Not long ago, my husband’s best friend retired from the United States Air Force, and I cried my eyes out during the ceremony.
I can’t even explain why I cried exactly. Partly because his words to his family were so warm and appreciative, but even more than that, I couldn’t help but sense the winds of change in the air. Change and I have had a rocky relationship, which is one reason God arranged for me to fall in love with and marry a military man myself. I learned so much during the nineteen years I spent as a military wife, including the ability to adapt to the new life landscape that change brings.
Military families accept change as an act of obedience to the job they are called to do. They accept the sacrifice that comes with it for the same reason. They sacrifice familiarity. They sacrifice our loved one’s spot near the birthday cake or Thanksgiving meal. Sometimes, they even sacrifice their presence on this earth.
Our military servicemen and women are proud to serve, but they don’t think they’re more special or more important than the rest of us. In their eyes, they’re just living in obedience to the God-created rhythm of sacrifice for gain, for giving of self so others may receive. There’s no getting around it: freedom costs. Many soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and guardsmen give up their freedom so you and I may be given ours. They do what must be done for what they love. For whom they love.
On this Memorial Day, may the families of our fallen feel God especially close. If that is you, may you know God bottles every tear spilled. After all, He knows the pain of losing His most cherished One. And through the heartache and loneliness and days chock full of crazy, may you know God walks smack dab next to you. He sees the work you do, and it’s important, valued, and wildly appreciated.
And so are you.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Before I even opened my laptop, I thought to myself, I bet Kristen is posting today on (in)courage. I truly appreciate the glimpses inside the life of a military family that you have given me and and for the elevated appreciation for what they/you sacrifice that I now have. I know I have said this before, but I’ll say it again, I do believe that the families of military personnel are the the backbone of this Nation. You keep the home fires burning and do without so that the rest of us can enjoy our freedoms. I work with a Foundation that helps orphans in a country in which Christians have no freedom and are severely persecuted. What we have, we truly take for granted. Echoing your prayer today that anyone who serves (be it in the military themselves or the family of a military member) may God draw especially close to them and let His presence be a comfort. Praying also for those who have lost loved ones who have fought so valiantly for the gifts we have in this great country. God be with those who have served, are serving, will serve, and who have given their lives in service. Wonderful post and thank you for ALL families like yours do for the rest of us.
Blessings dear friend,
Jessica Holmgren says
I am the sister of Sgt. Ryan Jopek who was KIA in Iraq in 2006. Your post sinks into my heart this morning as I wake up to prepare for another years Memorial Day service, which tips my heart to shreds. But in the same moment I feel the arms of God wrap around me, holding me tight. Something I have felt ever since that dreaded knock on the door. I pray that all the families who have experienced this nightmare, feel His arms just as I do on this day and every day.
Jessica Holmgren (Jopek)
Jessica, my pastor just talked about your brother in the service yesterday in a message titled “Never Forget”. Crazy..I had never heard of him before and then today I see your comment here on incourage. We won’t know the pain that you feel unless it were to ever happen to us, but we can empathize. I for one am thankful for your brother’s sacrifice. And I’m praying for you.
Jessica Holmgren says
Thank you. ❤️ That is a little crazy. I am guessing you are located in the Wisconsin area?
North Carolina actually haha! Totally a God thing ❤️
Rebecca Patel says
I appreciate your post today. My husband was in the Air Force for 8 wonderful years. He separated from the Air Force only because he had a higher calling. God called him into the ministry as a preacher then later as a missionary to India. But our hearts are still very affectionately tied to the military; and the men and women who serve our great nation are continually in our prayers of thanksgiving. We, Americans, so often take them, and the freedom we enjoy as a nation, for granted. So to all our brave men and women who serve as shields and protectors of this great nation …God bless you abundantly above measure! And to our Great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, be all glory and honor for His supreme sacrifice so that all people from all nations can experience even a greater freedom – freedom from sin and condemnation! Blessings! B.P.
You’ve once again honored those who were, and are in the Military, so eloquently. I know my dad would of also appreciated them. On behalf of my family, I deeply thank-you, and thank-you to all of you who continue to try and make this world a safer place.
My prayers for those of you that have suffered a loss, may your hearts be lighter.
blessings to all,
Chaplain Linda says
I am a retired Air Force Officer who was called into the ministry. I know my formation to become a Chaplain was during all the experiences I embraced in the military. May God be with all those families who lost loved ones while serving our country especially during 9/11. Peace, Linda C.
Beth Williams says
Thank you for serving your country so valiantly at home. You & countless others have kept the home fires burning while your loved ones were out securing our freedoms. The people of this country, for the most part, take their freedoms lightly. We think of Memorial Day & Veterans Day as just another day off work to relax. Most will never ever know the sacrifices you & the soldiers have made for us. There is a song by Statler Bros. called “The Wall”. It is touching.
I saw her from a distance, as she walked up to the wall in her hand she held some flowers, as her tears began to fall
She took out pen and paper as to trace her mem’ries She looked up to heaven, and the words she said were these
She said, “Lord my boy was special, and he meant so much to me And Oh, I’d love to see him just one more time you see
All I have are the mem’ries and the moments to recall So Lord could you tell him he’s more than a name on the wall”
She said, “He really missed the family, being home on Christmas day And he died for God and country in a place so far away
I remember just a little boy, playing war since he was three And Lord this time I know, he’s not coming home to me”
She said, “Lord my boy was special, and he meant so much to me And Oh, I’d love to see him but I know it just can’t be
So I thank you for my mem’ries and the moments to recall But Lord could you tell him he’s more than a name on the wall
Lord could you tell him he’s more than a name on the wall”
The fallen men & women are more than just a name on a wall. They were sons/daughters, husbands/wives, moms/dads.
May God bless all those who gave their lives for mine!!
Thank you for the beautiful reminder of the sacrifices made by our military families. The ones who serve on active duty, and their family members who give up so much for our freedom. Words cannot express my appreciation.
Becky L says
Yes, freedom isn’t free. Thankful for those men and women in the military in the past who have given the ultimate sacrifice. I was enlisted USAF for 4 years. One never knows what can spring up in this world. I signed paperwork, not long after I got back from maternity leave. Shaq of ……was rearing up..I was in mobility squadron. Waited but nothing advanced so we didn’t go. So thankful for our service members who are now serving. Been at many burials with patriot guard in OR for years. Was sad but glad to honor their service and be there for the families. Thanks for sharing your words Kristen and for your husband’s military service too. God bless America!
Marine Sgt Kelley Courtney died in 2004 at age 28. Prayers for his parents are requested.
Brandy Barger says
Sgt. Donald Tabb and his service dog saved my brother and his other friends by sacrificing his life for them while doing his job. His service dog was able to live out the rest of his life with Tabb’s family! He changed places in the convoy with my brother at the last minute! A debt we can never pay. My uncle died of pancreatic cancer so advanced he never had a chance for treatment. He did multiple tours in Vietnam! Never forgotten!