Thursday, May 27, 2010

Riddle Me This

It's been a long week and even though I have a ton on my mind I'm having a hard time translating that to a blog post.  Please have grace on me-I'll come up with something witty and insightful soon but for now I'm going to leave you with the following questions:

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?  Is this one thing a result of insecurity?

If you could change one thing about your spouse what would it be?  Would you change this one thing because it would make your life easier or would it be in your spouses best interest?

Will you encourage your children (biological or adopted) to adopt? 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Empty Mind, Full Heart

I've sat down three times to write today and it's just not happening.

So today, whether you are over the moon with joy or wishing it was Friday already, take a moment for YOU!  Remind yourself that you are a daughter of the most high King.  A royal princess.

No crown of thorns required.

Love, April

Friday, May 21, 2010

Love and Adoption

A friend of mine had her baby last night.  A big, healthy baby boy that will change her life forever just by his presence outside of her body.  I want to tell her how his smile is going to burrow deep into the secret places in her heart.  Or how she will cry when he takes his first steps because there is no turning back from that kind of independence.

Parenting is an amazing metamorphosis of the soul.  I think if you took the fabric of my being, the cells that sustain my life, and looked at them under a microscope before and after becoming a parent, there would be a physical and noticeable change.  You can not bring another human being into the world and remain stagnant.

I remember when Prim came home.  I had an exhaustion both physically and emotionally as if I had given birth.  But instead of a sore body (and leaky boobs) I had an aching heart for a little girl who did not feel like my own because she had not claimed me as hers. 

It's one thing to parent and love a child that was birthed from your womb.  A child that you pridefully look at and boast the obvious physical connection from you or your spouse.  The lips, the hair, the eyes.  The way they wrinkle their nose in their sleep.  And, oh, those sweet baby fingers and toes.  But to hold a child that is-quite honestly-in the depths of despair, takes no solace in your soothing words or loving embrace, will change you.  Big time.

Let me go back to what I said about Prim not feeling like mine until she claimed me as hers.  It had nothing to do with not feeling like she was my daughter.  That girl was mine all right.  Look at her cross eyed and I'd turn into a version of myself that would probably leave you speechless.  She was mine from the minute I saw her.

But what I mean is is that I had to earn the privilege of being her mother.  I had to endure the crying, the screaming, the anguish.  I had to bear the brunt of her grief, her anger and loss.  I was not entitled to her love just because I was given the title of mother.

I had to wait.  My heart had to be patient.  I was on her time table, not my own.  You see, her DNA has changed.  She was a girl, living a sweet life with a big family.  She didn't understand that she was not theirs for keeps.  She had custom, language and routine that comforted her for twenty two months.  She had familiar mommy kisses and older sibling coddling.  She already had a family that she had faithfully given her little heart to.  And then we came.

And we left.


All of the familiar was gone.  All of the comfort taken.  We did not have to change our lives but she had to alter everything she knew to fit into our family.  I know that in many ways-ways in which I may not anticipate or foresee-it changed her.  Maybe not for the worse.  Maybe not for the best.  Change can often be a mixture of both. Oil an vinegar or cinnamon and sugar.  Only time will tell.  But sometimes, in quiet moments,  I think about that baby in Thailand and wonder who she would be if she were still there and not here. 

I don't know when it was that the real healing began.  I can't put a date to it, there was no message in the sky that announced YOU DID IT! in fluffy white letters.  But slowly, after seasons had changed, a few birthdays celebrated and many tears shed, I was still a life vest but Prim was no longer sinking.

She moved from surviving to living.

Gasping to breathing. 


And after a while, when she called me mom, I knew she meant it.  I knew she felt it.  There is room in her heart for me and that my friends, is a sweet place to be.

This post is dedicated to K & J and their beautiful baby boy 'Kawika'.  May God bless your journey with all of the joys and challenges that come with the privilege of parenting.   We love you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Though Doth Not Mope

So I realize that yesterdays post may have seemed a bit....somber.  My bad.  That really was not my intention, but intentions be darned and maybe I was a bit mopier than I realized.

I think the thing about military life is that sometimes (i.e. always) it can leave you feeling a bit vulnerable.  I equate being a military spouse to living in the wild, wild west.

Without the corset dresses and lawlessness mind you.

Often the road ahead seems like uncharted territory.  A new duty station, a new city, can often seem just as desolate as a ghost town, blowing tumbleweeds and all.  It takes a strong constitution to unpack your new home in two days in order to host your first social gathering of strangers or walk into your eighth new church in eleven years.  I've done it and I'm sure I'll have to do it again.

You know you are a military spouse when you plan babies around deployment schedules and duty stations.

