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Beneath The Sacrifice Of Service
The voluntary enlistment of our men and women who serve in our military is an amazing act of sacrifice. Beneath that act of service is so much more. It is the ability to willingly walk into battle knowing that you may not return. It is walking away from family and loved ones knowing that you may not see them again. It is having the courage to know the cost, yet being willing to pay it should it be required of you. Knowing that the price is to lay down your life so others may live free and happy is what lies beneath the sacrifice of service. It is more than the service action itself.
The Sacrifice Goes Deep
...To Lay Down His Life...
In John 15:13, the bible says, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". Our service members swear in knowing that they may have to lay down their life for their brothers and sisters in arms. As a parent, I did not go willingly to the facility to witness my son's swearing in. I did go to be there to participate and stand as a witness to a major moment, a stepping stone, as it were, to a new chapter in his life. I did not choose to allow him to potentially die for people that, at that moment, he had never even met. I held him close. I asked him to change his mind, to reconsider. I would have turned and walked away with him, taking him home. Never looking back.
Unlike me, God willingly gave his son for the sacrifice to pay the price for all. Jesus willingly laid down his life in sacrifice as a service to those who would need his blood shed for their freedom and future. As a parent, I was constantly worried about my child's safety and care. I cannot imagine how God was able to allow the abuse and pain that Jesus suffered. I would easily and instantly zap anyone who harmed my son! How amazing that God's great love is so complete and massive that he was able to not only give His Son, but encourage His Son to be what was needed. His great knowledge that Jesus would be soon sitting at His side in heaven and the painful trial over is similar to my knowing that my daughter would soon be back at home with life as normal after enduring the pain and work of giving birth. While I know she will be fine, I was still at her side, holding her hand, encouraging her, watching to make sure she was okay. How did God do it I wonder?
Thank You For Your Service
My son is stateside. He is not home yet. Not yet finished with his term of service. He is still at risk to me. Every chance I get, I tell a service member, "Thank you for your service, for the sacrifice you make every day." I explain that I am the Mom of a Marine and I know that just being away from home is an act of service. There is so much more to it. It is too tender to my heart to be able to talk about it with a young man or woman who is living it. The loss of time with loved ones. The loss of their youth and those carefree days of "hanging out" with their friends. The loss of freedom that they experience so that we may be free. I am eager to thank them for their service. I am eager to smile, acknowledge and pat them on the back. I am eager to be thankful and more than willing to appreciate them. I am thankful I will not have to endure and suffer to pay the price for my freedoms.
In addition, I am thankful to my Lord for his act of service. I take time to acknowledge and appreciate what he sacrificed for me. The pain he endured for me will not go unappreciated. I am thankful that I will not have to endure, to pay the price for my sin so that I may freely live.
Our service members are not gods. They are mere men and women who believe in a cause and support its purpose. I believe in God and support His cause and purpose to provide love and power and strength for all who believe. Take the time to appreciate the sacrifice He gave.
Update on Extended Sacrifice
My son has completed his contract with his beloved Marine Corps. Or.....so I thought. He requested an extension. The extension will put him in the service long enough to make plans for life outside the Corps. Civilian life. The ever elusive moment he has waited for has arrived and he has willingly extended his time! Well, it makes sense....somehow. His deployment was one of the longest in history for a Marine tour. He got stateside only weeks before being eligible to go home. He needed time to find a job. He was a married man now. He wasn't the boy who left anymore. He had responsibilities and he took them seriously. I am SO proud of him!
Things change. Times change. People change. Civilian life was a BIG change. Being back, living in a world of self-centered, immature "idiots" was not the life he remembered living before he left. Sad to say, it was that way, but then to some extent, so was he. He has grown up. The world hasn't. He is re-enlisting for four more years. He is choosing to continue the sacrifice. Choosing to put himself second to his countrymen. Choosing to serve someplace where he can make a difference. The regular paycheck and reliable work are a "perk" he said. Seriously?? Sacrificing your life for a perk is NOT a way to tell mom.
My heart hurts, it's hard to breathe tonight.
Lord, we need to talk about this boy's safety. Keep him safe. Four more years of sacrifice and prayer.
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photo and text copyright 2012 Deborah M. Carey