A Trigger of Hope

Heartbroken tonight over loss.  A very recent loss of a childhood friend.

I am reminded of the loss that many felt on 9/11.  And the loss that many have felt in the years following.  Loss of soldiers, firefighters, police, medical personnel, and many other first responders on that day…and those that have carried on the fight in the years afterward.

This is a day that triggers a lot in our house.  It triggers memories, pain, helplessness, sleeplessness, and things we don’t even understand.  It impacts us still…years later.  It affects us in deep ways.  It has caused us to become numb to the pain that we should feel and to keep our guard up to protect ourselves against further pain.

It is so hard to look in the face of loss and not be affected.  I often feel helpless and hopeless against the evil, pain, sorrow, despair, tragedy, and even the toil of daily life that this world brings.  This world sucks in so many ways.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by what this world is and forget who Jesus is and what He did.  It’s easy to desensitize myself against those around me so that if (and when) the time comes that I lose them that it won’t hurt so bad.  A lie at it’s best.

Today, the loss brought a new trigger.  If I don’t allow the Gospel to enter into this place then what good is the Gospel that I say I cling to.  Today, it was the only hope I had.  Hope that things won’t always be this way.  Hope that evil won’t always have free reign.  Hope that I can feel and love those around me without fearing the someday pain of losing them.  Hope that when Jesus said we are new, that we really are new and that we are continually being made new.  Hope that His story is one of redemption, love, grace, truth, and that one day…things.will.NOT.be.this.way.

Hope that He feels our sorrow, our pain, our disappointment, our hurt, our fear, and all that we feel.  Hope that His truth and grace and love can bring peace and comfort and HOPE to this world.  Hope that He is who He says He is and that He will do what He said He will do.  I have hope in Him.

It was a long day filled with tears, desperate prayers, memories, many stairs (9/11 Memorial Climb), anxiety, and yet, HOPE.  It took many moments of refocusing my thoughts and redirecting them back to Jesus and the hope that He offers.  Many times of reminding myself of the Gospel, that this world is full of sin (mine at the top of the list), His plan of redemption, the cross that Jesus endured, and the hope that He offers that this world is not our home.  It takes His truth to combat the lies that I’m so easily tempted to believe.  It takes His love and comfort to combat the fears and pain that I usually allow to reign.

His Gospel is a new trigger of hope.  And today, it’s a hope that He is here even on the painful days.

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I Forget.

I forget the impact that it has on my house.  I forget that it changed my life.  But, here’s the timeline, in case you were bored.

September 11, 2001 – Now we know it as 9/11.

Mid-November 2001 – Chad & I met at a concert through some friends.

Early-December 2001 – Chad & I start dating.  We didn’t waste any time.

January 2002 – Chad deploys to Germany for 7 months.  And we date through letters and phone calls.

December 2003 – We get hitched!

January 2005 – Chad deploys to Iraq.

June 2006 – Chad comes home.

Fast forward to this morning.  I should have realized something was different when Husband was showing 9/11 tribute videos to the girls at 7:30 this morning.  I also should have realized that he didn’t so much respond to anything I said all day long.  I also should have realized that he was a tad on the short side with us.  I finally caught on when he parked it on the couch to watch more 9/11 tribute videos tonight.  And then again when he let our little Banana stay up to watch the Clydesdale’s Budweiser video and we all got teary-eyed.

You see, I forget.  I mean, I recognize that it’s 9/11, but I totally forget the impact that it has on people like my husband.  People who were first responders or people who went to war for it.  You see, our houses will never forget.

We are so proud to be Americans.  We love our country and we will raise our girls to love her too.

It’s been 12 years since 9/11.  It’s been 12 years since I met my husband.  It’s been 11 years since his first deployment.  It’s been 7 years since his second deployment.  And every Memorial Day, 4th of July, 9/11, and Veterans Day since then we remember.  We remember the lives, we remember the sacrifice, and we remember how our lives are forever changed.  We remember what we lost.

And we watch a lot of videos.  And we get a little crabby.  And we get a little sad.  And one of us goes to bed early.  And one of us blogs about it.

And I love my husband even more because he remembers.

(Image Source:http://variouscreen.com/image-hd-wallpapers-american-flag.html)

Home of the Brave

I am so proud that my home is literally “home of the brave”.   For those of you new to me, Husband spent a year and half deployed to Iraq.  The short version is this: wedding + 1 year = deployed to Iraq.  It was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done…and I had the easy part.  Husband trained for a few months in the states before landing in Kuwait and then on to Iraq in 2005.  Let’s suffice it to say that Husband and the guys he served with should be dead on multiple occasions and I’m forever grateful to God for his protection of them.  I know that I am lucky to still have him with me.  So, it is not me being trite when I say that my home is home of the brave.  My husband is one of the bravest men I know. He’s an infantryman to the core.  There are few that I respect more.

He keeps reminding me in this ridiculous heat, and my nagging him to drink more water, that it is not 136 degrees nor is he in full uniform nor is he carrying full gear.  Like that makes him the authority.  Ironic too, because I can assure you that he is the Sgt Major of the Hydration Division.  Yeah, yeah, I know division isn’t the right word here but I couldn’t get any more info out of Husband because he doesn’t think I’m funny and he stopped answering my questions.  Moral of the story, it’s hot out there folks, drink your water.

Please please please enjoy your 4th of July!!  America declares her independence today.  Celebrate.  All that she is, all that she has done, and all that she will do.  She is a great nation and we are all blessed to call her home.  I can assure you that the men and women that defend us would want you to celebrate being an American!  (Well, they’d probably want you to drink a few beers and get yourself good and drunk, but I wouldn’t recommend going quite that far.  Lets drink responsibly, folks, stop at one or two.)

Thanks for all your support of Husband and I.  We still feel the effects of the war and know that we are stronger for having done it.   We also know that we certainly didn’t do it alone, so to those of you who were in our lives then…THANK YOU!!  We couldn’t have made it without you.  And to those who are in our lives after…THANK YOU…for helping us pick up the pieces and make sense of it all!  I can now put my shoes on without it being a major ordeal and crying (read, bawling hysterically) through every second of tying them.  But, that’s another post for another day!

For today…HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!!

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What about America are you most grateful for?  (More gratefulness, gonna make you hate me with all that grateful talk.)

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