​A Quarter of a Century Spent for Our Country
Recently Joey retired from the army.
My son hosted a party to celebrate.
Here was my input.

I can’t say that living the army life was fulfilling my dream, because I wasn’t.
You would think after 25 years I’d get used to knowing he was to jump out of a plane, but I didn’t.
In fact, every drill weekend I could expect something major to go wrong while Joey was gone or even as he was leaving the driveway. Whether it was the water pump going out, a dog killing a pig, a son cutting himself with a chainsaw, the excursion having a flat---which requires more than a tow truck is equipped to lift it.
It certainly made me not look forward to his going. Those didn’t include the deployments, when he’d write home about being in the bank when a shooting happened in the room next to him, or just serving where Muslims trained their experts to shoot, kill, and destroy, where the news reported of missionaries held hostage and were killed in the cross fire between the good and bad islanders—who can you trust?

Or how does a body choose to jump out of a perfectly functioning plane, not once but for years?
Stories were steady of comrades who broke both legs in a land, or were drug for yards because the strong winds, or standing in a plane all day waiting for a good exit that never happened.
How is a wife supposed to be good with that?
Or when he’d excitedly tell me of another “opportunity” to serve, and I wouldn’t interfere, except to silently pray it would not be so.

Joey would tell me, “If God is sending me, it will be best for you and the boys, too.”
I’d cling to that, not because I wanted to, but because I had to.
And God was faithful.

But what enabled me to trust God in those lonely, trying, long times was also knowing he was with soldiers who had his back, who knew how to protect their leader and would do it, who trained others in weapon use and could also use it when fire was needed, who wanted to serve their country, but also wanted to come home after it was all over, just as much as Joey did—comradery that only comes from working as a unit under danger.

Because the army isn’t about doing dangerous things for a dream.
It’s about protecting our land, families, and faith from destruction.
The men who surrounded Joey were men who believed that too.
They had families to come home too.
And talents they used to help bring Joey home too.

They worked as a team, sometimes a challenging team, as unique idiosyncrasies surfaced, which comes from being together under pressure for long periods of time.
But Joey returned praising his men, with their strengths, contributions, and fortitude. 
That unity forged in the crucible of heat and pressure can never be replicated anywhere else. That’s why army men reunite years later.
I thanked God for those men who God carefully placed around my husband as his front and rear guard who helped bring him home each time. 
God blessed us each time, as Joey returned charged with more stories of God’s protection and care,

I knew the times were not always adrenaline-rushing, danger filled, they were also mundane, lonely, “why am I here?” moments. 
But what he’d tell the boys were the adventures of people who thanked the soldiers for coming and making a difference or of skills shown by soldiers around him.
He’d tell the boys how he was safe, not because the danger wasn’t there, but because with the men who were with him, and with God Who was indeed there, the danger was kept at bay.
I know retirement for Joey was not as acceptable as it was for me.
I was looking forward to less danger, less stress, less time away.
But for Joey, as for any soldier, how do you retire from a group of men who’ve become more than family, they’ve become what you depend upon for survival?
Because it’s not just stories, it’s the faithfulness of God Who brought you together and then brought you home.
It was more than a fulfilled dream--who could imagine living all those stories, those hoo-ay moments, those moments that cause great soul-searching questions to hang onto God, for He was all there was.
How can you want to retire from that?

Yet, as all you soldiers in this room can attest, it must be done.
But the memories, stories and dreams of this camaraderie lasts a lifetime.
And I thank each of you soldiers for that.
Because it makes the dream come true.


I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Displaying all 3 comments

I'm thankful for Joey's service and thankful he has retired too! Thank the Lord for watching over him and all of the rest of us.

Waiting at home is horribly hard, not knowing what's going on most of the time; is he in danger, is he not? And it goes on day after day after day. The relief for you now that it is over is immense I'm sure, but very mixed feelings for Joey. As they call that one book, "Band of Brothers," that's exactly what it is, only much deeper. Knowing what you've gone through, though, I'd say you've more than paid your dues to our country. For you too, God brought you through some very hard times and you must have sometimes wondered if you would "make it." But God was always faithful and to be praised. And He still is.
Congratulations to both of you, for a job well done, God bless you richly in the time ahead. Love, Anne

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under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
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