While They Serve
By Edie Melson

War is a Part of Life

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.

Blessings,
Edie

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 (21)

I have 2 grandsons serving (army & Air Force). Iam touched by your words. Oceans of blessings to you.

Sharon, thank you! I'll be praying for you and your grandsons. Blessings, E

Well said, my friend. I am so grateful for our men and women in uniform. This is a great reminder to pray, not only for them, but also for their families.

My son didn't know whether to be in the Army or a Marine. He talked to recruiters from both. He prayed about it. We went to Church on a Sunday morning like always. An altar call was held. He went up front and the Lord spoke to him. He answered with a willing heart. My son also answered the call from God to be a Marine. I am a very proud Marine mom. I signed on the line for my son to join the summer between his junior and senior year of high school. He graduated and a week later he left for Boot Camp. I wasn't upset. I was very happy, excited. My son, a United States Marine! The entire time he was at Boot Camp, every lesson taught in Church were things that were centered around the journey he was embarking on. I wrote letter after letter letting him know this. My son's name is Joshua and I believe God has more in store for my Joshua than even he knows. He deployed on February 10, 2014. He will be on a ship for 8 months and then he will return home. I pray Psalm 91 over him. God's promise of protection. Josh knows God has him in his hands. Me on the other hand, I know as well, but I'm a mom. Sometimes being a mom is the toughest job of all. I do not nor will I ever regret helping him follow the path he was chosen to follow. I am so glad I read this. Sometimes I just feel like I am alone when in fact I know that I am not. God bless!

Brenda, it always amazes me when people come up to me and express sorrow that my son chose this path. So many think it's a disappointment. But I'm like you, so proud of my son (and all those who serve). Sure I was worried about what was ahead for him, and surprised he'd chosen this path - since we didn't have a military family. But disappointed - NEVER! Thank you for taking time to share your journey! Blessings, E

I loved this and look forward to reading more. I am a single military mom and I think watching my son pick up his duffel bag and walk away towards Iraq was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do.

Vicky, it is incredibly difficult. But going through this has taught me just how incredibly sufficient our God is! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your heart! Blessings, E

Beautiful, Edie. I come from a Navy family and served four years myself. I think back on that time and realize what it was like for my mother. All those years you spend protecting your children from light sockets and stray dogs, then in a moment, they're ready to stand in harms way on the other side of the globe. It violates every parental instinct. Your son will never be the same. He'll come home a man, much wiser than his years should allow, and he won't even recognize the people he spent all those years in school with. My prayers are with him and you.

Ron, I didn't realize you'd been in the Navy. Thank you for your service! Our son is now home and out of the Marine Corps. He did two two tours in Iraq. He's now been married a bit over four years and will finish college next year. He definitely came home a man, wise in ways I'd hoped he'd avoid. But he's said he doesn't regret his service and that he wouldn't be the man he is today without that decision. Thanks so much for taking time to drop by! Blessings, E

Thank you for this post Edie. While I don't have children of military service age, your post encouraged me to remember that in whatever they choose to do after high-school, I need to trust God with the decision. Congratulations on this new adventure serving these families through this blog!

Erika, you are so right. The lessons we learned with our Marine has served us well with his younger brothers. Thank you so much for taking time to comment! Blessings, E

I can't pass a service man or woman without tearing up and stopping them to say thank you. Thanks Edie. Nice post.

Cindy, me too, even before our son made the decision to serve. Just the idea of the sacrifice these men and women are willing to make overwhelms me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

As a former military spouse (my husband is now retired), I had to choose to trust God over and over -- to choose not to be afraid. Aligning my dreams with God's best is also a choice.
I'm looking forward to reading your blog posts, Edie. You are a woman of hope and courage.

Beth, tell your husband thank you and accept our thanks for your sacrifice as well. I appreciate you taking time to stop by and comment! Blessings, E

Thank you for your heartfelt encouragement. It's easy to see that you can connect with military families in a way the rest of us never could. Keep up the good work!

Vonda, thank you for stopping by! Blessings, E

As a friend of Edie's, I can tell you that she means what she says. Even with a loved one in war zone, she learned to trust God and not let the fear overtake her. I learned so much from journey of growth that applied to my non-military life. I hope that those of you who do have a loved one serving will draw strength from God as you walk with Edie through this journey of fighting fear and supporting your loved ones.

Thank you, Mary! We definitely couldn't have walked this road without friends like you! Blessings, E

Excellent post, Edie. Thank you for the reminder about dedicated men and women who serve in our military, and that we should keep them in our prayers. Blessings to you and yours! Yvonne

Yvonne, thanks so much! Blessings, E