The photo challenged seemed like a great idea when I first saw the list. But I was rocked to my knees this weekend, so as a result, the very first picture turned out to be more difficult than I thought.
I was in Missouri visiting my cousin this past weekend. My cousin and her husband and I were all out antiquing all day Saturday. When I got back in the car after one of our stops, Sean said, "Debra, they just came on the radio and said a chopper was shot down with at least 20 SEAL's on it." I instantly started running through my mind, "Okay, you just talked to Allie. Where is Michael?" He was supposed to be training. So I got on the phone to check with her. As soon as I dialed her cell, a stranger answered. I asked for Allie, and was told, "We are all answering each others' cells, so that we can keep up with all the calls." This scared me. I held my breath until Allie got on the phone and told me Michael was fine. Until she said, "It was Meiling."
Meiling is an amazing woman. She was a part of the Bible Study I led in Virginia Beach. Strong Christian, dedicated wife, and loving mother. And now, she is a widow. A very young one. Her husband was killed this past weekend protecting our country.
This has shaken up my hometown. There is a huge, strong military presence in Virginia Beach, but the SEAL team there is a smaller, tight-knit community. Many friends and family have been affected by this one crash.
I had planned to head home from Missouri on Sunday, so I got up early and left around 5am. While I was driving and my little ones slept, I listened to the CD's I brought along, and these are just songs pulled from my iTunes account and burned on a disk. It was like the Holy Spirit was in the car with me. I had such songs of encouragement and praise playing, and the sun rose over spotted clouds and periods of rain that just washed down like they were washing my soul. I prayed and praised God for more than two hours. He flooded my mind with all of the Scripture I have learned and read over the years. So that I could in turn pray them over Meiling, and my friend Allie- as she ministers to her dear friend. I shed tears, and expressed sorrow for the loss my friends are now grieving. I also grieved the inability to be there in person to love and support, and generally be hands on. But it was as-if God was saying, "I have you where I want you. Pray." So I am, and I will continue to.
The conversations with Allie are sporadic and at odd times, since she is, "running 24 hour days"- as she says. But this morning, she called to tell me it was time for Meiling to receive the body, and that Scripture was needed now. ASAP. I spent my morning looking up the references to the words Christ had placed within my heart and texting them, so they were available on their phones.
When I had that first conversation with Allie on Saturday, the first thing she asked me was, "Why, Debra?! Why are we doing this again? Why is this happening?" (They lost another friend last year in Afghanistan.) I will tell you what I told her. I don't know. I am human and I don't understand God's ways. They are higher than my own. But I do know this: God is in control. He promised He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Cling to this promise. It is a lifeline.
So my first photo for 30 day challenge is raw. I have shed enough tears in the last three days to last a year. I didn't bother to clean up the image.