Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Veteran's Stand Down

Good morning my beautiful sisters! Praise the Lord for His mercy and kindnesses!

This weekend I had the incredible opportunity to go to something called a Veteran's Stand Down. This is a large event where veterans can come to one place and get free lunch and breakfast, free gear (sleeping bags, cots, boots), information about services they are eligible for, legal advice, and medical care.

TWS told me about it a few weeks ago. At first I was eager to go, then some fears got to me (don't ask...they were too stupid for words), then TWS said that he thought they had plenty of people. But then a day or so later he said that ONE of us needed to go, so I went while he stayed home with the babies.

I thought I might volunteer to do vision screening or something of that sort, but when I got there the volunteer coordinator had me handing out bags of food. I will be honest, I wanted something more "Important" or something....maybe health care related. I even said a prayer to the Lord "I wanted to do something IMPORTANT!". But of course I was not going to decline, so I set to work.

Ladies, may I say that the Lord knew EXACTLY where to put me? I mean, I had THE BEST job of the WHOLE stand down!!!! Next year that is EXACTLY the position I want! I got to see everyone coming in and going out. I got to chat with TONS of vets. I got to hand out big safeway bags of food (something that this prepping southern woman just REALLY goes for!). I got to meet the NICEST people! I wore my headcovering and I had a ton of people asking me about it, all nice and respectful to me.

(BTW, that is one reason why I love to wear a headcovering--people will come up and ask and we can talk about faith....something they probably would not do if I was not wearing one)

There was a booth next to me with the most adorable student there. She is either going for her master's or PhD in psychology, I believe. Both she and her supervisor were kind and inquisitive and warm and open. They were a cup of cool water to me, I must say. We talked about our lives, our theories (though they probably did not get many words in edgewise--I tend to go on about things....lol). I probably would not have gotten the chance to talk to them if I had been anywhere else in the conference center.

There were a couple of other people of note. One was a wonderful woman across from me who saw that I was standing and brought a chair for me to sit on. She was smiling and kind and just one of those happy people. There was another woman who started working the booth with me when I sat down for a moment. She looked stern and unhappy, but she was WONDERFUL actually! She chatted and talked, rarely smiled, but every smile was like a precious jewel to me! She was just a REALLY neat person.

I met a woman who had been an army nurse. She was disabled, but her heart surely wasn't! She was energetic and probably the most encouraging person I have met in a long time. I ADORED talking to her, and was sad when it was time to leave.

There was one other person that I really want to mention. There was a vet...a sort of youngish man, maybe in his 30's or early 40's at the latest. Ladies, I BEG of you to please lift him in prayer. I have never seen a face that mirrored such torment in my life. He could barely lift his eyes to look at me or anyone. I gave him a bag, and he mumbled a "thank you ma'am" with the quickest of glances, then looked down at the ground again.

When I say that he looked like he was in agony, I do not think I can convey the depths of the pain on his face. I have NEVER seen the like, even on faces of people who have lost loved ones. He had bright blue eyes, and would have been fairly handsome, but the shame and the torment was all you could see.

Pain, agony, torment....I keep repeating those words because there is not another word in the English language that I can think of that fits him.

Please pray for that vet. I do not know if he is ashamed of something he has done. I do not know if he is kind hearted or hard hearted, good or evil. I do not know if he is in chronic physical pain or if the pain was all in his heart. I just know that I have never seen suffering etched into a face like that before. He looked like a beaten child.

Speaking of children, I would like to take a moment to mention something disturbing that I found out....there is a home run by the VFW for veteran's families. That is wonderful! But part of the clientele of the home is for children whose military parents leave them there. Sometimes it is because both parents deploy, sometimes they have a single mom who deploys and has nowhere to keep her children.

I know that I am probably going to get some serious hate mail for this, but we have GOT to be reasonable here! To me nothing illustrates our loss of any sense of reason that our country is facing than having mothers abandon their children to go fight in a foreign country. Our government needs to stop thinking of trying to treat women as men, and start treating them as WOMEN and MOTHERS!

Those mothers might be able to hide tears and do their work, but those babies NEED their mothers.

The Lord was VERY clear about where mothers need to be--at home raising their own babies. I have no idea how we are going to get out of this nonsense of mothers not being necessary to raising their babies, but we need to get a clue...and fast.

Thousands of children are being sacrificed on the altar of progress, finances, and career advancement, and nothing shows this more than mothers who are being deployed and having to leave their babies with strangers.

Mothering is not about just making sure the child is fed and does not hurt itself. Mothering is about RAISING your kids, nurturing their minds (educating them!), their souls (teaching them the Lord EVERY day), their hearts (being there for every hurt and triumph), their bodies. Mothering is NOT just babysitting without pay. Mothering is MOTHERING.

There are many hurdles, I know. Husbands who want their wives working outside of the home. Women who do not have a husband. Society and friends and relatives who think that being a mom is being lazy. It is hard when everyone around us only values what they can see in the checkbook or the driveway.

We need to work to the point where nuclear families stay together, where family groups stay together, where single moms have support that they need from extended family, where husbands and fathers (as well as wives amd mothers!) start valuing motherhood over finances. I am not saying that women should never work--many women in the Bible worked. But they worked where they could also take care of their babies. There were extended family groups that could help each other out in tough times. There was less industry, so there were more "home based" businesses, so to speak, where the mother could keep her children with her.

