I Can Trust God with My Children

My oldest son, Cole, is in Marine boot camp right now.  Actually he is in the middle of the Crucible, and my mind is going crazy.  I am trying to remember him in prayer at all hours of the day and night without letting my thoughts lead to worry…

and the worry lead to impatience…

and the impatience lead to “what ifs”…

and the “what ifs” lead to panic.

I thought back to October of last year when he first told me that he wanted to join the Marines.  He didn’t talk about the benefits or the pay.  He said he wanted the brotherhood, the character development, the challenge.  At first I wasn’t sure I wanted my son in the military, so I asked God about it.  He gave me peace and the impression that this would be the very best thing for Cole.  Pretty soon I was feeling that joining the Marines would be the most important step for him to take after High School.  I had been praying for a long time that Cole would find a positive focus for all of his teenage energy.  Finally he had found it!

As a mom, I can worry about absolutely anything!  So my son had made the very wise choice to pursue a career in the Marines.  But what if his enthusiasm waned?  What if he got in trouble and became disqualified?  Boot camp was a year away.  What if he didn’t make it there?!

On October 28, 2017 the worries were getting the better of me. It was the Saturday morning of his very first Marine work-out.  One of the stipulations of the delayed entry program was that Cole had go to the recruiting office once a week to prepare physically and mentally.  A recruiter was going to pick him up early that morning to take him to the work-out.  I had to leave even earlier to make a trip to the farm. There was dew on all the blades of grass and all the colorful leaves.  The sunlight peaking over the horizon was like white gold glittering on every water droplet.

I wanted to enjoy the beautiful drive and the peaceful time alone…but I was feeling guilty and worried.  Cole was NOT a morning person. What if he didn’t get up in time for the workout?  I should have stayed at home to make sure that he did! What if he wasn’t serious about this Marine thing? What if all God’s plans for his future got derailed?

A song on the radio washed over my mind with the power of the Holy Spirit.

                “Death could not hold you, the veil tore before you.

                You silenced the boast of sin and grave.

                The heavens are roaring, the praise of your glory.

                Yours is the name above all names.”

The worries were replace by a picture of Jesus on the cross, conquering death and sin, then rising again victorious, becoming the Savior of the world.  I saw the Good Father allowing His beloved son to come into this world that did not love or receive Him.  All of hell was working against Jesus and much of the earth and mankind as well.  A million different things could have gone wrong. Countless roadblocks stood in the path for Jesus to become all He was destined to be, to accomplish all He was meant to accomplish.

Yet the Good Father was able to keep Jesus and guide Him perfectly.  He could do the same with my children.

“You mean I really don’t have to feel responsible for making sure my children achieve their purpose here on the earth?  That I could really just trust you to do it?” I asked God, trying to let go of years of ingrained thought patterns that always led to worry.

                “You know that you never could, no matter how hard you tried. That is why you worry. That burden is not for you to carry. Just trust me,” came the whispered answer.

When I arrived back home, Cole had already left for his workout.  I didn’t need to worry!

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Cole and I a year ago after he swore in to the Marine delayed entry program.

Now he is almost done with boot camp, just hours away from becoming a Marine.  I didn’t need to worry. But I still did.  About EVERY little thing over the past year. I decided that I had to remind myself of all God had spoken to me.

When I went back and read my journal entry for October 28, 2017, this is what I had written.

                “You are the Good Father who puts his children in this world and then brings them through the crucible victorious.”

I had written that before I knew anything about the Marines.  Long before I understood that they had the toughest and longest boot camp out there.  Before I had any idea that the culminating event of Marine boot camp was called The Crucible; 54 hours packed with missions to accomplish, obstacles to overcome, 45 miles to be hiked, and very little sleep or food to be had.

                I had been prophesying and I didn’t even know it!

So as I am imagining every possible thing that could go wrong with Cole out there in the rain and the cold and dark of The Crucible, I chose to remember;

I can trust the Good Father with Cole and his destiny.

God will bring him through The Crucible Victorious!

 

 

My Son Just Graduated from High School! But what do the Marines have to do with this Rite of Passage?

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Cole graduated with his class from Dauphin County Technical School at the Forum in Harrisburg last night.  His father graduated at the very same place 25 years ago.  Excitement was in the air as all the students were decked out in their sashes and cords, representing their accomplishments.

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Cole was the most proud of his black and red United States Marine Corps sash.  We as his family thought that it was by far the finest piece of his outfit, representing months of hard work, representing his future.

 

                As the students got ready for the ceremony, the woman in charge told Cole and two other students that they could NOT wear their Marine sashes during the ceremony under any circumstance.

If they did, they would be denied their diplomas.  The reason?  The students who had enlisted in the other branches of the military did not have similar sashes.  Their red, white, and blue cords would be decoration enough.

