Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The End of a Soldier's Tour

I lifted my head up fast. Sweat beaded on my forehead and my heart raced yet I had no idea what I had just dreamt...but I knew The Lord had something else to show me. A few deep breaths and I lied back down and awaited, fully awake. I began to watch people of a foreign town walking about. Their eyes squinted as they looked in my direction and their darkened leathery faces shown red as the sun lit upon them. I heard a very loud screeching sound, so loud that I had to shut my eyes. Suddenly, I could see nothing but a couple of puffs of pale blue light flash in front of me. I felt my bones vibrate gently but I could hear and see nothing. I wanted to look around for the people with red sunlit faces but saw nothing other than softness. For a moment I felt others, as if we were bumping into each other and then the most inviting tug lifted me. I could feel the smallest breeze as I moved, yet it didn't seem to caress my body as it had so many times before. There was no air moving around the nape of my neck, or blowing my hair, I just felt it inside me. I was on my way...and I smiled up at my ceiling as the scene faded away as if it were the ending of a great film. I took peace from that, and Trusted that it was just that easy.

I got out of bed after an exhausting weekend and told myself I don't have to cry anymore, but I knew I would. My little cousin has done his fair share of tours overseas after serving 8 years as a United States Marine. We said goodbye to him this Memorial Day weekend as he arrived back to his hometown after contracting to go back into Afghanistan. The Lord decided it would be his last tour of duty there, and here on earth and a suicide bomber ended it. I was very angry at first but after a few days of praying, I know that The Lord knew which families to touch...to make it REAL. These soldiers are willing to risk their lives to train the innocent to stand on their own feet so that one day, men and women can come home to their families safely and hope their own children won't have to do and see the things they've had to.

I had to watch a twelve year old, a four year old and a one year old look at their Daddy's picture next to a delicate flag while Marines saluted them and wonder why can't they just see him again. I watched a beautiful widow hold her head up because she had to, and a mother that only had her child for 33 years wipe tears from her grieving eyes. I watched an amazing little sister on the news speak of her big brother that's always been her hero, as he now he is being recognized throughout the world as our's. Marines spoke highly of this honorable soldier and I listened to a father speak of his stepson in front of a packed funeral home as the biggest Blessing, having been a part of him for most of his life. All I kept thinking was...I need to be a better soldier. One day, my tour here will end as well and I may not see it coming. I may see the baby blue flashes and feel that small jolt in of my bones and feel that inviting tug. I hope that the country Baptist preacher is able to stand and say what a good soldier I've been.

We have many battles while our tour rages onward and with every single day I rely more and more on the shield HE provides. I have all the weapons I need though they can't always be seen. I had to ask myself why can't they? I should walk proudly with all my armour and the sword of Truth but often I fail. There are much bigger battles lying in our paths ahead, unseen by us and there is only one way around them. I have to remind myself all the time that for every Goliath, there is a David.  "...I'm on the battlefield for My Lord, I promised HIM that I...would serve HIM 'til I die now I'm on the battlefield for My Lord."

The exhausting weekend is behind us now. Days ago, we didn't think we'd make it through but He led us here and He led us to the other side. We face mountains not sure if we have the energy to climb but there's always a gentle tug helping us up if we only ask. I am once again Blessed to be HIS child. Rest in Peace Joseph Elrod. You've already made me a better soldier.

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