A Soldier’s Hymn – In honor of Veterans’ Day 2012

Written by Jean Sibelius (Finlandia)

{sung to the tune of the hymn “Be Still My Soul”}

Lord God of Hosts and Author of our freedoms, stand by our side if we must fight this day. Steel us to face whatever danger comes, as we defend our nation and our way. Thy will be done, in battle and campaign. So if we fall, we do not fall in vain.

Almighty God, our Armor and our Guide, safeguard and hold in Thy eternal care, the gallant few in combat at our side, valiant on land, at sea, and in the air. Thy will be done, in battle and campaign, so if they fall, they do not fall in vain.

Bestow Thy calm, and Thy divine assurance upon our loved ones we have left behind. Lord hold them close, while duty holds us distant. Grant them Your peace, in heart and soul and mind. Thy will be done, in battle and campaign their sacrifices shall not be in vain.

Lord God in this, the hour of our service lead those who lead the country that we love to seek thy will, according to thy purpose to pray for grace, and blessings from above. Thy will be done, in battle and campaign and if we fall, let no one fall in vain.

Until I married my husband, I really did not truly understand or appreciate the sacrifice our military members and their families make for our country and our freedoms. Somehow I got the notion that all things war, including the military, were bad.

I was born in the ’70’s. My parents almost named me…Free. Enough said!

I have since changed my tune.

I had to do a lot of soul searching before jumping heart-first into a relationship with my now husband. He was the real deal, and he wanted a wife who would stay by his side through thick and thin. While we were dating, he was very transparent about the expectations military life would place on us as a couple and a family, including the possibility of year-long deployments {we had our first two years ago}.

I knew we would give up time together for the “job”, that we would be expected to participate in ceremonies and formal events, that my role would be to support him and the mission of the Air Force wholeheartedly, and that we would move frequently, placing me in the position of regularly reestablishing our lives in new, unfamiliar locations.

I knew this in my head…it took my heart longer to come on board.

Moving was not a problem for me. As a preacher’s kid, I moved a lot. I was not afraid of that, and because of the wonderful role model of my mother, I knew I had the tools to make those transitions for my family pretty smooth.

Giving up family time for him to serve in his “job”, that wasn’t too much of a stretch for me either. My dad was a minister and a missionary. I grew up in both an immediate and extended family that modeled the servant lifestyle. My dad traveled a lot. We as a family participated in many church services, speaking engagements, formal dinners, and events that required us to sacrifice family and personal time.

In regards to ceremonies and formal events, fun! I am serious. I do not mind them one bit. I get to dress up and be wined and dined on my husband’s arm…in his uniform! Need I say more. I enjoy going out on those “date” nights.

What I did struggle with, however, was supporting my husband wholeheartedly while he fufilled his duties as an Air Force officer. That was hard for me.

Two weeks before we were married I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Nursing. I became certified as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. I worked for almost two years before our first son was born. And, I haven’t worked outside the home since…by choice.

I was no longer Jana, Nurse Practitioner. I was now, Jana, AF Officer’s wife and mother of two sons. My identity became rather fuzzy.

What was not clear to me on the day that I married my husband was that I was essentially agreeing, along with him, to allow the AF to have control of me and family for the indefinite future. We would go when they said, where they said, and for how long they said. Sure, I hadn’t been the one to go through ROTC, or to learn to fly an AF plane, or the one to go through Survivor Training School, but I had made a marriage covenant with one who had.

Therefore, my loyalty and respect belonged to him, and in turn the AF.

There were growing pains for me. The long hours, last-minute trips, missed soccer games and school events, delayed anniversary and birthday celebrations, and holidays without daddy have been difficult. There have been moments when I have been jealous of the time invested in the AF and not at home. And, certainly, balance between family and work is very difficult to maintain when we are at war. I have shed tears, stomped my feet in frustration, grumbled at doing the parenting on my own, and been angry when he had to leave again.

It has been ten years since I said, “I do”, and walked under an archway of silver sabers glinting in the sun. I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing. I am honored and deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside my husband in the United States Air Force. The men and women and families we have come to know and love are treasures; Honest, Kind, Intelligent, Dedicated, Self-sacrificing, and Unwavering individuals who deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.

…..

Today, in our Post Chapel, we celebrated through worship and praise Veteran’s Day. Multiple generations were represented by the Men and Women in uniform from all branches of service, decorated with medals earned throughout our history’s wars. I was humbled as I looked around our congregation in awe.

My deepest satisfaction today was that sitting beside me were our two boys, spiffied up special for the day. My husband in his uniform and various medals sat proudly beside them. I was deeply moved by the fact that these two boys are being raised in an environment where they will learn to respect, honor, and appreciate our military. I know they can’t fully understand all aspects of the great sacrifices made on their behalf. Yet, I pray that by witnessing the men and women in uniform being honored today, these two young men will believe that our sacrificing as a family is not in vain.

newly purposed,

jana

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8 thoughts on “A Soldier’s Hymn – In honor of Veterans’ Day 2012

    • Hi Robin, Thank you! It was such a beautiful service today that honored us all for our service. I take so much delight in being part of this amazing community. Thank you for your encouraging words. Praying you are doing well. Jana

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