Sunday, November 22, 2009

Talking to Heroes

Dodging through the raindrops, my family and I ran from the truck to the church. I entered the building and allowed a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the light. I found myself standing right inside the sanctuary, having taken a side door. It wasn’t long before the whole family worked their way to a pew.

After finding a seat, I went around to shake hands with folks. One elderly gentleman welcomed me to the service, and I turned to shake someone else’s hand when something on his lapel caught my eye. It was two tiny bars, one was purple and the other blue with a small white patch in the middle.

“What are those?” I asked, pointing to the lapel pins.

“Oh, the purple one is a Purple Heart, and the blue one is the Navy Cross,” he replied nonchalantly, smiling. My face must have registered my shock, and he went on, explaining what I correctly assumed. “The Navy Cross is the highest service medal to be awarded, other than the Congressional Medal of Honor.” I think he said more, but my mind was racing with the significance of such an honor.

Only 6,924 Navy Cross Awards have been given since Congress authorized it in 1919. As a combat-only award, it is higher than the Distinguished Service Medal, and has often been awarded posthumously.

It always amazes me to be in the presence of a World War II veteran, but I was completely grateful for the privilege of meeting such a hero.

Though our exchange was brief, my mind was reeling for hours. I thought of the many gallant people I have talked to over the years, and how very humbling it is to talk to them. Soon, however, my mind went to some other heroes I have known, many without any earthly honor at all.

I think of the man who is also in his eighties, and has pastured now for almost forty-five years. Remaining faithful to his family and his Lord against all odds and pressure, he is still standing strong and tall on the Word of God. He and his wife are a delight to talk to, because they are so full of the joy of the Lord. He is truly a hero, serving the Lord through a lifetime.

I think of the dear elderly sisters I have spent many an hour with, talking of the greatness of our Saviour. It’s been years since I’ve seen them, and one of them has gone on to be with the Lord, while the other is in a nursing home. Years ago, when my husband and I asked them how it came to be that they had never gotten married, one of them smiled and replied, “Well, our mother was very sick – bedridden. We decided we were going to take care of our mother, and we did.” They took care of their invalid mother for years and years, until all suitors had come and gone. They willingly gave up their future to care for someone else. In my book, they are heroes.

Then there are the mothers of young children, who have given up their dreams of careers or desires for fancy things while they spend their time wiping runny noses and changing diapers. They see the investment in the future, and are willing to pay whatever the price is to accomplish it. Though no medal awaits them, and no crowd will applaud them, they are still heroes.

Thank you, heroes, for all you do and have done!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day!

I am blessed to work with some of the best of the best that America has. I thank God for our military, and pray for their safe return home!

Tonight we will be singing a song that is hard for me to sing, "It Has Always Been the Soldier." My lines, especially, are difficult, since they remind me of the many people we have met that have lost loved ones either in this war or in other wars. My heart goes out to those who remain at home while their spouses are deployed, and to those who are left when a hero falls.

To all those who have served, or are serving, we thank you! We pray that you will have that "peace that passeth understanding," that when trouble comes your way, you will be prepared!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Please Pray...

We are all very saddened by yesterday's tragedy at Fort Hood. Please pray for the families involved, as this is a very difficult thing for them. Though we are not there, our hearts are there, and we wish we could be there to help.

I was chatting with an Army Airborne wife this evening, and she expressed her sentiments very plainly. "My husband just got back from Iraq, and It would be a complete and utter tragedy to have him survive the war in Iraq just to die at the hands of a terrorist here."

Friends, these military men and their spouses know that every day could be their last, and they have come to grips with their own mortality. We thank God for those who are willing to take these risks so that we could be safe and free. A special thank you goes to all you who protect us, and for all the spouses who have given up "normal" in order to serve the country.

As you pray for the military, please pray for my husband. He injured his back the other day, and the pain has gotten excruciating, and he needs help just to get around. I was able to take him to the doctor today, who said that it is probably a bulging or slipped disk. I know it is very painful. The injury is also keeping him from making the contacts he needs to make here at Fort Bragg, so please pray for a speedy recovery.

Thank you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Top Ten Things Only Women Understand

I've seen this before, but when I was introduced to it again recently, I howled with laughter! Enjoy!

10. Cats' facial expressions.
9. The need for the same style of shoes in different colors.
8. Why bean sprouts aren't just weeds.
7. Fat clothes.
6. Taking a car trip without trying to beat your best time.
5. The difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white, and eggshell.
4. Cutting your hair to make it grow.
3. Eyelash curlers.
2. The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.

And, the Number One thing only women understand:

Other Women

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wit's End Corner

This poem has been a real blessing to me lately, when I seem to find myself daily standing at "Wit's End Corner!"

Are you standing at “Wit’s End Corner”,
Christian, with troubled, brow?
Are you thinking of what is before you,
And all you are bearing now?
Does all the world seem against you,
And you in the battle alone?
Remember – at “Wit’s End Corner”,
Is where God’s power is shown.

Are you standing at “Wit’s End Corner”,
Blinded with wearying pain,
Feeling you cannot endure it,
You cannot bear the strain,
Bruised through the constant suffering,
Dizzy, and dazed, and numb?
Remember – at “Wit’s End Corner”,
Is where Jesus loves to come.

Are you standing at “Wit’s End Corner”?
Your work before you spread,
All lying begun, unfinished,
And pressing on heart and head,
Longing for strength to do it,
Stretching out trembling hands.
Remember – at “Wit’s End Corner”,
The Burden-bearer stands.

Are you standing at “Wit’s End Corner”?
Then you’re just in the very spot,
To learn the wondrous resources
Of Him who faileth not.
No doubt to a brighter pathway
Your footsteps will soon be moved,
But only at “Wit’s End Corner”
Is the “God who is able” proved.

- Antoinette Wilson