The Heart that Waits
The words that follow poured out of my heart years ago. Yet, as I stumbled across them again, tears flowed fresh as I remembered the power of the heart that waits. I share them with you today in honor of all the military families who have sent their soldiers (or themselves) out the door into danger and those who are sending them still. And I share them for those who, though their soldier has returned from war, still wait for their hearts to follow.
Please consider this post as a giant hug from my heart to yours.
October 27, 2010…
Each time I experience the profound grief of watching my soldier prepare to leave for war, I am acutely aware of what is barreling toward our hearts. Way too soon we say goodbye and release each other to obey the calling the Lord has put upon our lives. And though it is difficult and some days are way too long, we have a deep sense of security knowing that we will reach the end of the journey one day at a time.
We will not be separated forever. The reality that the next time we meet may be in heaven is present, but we do not linger over those thoughts; we just can’t afford to and it is one of the first choices each of us must resolve to make.
One day at a time you love your family though the x-marked calendar. One day at a time you count the days behind you, rejoicing that you made it that far and careful to thank God you don’t have to do them again.
You long for the return of your beloved with a keen sense of purpose and great design, knowing that you serve a mighty God who is in the business of accomplishing mighty plans. And you endure. Each day you wake up and make the choice again to endure, to love, to hope, to dream, to remember, to cherish, and to be grateful.
Along our journey on this mission field, we have buried soldiers, wept with mothers, and grieved with wives.
We have watched far too many flags folded carefully and delivered tenderly.
We have walked alongside each other with a profound anchoring in what our husbands do and our pride in the fact that they love their job, their soldiers, their country, and their families.
We are proud to proclaim that they are fierce on the battlefront and fiercer still on the home front. And though we do not prefer to be apart, we are not afraid to let them go. It is who they are and we will not keep them from it.
And when the long-awaited day is near, you can almost hear the sucking in of breath and see the squinting of eyes, straining to catch a glimpse of her soldier, safe and sound…and home again.
Her hands fiddle with her phone, waiting for the sweet confirmation that it won’t be long now.
And though they may have been married for decades or just a couple months, she will feel the twinge of butterflies as she approaches the finish line of those lonely days. You won’t hear her take a breath until she wraps him in her arms and can once again bury her head into his strong shoulder and smell his scent, long-faded from his pillow.
And though she knows that the transition from war to home isn’t always smooth, she welcomes the process with eager gratitude, thankful she has the choice and keenly aware that some do not.
There is something, though, that must be mentioned – even in the joyous return. It is the power of the heart that is waiting. The heart that is waiting for her soldier to return and the ever so tender heart that waits for the time when his heart can follow.
It is a reality that the level to which we require a soldier to endure under is great indeed. They train for months on end to be the best, fastest, greatest, most lethal, most competent, and able soldiers alive. They are the best and have worked tirelessly to own those bragging rights…and we are so proud of them for it.
But as a wife, we know that even if our soldier returns to us in one piece, there are parts of him that he may leave behind in that place of war.
Yet, we fight for their hearts as fiercely as they fight for our freedom.
We willingly give them all we have to give and do our best to patch up the wounds that the medics don’t see. We show them in every way we can that they bear no shame in our eyes…no matter what. And day by day we place our hands in theirs and assure them that all is well. Piece by piece our balance finds its way back into our spaces and routine.
I truly believe you can draw some powerful parallels from the pain of childbirth to the process of deployment and redeployment.
The pain a mother soon forgets once she beholds the joy on the other side is real indeed. It is there for sure, but the acute sensation of it is gone and we even entertain the notion that we could do it again, if need be. To hold what was promised and what is so exquisitely beautiful has such power over us – and can even somehow serve to remove the memory of blood, sweat, and tears that brought it to life.
Somehow, in the end, it is worth it and we volunteer to do it again…and again…and again. And we resolve to be grateful for each moment we are blessed with, regardless of the nature in which it comes to us. It is still another moment some will never have again.
May we never forget the peace that is to be had on the other side of war, the rest that is to be enjoyed on the other side of toil and the sweet relief that is to be cherished on the other side of the waiting.
“I am still confident of this – I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
The song I want to share with you today is from Brian and Jenn Johnson, entitled, “You’re Gonna Be Ok.” A simple, sweet reminder that He who is always faithful is faithful still.
If you are currently walking through a deployment, or separation from the ones you love and hold dear, or if you find yourself journeying the long and often painful road of PTSD or with a person who is, be encouraged, He sees you. He sees it all. He knows you and those whose hearts you are waiting for. You are loved. You are not alone.
And one step at a time, the light will find its way back to the surface and every hurting space.
With joy (and hope) for the journey,