In this week’s special guest post, Lydiaruth talks about what it means to her to have a strong military family to support her through her father’s service and deployments.
My Military Family
by Lydiaruth Thompson
Though being in the military requires much sacrifice, it comes with great physical and emotional rewards. One of the most beautiful things about my dad being in the Army is the second family we gained, our military family. It is an outstanding, strong, close support system. We might not always see them, but we know we can count on them. Warm send outs and welcomes are always present before and after a mission. From police escorts to homemade signs to salutes as my dad deploys or comes home, all these things remind me, I am not alone. The extended military family plays a key role in the life of the servicemember. They are the best encouragement and support a warfighter can receive.
A military family is a strong unit. At times, the only things that got my dad through his deployments, were his family and his faith. He clung to Ephesians 6:10:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Not every relative understood, but my mom, brothers, and I were always there for my dad. We supported him, not just through letters, packages, or phone calls, but by being proud of him, and taking care of one another. I am blessed to have a close immediate family. Many who wear the uniform struggle with serving, especially during deployments.
Not everyone has a close military family who supports them.
A few years ago, my dad went to Germany on a mission. He said this was his hardest deployment. To be out of the country, alone, doing repetitive tasks, and knowing he was not able to leave, was a challenge. Being away from those he loved and what he knew. Though he could not visit us, this did not stop us from seeing him. My mother, my two brothers and I flew to Germany to spend time with him. It was stressful and complicated flying to see him, but it was worth it. This is the kind of support a servicemember needs.
We refused to allow our circumstances to determine when we would see him again.
This trip ended up being one of my family’s prized memories. Not only were we able to spend time with my dad we also had the opportunity to explore a different country together. We were able to learn a new culture and see his daily routine. We sympathized with his everyday life which was similar yet totally new.
This deployment was very tough for him. Even when he came home, he was happy, but not the same. It took him time to settle in and relearn how to connect with us regarding so many subjects. This was hard for my family because we noticed it but could not help. The best thing we could do was listen and love on him. Just because a servicemember is not sent to a war zone does not mean it is always easy coming home. Knowing it was the best thing we could do, we all prayed for him.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
With this recent deployment to Germany, the greatest support we received was from our “military” family. The military family would constantly check up on us through calls and emails. When my dad came back, our family received a plaque. A plaque stating how we remained supportive and strong for my dad. It also acknowledged his accomplishments through his mission in Germany.
I admire the military and the families who support the servicemember.
One of my dreams was to serve my country. Even though God has closed that door for me, I can still show my support for those who do serve. Encouraging kids who are facing their first deployment or cheering at the airport when soldiers return from a deployment.
Being a uniformed woman means having a strong mind to handle all the sacrifices. It can at times be draining to place others before yourself, yet this is one of the most honorable things a person can do. Especially as a Christian. Christ was always serving others. Christ emphasized the importance of loving others more than yourself.
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
I do not know everything about the military, but I do know one thing. The military, especially the Army National Guard, honors, protects, and acknowledges their troops. I am thankful that my dad is in the Army National Guard. It has taught me many valuable lessons. Not just how to serve, but how to look out for and protect others. I might not be a soldier for the United States but I will always be a soldier for Christ.
For more ways to be a military family that supports servicemembers and their families through deployments, visit our Deployment Resources Page.