While They Serve
By Edie Melson

Confessions of a Control Freak

If you’ve visited this blog more than once you may have noticed that I’m a bit of a control freak. I often try to disguise this trait as helpfulness. But to be brutally honest, it’s almost always a control issue. My family and friends are good natured about this part of my character, but I know it’s a trial.

I’ve had to battle this tendency a lot, but never more than when it comes to my kids. For example, I’ve had a definite opinion about their course to adulthood since they were born. In my mind, there was never a doubt they’d each attend college, get married and generally live happily ever after.

I had many reasons for this collegiate expectation. For one, their father set the example. My husband is an engineer with a master’s degree, and it never occurred to me that his sons wouldn’t follow in his footsteps. Also, I never finished college and that had been one of my biggest regrets. I’ve been very vocal about the roadblocks the lack of a college degree put in my path.

So, when our oldest son came home and informed us he wanted to join the Marine Corps straight out of high school, I was blindsided. I was also emphatically against it. As a matter of fact, I plugged my ears and sang the Star Spangled Banner to drown out his attempts to convince me it would be a good idea. Obviously not one of my finer moments as a mother.

I remember quite clearly the conversation I had with God as I lay in bed later that very evening. I had a lot to say to Him on the matter. Looking back I can’t help but wonder if He didn’t fight the impulse to plug His own ears to drown out my whining.

Eventually I stopped fighting back and began to listen to what our son had to say. He won me over with these simple words. “Mom, I know you’re worried. But I feel God’s call to join the military. And you know I’m safer in the middle of His will–in the middle of a war–than I ever could be out of His will.”

Of course he was right, and I felt such joy and pride in his decision that I could hardly stand it. Those words, that simple belief in God, has held me through many a sleepless night.

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.

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Your Comments (2)

Thanks Edie. Like me, you're learning God's way is the best way, even when we don't think so. I know it's not easy sharing the fact that you like being in control, and I appreciate your doing so. I also know that it's harder to let God take the lead, not knowing where He's leading will take me. At those times, I force myself to recall Abraham obeying God's command to go, without any idea of where he was going. When we take baby steps of obedience, God always rewards our faithfulness.

Bruce, thanks for the encouragement and for sharing your own walk! Blessings, E