate each other and even worse but if we seek to live for Christ we have to follow His example to love and forgive. It's what I strive for and thank God for a daughter -in-law who strives for the same thing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Son At War#9: Blessings At War

Part of Garrett's job is to travel to the different bases with his superiors and to record the deployment with pictures and video. Now before you think what a cushy job, remember he is first and always a soldier, while they are in the air they make a tempting target and are fired upon. Garrett has with him a weapon that the enemy cannot penetrate, the prayers of all those families, friends and church family back home. It is more powerful than the gun always at his side. As he travels, he gets to see a lot of the country and because he knows the word of God he realizes he is in the middle of a lot of Biblical history. As a matter of fact his base is in Abraham's back yard, the remains of Abraham's house and the Ziggurat of Ur.

Garrett is at war, his rifle always at his side, always on alert that someone is watching and waiting for a chance to take his life and his comrade's. He is separated from all he loves and living in very harsh conditions but God has not left him there alone.

The living God with whom Garrett has a relationship, has plans there for him.  He shows him the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the land of Ur and Nineveh. Elijah's and Abraham's house, the places that he has learned about all his life, he now sees in the flesh. Since he never travels alone or without God's word he can share the importance of where they are. Even in the middle of war, God is working things for good for Garrett who loves Him Romans 8:28. I can trust God with my son and it is there that I find my peace. I am human and I want my son to return safely to us but if Garrett returns to us or not I know He is in God's hands and there is no better place to be.