For, April, the Month of the Military Child, we are running a special Wednesday series written by a guest writer who is a military kid. We hope you enjoy this first edition on her reflections of what it means to be a Military kid and how God has strengthened her faith through her experiences.
To Be a Military Kid
by Lydiaruth Thompson
As a student at Liberty University, I make jokes all the time claiming I am an MK. My closest friends know this is not true. I am not a missionary kid; I’m a military kid. My father has been in the Army National Guard for 26 years. In my opinion, this is one of the most honoring occupations. Whenever my father visited me in elementary school, I was stoked. I was ecstatic to see him, but I was thrilled for others to see him. When he walked in the cafeteria, it was like a celebrity entered the room. The younger elementary students would all stare. Everyone, including me, was in awe.
The first time my father left for a deployment was hands down one of the hardest days of my life.
My father has been deployed three separate times each for a year. He has missed three full years of watching me grow. He missed games, and vacations. I missed his laugh as we joked around the dinner table. His laugh can fill a room and without him our family did not laugh as much. No matter how much I knew the military needed him, I would always question, why him? I did not understand why God would allow my father to leave. During his deployments, I worried. Worried about where he was and if he was in danger. Questioning if he would ever come back. It was tough watching my disabled mother manage three kids, work, finances, and household maintenance all on her own.
“fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The hardest part about being a military kid is missing them when they are gone.
You know they are alive, but it feels as if you have lost them. Waking up every day not seeing their smile, not able to wrap your arms around them. Seeing their lonely bedroom slippers beside their bed. Passing someone who smelled like them.
My father missed numerous birthdays and holidays. Waking up knowing he would not be there to hug me on my birthday made me want to stay in bed all day to avoid the pain of missing him. Yet although he was not with us physically, he was with us in spirit.
Having a relative in the military is indeed challenging, but it’s also very rewarding.
I believe the closest families are those who have made sacrifices. After my dad’s deployments, we grew closer than before. Maybe because he missed chunks of our life, we now value any time together.
Being a military kid has challenged my Christian faith.
When my father left for his first deployment, I pushed God away. I did not understand why God would take him away. Especially since I was just in the 5th grade. As the years passed God opened my eyes, teaching me three lessons. First, God allows everything to happen for a reason. Second, I must be thankful I even have two parents who are alive and together. Lastly, whether I have an earthly father or not, God reminded me, He was my Heavenly Father. He reminded me He was always with me, even when I could not feel Him.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Being a military kid is a beautiful blessing.
It has its challenges, but at the end of the day, it is a huge honor. It has taught my family and me so much. Being a military family has taught us to be tough and aware of reality. The most valuable lesson it has taught my family is the importance of time. Time is a gift. Loved ones will not be around forever. As a military family, we learned that serving and protecting others is one of the best careers out there. Though the world might see a soldier in uniform, I see so much more; I see a superhero.