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While They Serve
By Edie Melson

How Young People Can Touch a Soldier's Life

Our son was young–only 18–when he made the choice to join the Marine Corps. One of the things that touched us most was the way his friends rallied around him and supported his decision. They encouraged him, but they also supported us.

Jimmy has always been an outgoing young man, and during his high school years our house rang with the voices of rowdy boys coming and going. With his leaving, I feared the oppressive silence that I knew would blanket our home.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

His friends made a point of continuing to drop by. We’d always had an open-door policy that allowed the kids to come and go without the formality of ringing the doorbell or even knocking. Now my husband and I looked up from our desks in our shared office as those young people continued appearing. They’d hang out, giving updates from letters or calls they’d gotten from Jimmy.

Even more importantly, they reached out to our other two sons. They took the position of older brother and sister, helping our younger boys cope with the danger their older sibling now faced.

I knew our community of adult friends would support us. The outpouring of kindness from the teenagers once again proved the depth of God’s grace and showed how he can provide through the obedience of others.

Here are some specific things these young people did for us:

  • They kept coming by. His friends didn’t break contact with us when Jimmy left. This seemingly small bit of normality meant the world to us.
  • They got organized. One of his buddies worried that Jimmy would get a ton of mail on one day and none the next few mail calls. He solved this by encouraging their friends to follow a schedule when sending letters and packages. I’m his mom and even I didn’t think of that!
  • Another buddy took it upon himself to get Jimmy’s Jeep (his pride and joy) detailed and fixed up while he was on his first deployment. It was so great to see our son’s joy when he laid eyes on that much-beloved car when he got back home.

All these things have one thing in common: They underscored the love his friends felt for Jimmy and for us. Beyond that, they were acts of faith. All the things these young people did proved they believed our soldier would be back home soon, safe and sound.

What are some things that touched you most while your soldier was away?



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 first book for those with a loved one who serves. Look for her newest book for military families debuting summer of 2015: While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with a Loved One in the Military. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.