Saturday, December 24, 2011


One year ago this Christmas, our family was experiencing something much different than this. In 2010, our son was in Afghanistan doing mission work with 2,800 other Iowa Guardsmen far, far away from our sight and touch.  This season, Kris is back in the states and moving along a road to "normalcy"....if there is such a thing. 

To say we are ecstatic in his presence would be underscoring the emotion.  I'm not sure there's a word that actually do it justice.  Imagine the biggest sugar high possible and that might suffice.  But as ramped as we are, there are many, many other families who are experiencing what we did last Christmastime.  Far, far toooooo many......

I'd like to take you to my thoughts one year ago.  Remove our family from the equation and replace it with any other soldier or family member that has one serving our country.  Their situation is eerily similar to ours, the longing of being with a loved one on the Holidays.  Let's go back in time.....   

Dear Sonpo:

What can I say that will help you get through the lonely times this Christmas?  How can I make you feel like you're part of the family, right next to the tree opening gifts, but knowing that you're not?  Where can I reach you in your heart that I haven't before to let you know how much your loved?  When can I imagine what you are going through and have it make more sense to me?  Why have these last five months seemed like five years?

Those are just some of the questions I'm thinking about this Christmas time, son.  I know our situation is not unique.....there are thousands upon thousands of other military families feeling many of the same things.  That in itself is some relief, but not nearly enough.  You know, when you decided to enlist, I knew there would be things that we'd have altered in our lives.  Some for the good...and some not so good.  I'm sure you've thought that too.

I had someone ask me the other day what I remember most about you.  Wow, if that's not a question that would bring the tears, huh? is what I said.  I think of the great big hands you had when you were born.  They were such big they didn't even belong to you, you know.  And as I think more about that question, I have come to a revelation of sorts.  God equipped you with those big hands for a reason.  He knew you'd one day be placed in situation that you'd have to know how to "handle" yourself.  Hands and handle, get it.  Yup, I think those big mitts are there for all that you are experiencing this year and the need for you to have the tools to do that.  With that being said, I also hope that those same hands are being used for other things while in Afghanistan.  Things like helping your other soldiers in the unit, giving a helping hand to an Afghan civilian....just being there, handy in so many ways.

So, I'm going to pray for you son, that God would use you these last seven months to make a difference.  Not just serve your time, but to make a difference and do things right.  I'm going to also ask that you come to some definites in your life that you'd like to tackle once you get back to the states.  Those are some big prayers I know....but I think it's time.  This year will have been a great educator for you and for us.  We will all be changed.  The questions that I asked earlier will have more meaning when this deployment is completed.  I'm excited to see where this takes us all.  I hope you are too.

You know, this journaling thing is great.  It gives a person an opportunity to dream and hope and wish and share. Almost like a bucket list, or at least a little bit like one.  Let's try something together shall we?  Let's you and me, together, like in giving me a "hand", wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season.   And that someday, our holidays will be spent with our soldiers at home, safe, secure and loved.
Merry Christmas Sonpo....

223 days or 32 weeks to go however you look at it!  Praying for your safety, son.  Praying for you daily......

Love, Dadpo

A Rock and a Strong Foundation


Lord God, so long as we are on earth, though we do not want war, times will come and come again where we must stand and fight.  Lord God, every generation has paid this high price for freedom in some way and now it is our turn.  Lord God, bless each and every military member and family who so valiantly serve this nation and the world, drawing the line and saying no more to those who would exact terror on the rest of us and force us to submit to their way of life or be killed.
Lord God, draw each and every soldier and their families closer to You this Christmas.  Give them greater understanding of who You are and the mission they serve – for our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.  Lord God, show Yourself to them, help them understand how You protect, how You provide and how they can trust in You.
Lord God, be with the families. Send Your angels not only to those on the battlefields, but every family at home this Christmas who has someone they love deployed and especially be with our Gold Star families.. Stand by them and be their comfort this Christmas as they journey through the loneliness of grief.  Lord God only You can reach deep inside where the hurt is and slowly, slowly bring the healing.  Give each of them a purpose from You which helps them keep going, though often it is the hardest thing they have ever had to do.
And Lord God, be with each of our wounded warriors.  Heal them spiritually, emotionally, as well as physically.  Give their doctors great wisdom and give them comrades beside them so they may encourage one another.  Bless also each of our veterans and let them feel Your love around them this Christmas.

Merry Christmas all.  May you see God's glory today and every day thereafter.



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