I have so many things to catch up on, but I must do that another day and focus on a HAPPY BIRTHDAY post to my new teenager!
YES, I DID SAY TEENAGER!
I know, I know! I can't really believe it either!
13 years already? HOW???
This is all happening WAY too fast for my liking!
My firstborn is SO old that I don't even have digital pics of him as an infant. NOPE, those were snap and print days! 1998
I found out I was pregnant with Garrison two weeks after I graduated from college. We hadn't really planned to start having children so soon...two years into marriage when I was barely 21!
However, we all know man makes his plans, but God directs his steps. Sometimes our plans get changed up a bit!
I will never forget the moment I knew for sure God was changing those plans. For a little while, I had started noticing this feeling like it was time, so I prayed and fought and prayed and fought. Then, one Saturday night, while worshiping in church, we were singing a song that says, "I want all that you have for me Jesus...all that you have for me..."
My heart was so convicted as I was saying inside, "God, no, I don't, do I? I know what you are putting on my heart, and I am scared." And then...I kid you not, a few seconds later, I heard a male voice say plain as day, "Don't block it." TWICE.
The crazy thing was that I already KNEW there were few people at all around me where Tom and I were sitting and NO males, except my husband! To this day, I cannot tell you whose voice I heard, but I have NO DOUBT it was something heaven-sent...a divine message to let us know this child was for such a time as this!
I was trembling. I was scared to tell Tom, but as best I could, I told him and that night, being the AWESOME, AMAZING, GOD-FEARING AND LOVING MAN he is, he went to the cabinet and threw my birth control pills in the garbage and said he wasn't going to be responsible for blocking anything from God.
That was that. It didn't take long before our little baby was a cookin' in the oven. We praise the LORD that we had no trouble with conception and God's blessing was on the way.
At that time, I couldn't have understood why God would want us to begin having children, but now I am so very thankful everything timed out as it has. God always knows what is best for us if we will just trust and obey.
Tom was supposed to be out to sea when Garrison arrived, but Providence took care of that as well and Garrison arrived early.
The birth experience was not the best, but certainly not the worst. There was humor (popsicle stuck to my tongue). There was sorrow (drugs knocking me out so hard that I was barely coherent, waking up only for contractions). But in the end, there was unspeakable joy...our first baby boy!
Oh how I thought I wanted a girl and how God so knew what I really needed! We got no Mikalyn Rae, but we did get Garrison Thomas...weighing in at 8 lbs. 5 oz. He was a beautiful baby...his skin looked golden tan and his hair looked frosted.
And his Daddy had to say goodbye to him when he was only 12 days old. He would be away from him for the next 3 months on a submarine...defending our freedoms and protecting us from evil...while he missed many precious moments. And, he would do this for the next four years of Garrison's life.
My heart is heavy, and I am fighting tears as I type these words and remember what each goodbye was like. My husband committed himself to the Silent Service...committed himself to leave the comfortable and the personal joys of life to stand guard for millions of people all over the world that he would never know.
He missed countless days and moments of his son's life...moments he could never get back, to make sure that son could grow up in a world that was a little safer.
Just a few days ago, we heard the breaking news that Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist group, Al-Qaeda had been found and executed. Watching the reactions of citizens...reading their words in all forms of media was very interesting.
I must say that I have often been offended by statements made about the military. Many cutting words that are not usually based in fact, but instead on assumptions by those who "hate violence."
I know most people aren't trying to punch military families in the gut with what they say...most just want a peaceful world, but how I wish they could understand how those words feel to people who have sacrificed so much so that they can have the freedom to state their opinions!
I do not know even ONE military service member who wants to kill another human being...even in special services. To truly know someone in the military is to know that they have a drive...I even dare call it a mandate...that they are called to serve their country...to protect...to even lay down their life if needbe. If you don't have this in you or you have never been very close to someone who does, you likely will not understand it.
As I said, not one of them that I know wants to have to shoot another human being, but like Jesus, they bear their cross for the greater good of all humanity.
Tom and I did not rejoice that this man had to lose his life or spend eternity separated from Jehovah God, but we most certainly rejoiced that evil was crippled and the message was sent that no matter how long it takes, evil will not just be tolerated...that evil will not be allowed to prevail.
This man had no intention of changing his ways and by the snare of his own words, said that he would have to be killed before he would stop!
Some man of honor pulled that trigger for the greater good of all because discussing it over a cup of tea was not going to be effective with a man so deceived and foolish.
Some man, who has likely spent months away from his family and lost moments he can never get back, disregarded his own life, stood up to evil and put a stop to it...and will now receive tongue-lashing from countless people who "hate violence." But, I thank that man because I know first-hand that he and many like him, now and down through history, have stood on the wall...while I get to be with my son celebrating another birthday.
Garrison~when I think of the state of the world you are becoming a man in, I feel sick to my stomach. I find myself torn between crying out to Jesus to return and knowing how many still have no relationship with Him. I'm not even sure how to tell you how much I wish shooting someone to stop them from their evil ways hurts me. I don't know if I am explaining these things to you correctly or how they may be affecting your heart as you grow. There is so much I want to shelter you from, and the reality of how much I can't sometimes keeps me up at night. I cannot save you from the pain and grief of this fallen world. I can only do my best to listen to God and prepare you for your place in it. Your name means strong, protection, fortification and strong and protective describes you perfectly. You are wise beyond your years...compassionate to all...trustworthy down to the smallest detail...and completely sold-out to your Savior. You do not have the same drive to stand on the front lines of battle like your Dad, but you were certainly made for leadership and spiritual warfare. The enemy has tried to come against you and wreck havoc in your life, but greater is He in you than that ole enemy in the world! I have the most sorrow over your childhood, for you have had to bear with me through many periods of self-growth. I don't know that another child could have weathered it and forgiven the way you have son. I know beyond any doubt that we were meant for each other. You have always been there to hug me, hold me, pray for me and help me. What you probably don't know is how you guide me and teach me. You are truly one of the most incredible and baffling humans I know! I'm humbled to call you son and blessed to have you call me mom. I do not worry for your future, for I know that no matter what happens in this world, you know who you are and Whose you are. If I had to sum up your life it would be in these two phrases: " I was made to love You" (the Toby Mac song you sang at camp that completely embodies what you seem to be created for) and " To live is Christ and to die is gain" (which completely states what you live for). You absolutely amaze me, and I know Jesus more because of you. You have told me 3 times that you feel called to the people of Iraq. I have no idea what that means for any of us, but I am in full support of whatever God calls you to do. And son, I know that no matter what that is, you will see it through with the utmost integrity and humble passion...with honor and respect, and the willingness to lay down your life for the greater good...just like your Daddy...just like that man that was able to pull that trigger.