Divine help in accepting a son’s unexpected decision to enlist in the Marines
by Edie Melson — Posted in Military Outreach on Nov 21, 2016
I’m proud of all my three sons. Each one can move me to tears when I think about the man he’s become. But life as a parent hasn’t always been easy. I remember one day when my fear turned to pride in an unexpected place.
It was the end of my oldest son's senior year in high school. We’d accepted his decision to enter the military instead of college. My heart beat with the staccato rhythm of equal pride and terror. But even with my pride in his decision, there was one day I wasn’t looking forward to–Graduate Recognition Sunday. It was an annual tradition at our church, but that year I did not want to attend.
On this day all the graduates—high school and college—paraded across the front of the church to be recognized for their accomplishments.
Accompanying his march across stage would be a slide showing three things: his senior picture, his favorite Bible verse and the college he’d be attending.
For our son, instead of the name of a college, the slide would read Marine Corps. Even though I thought I’d come to grips with his choice, I was terrified about how I’d react in that emotionally charged environment. I prayed I’d be able to make it through without fear for him overwhelming me. I was proud of our son’s choice, but afraid of what it might require of him.
Beyond that, it hadn’t been the way I’d envisioned his life going. I’d always assumed he would attend college. It hadn’t been a conscious thought, but I’d expected to have that transition to get used to the idea that he was all grown up.
The service began and the graduates lined up. I mentally braced myself for an internal, stern talking to when I fell apart. His name was called, and he strode across the stage. I glanced at the slide and felt only joy and pride. God had done it, He’d taken my fear and replaced it with pride.
Tears welled in my eyes as I watched my son take one more step into adulthood. He’d made a hard decision—an important decision—and I was so proud of him.