Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

The 4th of July has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Survive 2 deployments and I promise that the 4th would take on a whole new meaning to you too. I get a lump in my throat when I hear patriotic music or see a soldier in uniform. I have never been more proud of my country and the soldiers who defend it...especially my hubby and my brother. These selfless men and women sacrifice their lives, time with their spouses, and watching their children grow up so that we may enjoy FREEDOM. However, the One who is the ultimate provider of freedom is Jesus Christ. Thinking on the
4th and that we are celebrating freedom, I decided to read what the bible says to us about freedom.

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has annointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners"...Isaiah 61:1

"that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." Romans 8:21

"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Galatians 5:13

"Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God." 1Peter 2:16

"and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:32

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

So thankful for the ultimate provider of freedom!


I received the following in an email not to long ago...It is from an article in a newspaper (I believe) and I wanted to share it on the blog. It is a great article and I can identify with so much of what this lady is describing.
"The day was a much needed one for me to go shopping….or so I thought. While on a recent trip to our local Wal-Mart, I was totally stunned by what I encountered! While there, I was hoping to pick up some decorations to start planning for my husband’s homecoming from Iraq. Even though he will not be home for three months, the anticipation is running high, and it makes me feel good to know the time is coming soon.

While looking over some flags and banners, I overheard a conversation between a group of middle-aged women, which totally shocked me. They were talking about how sick and tired they were of seeing all the stuff in stores that references supporting our troops. They wished that the TV and the newspapers would just stop talking about this war. They were so sick of hearing it and expressed discontent on how much money is wasted on support things as is wasted on the war. They do not believe that it is doing any good to have anyone there, and really how hard it would be to have a “year off” from your husband…with laughs that followed.

What they did not know was that a military wife was standing among them and was totally disgusted because they have no idea the sacrifice that we, as wives and husbands make for our spouses….The Soldier.

Please allow me to fill these woman and all that agree with them,in on what it is like to be a military wife, or husband as applicable…. My husband is a Soldier in the Vermont National Guard. He, along with his unit, was called to duty to fight a war that so many have mixed feelings about. This is a war that some say is nonsense, while others say it is making a difference.

Personally, I don’t know what to think of it all. What I do know is that many other wives and I were left behind at home, while our husbands were taken from us to go and fight and defend our country. Many were left home with young children to carry on our “everyday” lives and sustain the routine that was normally a shared responsibility.

I have to wonder if others actually know just how tough it is to do that job and what a daily ritual entails. It is not easy to watch your spouse walk away into the unknown, while you shed tears. You have to watch your children cry as you try to muster the internal strength to console them. Meanwhile, you wonder day in and day out if your spouse is okay. There is a constant anxiety of always waiting for that special call that says, “I Love you and miss you.” You try so hard to avoid the TV, newspapers, and other media outlets that dutifully carry the worst in the news. However, no matter how hard you try to avoid those things; it is like you are drawn to them, so that you can stay caught up on it all.

There are calendars posted all over the house enabling you to mark the days off. Every day is a day closer, and when a whole month goes by… it is almost like a celebration. It is such an accomplishment! There is always so much to do…the house needs cleaning, the kids have games and school, doctors appointments and wants, the yard work is behind, the bills are calling you, and it goes on and on. You are left wondering, “How can I do this alone?”

You constantly feel the envy when you see a man and a woman walking hand in hand anywhere. It can actually bring tears to your eyes and a wanting ache to your heart to see them. You would do anything to be able to hold your spouse’s hand right now. The bed is so empty and cold at night and you are awakened to their pillow staring at you. You think back to when you sat on the couch with them and just reached over to give them a kiss. You now think “wow”, something so simple is now my biggest wish. You know in your heart that your spouse is doing the right thing, but you want to be selfish and say, “Let someone else do it and let my soldier come home.”

Please don’t get me wrong, I am so proud and honored to say that I am a military wife and that my husband is an American soldier; it is just a long tough road to travel. Now that my husband is deployed, I find that I have so much more feeling when I see the American Flag or hear the National Anthem sung. I go to a parade now and clap ‘til my hands hurt as the soldiers walk by me. I watch with such pride as my children do the same. I cry when a song comes on about the war or a soldier. I wear pins on my coat and magnets on my car that reference supporting our troops. A simple yellow ribbon is like gold to me.

