Manners...don't forget, are kindness. You must always be kind.
- Melissa Hellstern
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
During the time our son spent in the Marine Corps, I was astonished by the number of people who said they admired my strength. Let me set the record straight, I was NOT strong–physically, emotionally or spiritually–not during that time, not anytime since. Any appearance of strength in my life came, and continues to come, solely from God.
I am, on my best days, nothing more than a gibbering bowl of Jell-O, frequently worried and often afraid.
So how did people get that picture of me? Simple. They mistook my determination (often desperation) to keep my eyes totally focused on God, and confused it with a woman of strength.
If you think about it, determination is marginally related to strength. Both take focus, and both require a certain amount of never-give-up attitude. But the foundation of the coping skills people saw rested solely in God.
During the most difficult times of deployment, it was only God’s strength–through His Word–that kept me going. Many long nights were spent curled in a chair, reading through Psalms. God’s Word was the life preserver that rescued me from an ocean of fear.
Rescue is exactly what it was, too. So often I found myself floundering, struggling as waves of fear and doubt threatened to drown me. But God never left me alone. He was there with me, supporting me, giving me the strength I so desperately needed to make it through and come out on the other side victorious.
Don’t give up or give in when the circumstances are overwhelming. Nothing is bigger than God.
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.