The room is full of people. The chatter is nervous and constant. Last words being said, final instructions being given, lingering sentiments of love passed on. It may not even be in a room, maybe a busy airport. Passerby’s glancing in your direction, their eyes filled with a mixture of emotion, sometimes pity sometimes gratefulness. The world bustles around you, but you pray for time to slow down if only just this once. Wherever you find yourself, in a room full of other families, or in the isolation of an international airport, D-Day has finally arrived.
There are no words that can prepare you for a deployment. At least none that I’ve ever been told. I have been prayed for, encouraged, and well wished upon but nothing eases the heartache when the day finally approaches.
With a few deployments under my belt, I’d like to say that it gets easier but it doesn’t. The night before, my mind plays through every moment I’ve shared with my soldier in our lives together. I think of it all, the love, the laughter, the highs and lows, the moments that I wished had lasted longer and the ones that I wished we could forget. I embrace these memories burning them into my mind and then I embrace my soldier.
When my soldier first deployed a friend from our church gave me a copy of an article with a short story on it. He had no words to offer me, just a simple piece of paper that would direct me to the words he needed to tell me. These words have encouraged me through many deployments and I hope they will do the same for my dear friends in the military. The author of these words wrote them just for you.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling-
even the Lord, who is my refuge-
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.’”
May God provide you with the comfort, strength, and peace that you need each day.
May God bless you, your family and your soldier.