My husband’s not one to be caught jamming out at a stop light. Those proud moments belong to me. But in the rare opportunity that Letters from Home by John Michael Montgomery happens to come on the radio, he’ll sing.
My heart will race and I’ll stare out the window, biting my cheek in hopes I can prevent mascara from running down my face. See, those words bring memories. How can a song go beyond simple words and feel more like an anthem?
Probably because for several years:
It Was Our Anthem.
My husband spent many years in the active army and a few in the reserves. Like most military families, we hopped from station to station, spending more of our time apart than together.
Letters from war and letters from home were a staple in our early marriage.
Not remembering much of our military family life, our daughter asked last night why Daddy deserved to have a day off for Veteran’s Day.
“Honey, Daddy deserves so much more than one day for having to go to war for so long and so often.”
She nodded, but I could tell she still didn’t understand. Not really. Because to her the word ‘war’ wasn’t anything her young mind could wrap around. And for that I am so thankful.
How many children around the world live in daily fear of combat, death, bombs?
Yes, my husband has missed so much:
First of so many baby stages.
Last moments with loved ones.
Home cooked meals.
All of which can never be repaid by any sum of hazardous-duty-pay.
Without his sacrifice. My brother’s. My cousin’s. My cousin-in-law’s. My Papaw’s. My Grandpa’s. His Grandpa’s. Uncle’s. Our friend’s. Without the dedication of all our military personal (and their families!!!), where would we be as a Nation? What protections and freedoms would our children even have if not for them?
During each of my husband’s deployments, I’d choose a verse.
One to memorize.
One to hang everywhere.
One to repeat as I tried to hold everything together on the homefront all the while trying to encourage my soldier oceans away through the variety of stages of wartime.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
To be honest, some of those words are brutal.
Sure, pray continually wasn’t too hard to accomplish, since I was constantly asking God to protect my loved one. But the be joyful part of the verse was a bit more daunting, and the final part about giving thanks in all circumstances…that did not come naturally.
After the heat of the moment, I saw things to be thankful for that came as a result of deployments.
I realized that TIME is a precious, precious gift.
I learned to dig deeper, harder, more into the Word.
I watched how God used hazardous-duty-pay and turned it into debt free adoption.
I learned how to wait.
That hugs, phone calls, letters matter so much more than material things.
I learned how not to take my spouse for granted.
Do I wish for long months away from him ever again—NO! But we don’t always get a say in what happens in our lives. I hope and pray during life's storms and seasons of war that we’ll be able to lean on the One who holds tomorrow, and truly be able to find something to be grateful for.
Today, I’m thankful for all the veterans. They deserve so much more than a day.
What are you thankful for today?
with love and prayers,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;