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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Son, The Marine

In just a few days my son will leave the comfort of our home to travel to Parris Island, South Carolina.  This is not a vacation adventure.  No, the trip is for basic become a Marine.

I fully support his decision to serve our country and have known for several months that this day would come.  So why do I have a lump in my throat and feel churning in the pit of my stomach?

Recently, I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) and the featured story of the hour was the involvement of the United States Marines Corps in World War I.  The Battle of Belleau Wood was cited as "one of the bloodiest and most ferocious battles U.S. forces would fight in the war."  This historic battle, which occurred near the Marne River in France, is where our soldiers received the nick name, "Devil Dogs."  This term of endearment was a result of the soldiers' diligence, ferociousness, sacrifice and valor exhibited during the battle.

To hear the full story, visit:  Morning Edition: NPR, France to Honor, 'Les Sammies,' Uncle Sam's World War I Troops.

As I listened to the gory details of the battle, it hit me.  All of the emotions I had been loosely managing up until that moment bubbled quickly to the surface.  The realization that my oldest son would soon be training to possibly fight in future similar battles came crashing over me like a giant wave thrashing on rocks near a shore.

Fighting back tears, I wondered how I would cope.  How was I going to release my son to the United States Government and simply trust he is going to be okay?  I came up with a few ways to cope.

Be Present-  As the days pass with fierce quickness, I am intentional about the time I spend with my son.  Not only will he be without his cell phone during basic training, but he will not be allowed to write for the first 2-3 weeks.  No immediate contact?  Wow.  Breathe, mom, breathe.  This reality pushes me to soak up as much of his presence as I can while he is still at home.  I am taking in every detail I see-his smile, his laugh, his quirkiness and his positive, brave attitude.  I am hugging him a little tighter and listening a little more intently.  I am being present.

Focus on the Positives-It would be easy to focus on the state of our governmental affairs and the possibility of war.  I have to be intentional about thinking on other aspects.  There is no doubt in my mind my son is going to change tremendously as a result of this new chapter in his life.  I will focus on the positive changes.  I will focus on the great life lessons he will learn, the people he will meet and the level of maturity he will gain as a result of basic training and beyond.  He has aspirations to make the Marines his career.  I will focus on the successful career he will definitely have.

Pray-I do not underestimate the power of prayer.  I will pray for my son's experience at basic training and will continue to pray once he begins his tours.  Specifically, I will pray Psalm 91 over him.

Psalm 91
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 Azaan will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I will trust.”
3 Surely he will save Azaan
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover Azaan with his feathers,
    and under his wings Azaan will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be Azaan's shield and rampart.
5 Azaan will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at Azaan's side,
    ten thousand at Azaan's right hand,
    but it will not come near Azaan.
8 Azaan will only observe with his eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If Azaan says, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake Azaan,
    no disaster will come near Azaan's tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning Azaan
    to guard Azaan in all his ways;
12 they will lift Azaan up in their hands,
    so that Azaan will not strike his foot against a stone.
13 Azaan will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    Azaan will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because Azaan loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect Azaan, for he acknowledges my name.
15 Azaan will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with Azaan in trouble,
    I will deliver Azaan and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy Azaan
    and show him my salvation.”

In Jesus' name.  Amen.

By being present, focusing on the positive and praying, my son's upcoming departure will be just a little bit more palatable.

Shatanese Reese is a blogger and author of future books who resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children. She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises. Shatanese’s goal is to find the extraordinary in every day moments.

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