No worries. Matthew Monday will be back next Monday.
Today, I wanted to take a break and share with you guys something that I was overwhlemed by this weekend.
If you live in the great Pacific Northwest you knew that this weekend was Seafair. As all us Seattleites prayed for sun this weekend, the Blue Angels, boaters, hydro planes and sailors got ready for yet again, another amazing Seafair. This year I officially became a Seattleite! I have never been to Seafair....EVER! But this Saturday AA and I went to tour the battleships that were in town and raced over the Lake Washington to see the air show and Blue Angels....which were amazing! AA and I laughed and gawked at the planes as they flew over at death defying speeds. It was such a sweet blessing to be by the water, with my hubby and experiencing something so "Seattle."
And although our times on Saturday was great, I couldn't get over a feeling of sadness and at times failure. Let me explain...
We started the day wanting to see these battle ships that had sailed in over the last week and stared at us everyday as we went to work. So we made our way over there, got in line and were assigned "tour guide" aka members of the Navy to take us throughout the boat. As I started to look around at all of the sailors and members of the armed forces that were everywhere I started to really look AT them, not past them, like I embarrassingly do most times. And when I really started looking I started noticing how young these men and women are. I kept saying to AA, "they are just babies, just young young people!" He called me old and that yes, some of these men and women were 7 years younger then us. I started to think about who these men and women were. What's your name, where do you call home, do you have a husband/wife/kids, do you know Jesus, why did you join the Navy, ect? I wanted to just take one of them by the hand and start asking questions, but I didn't want to come off creepy. So I kept to myself, listening to all the facts they had about the boat.
This boat was huge. I MEAN HUGE! 3000 sailors can be housed on it at any given time. 3000? These people don't even know each other. What if you were the new kid? Who are your friends? Who helps show you around?
We went up on the main deck where they had helicopters and air crafts. And while everyone climbed in to take a picture, I was fighting back tears, thinking about how people's children and husbands and wives climb into these air crafts to go to war. War, where people die. These were not make believe things, these have been used to fight for our freedom.
We then went back down to underneath where they had military vehicles, tractors and other moving things. There was a young man who was sitting on top of one of the vehicles and was talking with a vet from Vietnam. I stood close enough to hear what they were talking about. As the vet asked this young man question after question, I couldn't help but be astonished by the answers he was giving. "Yes I have been to Afghanistan and Iraq, yes we just lost a vehicle last time we were there to an IED, yes I am proud I get to serve a country I believe in, yes I miss my family, no I have no plans of getting out of the service anytime soon." As I bit my tongue really hard to stop from crying the vet shook the young man's hand to thank him for his service and if I had any guts what-so-ever I would have done the same thing. But I didn't. And I wish I would have.
As we left the ship, the captain was there to thank US for coming. Are you kidding me? Why are you thanking me? I should be on my knees thanking you! As I looked down to his left hand, there was a medal band, just like my husbands. He was the same age as my dad and I couldn't help but think, "who are you away from your uniform?"
And as I left, I felt like a failure. I have never prayed for the military and their families. Oh sure, when we hear something bad on the news or radio, I will lift those families up to God to protect them and help them know they are loved and I pray those soldiers knew Jesus. But never have I constantly prayed for them. Well that all changed Saturday. I am making a commitment to add "military" to my quiet time. These men and women fight for this country so that I can worship Jesus, in the open, I can pray at restaurants, I can go to church and not be afraid. I can run, work, be a wife, friend, sister and anything else God calls me to do, because of the freedom I so often forget I have.
And although freedom in the American sense of the word is amazing and I take it for granted way too much, real freedom is in Jesus. Having Him write the story of my life has freed me from sin, anxiety and oppression. So that is what I will start praying for. That these men and women who serve our country come to know the freedom that is found in Jesus, that they have community within each other, that they find time to worship Christ, and that they are inhaling and exhaling the love of God.
Thank you troops, I am so sorry I have forgotten about you.