You know you are used to military life when said military interrupts your careful (and strategic) planning and you have your baby without darling husband by your side.  Oh.  And that rockin' duty station that will give you two years of marital togetherness? Got changed. A week before you are supposed to move.

The thing is, is that military life has been my spiritual saving grace.  I have been forced-out of a sheer desire to stay sane-to give God control of these life experiences that oftentimes leave me breathless.  I can honestly say, that after eleven years I am a walking, living example of Philippians 4:6-7 when it comes to my husbands deployments.  He is on the ground in Iraq and I do not have fear or anxiety.

It doesn't keep me up at night.  I don't get anxious when I hear the news about a roadside bomb.  I don't say to myself what if.  I have peace that can only be described as supernatural. 

God has seen fit to use our military life as a parallel to our journey with infertility.  I get it.  I am not in control.  I do not know the future and I have to find joy in my self imposed suffering.  I could almost laugh about it if I weren't so busy crossing my arms and frowning.  Like a four year old.  Throwing a temper tantrum.

I am blessed.  Even when my ovaries are working against me.  Even when the military makes a mockery of my careful and very reasonable plans.  I can find peace in the God who is Love.  There is joy in the waiting because God is in every twist and turn.  If I didn't have faith I think I would melt.

In a big teary puddle.  And I don't wear waterproof mascara.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nobody Here But Us Whiners

So I'm sitting here pondering something profound to write about and all I get is that sound like when they're doing a test of the emergency broadcast system in the middle of your favorite television show.


This is a test of your sanity after weeks of fertility drugs and fifty transvaginal ultrasounds.


Really.  All I hear in my head is a whole lot of high pitched nothin'.

I think it's because I feel stuck.  When I am anticipating something big I have the bad habit of finding my feet glued to the ground and my one track mind stuck in nuetral.

I'm trying to pray through it.  Over and over again saying "Your will not my own"  sometimes more fervently because I find I'm having to talk over myself.  Here I am hoping God hears my obedience and faithfulness and really what I want Him to hear is make me pregnant pretty please with a cherry on top! 

Do I know how to put God in a box or what?  Someone give this girl a prize!!

I wonder if God leans over to Jesus and says poor, poor dear.  Look how hard she tries not to be manipulative in prayerIt's almost cute in a way, but really, when will she learn...

The thing is, is that it's not the end of the world if it didn't work this time.  We'll have to wait until Husband returns home at the end of the year to try again but other than that this is definitely not the end. I'm still young right?

Speaking of Husband.

It's been almost a month since he's left and we can finally start counting down his return home.  He sounds a bit sad when I talk to him.  Overwhelmed with an underwhelming job and a boss who doesn't listen.  He pours himself into work so he doesn't have to think about missing home and I can hear it in his voice every time he calls that he wishes he were here instead of there.

You'd think that would be the natural reaction but my husband loves being in the Navy.  He loves knowing that he's where God needs him to be and loves being a part of something bigger than himself.  Last year when he deployed he felt a huge sense of accomplishment-really proud of the job him and his team were doing to catch the bad guys.  Now? Not so much.  

So it looks like we're both stuck.

In a rut.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Laughs

I have a warped sense of humor and this to me is what funny is all about.  (It also doesn't hurt that we have this same contraption for our beagle and have "tried" it as well-although not on our necks and NOT to this degree.) 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

So, we're on day two of treatments, our second IUI will be this afternoon, so very soon after writing this I plan on being comatose for at least an hour so I can RELAX!

I will say that yesterdays treatment was not without disappointment.  Unfortunately, with science comes consequences and the thawing process was not kind to us.  Our count was very, very low which will significantly decrease our chance for success unless today's unthaw provides better results.

I must admit I was a bit deflated and discouraged.  I was so energized by the great response to Follistim and thought "this is it".  Of course, never say never, but I am more cautious than optimistic today.

I poured out my heart to Husband by email last night, asking him to pray for me to have peace.  I know that if this does not work it's not the end of the road, just the end for now.  We will not be able to resume until November when he returns home from deployment.  He called me this morning happy, excited and encouraging.  I love that he is my constant cheerleader and says "just have faith babe.  God is good". 

And he's right.  God is not only good but amazing.  All I have to do is look at my beautiful children to see the miracles He's provided for our family.   My biggest prayer right now is one that I say over and over-it was what Jesus spoke in the garden before His persecution and death:

"Not my will but Yours be done"

God, You are bigger than numbers, You are bigger than infertility, You are bigger than me.  Not my will but Yours. Amen.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Thing Is

This is the thing with infertility.  Every decision that you make is a deliberate, one-foot- in-front-of-the-other step towards the future.  It is being totally aware that each and every decision is a choice to change your life.

