Monday, May 26, 2014

A Soldier's Heart... The Legacy Lives On

As many of you know, my son "B" is infatuated with all things soldiers.  He has a keen sense of justice, thinks strategically, and is a great defender of those that he loves.  His love for people is unmatched.  He is compassion and tough guy all rolled into one.

I saw this walked out best one day in the car.  We were driving and saw a stranded gentleman motorist on the side of the road.  B wanted to stop and help him and was upset with me that I would not pull over.

I had to explain to him a little "Single Mom 101."  My words to him were, "Son, I cannot stop.  Single women do not stop with 2 kids in the car and no men around to help.  It's just not smart."

My 9 year old (at the time) got fully indignant with me as he said, "You DO have a man in the car.  You have ME."  Point taken, buddy.  Point taken.

Whether he ever decides to wear a uniform or not, this child has a the heart and mind of a soldier.  He loves.  He cares.  He defends.  He stands in the gap.

So, every single time B and I talk about soldiers, we talk about a soldier that he has never met.
Truth be known?  I've never met this soldier either... but I feel as though I have.

This soldier's name was Matthew and he gave all for my son's freedom.  He gave all for my freedom... and for yours, too.

I had the honor of working with his Mom, Anne, for years... and we've had many discussions about how our boys, although separated by years and years in age, were so much alike.  So, I can't help but feel like I knew Matthew, because our talks remind me that I'm living with a young version of him.... complete with solider talk, lego building, video game strategy, and more.

But Matthew grew up.... and chose to take his dreams, skills, passion, and vision where the battles were very, very real.

Matthew fought his final battle in Iraq.

Let that sink in for a moment.

A young man who knew what it meant to lay his life down for his country... and there are so many more Matthew's out there.  So many who choose this every day and so many who fight their last battle so that we can walk in freedom.

Matthew left behind a legacy of fighting the good fight.

His amazing mother is now the "soldier", if you will.  No, she doesn't wear a uniform.... but she has the heart of a solider, just like my son does.

See, she stands in the gap.  She "mans up" in the face of less than what is needed for our veterans. She advocates for those who need it and she celebrates fully when those needs are met.  She sees needs and meets them in moments where no one else can or maybe no one else will.  She has a heart the size of Texas and thinks strategically so as to ensure that that love pours into as many lives as possible. She takes every God-given skill and passion she has and pours them into the lives of our veterans and builds up others to do the same.  Most of all?  She has a keen sense of justice and won't take "no" for an answer when it comes to meeting the needs of our men and women who have served.

So, to my sweet friend, Anne.... THANK YOU.  Thank you for raising a hero and for sharing him with us.  Thank you to your family for their service, for we know our soldiers never, never serve alone.  There are always hearts at home serving alongside them.

I know that there are other Matthew's... many other Matthew's... and that days like Memorial Day are to solely say THANK YOU and pay honor and respect to those who have laid their lives down so that we might live in this land of freedom.

You know what else?  I know that there are more Anne's out there, too.  So many mothers, wives, fathers, husbands, and more who put one foot in front of the other and walk out their God-given destinies so that others may walk out there's, too.

That kind of legacy pays honor to our "final battle fought" soldiers every single day.  I don't want to call them "fallen" soldiers, because I don't think a single one "fell" to anything.  I think they rise up in us each time we choose to defend freedom in our day to day lives.  I believe they live on in us as we fight to make it through the tough days and as we celebrate the beauty that still remains on this side of heaven.

My heart likes to think that their final battles continues to be fought through each of us, also.

That we wake up daily and make their sacrifice worthwhile... 
That we not waste one single moment that they fought for, my friends.,,

Real super heroes wear dog tags.  My son knows it and so many other little soldiers do, too.
Today we honor your families as we remember you, but EVERY DAY we wake up and breathe the air of freedom, we thank you and God above for the Matthew's out there who gave all. , 2014 
Twitter: @ChristieAitken 
Google+: +Christie Aitken 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Safe Mother's Day Post

If you are not too fond of Mother's Day, I assure you that this is a safe post to read.  

It's FOR you. 

Whether you lost your Mom, or never knew her...

Whether you desperately long to be a mom, or are a single Mom longing for a small break...

Whether you have not spoken to your Mom in years, or are a mother who hasn't seen your children in years...

Whether you are a Mom who chose adoption -- and love that choice- but MISS your kids, or are a Mom with the heartbreaking hole that abortion leaves behind...

Whether you are a Mom who has a child that has gone astray, or a Mom who lost her child to heaven far too soon...

I'm convinced that the heart of EVERY woman is hugging you today.

We may not know what to say to one another, but we want to connect. Our scars may be different, but our connection through the LOVE of HOPE  is always the same.

How do we walk this out, though?  A day that is riddled with pain for some and celebration for others... how do we do it, Lord?

A day when we so want to celebrate with the women in our lives, but simply can't be present?

How do we walk in joy when our feelings are crying, "NOT.  ANOTHER. MOTHER'S DAY.  PICTURE.  I just can't take it, Lord"?

We lean into Nehemiah 8:10.  "The joy of the Lord is my strength."

Sweet sister, we let Revelation 21:4 become our banner. "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

John 16:22 takes on a whole new meaning.  "So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."  It won't be like this for long, ladies.

We remember what was, but we look ahead to what will be.  We take our dreams and place them in the hands of the One who puts desires into our hearts in the first place.  We draw closer to Him, because we know that in His care, wounded hearts are healed.

Phil. 1:3 says, "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you..." and I did today.  All day long.

I thanked God for the heroes that women are EVERY day. 

Titus 2: 3 -5 says it beautifully, "...and so train the young women to love...."

There's so much more than that, but that part is the focus here.  We need spiritual mothers in our lives to train us to love... because the greatest of these IS LOVE.  

No matter where our journey has taken us or will take us, God's asking each of us to become her... a spiritual mother.  If you already are her? Start asking God to expand your territory.  Because this m
ission field is a large one, and sister, we need you out there.

See, to be a spiritual mother, you don't have to have children.

To be a spiritual mother, you only have to be close to Jesus and want to love His kids and mentor them in how to walk out His love in day to day life.

I see you being a spiritual mother to many.  I see it clearly... and I see God patiently waiting on you to accept that role when you are ready.  

In the gap, let's accept each other's attempts to love each other.  We may not always get it right, but we will always love.  

As women, God created us with with hearts full of compassion, caring, and nurturing spirits.  We may walk those traits out differently, but it's all in there.

I promise.

So to every mother, thank you for what you do... and Happy Mother's Day.  Because today belongs to EVERY single one of you.  I pray that you claim it and walk in the joy of His love.

He sees you... and we love you.  And we absolutely need you., 2014 
Twitter: @ChristieAitken