My brother-in-law, Tim, deploys to Afghanistan in three days. It is his third deployment since President George W. Bush declared war on Iraq and subsequently Afghanistan. Our military is exhausted. Our military families are exhausted. Our military bases are depleted.
Souls are weary. Families are broken. Lives are falling through the cracks.
God how I long for the day when humans stop destroying each other.
3,000 men and women from his base are gone.
It's a ghost town of wives and babies and kids and chaplains trying to keep it all together.
And it's getting harder to keep it all together.
I am tired of this war. And I am tired of watching so many strong women (men) fight the war back home in their husband's (wives) absence.
Tim will be gone for 14 months.
While Melissa and Tim have a peace right now that passes all logical understanding...
they have been on an emotional roller coaster.
They have been trying to get pregnant for well over a year.
Or maybe you don't.
Can any of us really understand the intensity these families are living under?
Trying so hard to get pregnant before he leaves, because truthfully -it's always there- the worst case scenario tucked away somewhere in the back of your mind.
What if he never comes home?
Trying so hard to not be stressed about getting pregnant before he leaves because, you can't make a baby happen.
And, maybe you don't even want to? I mean, what would it be like to give birth without your husband being around? To grow a tiny, kicking, squirrely little baby alien in your belly and have no daddy to whisper to it?
Trying so hard to sleep through the night, because the nightmares of someone in uniform showing up at your door with "the news" keeps you awake for months on end.
Trying so hard to trust that your wife will be taken care of in the arms of her friends and family; that if she were pregnant your baby would grow to love you even though it had never heard your voice or felt your touch; trying so hard to live in hope and not fear; trying so hard to get everything in order before you leave.
Trying so hard to enjoy the moments you have and not think about the unknown that lies ahead.
They have been preparing for this moment for almost a year. A year ago we knew he would deploy. Each month crept closer and closer and the curse that we refused to name got nearer and nearer. But now it is here. And I feel my heart almost stopping.
War. Tim. My sister's husband. A man we love. A friend. A buddy. Camouflage. Helicopter rides through the desert. A machine gun. IED's. Radical extremists. Third time. Really, third time? It's like we're basically begging for these men and women to not come home... teasing fate or something. No one should have to be in war three times. No wife should have to endure that. No child. No family. No man or woman on the field. And yet, these men and women are three and four times deep into deployments.
Thoughts rush my mind and my heart swells and I pray a prayer that makes no sense... God protect Tim.
Knowing it must grieve God's heart when any person dies in battle and believing that God does not interfere with IED's and machine guns; I have to believe that death in war is not God's plan for any one's life.
War was not the plan.
Not the original one.
But you still pray. You pray for miracles. And peace. And protection. And you beg God for mercy. And you trust. Not always knowing exactly what it is you are trusting. But you trust, because God's peace that doesn't make any sense starts oozing into you. Something becomes calm. Centered. You trust that no matter what happens...
there is always hope.
And maybe that is why we pray for protection. Maybe God does perform a few miracles in the desert. Or maybe war is just war, and while some miracles happen, often times- there aren't many miracles in war. Maybe God is just there, walking through the valley of the "shadow of death" alongside His children. Still, we pray- fearfully begging for miracles of protection- but mostly we pray because when we get past those initial prayers of fear, we desperately need to find ourselves connected to the heart of Jesus.
The only One who can make sense in the chaos we have created.
We need Him. And we need to be deeply rooted in His message.
Our God is with us. Emmanuel.
Jesus drew near to the weak, weary, and broken. He seemed to be on a perpetual mission of finding the sick, and putting a balm on their soul.
We need peace that makes no sense. We need water when our souls are dried up. We need a firm foundation.
When everything you love leaves on the back of a C-130... and your foundation shakes like the tremors of an earthquake-
His rod and staff will comfort you. He will lead you beside still waters. He will restore your soul. He will fill your cup. And though the world may give way... you can safely dwell in His house.
Melissa is pregnant.
they found out a few weeks ago.
Tim will be gone for 14 months.
Four months after she delivers their sweet baby.
I've said it before and will say it again and again and again: thank you, thank you, thank you to all who serve and the families who persevere back home. Your sacrifice is inspiring and beautiful. In the midst of war, we draw near to Jesus, the deliverer. The giver peace. We pray for miracles- but more than that- we pray because the Lord is our refuge.
Do you have a loved one who is deployed? Please put their name and any specifics about their family in the comments section. At the beginning of next week, I will compile the list and turn it into a blog, which anyone can then print off and use to faithfully pray for your loved one.
Do you know an organization that supports military families? Please leave a link in the comment section. I will compile those into a blog next week as well.
If you have any family or friends at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii- please let them know I will be doing a FREE show on the base, May 10th at 9:00 a.m. in the chapel. Military families from any base on the island are welcome to attend and free childcare is included!
Stories: A Journey of Hope and Redemption
Free acoustic concert and worship with Jenny Simmons from Addison Road
honoring the military families on the island of Honolulu
May 10th, 2011 Schofield Barracks
Sponsored by Women of the Chapel