I am missing my husband and today he feels further away than most.  This is the part of the process I like the least.  The feeling of separation that is there, even if he were next to me holding my hand because it's not as it should be.

But today is a good day.  One filled with promise and anticipation and the possibility of new life and love.  I have butterflies in my stomach.  I feel a bit like a girl with a secret that can't help but share.

I'm not sure how I will handle this going forward, I am on self imposed shaky ground in my desire to be open about the process.  Please forgive me if I don't say anything about the outcome either way-for different reasons I may be quiet.

If you think of me today will you say a prayer? 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ho Hum and A Bottle of Rum

Totally kidding about the rum.  Got 'ya thinking, though, didn't it?

My mother is here.  She came last weekend and will be here through the end of this month.  Could there be anything more wonderful than sweet mommy hugs when Husband is gone?

Already the time seems to be flying by even as I think to myself this next six months is going to take forever.  I think doctors appointments and shuffling to and from school are keeping my mind busy.  It's almost a good thing that I am side tracked by follicle size and injection dosages.

Speaking of all things infertile, things in the baby making region seem to be going much better on Follistim than on Clomid.  Already we have surpassed last months stopping point and it looks as if we can go ahead with the IUI within the next week or so. Right now I waiver between the excitement of becoming pregnant (God willing) and trepidation at the thought of possible multiples.

Jesus take the wheel...

The PCOS medication, Metformin, thankfully! has been almost side effect free.  Happily the dry mouth is lessening and the craving for sweets has diminished significantly.  My RE says that being on Metformin can help lower the risk of hyper-ovulation so for that reason alone I am thankful that I'm taking this medication.

What else can I bore you with today? There are no hot topics jumbled up in my mind today except for politics but I've decided not to go there. 

OH! My brilliant son got accepted into the Gifted & Talented program for 2nd grade.   I'm so happy he got Husband's smarty pants and still shows creativity and a love of books from me-his most right brained momma.

Prim has gone almost four days without a temper tantrum.  Now to some of you, you may think-And your point is? 

Let me tell you, I am a much calmer mom on the inside without the screaming and feet stomping.  She has shown wonderful self control but I must admit that it is mostly me taking that extra breath and anticipating her sensitivity to certain situations that may be helping most.

Not to say, It's all about me and look how great I am for being patient.  It's really more of it's about time you started paying more attention to the little things dummy.

One day I'll catch on.

And seriously, don't you love the picture??  Babies on the brain...

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Didn't Forget On Purpose

It was Mother's Day and I didn't think of Prim's birth mom.  Not once.

It wasn't until this morning, when I saw Sharon's Facebook post, that I thought of that young girl so very far away.  What does that say about me? That I didn't think about the girl who gave life to our daughter.  The one who will say goodbye a thousand times (maybe) throughout her life while I watch every milestone and cherish every hug.

I didn't mean to forget.  But sometimes I do.  There are days when her adoption is so far from my mind.  There are more days when I think I should remember giving birth to her myself.  I actually try and recall those first few moments of our meeting to remind myself of how she got here and then feel sad that I didn't carry her for those precious nine months.

It's not that I forget on purpose.  Birthdays are more poignant to me than Mother's Day where her birth mother are concerned but still......I wonder as time goes on if I will think of her less or more...

Friday, May 07, 2010

Striving for Perfection: A Lesson in Futility Part III

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  As I wrap up this last post on perfection I would like to say a few things before jumping in. 

I am highlighting the difficult because there is a stigma.  A pink elephant, self imposed stigma on marriage.  Especially Christian marriages.  We have all been, at some point, afraid that someone is going to play the un-Christian card against us.  We smile in church and show up looking shampooed and put together so that the world sees our very, very Godly best.  They will not see that we argued on the way to church about something petty and insignificant.  They don't want to know that hubby slept on the couch last night because he may have indirectly inferred that we exercise.  For our health.  It's not important to mention that there have been nights when we slept on tear stained pillows, praying for morning and a fresh start.

Case in point.  Who can forget the Gosselins?  No really.  Who can forget them because they're everywhere and they won't go away.  Their show Jon & Kate Plus 8 was a huge hit.  Why did people watch?  Because this self professed Christian couple ripped on each other at every turn.  Didn't it make us feel soooo much better about our own marriages?   Didn't many of us say-from our very high horse- I. would. never!

I don't know how many times I read online the accusation that they couldn't possibly be Christians.  Uh-Uh.  No way, no how the Lord was in that house.  Judge, judge, judge.  A Christian woman would never berate her husband that way, her husband never sell out her insecurities and OCD tendencies on national television, especially in front of their precious children.


