Friday, March 23, 2012

I Must Have That Right NOW!

Jodie here. Hope everyone is loving their Friday! I know I am. Despite having a four-day week this week, it has been exceptionally long. By Tuesday's lunch, I'd have promised you I'd already lived through seven work days. Yesterday, I needed Mountain Dew to get me through. Sadly, there was none to be found on our campus. Let's just say the Coca-Cola didn't cut it.

Speaking of needing things... There's a thing that happened to me every time my husband deployed. It's not biblical and it's perhaps a little bit wrong, but it's a fact of deployed-family-member life.

For lack of a better word, we develop little "addictions." The first time, it was clothes for our baby daughter. Friends, we lived at Target. And that little girl was the best-dressed thing you ever saw. Crazy, isn't it?

The second time, it was iced mochas from Starbucks. I drank the things like water. It became apparent that I "needed" them when I decided to give them up while doing Beth Moore's "Daniel" Bible Study. Three days in, our company lost its first soldier. I can well remember gripping the steering wheel with both hands, so hard my knuckles were white, driving past Starbucks and thinking it would all be okay if I could just have some caffeinated, chocolatey comfort. (Thank goodness I'm not a drinker, right?)

Time number three, sweet tea. I discovered "Happy Hour" at Steak and Shake. Large Tea. 32 ounces. Fifty cents. Life was beautiful. Until my pants didn't fit anymore.

What's up with that? One day, I figured it out. I was trying to do was replace my husband with caffeine and sugar. Know what? It wasn't quite the same. And it was downright unhealthy. What I needed was a habit, not an addiction. A walk with the dog in the mornings. A good workout at the gym. An occasional dose of that tea.

Why tell you what I did wrong? Because I think we all do it. And I think it's good to know we're normal, even though we have some things we need to break. And I think we need to know it's possible to make it through the day and the night.... even without a sugar rush.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Answering a Different Call

Jodie here. Today I've got a family on my mind, one I worked with during my husband's second Iraq deployment. They were unique in a way that lives with me today, in a way I wish I could emulate more.

I spent 11 months speaking regularly with the Barnes family. We talked of my husband and their son, Nathan, who was something of an encourager and maybe a little bit of a comedian in our company at Fort Drum. Mr. and Mrs. Barnes were precious parents, so proud of their son, so concerned for his fellow soldiers, so in love with their country.

I was in the opening ceremony of our Bible school in July 2007 when my cell phone rang with my co-FRG leader's number. When I stepped out of church onto the lawn, I could hear in her voice that something was very wrong. Her exact words are lost to me, but I remember like it was yesterday dropping to my knees on the grass when she told me Nathan had been killed. He was shot boarding a helicopter in an Iraqi village. Gone before anyone even realized he'd been hit.

What happened afterwards still defies my understanding. Nathan's family started collecting money and supplies. More and more and more until they filled a shipping container the size of a semi-truck. A shipping container which they sent to the very same tiny village in Iraq where their son was killed.

And then they did it again.

The Iraqi Army commander in that village spoke publicly of Nathan's sacrifice and of how his family responded and how that should encourage all of them to be better people, to grow into something that would make Barnes's memory proud.

The power of forgiveness. The power to overcome hate, to heal hurts, to soothe grief. Sometimes love surpasses understanding, doesn't it?