For those of you who don’t know us well, Ray has been in the military for 19 years. We were dating when he signed that dotted line. We’ll have been married for 18 years in a couple of weeks. I think for the most part, we love our military life. We are like gypsies. I know that we’ve seen and experienced things that we never would have if hadn’t signed on. Over the years we debated, stay or go. About 8 years ago we crossed that threshold. Hold on… even it gets bumpy we are going to do the twenty. Has it always been rainbows and sunshine? No. At yet, no other life we could choose would be. I know Ray loves what he does and he loves serving his country. Life outside of our tightly knit military community scares the dickens out of me a bit. Today I read something that made me cringe. It made me wonder where we are headed. It made me think that at twenty years, it might be time to walk away.
You see, it seems that a well known anti-Christian extremist, Michael Weinstein has set his sights on the military. Before I point you in the direction of the article about what Mr. Weinstein’s vision for our military is and tell you what our President’s civilian appointees at the Pentagon are considering, let me tell you a few things.
My father died of a massive heart attack on the night before Ray was supposed to start a six month deployment on the USS Eisenhower. I had a week with my mother and my brother. I went back to Virginia and kissed my husband good bye. My father died when he was 50, far too young. I thought I might be pregnant. One week after Ray left, the doctor said it was probably a very early miscarriage. My father was gone. My husband was deployed. I had recently started a new job. I was suffering and immeasurable amount of grief. If you had asked me then or even asked me today how on earth I got through that the answer would be easy. It was my faith in God. It was the support of my church family and the belief in something greater. I found peace in my prayers.
My husband was in Iraq. He was in Fallujah. I had a two-year old and a three-year old at home. I spent 6 months wondering if my girls would see their Daddy again. I knew exactly where he was. While I thought I knew the worst of his danger, I didn’t. What I did know was bad. It was a long hard six months. If you asked me how I did it, I would say, “It’s not me. It’s God.”
About three months after Ray returned home, I had a very real miscarriage. There was no second guessing with the doctors this time. It was early. It was bad and the pregnancy was unexpected. I felt grief. I thought it might swallow me. I couldn’t understand how or why or what purpose. I distinctly remember sitting on the edge of the tub with Arleigh and Hanan in the bath and praying and asking why. I promise you peace washed over me. I just knew that it was trial I needed to go through, maybe for my girls one day, maybe for me. Again, it was God.
We were blessed to ride along with life until we lost Jessa. I would be lying if I said I had days when I didn’t ache to hear her running with her sisters and her brother. I was mad for a very long time. I was disappointed. Again, if you asked me what brought me through it I would tell you that my faith drug me up by the bootstraps. Through prayer and meditation, and with the help of my family and my church family I came out of it. It was God.
Ray and I couldn’t have through the ups and downs of the adoption process if we didn’t believe. We couldn’t have said yes to a special needs child. We wouldn’t have been blessed to be walking a road with Jack and cheering like crazy at all his milestones. Without God, we wouldn’t have Jack and all the blessings that come wrapped up with him. We needed God to push us up the mountains and to hold on to us to keep us from rolling off. When we were in China and Jack could barely walk and we wondered what would happen next, God was right there with us.
I am not through with walking my steps of grief over any of the people I’ve lost, especially Tye as the wounds are so fresh. I know that I can take another step because I know God is with me. I know there is a promise of better things to come. It’s faith that gets me out of the bed in the morning…and kids that God gave me jumping on my head.
Those are just a very few life experiences. I didn’t list every birth, every triumph, every failure where we had to pick ourselves up or every victory. At any of those moments, I would tell you it’s because of God.
There have been very real situations where I’ve talked with people who have lost a child, miscarried, lost a parent, a sibling, even my own mother. When you are looking for answers, I have one. It’s remember your faith. Shore it up. In fact, if you are living an extremely blessed life right now, that’s even more reason to shore it up. Look to God. Take one step, and then another. Lean into Him. It is the only way that I get through any thing hard. Somedays, even boot camp.
Now that I’ve told you all that. Please know that our military members may no longer be able to share what God has done for them. They could face court martial for doing so. Some will say there is a difference between testimony and proselytizing. I say the definition of proselytizing as set forth in new Air Force documents doesn’t agree with you. Mr. Weinstein believes that even chaplains who share the gospel of Jesus Christ are guilty of “treason.” Obama’s civilian appointees in the pentagon have confirmed that it will be a crime for military members to share their faith while in uniform. My husband may very well become Daniel, thrown to the lion’s den.
I don’t typically spout off on political matters on this blog. This is important. Weinstein has called our chaplains “enemies of the Constitution.” I say to remember what we have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion per our Constitution. If we don’t speak up and stand together, what will happen?
For the military families who read these blogs, what would your life be like without chaplains? They’ve held my hand. They’ve prayed with me and for me. They are counselors in a time of war and death. Their hands are being tied. I remember asking the chaplain in Iceland questions I had and he could answer freely what he believed the Bible said. Will you stand up for them?
If you want more information, here is the link to the original article