For years I was convinced that being raised by a World War II vet was the most powerful influence in my life...
I was wrong.
I was raised to be a "hawk", no doubt about it. And I clung to that through high school even as my closest guy friends turned eighteen and had to sign up for the Viet Nam draft.
I didn't really give it much thought for several years. Then my world tilted.
I was taking a recent American history course when my son, James, began high school. All of a sudden, through the lens of our nation's wars, my hawkish heart shifted from patriot to parent.
During that history course in a secular classroom, the Lord began to open a whole new understanding that had nothing to do with lectures and textbooks. In one reflection paper I wrote that I couldn't imagine a cause so great that I would willingly sacrifice my son. My flesh screamed against giving my child up for any reason, even to save others.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried--
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him--our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.
Isaiah 53: 3-6 MSG
September 11, 2001. Unaware of the dreadful attacks that morning, I had taken Rachael to a doctor's appointment hours away from home.
James was a sophomore in college, living at home. For several years he had proclaimed himself to be a pacifist, and that seemed alright with me.
The drive home from the doctor's appointment was the longest of my life. When I crashed through the back door into the house, James was waiting at the kitchen table for me.
No greetings...no hugs...only a grown man sitting where my little boy had so recently been. In a voice calm and firm, he said, "Mom, if they call I will have to go." I knew he would, and I would have no choice but to let him go.
Dear Reader, this Thanksgiving, I'm especially thankful for the men and women who have chosen to stand and fight for a country they are devoted to. In choosing to stand together in defense of our nation, no matter how many issues seem to divide us, they have blessed us with freedoms that millions around the world cannot begin to imagine.
If you or someone in your family, has chosen to serve in our nation's armed forces, I pray that as you/they have shown the world that "united, we stand", God will pour out extravagant blessings this Thanksgiving upon you and yours.