Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
War is a part of life. As I write these words, my heart is heavy, but I cannot deny that truth. While many experience the physical side of war from a distance, others of us experience it on a more personal level–through loved ones deployed around the world.
I’ve been where you are. I know what it’s like to lie awake at night, fighting the fear that threatens to engulf our hearts. I’ve sent my son off to war twice, and I know the battles faced when a loved one deploys. Our son was in high school when he felt God’s call to serve in the military. While other kids were deciding which college to attend and what major to choose, he was choosing his specialty as a soldier.
I remember that graduate recognition Sunday. As each high school senior crossed the stage to receive a Bible, a picture flashed on the screen along with the college they’d attend in the fall and a favorite Bible verse. Instead of college, I watched through a haze of tears as United States Marine Corps flashed over his picture, along with Jeremiah 29:11. In my heart I had to ask God if his "best plans" really included time in war-ravaged Iraq.
Here at home we may not face a physical enemy, but we do face a spiritual one. His name is Fear, and he is a frightening adversary, but one we can conquer. I know because I have walked through that dark valley and God has brought us all triumphant out the other side. That triumph doesn’t always look like we think it should, but it’s there all the same. And looking back, I can assure you that yes, God did have his best planned for my son. I can assure you that he also has the best planned for your soldier.
I look forward to sharing your stories as we come together to support our soldiers while they serve.
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.