Cole was quite angry with this decision.  We as his family were pretty upset as well, wishing there was a way this decision could be overturned.  However, as the seniors marched into the auditorium, no red and black sashes were visible.

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The time came for each cord to be identified and each group of students to rise to receive recognition for the corresponding achievement.  So many fine students!  So many accolades for certifications, test scores, and memberships in honor societies!  Cole rose for many of them, including most outstanding Senior in his technical area.  Finally the students wearing the red, white, and blue cords were asked to stand for their commitment to the armed forces.  Applause and clapping erupted!  Many people stood to their feet!  Our family was up, cheering our hearts out.

Soon almost the entire auditorium rose to honor these courageous young people with thunderous applause. The cheering seemed to last forever.

Although the roaring applause did last four times as long as the applause for any of the other cords, it did not last forever.  Still it was a moment in time that will live in my heart for eternity. A defining moment.

Patriotism is not dead!

Commitment and sacrifice for your country means something! Something that our lives and freedoms depend on.  We feel that gratitude in our very bones.

My son was the recipient of that gratitude in that moment.  I hope he remembers that moment when it feels as if the entire world is against him.  I hope he remembers that his choice means something that I can barely express, but feel so deeply.

I hope he always remembers that we are so, so proud!

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Born on the Fourth of July

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My third child becomes a teenager today.  Cadin Christopher, “Confident Follower of Christ”, was born on the fourth of July with the shaggiest head of dark hair like his mom and the deepest brown eyes like his dad.

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He was a good and content baby.  He and his older brother and sister became a happy trio.

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They were always together, yet Cadin never felt compelled to do things the way they did things.  He had his own unique talents and tastes from the beginning.  When the other children were happily doing arts and crafts with Grandma, Cadin would be building a model.

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When Areli and Cole would be picking out bathrobes from the Disney Store, Cadin would want Power Ranger Pajamas instead.

He was a sweet and thoughtful boy, yet he had a power that could take you by surprise.  When Cadin was four years old, he and Dad were chasing each other around the house and rough housing as boys love to do.  His dark eyes were shining with joy and his chubby cheeks were bouncing with each step.  I was sitting at the kitchen table when I observed Dad run into the living room with Cadin on his heels.  I saw Cadin take a flying leap into the air right before the kitchen wall obstructed my view.  I heard the most incredible “Boom!” It was the sound I had always imagined when the Giant fell to the ground at the end of the Jack and the Beanstalk story.  I ran into the living room to see what had occurred.  Dad was on the floor laughing hysterically, and Cadin had his arms tightly wrapped around Dad’s legs.  Our four-year old had single-handedly tackled his father to the ground!

As Cadin grew, his eye for detail was incredible.  I would give him the special chores around the house, because I knew that he would do them properly.  He would place the pillows back on the sofas with the stripped pattern matching exactly.  He would put away the silverware with every large spoon and every small spoon in its perfect place.

He struggled with reading for years until suddenly in third grade he began to read everything in sight.  He would pick out special scriptures in the Bible and write them down in his notebook and read them to me.  I was very often encouraged by those words of truth that he had found intriguing.

Just this past school year, Cadin was a lifesaver for me!  I was tired most of the time from being pregnant.  I was still trying to homeschool Cadin and do therapy with my special needs daughter, Ashlyn.  All the other boys were in public school except for Cadin and Courage; the very loud, very demanding, and very active almost two-year old.  Cadin would watch Courage, follow him around, and take care of him almost all day long.  Cadin would even change his diaper and put him in his crib for nap, since Courage was too big for me to lift.  Most of the time Cadin carried out this duty with patience and a fun-loving attitude that Courage just loved.

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I have not yet successfully potty trained a child before the age of three. There might be hope for Courage, however, because Cadin has made this his personal mission. One day I simply suggested to Courage that he should try to go pee. Cadin appeared out of nowhere, scooped up little Courage and held him with one arm. With the other arm thrust out in front of him and pointing towards the upstairs bathroom, Cadin tore through the house at top speed yelling, “GO! GO! GO! This is not a drill!”  This time Courage was the little boy with the bouncing cheeks, loving every minute of this adventure in potty training.

Cadin would complete his homeschool assignment each day while Courage was playing with blocks or sleeping in his crib.  Cadin was very self-motivated.  He has always been a whiz at math, being a year ahead in his math curriculum.  He would organize numbers and solve math problems in ways I had never thought of.  He loves to read books with all sorts of science and history facts.  His joy of learning is evident as he tells me from memory how many feet long the Titanic had been or that a squid has 10 arms.

He has a good heart that wants to do what is right.  He will walk away from watching a TV show if he senses an inappropriate scene is coming.

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He has a fun-loving heart, full of songs for every occasion.

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He is sensitive yet strong; painfully shy at times yet confident.

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I cannot believe he is a teenage already.

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I cannot believe he is my teenager and how incredibly blessed I am to call him my son.