I notice everything to do with the war. When I see a man in uniform, my heart skips a beat, as I long for my husband. I yearn just to be able to wash and press that uniform again for him. My heart breaks for the soldier who is taken from this world even though I know nothing of him or his family.

This war has changed our soldiers so much…but it has also changed us spouses here at home too. We have learned to live alone and become very strong independent people who stand 100 percent behind our soldiers. We have learned that there are things that they will not or can not share with us. We have learned that their moods are as different as day and night and that we just have to go along with it. We have learned that these soldiers that we vowed to love forever are now soldiers who are heroes in this world!

Through conversation, I know that most of us feel the same way. There is the old adage, “in time it gets easier” and honestly dealing with it does a bit, but the missing and loneliness never gets easier. The fear of never seeing them again is always there. No matter how positive we try to stay, that fear is so real. I make sure to tell my husband everyday that I love him, either in an email or an instant message…or just in my own mind. I do my best to not let him see or sense my tears. In my unit’s case, our spouses have been gone from our families for a year and we still have months before they are home again. Just imagine not being held by your husband/wife for that long.

I heard one of the aforementioned ladies joke about having a “year off” without her husband and expressing, “How hard could that be?” Well, allow me to be the one to say to you that it is a lot harder than you will ever know.

Imagine how much our children will change before they see daddy again. I have seen and become close with brand new wives who said, “I do”, in the church and then watched their new husband walk away; leaving them to face the honeymoon stage of marriage apart. I have watched as first time parents have had a baby and the father had to watch on a computer screen and listen through speakers to his daughter’s first cries.

Children go to school and complete a whole year that one parent will never be a part of. There are holidays and birthdays with no daddy or mommy. There is the fear in their eyes when they hear bad news from Iraq, while you, as the sole parent, have to be the strong one. You have to tell them all is okay and will remain so.

The day my husband and his unit comes home will be one of the happiest days of our lives. We will know that the one I love, my partner, my life, my husband, is home and safe. There is the security to know that “daddy” is here now when the kids call out for him.

So to all out there who think that it so easy to be a military family think about what I said and how you would feel to be made to live that life. There is no amount of money that is wasted on supporting those who defend your country. Yes, it is our choice to be part of the military, but we do so with pride so that others can have their freedom.

In closing to you all, I say this….”Sleep well tonight and be thankful for what the American soldier does for you and your family. Always think before you speak, as there could be one among you. On this Fourth of July holiday, between the barbecues and the fireworks…please think of the military family…and the soldiers.”


Last 4th of July, I was in a pretty dark place...it is incredibly hard to be the one at family functions without your whole family. To be the one at church alone. To see a couple holding hands when all you long for more than anything in the world is to just be able to feel, to touch your spouse. To wake up alone again. To comfort your child again when they are missing daddy. Thankfully my deployment is over but we are still adjusting to life after deployment. However, there are so many who are without a family member today because they are deployed. Please take the time today between all your celebrations and festivities to say a prayer for those serving and the families that they have left behind.

So in closing....blog readers...What does the 4th of July mean to you???

Jessica

3 comments:

Barb said...

Thank you for sharing your post and the email you received. It is an honor to be part of a military family and it is sad that people do not realize the reason they could even have an opinion is because men and women sacrificed their time and lives so we have the freedom of speech. I cannot say how proud I am that I grew up in the military. My dad served and he makes me so proud and thankful. When we see soldiers in uniform we should thank them for the service they are giving to us and our country. I cannot pass a flag, military personnel or uniforms without the upmost respect. We are very blessed and unfortunately that is taken for granted. Thank you to all who served and are serving. Thank you Jason.
Proud to be an American! ~Barb

Nancy said...

It means freedom that we are blessed to have because of brave men & women...just like you & your husband ~ for making the sacrifice.
You guys amaze me ~ always!
I hope your day yesterday was special...I can't imagine how relieved you are to have your husband home. Thank you, Jason, for your sacrifice & bravery.

jocelyngreen said...

Hi Jessica,
I found your blog from the Wives of Faith Web site and have been checking it out today. Great posts.

I co-authored the book Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives, to which Sara Horn (Wives of Faith founder) contributed.

Since you are a military wife I wonder if you’d consider looking at the book and consider posting a review for it at Amazon.com? If so, I'd gladly send you a complimentary copy (if you don't already have one) if you'll reply with your postal mailing address. There is no obligation, of course.

Thanks for your consideration!
Jocelyn Green
jocelyn@jocelyngreen.com
www.faithdeployed.com