My Thanksgiving List

To list what I am thankful for would take more than a day
The beauty and the victories that came along my way
The big things and the smallest, and all that is between
The blessings overflow, many known and some unseen.

 

I thank my Heavenly Father for His blessings every day
For the strength He lends and love He sends in every single way.
My family and friends, my home, and all I treasure
More than we can see or know or any man could measure.

 

An attitude of gratitude is the way I want to live
For we serve a God who gives us more than we than we could ever give!
Thank You, Lord on this day of annual Thanksgiving,
And help me to be thankful every moment while I’m living.

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Veteran’s Day 2015

Thank You, My Veteran

I know you were scared

But you would not let it show.

Far from home and comfort

Marching to and fro.

Feeling like no one cared a bit,

That your chances here were slim

Holding on to God’s own hand

Ev’n when you could not feel Him.

Prayers from home surrounded you

Each day, each night, each hour

Prayers from home sent lovingly

Answered by God’s power.

On the worst days, things were really bad

On the good days they were worse

You went to war a little boy

Now a man who loves to curse!

Injuries no one can see

That only you can feel

Memories that haunt your dreams

Heart made out of steel.

Your gentle touch and soft low voice

Hide power and great hurt

You faced the dragons of the war

Came back to kick the dirt.

We waited for you desperately

We held our breath and prayed

We longed to see your smile again

While on our knees we stayed.

Time of service never ends

Your mind plays tricks of fate

The years of change keep coming on

Yet still you bear a heavy weight.

The stories you couldn’t tell us once

Now come up with a smirk

A man you are, beyond your years

Where once a boy did lurk.

Thank you, for the weight you’ve carried, sir

Though these words may make you nervous

Thank you is never enough, but still –

We thank you for your service.

When It Seems God Has Made A Mistake

When my soldier enlisted, his goal was to become part of a Special Forces team. He went through the rigorous training. He excelled at the training yet, all he ended up with was MRSA, Pneumonia, and Bronchitis. His dreams dashed, he was sent to Alaska to become an Airborne Infantryman.

Sometimes when our children are hurting, we wonder what God has in mind. And if we are silly like I am, we will even question Him! Surely this was a mistake, Lord! What were You thinking???

Now, many years later, I look back at my son’s Army career and his transition into civilian life as a disabled veteran. He is such an over-comer! I am so proud of him!

He and I were reminiscing recently about the July Fourth Attack. He mentioned something that hit me as quite profound – on that fateful morning of the attack, it was not the commanding officers who saved the day. It was a small handful of guys with SF training under their belts who led their buddies into battle and eventually won the day.

God makes no mistakes! Here were a few good men who had each had their dream of being a Special Forces hero dashed at some point. Here were a few young men who probably all hated being sent to Alaska to become Airborne Infantryman. Here were a few boys who each became real men through what initially seemed, to them and those who loved them, a mistake made by God.

But God makes no mistakes! God knew where those heroes were needed, and it wasn’t on a SF team. It was at COP ZEROK, Afghanistan on July 4, 2009.

Whenever you face a disappointment in life, remember that we are only seeing our life’s tapestry from the under-side. We see the crisscrossed threads and knots that seem to be a jumble of complete nonsense. We may see it as a completely ugly mess. But God is looking down at our lives, and He is seeing the perfection in His stitches, the glorious beauty of His creation, and the purpose in His handiwork.

Remember, you are His masterpiece! In time, you, too, may look back upon a place in your life where you had thought God had erred, but in hindsight will be able to see that He had only made certain that you were on the path you needed to be on to get to the place where you needed to be, when you needed to be there.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

Stay safe out there this Fourth! God loves you!

For more information about the attack on COP Zerok, please watch the documentary by Robert Ham, “Attack on the Fourth of July” available on You-Tube, Hulu, & Amazon Prime videos. Here is a link to YouTube:

Mourning, Again.

Psalm 119:28(NIV) – My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

We’ve lost our heroes on the battlefields, during routine training missions, to civilian violence, to accidents, and, yes, far, far too many to the effects of PTS and suicide. The news is once again announcing confirmation that more of our young heroes have been lost. The majority of our general public plods on in their normal routines, not comprehending that our country has suffered another devastating loss. They don’t realize that even mundane daily training can be very dangerous for our service-members. Meanwhile, the families of the U.S. Military Community from all across our nation and world join unseen hands and hearts as we pause once again to mourn, to reflect, and to pray.

I do not know these service-members personally, I do not need to. I’m always overcome with tears of heavy grief. I sob with sorrow as I pray for their families and those who love them. I beg God to allow our servicemen and women to come home safely, from everywhere, every day, every night. I plead for His protection over all of our courageous soldiers. I’m racked with mourning for a child whom I never knew, and yet, know all too well. I feel fresh devastation for the families of those who fought and died by my own soldier’s side, knowing that their pain is unending, and those who have lost their sons in the years that have passed since. A new pain surges within me for these families now in the news, only beginning their walk through this darkest of valleys. May God comfort our Gold Star Families.