I know there are women reading this who might say "But I WANT to come home! My husband will not let me! (or "I am a single mom and have no one to turn to")". Please understand that I am not criticising you IN. THE. LEAST. I TOTALLY understand that. Unfortunately, our society is telling men as well that women should be away from their babies. I am not advocating disobeying your husband AT ALL. I am not saying that you are being a bad mother. We can pray that the Lord changes your husband's mind, and the Lord will work for you, leading your life in the path it needs to go.

As for women who can stay home, PLEASE do so. Your babies need you. A nurse can bind their wounds, a teacher can teach them to read, a sunday school teacher can teach them to sing "Jesus loves me", but you can do all those things. AND no one AT ALL can replace you as a mother. No one can mother your children. They can teach them, kinda. They can heal some of their wounds, but no one can heal the heart as a mother can. No one can know the child deeply like a mom, so that we can see trouble coming BEFORE the principal calls home. We are kinda like a farmer vs a migrant picker....the farmer nurtures his crops, touching them and looking at them, fretting over them, praying for guidance, spending every day in thought of his tender seedlings, watching the "weather", and threats to his crops. Every day he toils in endless circles of plowing and weeding, watering and feeding. Round and round with seemingly no end in sight. But OH--days on end with the Lord as his guide, with his little ones growing strong around him! What great blessing in the mundane and repetitive tasks!

A picker just picks and plunks--picks the fruit and plunks it in a box, without a thought to the overall health of the field or the plants or the nutrients in the soil. Everyone else in the world is just a migrant worker for your children--filling a small square, but not able or willing to see the entire process from beginning to end. The Lord gave you that wonderful position and gave you YOUR children ON PURPOSE. Each child is a unique creature and each child needs a specific type of mothering, and you are the one that the Lord chose for that purpose. Please understand your worth in that!

And just like if a farmer fails in his work, society suffers with lack of nourishment; if a mother fails in her work, society suffers with a lack of godly men and women. The farmer and the mother...two of the most unsung heroes of our society. Unrecognized, toiling day and night, poorly paid and disregarded. But actually being in charge of society itself, for without either one of them, society would starve physically, mentally, emotionally.

If my words anger you, then pray. I will pray too, that I am giving counsel that the Lord would have me give.

If you want to reply, then do so. Just know that I am not "picking on anyone". I just grieve for the babies who so desperately want their mothers, and grieve for the mothers who have not learned or are not able to delight in their babies and their calling, I grieve for the mothers who DO delight in their babies, but cannot stay home, and grieve for society and the government who would sacrifice both babies and mothers and fathers and itself for unsound notions of "progress" and "pseudo-equality".

Please pray for that veteran and all of those veterans. Please pray for the babies whose mothers are sent away, and pray for the mothers who cannot come home due to military or husbands or circumstances, that the Lord would show them the way home and would open the path and that the women will go down that path WITHOUT FEAR, relying on the Lord. Pray that women would see their own true worth, the value in the Lord, and not look to what they themselves value (for most of us really want recognition and "fulfillment", if we are honest with ourselves), or what society values. Pray that mothers would learn how to take up their cross daily, sacrificing their own wants and desires, and relying on the Lord to give them what they need.

Pray for the husbands who do not understand their own role as provider and head of the household, that they will understand that role and embrace it with the wisdom the Lord gives. Pray that husband see their wives and children in new light, falling in love again with them and caring for them as they care for themselves. Likewise that wives fall in love again with their husbands and children.

Pray that husbands understand that their wives are wives and mothers first, and should be able to use their talents and gifts there--the Lord has made a way. Pray that each mother would be given what she needs. Pray that each husband and wife would learn to do more with less, to live simple lives, to value the Lord and health and family and sunshine, not boats and cars and expensive houses and expensive toys. Pray that each child grows in wisdom and love at home where they can be filled with the Lord and with the love of the parents for each other.

Pray for each other, and please pray for me, that I might only speak what the Lord wants me to speak, that any anger I stir is only the last clap of thunder before the healing rain of wisdom falls on someone's life. I know that I get irritated whenever I am shown something that I could fix in my life because my natural self has its own wants and needs, and that soon my life changes for the better if I relax and let the Lord work. But boy, that irritation gets strong at first!

Pray that mothers, single or married, who feel overwhelmed and over burdened do not take this post as an accusation--this is not meant to accuse but to encourage a mother's heart to home. If your heart is already at home, then there is only prayer for you that the Lord will allow your circumstances to change! If your are married, then it might be through your husband's changing heart. If you are single, it might be through other circumstances. No one is questioning your heart or love...we just want to pray for you to be where you want to be--at home with your babies. :-)

If your body is at home, but your heart isn't, or if you are at work and think that you would be too bored, would "go crazy", if you "had to spend all day at home with the kids", please pray. The Lord knows what He is doing. He will not let you go crazy, and He will provide EVERY need. It might not be the way you think, but trust Him. He will never let you down.

Have a beautiful blessed day, my beautiful blessed sisters!

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