Boot Camp Prayers

When Edie Melson's son joined the Marines, she turned to prayer to cope with the wrenching separation.

Posted in , Oct 6, 2015

Military mom Edie Melson relied on boot camp prayers when her son joined the Marines.

Supporting our military here and around the world is an important component of Guideposts Outreach efforts. Here, military mom and Guideposts blogger Edie Melson recounts her own initiation into what it meant to watch a son prepare for military service.

In 2006, we waved goodbye when our barely-18 oldest son left for Marine Corps boot camp. I assume he waved back. Truthfully I couldn’t tell. The tears in my eyes blocked everything but the glare of the sunlight reflecting off the parking lot cars.

I hated saying our farewells that way. When a man or woman makes that kind of choice, they deserve more than a non-descript van pulling out of a strip mall parking lot. But I was learning that what I wanted wouldn’t be what I got.

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We weren’t a military family. The closest relative who had served was my father-in-law, and he’d been in the army during World War II. When our sons were growing up, I had never even considered that they’d be interested in joining the military. This transition to military mom wouldn’t be an easy one for me. But God didn’t abandon me, no matter how stubborn I was.

Boot camp at that time was a grueling 13-week transition from recruit to Marine. Other branches have boot camps of varying length, but all are similar in the process. As we parted from our son, I knew we’d get one phone call when he arrived, then nothing but letters until we saw him at graduation.

So as the van left, I metaphorically hit my knees. Not in despair, but in prayer.

I knew that even though I couldn’t be with him the next three-plus months, I knew the One who could. God was faithful as I took my fears, struggles and hopes to God and poured them out in prayers.

A lot of them were what I call “ugly” prayers. To us they’re ugly, tear-filled rants. The words aren’t pretty and neither are a lot of the emotions we release. God showed me that to Him, my ugly prayers were precious and beautiful.

He bound up my emotional wounds that came from the hole in my heart. He soothed me with the peace that only He can apply. And most of all He gave me the assurance that prayer was the strongest thing I could do for my son. 

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