Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Soldier Sons and their Mama's Hearts

I have debated whether to post this...it's a bit of raw emotion...but after praying about it, decided to go ahead. Maybe I speak for other Mom's who are sending their son's off to war. I don't know. Warning....you don't have to read it!

Some of you have asked about Ryan and thank you for that. At the time, I wasn't sure what to post. The Station where he was supposed to ship from (here), said they had no paperwork on him whatsoever (despite the fact that he sat in THEIR offices for hours filling it out). Ryan also had sustained an injury to his hip, and well...this Mama's heart was hoping, hoping, that maybe he would get discharged or something.

Since then, Jeff has called the MI service office and they had Ryan's paperwork on record. Odd...since he filled it out HERE.

Whatever....

Ryan is in physical therapy for his hip injury and it looks like it will heal just fine--not something that will prevent him from passing the mil*tary physical.

Yesterday, he told me that he had 'one month and five days,' until he shipped. My heart started to hurt. Badly. Reality is setting in again after a few months reprieve and I have to face the fact that my baby, my firstborn is going into harms way. Then my mind would find another spot of hope...maybe he wouldn't have to go THERE. You know...THERE...the desert place they talk about on the news.

But then...last night, more news came that 20,000 more men would be sent THERE.

And this morning, it overwhelmed me. I am not one who cries much, but I sat and sobbed at the thought of my son going over there. I grieved for this young man...barely out of childhood, who truly has no idea what he has gotten himself into. I grieve for the innocence he is about to lose. I grieve for the burden he will have to bear for the rest of his life from the memories he will have from that place. And I question...is this God's purpose for Ryan's life?

It is a question that I cannot answer. But this I know...no matter where we go, God is with us. I know that Ryan is His child and that God will hold him tight--whether on a battlefield or on US soil.

So I begged God to give this Mama's heart some comfort. I opened my Bible. It fell open to Psalm 23. Nooooo.....that is NOT what I meant, God. I don't want to read THAT. That's the passage they read at funerals. Not THAT, God.

But that is where I was. I could not deny that it was reaching for my heart. So I read it. I read about God's rod and staff comforting me when I passed through the valley of the shadow of death.

And I realized some things. While Ryan is over there, I will live in the valley of the shadow of death...wondering each day if officers will show up at my front door. I'm really not sure how I will cope with that. I dread it. I don't want to be in the valley of the shadow of death. I don't want my baby to be there.

But the valley is where we are going and there is nothing I can do to stop it. (Well, nothing honorable, anyway, and yes, I have considered it.)

While I pondered all of that, I reached for a book called, "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23," by Phillip Keller. I highly recommend this book!


He was a shepherd, and explains the rod and staff. I needed to find out how a rod and a staff were going to help me walk through the valley. I can't write out all that I read--you'll have to get the book--but here are a few highlights:

The rod is a symbol of the Word of God, or the Bible. It can be a weapon of protection, a way to safeguard the flock. Picture a shepherd carrying a lamb, while holding a weapon that fights off any attempt to harm it. By reading my Bible daily, I can be protected from letting my mind go off in the wrong direction--in ways that are harmful for me and for everyone around me.

The staff is a symbol of the Spirit of God. A shepherd uses a staff to comfort, lift lambs up, and sometimes just to guide. There are times when the shepherd will apply a gentle pressure on the side of a sheep with his staff and will leave it there as they walk together--sort of hand-in-hand. Likewise, I have the Shepherd to comfort me, lift me up and carry me close to His heart as we walk together through the valley.

I cannot honestly say that I am all better now. However, I know that whatever comes, God will be there right beside me--probably carrying me--and I will survive. He never wastes our pain. He never doles out pain capriciously. There is always, always a purpose. And He has already walked this valley Himself. He sent His Son for me, for you...He knows intimately the pain of a Mother's heart.

And He holds my heart in His strong, loving hands. And there I am safe.

12 comments:

Gretchen said...

I love you, my dear, sweet friend.

Have faith that God knows what He is doing. This is a big trust thing. I will walk with you.

Cindy said...

Oh Karin!
Thank you for letting me know how to pray for you and Ryan. I can send cyber {{{HUGS}}} too. I can only imagine what you are going through emotionally and spiritually having three grown sons myself. You are so strong and brave and faithful, thanks for sharing your heart.

Thinking of you today.

Adeye said...

