As we celebrate our 241st Independence Day, we find ourselves still at war after fourteen years. Our sons and daughters are deployed around the world. Internally, we are struggling as to who we are as a nation. In the middle of struggle, divisions, and war there is great need for remembering who we have been in other times when called upon to endure hard places.
Just 13 years ago, my youngest son was on his first deployment and I was writing to him very often what I prayed would be full of faith and encouragement as he was at war. In honor of this time when we celebrate our independence even while we are still engaged in combat and vigilance against foreign forces I want to share a personal memory…an email I wrote to my son when he was in Iraq. I offer it as a tribute to all our sons and daughters who are away from us serving this beloved country of ours. May the Lord bless and keep them and cause us to remember…always.
Mom Subj: A new day
It is a new day with hope in my heart and I pray in yours as well. I do not know what I would do without my hope in Jesus. You know, it isn’t just a word about tomorrow, but about today. So many times this week He has given me literal signs of hope. I had some discouragement but He brought me through it and out of it by the simplicity of my hope in Him. He used others’ kind messages, e-mails, and phone calls. Something rises out of nowhere (actually, the great somewhere), fills your heart and restores your pathway with clarity of purpose. It leaves the unanswered questions in more capable hands than mine, lifts the spirit to soar above the heartache, loneliness, sadness, and trouble. What a God we serve! What an intercessor we have in Jesus!
When I was in the l0th grade, I saw pictures of the holocaust…just pictures but they so profoundly affected me. When I grasped the horrors of what evil men will do to innocent men, women, and children, I decided to have a study on it when I became a history teacher years later. I read about these types of events to my students every year. I cannot imagine what it has been like for you to experience the kind of pictures and descriptions I simply read and looked at. I had trouble with those pictures and asked to be a force for good in this world against such evil. I never dreamed that one day my son would literally fight the kind of evil I saw in those pictures so many years ago.
Dearest Son, thank you for daring to be part of such an unbelievable undertaking that has been so costly to your heart and mind as well as your body. Thank you for taking courage, for trusting in God, for bearing the great pain of war, for helping to eliminate evil. I wish you could peek into my heart and feel what it feels for you; how I wish I could wrap my arms around you and comfort you like I did when you were a little boy. A mother could not be more proud of her son than I am of you.
I pray the peace that passes understanding to surround your heart and mind. I pray the strength of angelic forces about you. I pray the hope of Jesus to fill you up. I pray the love of God to lift you up. We will be here for you and we will listen when you need to talk. Our shoulders are here for you to let out any emotion you need to. We are not weak and need protection against anything you need to unload for we are soldiers too, made strong by compassions formed in adversity, pain of heart that seemed unbearable except for God’s holding us in such times. Do not let these things go down into a cavernous abyss of depressed or suppressed darkness. Only what is brought to light can heal. I love you so much, precious son. Take heart, let the Lifter of your head point you on to finish your tasks with His strength.
All my love and prayers,
Sharon Patterson, retired educator, career military wife, and leader in women’s ministry, has written inspirational encouragement in various forms from greeting cards to short stories, poetry, and Bible studies for over thirty years. She has authored three books, and is a contributing author for several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.