Over the years, I have heard and seen the many breaking hearts of military mommas. If I overheard a mom talking about her son serving oversees, and how much she missed him, I would feel so sad for her. Or, if I’d see a Facebook post from a friend missing her military daughter, who wouldn’t be coming home any time soon, I’d think of how hard that must be. The ones that really got me were the mothers who hadn’t heard from their baby in quite some time, and they weren’t sure if their child was even safe. Those posts would tug so hard at my heart. But, the ones I feel most for are the parents who have said goodbye to their children, only to never see them whole again; either by way of physical death, emotional death or, worst of them all, spiritual death. I pray for these moms and dads specifically on this Independence Day.
Independence Day represents so much for our country; freedom, liberty, justice and more. It is a day that we give thanks for living in the land of the free, but more importantly, the home of the brave. Without the brave men and women who risked their lives, even unto death, we would not have the luxuries that we do.
A few weeks after Christiano passed away, I had lunch with a friend. I was explaining to her that through this tragedy my heart was so broken. But, not just for me, for other moms who had lost children, the grieving moms who nursed their sick child until death, moms who lost their child in an unexpected accident, and the military moms who lost their children fighting for my freedom. I could relate now to how it felt to send your son out into the world to be independent for the first time ever; to be free to make his own choices, even though you’d really just like for him to stay under your care forever. I could relate to waiting for a call from him and feeling so excited when the phone finally rang. But, worst of all, I know what it is like to never get that chance to say goodbye; to be robbed of that last hug or those final words. Sharing this with my friend was helpful. Especially, because I will never forget what she said to me. She said, ‘Shannon, you can relate because you are a military mom. Your son is a soldier who fought in an army, too – the Lord’s army. And, he has probably received all kinds of medals and honor.’
How that blessed me that day and continues to now. Because, as free as we may feel in America, we are never fully free until we receive this truth – that there is One who truly paid the price for our freedom, so that we never have to die. His name is Jesus, and He is the most brave. Even though He was innocent, He took on all of our pain, our sin, our death, so that we might LIVE forever to be with God for all eternity; to a place with no pain and no death – where we will see our loved ones again. And, that is my hope on this first Independence Day without my soldier. Life is not easy, and the pain we experience is real, but there will be a day with no more suffering and no more pain. My friends, it is there that we will see the best display of fireworks; and what a glorious day it will be.
‘And [Jesus] being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient unto death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,to the glory of God the Father.’ Philippians 2:8-11