Sending you a HUGE hug today, dear friend. My heart cannot imagine--or even go THERE should one of our sons decide to head in THAT direction. But, as you say, God will enable me, as He will you. This journey called 'life' was never meant to be easy, was it? Praise God we have a savior to walk hand-in-hand with us when it all seems so crazy.

Praying for you. Praying for your precious heart.

I so appreciate your honesty.

Stefanie said...

Oh, this must be such a heavy burden. As you might know, my husband is in the armed forces, and has had to go to 'that place'. It's a very eye-opening experience to have someone you love so much be so far away, and in danger's way.
But God has a plan, a perfect plan. Thank goodness we have His Word to run to when we are fearful or in doubt! You are wise to turn to Him first and foremost :)
I pray that His plan for Ryan is to come home safely and soundly.. to his loving mama!!
Big hugs to you!!

Lori said...

Oh Karin! I wish you had told me in your emails today that you were feeling so heavy-hearted!

Lean fully on the Lord and know that He can protect Ryan completely. I'll for sure be praying for the both of you.

Love you, sweet friend!

trustandobey said...

Karin,
I was just thinking of you and Ryan and wondering where everything was concerning his deployment. I instantly got a knot in my stomach just thinking about your situation. There isn't a mother out here that doesn't understand what you are going through. My eldest wants to go to camp next summer and, although I would never compare the seriousness of going off to war with camp, I get a knot in my stomach about this too. She will be in another state, hours away from home, further away than she has ever been, with strangers. If something were to happen to her it would be hours before I could get there. Will she make godly choices? Who watches what she eats?? What if she gets scared?? What if she gets hurt?? Will she use wise judgement?? Camp is suppose to be fun but I hate the whole idea of this. God will have to do a mighty work in my heart between now and then before it will be comforted. I have this sense that she is safe because she is under my watch, but really she is where and what she is because God Almighty wills it to be so. All her days are already numbered. No matter where she is on the globe I cannot add one extra day to her life.
You are in a tough spot but Ryan will be bathed in prayer while he is over there. And you will be too:)Thank you for letting us know how to pray!
You and your husband have done a good job with him. Any young man willing to go into harms way for others is already a hero!
Hang in there.
Abide in the Lord!
Lisa

Sharon said...

Karin, I am so sorry this is actually going to happen. As I was reading your post I could truly feel the pain you are in. I do know that God will be with Ryan and you also every step of the way. We will be praying or you, Ryan and the whole family.

Beautiful Mess said...

Thank you for sharing your heart.

Praying for you and Ryan.

I appreciate his service to our country.

God bless you!

Kim K. said...

Sending "extra hugs" to you. I really can't imagine what you are going through. Please know that I'm thinking of you and will be praying for your son's safety.

Donna said...

Oh Karin, as the mother of an 18 year old son, my heart aches for you.

Waitingfaithfully said...

Oh Karin,

My heart aches for you, knowing that you are in the "countdown" again. As I have shared before, I have been a military wife for 25 years, and my dh has spent much, much time away from us--some of it in harms way. Nearly three years ago, I hugged my firstborn's neck, as he left for basic trainin*g to follow in his daddy's footsteps. I had no idea how tough that would be. I had to lean hard on the Lord, (and on my family) in order to get through it. Do not be afraid to lean--I guess that is pretty much what the Lord was pointing out to you today. Thank you for sharing your heart, and His words for you, so transparently! I do indeed think you were meant to share this--First, so that others might learn from what you are going through, and be comforted. And secondly, so that we know what YOU are going through--so that we can comfort and pray for you, and for Ryan.

I have another son, soon to be 18, who has had every intention of following in his brother's footsteps, as a Survival Instruct*r. He has visited the recruiter several times, but just today after filling out some paperwork on minor medical issues, they told him he could NOT join. He is devastated. As I stood holding my, taller than me, sobbing 17 year old this afternoon, I must confess that though my heart ached for him--my mama's heart was breathing a sigh of relief. I felt so guilty for feeling that way, when he was hurting so deeply. Thank you for sharing from your heart today-- it has done my mamas heart much good tonight.

May the Lord give you His peace as you journey through this next stage of motherhood. As you said, He does hold your heart in His strong, loving hands, and there you are safe!

Love and blessings to you ~

Tina

quilt-n-mama said...

Karin,
Praying for you and your son. My best friend's husband has been in the desert for several months now. Though I can't imagine, I can pray and will do so for you as well. I am so thankful for our Heavenly Father and his promises, I pray that they will comfort you and be a reminder of His love in it all!
Blessings,
Gayly