Praying daily for our servicemen and women is essential. Oh, how I wish the American public knew just how much our military needs the prayers of each one of us back here at home! They need prayer for their physical safety. They need to be courageous. They need wisdom. They need to be of sound mind. They must remain strong. They have to remain committed and true to their cause. They need to know that their countrymen support and believe in them. They need to be released from daily worry about their families back home. They need to know that they are cherished.

Most of all, they need to know that God loves them! They need God’s many blessings each and every day. Our military leaders, all the way up to the President, need our fervent prayers, as well. Please, pray daily for all of these things. Even if you don’t personally know someone in the military, you can join us in knitting together a prayer blanket of protection and love over each one of them.

May the peace and comfort of God to be with all of us.

Pondering the Waiting

I know that the Lord teaches us life lessons using the little mundane daily things of life as well as the big, challenging, life-altering things. I have recently come to the realization that this past decade of my life has been one long lesson in the Art of Waiting. I suppose I have not yet learned fully whatever I need to learn, because the Waiting continues.

I’ve waited for big things. Enormous things! For over six years I had one or the other of my soldiers deployed. That was a whole lot of waiting, waiting, waiting! I did think that I had gotten pretty good at it at the time.

I waited for other things, too, as I watched my three children grow into adults and start wonderful lives of their own. Waiting for graduations. Waiting for upcoming events like weddings, and waiting for grandchildren to arrive. Waiting years for my children to be able to return home from far away duty stations. Waiting for summer. Waiting through hard times as a family, like when we suffered through our dad’s last days here on earth. Waiting through months of unemployment. And also celebrating joyously, even sometimes through the tears, the many answers to our prayers that always accompanied the various waitings.

Maybe God is just hoping that I will stop getting impatient waiting for the microwave to beep in 30 seconds or my computer to reload after a glitch. I don’t know for sure why, but right now I seem to be entering into another period of Waiting, and that old song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keeps sneaking into my head.

The waiting IS, indeed, the hardest part! Are you waiting for something special? Something big? Something life-changing?

Yes?

ME, TOO!!!

Can we wait patiently, be peaceful, not fret over the potentials – you, know, those “What if” and “To Do” lists that we make in our heads? Especially those stubborn ones that decide that 3 AM is a very good time to appear?

Some days, I think I ‘wait’ very well. You know, I mount up on wings as an eagle and renew my strength and all that good stuff.

Other days, like today, when time seems to stop completely and the microwave never seems to ding, I know I am failing at the Waiting Game; much like Elijah in 1 Kings Chapter 19, when the Lord asks (repeatedly), “What are you doing here?” and Elijah whines and complains to none other than the Lord God Almighty Himself.

Old Jonah was another example. In his case, he refused to do what God had commanded, he ran away, and he eventually sat under a shady plant and moped. And he stayed there wallowing in his self-pity even as the plant withered away and the sun scorched his head. (Jonah Chapter 4)

Sometimes we just need to get up and get busy doing the things we know that we ought to be doing and stop worrying about whatever we think we are waiting for to happen.

So, simply; I need to NOT be whiny, and ask the Lord to grant me a bit more of His calmness, His reassurance that HE is in complete control of my situation and that all I really need to do is stop pacing, stop wondering, stop making up schemes and plans and scenarios that don’t matter one bit, and just breathe!

What am I doing here? Waiting for answers, watching for signs, knowing His timing is perfect, even though it rarely coincides with MY wishes! Understanding that He is in control. Listening to the songs I need to learn for our upcoming Easter services. Moving on with life; not just sitting under the proverbial withered plant, weeping. Praying for peace to reign over my turbulent heart and mind. Trusting that the Wait will be over eventually, and as the old saying goes: “it will be worth the wait!”

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” -Isaiah 40:31 KJV

Old Fears, New Fears, Same Fears

This past week, the enemies of our world once again blatantly reminded us that we are living in dangerous times. If we watch the constant news reports, we can find ourselves stuck in a whirlpool of fears. We can be swallowed up in our fears; old fears re-dredged, new fears of new horrors, the same fears we conquered yesterday return to shake our nerves again today.

But if we look away from the news for even a few minutes to focus on God, we’ll find that He is still in the business of calming storms, instilling boldness, and providing a steadying ground for our wobbling legs.

There are many verses in our Bible that we can read to learn what God says about fear. I did a 5-second computer search, immediately resulting in nearly 100 verses just on the word “calm” – and that in itself is like a deep sigh of relief to my weary and troubled mind.

Yes, our service-members, including their families and our veterans, are still in constant danger from the evils that lurk everywhere. We can be vigilant, we can renew our awareness of our surroundings and we can be as prepared as possible to face trouble if it arises, but perhaps the best thing we can do today is stop for a bit to read a few Bible verses that will calm our souls, strengthen our resolve, reinvigorate our endurance so that we may face the day calmly and boldly.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable” (Isaiah 40:28 ESV)