We’re creating a new Guideposts.org

It’s faster, it’s mobile friendly—and we’d love you to have a sneak peekClick here to preview

While They Serve
By Edie Melson

Boots on the Ground

As I’ve mentioned before, until our oldest son decided to enlist in the Marine Corps, ours was not a military family. When I accepted the fact that he was serious about this life choice, I began to do everything we could to learn about the military. I wanted to be prepared so I could help our family support him.

A boot pictured with a flag"Boots on the ground" is one of the many terms I became familiar with after he enlisted. It was coined in the early 20th century and is used to convey the belief that military success can only be achieved through the direct physical presence of troops in a conflict area.

I’ve come to believe this term is also a perfect description of a family’s path as they navigate the conflicts present in military life.

I learned that no matter how much research you do beforehand, the learning curve when your loved one enlists is steep. Beyond that, there is no substitute for "boots on the ground."

Each family’s experience with military life is going to be unique. It’s not possible to anticipate and learn all you need to know in advance. I know, because I tried. It’s only when we get in the middle of the conflict, that we get the information we need to succeed.

No matter how unfamiliar the circumstances are, success is possible. Fortunately, we also have access to an additional resource. We must never forget that God always has boots on the ground. And it’s when we take time to listen to Him, that our way becomes clear.

Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.