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.

Only Ten More Days

While she sleeps, I ponder, repeating silently,

“Only ten more days”

It has been over eleven hundred and fifty days

Since we hugged her.

And tears drip slowly as I muse,

What have we missed?

So much has changed in these three years

Jobs, houses

Children

She’s changed. We’ve changed.

Yet . . .

I am thankful,

Because

I WILL hug her again . . .

In only ten more days

I will sing praises to the God of Glory

Who gives us life and our own story

Who brings our child home again . . .

In only ten more days!

As she sleeps, I wait, and smile.

Carol Channer

August 2015

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:

Memorial Day

Remembering the Fallen

Their sacrifice complete.

They gave their all that we may live

in Freedom ever sweet.

To know their loved ones pine for them;

Sorrow dark beyond belief,

May memories and God’s own hand

Bring gentle hope and peace

We shake our heads and marvel,

Why they gave with all their might;

Marched into a battlefield,

For their country fought the fight.

Just knowing that they gave their lives

For fellow countrymen

And that, if they could, they’d tell us now

“I’d do it all again.”

It humbles to my very core

To think upon such things;

The pride and heartfelt gratitude

Each memory still brings.

Tears fall with patriotic songs;

Flag waving stirs our heart

Remember, cherish, honor, pray –

Each one can do our part.

Carol Channer

Memorial Day 2015

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.

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)

A Veteran Is One

A Veteran is one who deserves to walk tall
And wear a hat with his service proudly displayed,
So that we, the Grateful, can shake the hand of a hero
And say a few words of thanks.

A Veteran will always stand at attention to salute our flag
And will drop tears at the National Anthem.
We, the Served, should do the same
Instead of texting or looking bored.

A Veteran has a quiet reserve
That holds vast memories of wars,
Of friends lost, and horrors untold
That we, the Defended, can never understand.

The Veteran is one with a hole in their heart
For comrades gone, lives disintegrated,
And a lack of understanding and compassion
From a few sad examples of we, the Foolish.

The Veteran is one who fills the hole
In the hearts of those who love them
Those who know the waiting, the praying
That we, the Families, have brooked.

The Veteran does not demand respect
Yet commands it simply by being
A Veteran.
Loved and cherished always
by we, the People.

Carol Bartlett Channer, November 2014