Thank You, Soldiers, For Preserving Our Freedom

As May ends we enter the season of American patriotism: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day. In summertime, more than any other time, American flags decorate our porches and we remember our military personnel past and present. We thank them for preserving our freedom and we post maxims on social media: Support Our Troops; All Gave Some, Some Gave All; God Bless America!

And we go about our daily lives
not realizing just how greatly God has blessed us.

In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, God gave humans a most valuable gift— freedom. He could have created us as His slaves and forced us to live as servants. But, instead, God blessed us with the gift of choice. He allows us to choose between good and evil, right and wrong. In the beginning, Eve made an unwise choice that reminds us that we are imperfect. Choosing wisely means choosing to obey our God, who loves and wants His best for us.

Sometimes (and more often these days), evil appears to win over good. We ask, “Why, God?” But if we dig deep enough, we will discover that bad things happen because of our God-given right to choose. Somewhere, someone chose to do wrong or made an unwise choice that resulted in a bad outcome. Our choices have consequences.

Our forefathers understood that freedom is worth fighting for and that is why they formed their military. They left their country to create a new one in which all men, women and children would be free to choose. The concept is not new. When God led His people out of slavery in Egypt, their freedom came with a price. They fought hard against armies and adversity to preserve God’s gift of freedom. They gave their lives to be free.

And that is what our military does today. Our men and women in uniform risk their lives to protect us from those who wish to take our God-given freedom away. They fight against adversity and provide aid when poor choices lead to bad outcomes.

Our soldiers are not forced to serve—they choose to serve. They recognize how precious freedom is, and they are willing to give their lives to preserve it.

They have chosen wisely. They have chosen well . . .

And that is why we honor them and SHOULD honor them,
not just on military holidays, but EVERY DAY.

Yes, God, please support our troops.
Please bless America.
Forgive us for our wrong and unwise choices.
Open our eyes to the value of freedom,
And help us to preserve your great gift.

Amen.

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Three Lessons I Learned From My Mom

I love my mom. I loved her when she was here on earth, and I love her still now that she’s in heaven. When I browse my bible, I find scriptures that I’ve highlighted and underlined—verses that remind me of her,

like this one:

 He gives children to the woman who has none
and makes her a happy mother.
(Psalm 113:9 NCV)

 Mom had a rough start to motherhood. She carried her first baby, a boy, full term, and he died in childbirth. Mom almost died, too. The difficult pregnancy left her with little chance of having another baby. But years later, a miracle—I entered the world healthy and strong, a gift from God, destined to be my parents’ only child. God fulfilled His promise. He gave my mother a baby girl, and that made her happy.

What I learned from my mother:
Trust God. Wait for Him, and never give up hope.

It is hard to find a good wife, because she is worth more than rubies. Her husband trusts her completely. With her, he has everything he needs. She does him good and not harm for as long as she lives.
Proverbs 31:10-12 NCV

Mom was a good wife. She always put Dad’s needs, and mine, before her own. Her lifetime was spent caring for us, and I’m ashamed to say that she got little in return. Dad was physically present, but his mind often turned to his work and other worries. I wasn’t always present either. But Mom never complained. If she felt unhappy or lonely, she hid it. And late in life when Dad got Alzheimer’s dementia, my mother faithfully cared for him almost until the day she died.

What I learned from her:
Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.

 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Proverbs 31:25 NIV

The Lord had blessed Mom with good health. Her only serious, and final, illness came suddenly, a disease similar to leukemia. Less than a month after her diagnosis she was dead. Mom faced those last weeks with dignity. Nurses and doctors commented on her strength and her ability to keep a sense of humor. In those last days, I loved my mother more than ever. I realized then—what I wish I had realized so many years before—that my mother was amazing. She was, and is, my hero. Mom went through life a quiet and gentle spirit, but her beautiful soul overflowed with Christ-like strength. And she was wise. She lived life in a way that honored God, and her example made me want to honor Him, too.

The most important thing that I learned from my mother is this:
Appreciate your mom. Love and honor her all the days of her life. And, above all, be sure that there are no regrets for either of you when the Lord calls her home.

I miss my mom every day. Still, I know that only time separates us. I will see my mother again. I loved and followed her from the day of my birth, into adulthood, and, one day, I will follow her all the way to heaven.

Where you go, I will go. Where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. And where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.
Ruth 1:16–17 NCV

Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven, Mom!

and
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, here and with the Lord.

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Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles and inspiration for writers. And while you’re there, I’d appreciate it if you’ll click on the “like” button near the top of the page. Thanks!

jan2015FB

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