Remembering those First Fatalities

I was scrolling down the list of names. It had become my habit when my soldier deployed. Some moms don’t want to know anything, others want to know as much as possible. As I looked at the names of these brave young men listed on a casualty web site, my eyes landed on their unit identification, and recognized that it was the same as my own soldier’s. It felt as if I had been punched in the stomach. Our first fatalities. IED. I simply fell apart.

I had convinced myself that even though he was in Iraq, he was in a “relatively safe” zone, south of Baghdad, and this had allowed me to keep to my daily schedule rather routinely. I had been walking with blinders on, which had now been cruelly ripped off.

At first I sobbed until I was sick. A God-timed phone call from a friend helped to pull me back to reality. I got up, fixed a quick dinner, and went to my weekly Bible study group. I tried to hold myself together as much as possible, but my tears lingered just at the surface.

That night, I moaned, slept and prayed interchangeably. Other friends with soldiers deployed had warned me of these nights. I had spent the first two months of my soldier’s deployment in my little cocoon world. Now I was quickly realizing that this was only the beginning of the depth of fears and the amount of tears that can so fully capture the family of any deployed soldier.

God knows. I believe He cries with us. When the lump in your throat, the rock in your stomach, and the overflowing tears seem to make your prayers to God come out as nothing but a garbled moaning, He understands. He wants to hear from you. He wants to lend all the comfort you need to get through this moment. He longs to hold each of us gently to His chest and whisper words of calmness to us.

We can’t do anything physically to protect our beloved soldiers, but we can constantly call their names out to the Lord, and know that He never tires of hearing those names. Trusting in God’s love allows our minds to rest and our bodies to sleep.

Every night I pray for no more fatalities. No more suicides. No more horror. No more deployments! And I pray for God’s peace and comfort to encircle our service members, their families, our Blue and Gold Star families, and for His love to spread joyously among us all.

 

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4 NIV).

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