Monday, May 28, 2012

HERO


"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay his life down for his friends." (John 15:13, NIV)

We're just coming off an American holiday where we remember service men and women who served and gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy in this country. Our family has had the great honor of having a grandfather who faithfully served in World War II. What a treasure he shared before he died, telling stories of his service and experience with our son at his knee. We've also had the humbling experience of supporting a friend and neighbor through two tours of duty in Iraq. Currently serving as a Captain in the Army National Guard, his sacrifice has been so grueling that he has earned two purple hearts, two bronze stars and various other citations and awards. How can we not feel respect and utter gratitude from listening to men like these and knowing what they've endured on our behalf?

While this sacrifice is tremendous, no less is that which we lay down in love for our children with special needs. While we don't risk being wounded by a hostile enemy, we do share many similar experiences. We endure terror, stress, fatigue and a relentless sense of duty in our role as special needs parents. We carry in our hearts a deep pain that is most often kept to ourselves or only shared with those who have a common experience. We live with a constant sense of self-denial, putting our mission of caring for that child first. We put our own health and well-being last. We lay down our lives to see our posterity succeed.

Although we share these things in common, there's a notable way we differ from those in the military. Those in service to our country have a certain pride, a sound sense of satisfaction in the job that they do. We, on the other hand, sell ourselves so short as parents of kids who require so much. We're often doubtful, self-critical and failing to realize our value. We forget that we are trained and equipped for our mission just as that soldier. It may be the School-of-Hard-Knocks that has provided our education, but we are competent nonetheless. Our confidence needs to match that of our military counterparts.
As we march forward in duty, let us learn from the One who laid down His life in countless ways so that we might have a home beyond this nation! Stay prayerful, obedient and ever focused on the mission. Remember that you are on foreign soil. This is a temporary assignment in light of eternity. Because of the Loving Commander who leads you and the unwavering sacrifice you make each day, YOU are an inspiring hero to all who witness your service.

Pray:  Father, help me to be an obedient, faithful soldier in Your army!  Lead me to complete the mission for which you have enlisted me.

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