My husband, my son, and my daughter all served in the Air Force. For some reason, this Veteran’s Day I heard and read more expressions of gratitude to those who have sacrificed to ensure our country’s freedoms than I have other years.
The words touched my heart and, as feelings triggered memories, my thoughts traveled back to the mornings Dick and I watched first our son and, five years later, our daughter follow in their Dad’s footsteps and leave for basic training. During those bittersweet moments I remember wavering between beaming with pride, praying for safety and success, and aching with grief. With a flurry of last minute instructions, endearments, and hugs, we tearfully said our good-byes knowing our grown child would now be far beyond our daily contact and guidance.
In previous conversations with our children, we had discussed the influences they might encounter in the world. As young children, both had trusted Jesus as Savior and throughout life had been taught Christian values and morals. As each took flight (quite literally!), Dick and I had to trust God to care for them. I remember clinging to the scripture, "The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you." (Deuteronomy 31:8).
After the first ten days, Seth was allowed to call home. "Mom, you know how concerned you were about the kind of influences I would run into? Well, you don't need to worry," he said, "God is taking care of that."
He excitedly told us that he had been to church with two Christians he met in the barracks and they shared the same taste in Christian music. At a time when Seth really needed the support and fellowship of Christian friends God abundantly provided for him.
Erin often called and asked for prayer—that a friend wouldn’t “wash out” of basic training, that she and others in her flight would pass the many, many tests associated with their job training in the medical field, and that relationships strained by anxiety, peer pressure, homesickness, and lack of sleep would be mended.
Dick and I thank God for answering our prayers for our children. Where we had expected negative peer pressure, Seth had met other young men dedicated to serving God while also serving their country. When distance and circumstances separated her from our guidance, Erin never lost her trust in the power of prayer.
Is your son or daughter serving in the military? Are you struggling with releasing them to the unknown? Be assured, we do not send our children out alone. God is right there with our sons and daughters, encircling them with His love, offering them opportunities to grow closer to Him, and exerting His influence, as only our Heavenly Father can.
Thank you to all who have given of their time and talents, their hearts and their souls, in the military, so that we can live freely. God bless you, every one.