Monday, April 28, 2008

Not Without Christ

As I sit here, I try to think of what exactly I can say to give other military wives strength. My husband was deployed for fifteen months to a very dangerous area in Iraq (not that there are any safe areas).

My husbands unit faced many trials, this means - as a military wife… I did too. While I did not actually stand and fight next to my husband on the battle lines - I did stand by his side emotionally, as we all do.

I had worries, more so than not. I know - it’s easy to say to give your worries to God - 100%… but, sometimes it really is easier said than done.

I remember one instance, the television stations had made the mistake of leaking out a story of an attack on my husbands unit. The media went ahead and plastered the news all over the television…. The enemy had rigged two trucks with explosives, and rammed the trucks into the sleeping quarters of one of our patrol bases.

I was frightened, the patrol base that was hit sounded like the patrol base my husband had been living in. I watched the news reports, called our FRG leader. No one had exact information to give us.

Hours later, it was confirmed that indeed the building that was hit was my husbands patrol base. Still, no word of who the casualties and fatalities were.

I remember going to bed, worried and praying for my husband and his friends. I tossed and turned throughout the night. Nightmares came, along with the building up pressure that indeed - my husband could have been one of the soldiers killed in that attack.

I don’t think I slept but maybe an hour or so that night.

I sat at my computer early in the morning - searching for some piece of evidence online of the names of soldiers who were involved. Still, nothing.

Finally, the red line call came in. My FRG leader, gave me the information. I knew, it was not a phone call telling me my husband was killed. You will never receive a phone call from someone telling you about the death of your husband. Someone will always show up in person.

The phone call did tell me who was killed…

I was given the red line information, as I was a key caller. I had to call all of the families on my key caller list to let them know the message and the names of those who were killed.

I had done many red line calls before, sad but true. This however, was one of the hardest red line calls. There were so many names to read… every time I had to call someone on the list, they would answer… with a pause. The families on my list all were expecting a call from their key caller to let them know what was going on.

I remember one lady, answering the phone… “Please - Please tell me my husband is okay!” she said as her voice was quite shaken up. Although - the wives knew they would not receive a phone call saying that their husband was killed, they were all still afraid. We all were.

As I sat, making calls - thoughts raced through my head.

How can I continue to do this?
Will my husband really make it home?
What am I going to tell my children when their dad is next?
What am I going to say to the families who lost their dad, their brother, their son?
How can I help with activities for the wives, so they can try to focus on more of a positive thing when we are surrounded by so much negative?

One after another, I made the red line calls to family members. I started out by saying, “This is Patti…” as soon as I said that - I could hear the hesitation in the voices on the other side of the phone. The wives and family members knew why I was calling… they knew I had the names of the soldiers who had been killed in the incident. Nine Soldiers.

Another thing people have to remember is your husband works with these guys… nine close friends.

I remember very clearly calling one of the ladies (a good friend of mine) to tell her the sad news. We sat in silence and cried together. Not saying a word after I read the red line.

How do you have strength in times like these? One family member asked me.

I really don’t know - you just do what you have to do, you just keep moving along… without Christ though - without hope, I would have nothing.

This is true. As a military wife, who has seen the ugly head of war - I can honestly say… I could not have went through all of the emotional stress without Christ.

I truly don’t think I would have enough strength - enough energy to get through some of those tough times. Even in days that I knew Christ was with me it was hard.

Here are some verses that helped me, I hope they help you too.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
—Psalm 27:1

Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!
—Psalm 31:24

Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
—Psalm 105:4

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
—Isaiah 40:28-31

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
—2 Corinthians 12:9-10

You can read about the incident with our nine soldiers here: