Someone passing at church, an email from a loved one, a mention from a friend.
“Are you writing?”
“I miss your blog.”
Inside my head, this — if I write, I’ll cry.
I guess I could write about sorrow.
And from my radio tonight, a pastor, this — “tears have a purpose.”
They really do.
This week my son left for basic combat training with the United States Army. He is learning to be Army Strong. It’s a process.
And for the moms at home, it’s terrifying.
Suddenly, listening to that radio, everything I was just thinking I might express here in words, was gone.
Expressed, instead, through tears.
Crying so hard my head pounded and my chest ached.
Crying for the times I’d wanted to, during the last week, but didn’t.
Crying because so many told me it was “fine” and to “think positive” and their careless handling of my breaking heart, hurt.
Crying for those that asked (genuinely caring) if I was ok and I nodded, numbly, thinking that the truth seemed “dumb” and my pain disproportionate. (I wish I had said “I hurt” and thrown myself into a few safe sets of arms.)
Crying because God needed to meet me in it. Needed to have me weak, so He could make me strong.
Maybe this post was never supposed to be about sorrow at all, then.
Maybe it’s the beginning of a story? The making of an Army Mom.
I don’t know for certain, but I know two times this week the Lord gave me a clear, message. Twice He spoke truth in love:
“If he can, you can”
“Breathe out fear, breathe in courage”
The first, a reminder that when we look at the hardships our children (or spouses, or friends, others..) face and we watch them rise up and then overcome – something deep inside should stir.
We should find our determination.
Not just for our own journey.
What I want my son to see, as he gives it his all, is a fighter. Not a broken, whimpering mess, another burden to carry..but a source of strength. To him, to my other boys, my husband, my friends..I want to be an example of perseverance, bravery and strength.
If my boy can face these months -the toughest of his life – alone and far from all he loves and knows, to learn to be a strong warrior..then I can learn to be an Army mom. If he can, I can.
The second directive: breathe out fear. Over and over this week, I found myself holding a breath I didn’t know I’d held. Who knew that pain and fear could become so real it could override automatic functions? How can I be courageous when I can’t breathe?
When we fight our own fear and pain, we exhaust ourselves. By the time I reached tonight, I was a dog chasing my own tail. The thoughts swirling and chasing each other in a one-dog fight of anxiety, worry, stress and fear. Telling myself not to cry and not feel fear or sorrow..telling myself to not feel anything.. led, not to courage, but to an inability to breathe.
So I cried.
It was freeing. Cleansing. Good.
Because “tears have a purpose”.
With the cleansing of the tears, I was able to hear God..
..reminding me to breathe out, literally, to breathe out fear.
And to breathe in Him.
Breathe in courage.
To rid myself of fear frees up soul-space. A space, I pray, fills with the courage of faith.
I’m sure I will cry more. I won’t fight it. But tears and strength are not mutually exclusive. You can have both. You can admit fear and sorrow while believing in a God who is fiercer than fear, and stronger than sorrow.
So, if you asked this week or are wondering now…
How am I?
Perfected in my weakness.
Fighting the good fight of faith.
And learning to be Army Mom Strong.
It’s a process.