This isn't about Jon & Kate but it is about the ugliness that can hide and fester, oozing into our marriages like cancer.  If memory serves me correctly I have been demanding, demeaning, self serving and selfish within the confines of my marriage.  I have been angry, disgusted and antagonizing all towards the one person I promised to respect and cherish for the rest of my life.  And I am a Christian woman.

I have learned the hard way that life is not what I imagined it would be.  That has meant that it has been both difficult and immeasurably sweet.  Humbling and ethereal.  I have had more fun, cried more tears and laughed harder than I ever thought I would on this journey called life.

My problem with perfection was not with H but with myself.  H being perfect meant that I could ride on his coat tails and share the light that reflected from his golden halo.  I could bask in the ease of his perfectness and not have to do the hard work.

I know.  It sounds almost ridiculous but at the time I thought I had it pretty much right and pretty much altogether.  Recognizing and accepting everything about him meant changing some things about me, especially those little bitty expectations that kept bobbing about in my self serving ocean.   It meant really seeing him for the man God made him to be, not the man I thought I deserved-who should have been, in a word-perfect.

A long time ago God saw to it that I marry a man who would and never could be perfect.  Because if he was than I would not have turned to God in my moments of weakness.  I would not have learned to die to myself and be reborn under the blood of the only perfect Man.  We could never have grown together and eventually would have dissolved under the pressure-good intentions are nothing without God's direction.

God was in each and every moment and I'm sure there were times when He had great sadness for us.  But now I hope He smiles because we listened.  I listened.

Colossians 3:14 says
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Love is perfect when God is in it.  It is healing, it is renewing and it can take your breath away.  I see so clearly the gift that God gave me in my husband.  I am humbled that He said you are my choice for himHe is my choice for youEnjoy, experience and let Me be in it.

If I could do it again, if my vows were spoken today I would say this:

My love, when I was still a girl, it was the idea of you that captured my heart.
I dressed you up in shining gilded armor, perched you on top
of a magnificent white horse and said,  
take me away to happily ever after.
What I know now is that you are more than perfect.
You are better than happily ever after.
You are real and you are mine.
You have carried my heart across oceans and desserts.
Faithfully tucked away where I am only yours.
Our love is deeper than time and wider than space.
You are my safe place to fall.  My forever friend.
Thank you for loving me. 

To my husband, who has watched me grow from a young woman to a mother and wife, I love you.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Striving for Pefection: A Lesson in Futility Part II

If you haven't read Part I please head on over here before going further.  It's for your benefit not mine-I tend to babble and it will keep things fluid...

If you're back for more of my ugly, imperfect self say a quick prayer that my words will be completely of the Lord.  My purpose in writing about challenges in our marriage is to acknowledge and testify that we stumble when we put ourselves before God.  And marriage is not a race but, hopefully, if we are blessed enough to grow wrinkly old together, a marathon of joys and challenges. 

Now. Where were we?

I often wonder why I had this attitude of needing things to be perfect.  I certainly was not perfect and really didn't expect it of myself.  If I did I would be a meticulous housekeeper and that, my friends, is not the case.

Did I expect mediocrity for me?  No.  Did I hold myself to the same standards as my spouse?  I said I did but probably not.  Secretly I thought he should be more like me.  More sensitive, more understanding, maybe even more passive for the sake of my pride.

I can remember being a child of the 80's. I know, just saying it gives me jelly bracelet, Madonna and side pony tail flash backs.  For me, growing up had everything to do with how I envisioned my future.  I was one big, romantic mess thrust in front of a television or boom box to be schooled in relationships.  Put upon by evocative music lyrics like "I Want Your Sex" and "Like a Virgin" my perceptions of love, maturity and marriage became distorted and out of sync with what I had been taught by my parents.  I saw perfection played out in ninety minutes on a movie screen and thought to myself, "I want that".

Am I blaming society or Hollywood for my unrealistic ideals of love and marriage? Absolutely not.  But I can honestly say, as a young, impressionable girl, when you begin to romanticise a thin, legs-up-to-here prostitute that is swept off her feet by a rich, seemingly perfect man-there is room for cracks in the foundation.  And don't even get me started with Top Gun.  That movie was just one big falic symbol rolled up in Tom Cruise goodness (before his couch jumping and weird religion gave me the heebie jeebies).

But I digress.

Let's leave the 80's and move into 1998.  Marriage day.  White dress, white gloves, white chapel.  Vows, not-so-first kiss, bubbles (rice was no longer fashionable or safe for bird consumption).  Cake, friends and family, the Ritz Carlton Hotel.  Back to work on Monday for new, darling husband.  Reality hit on Tuesday.


And ever.  Oh crap.

I had no idea how to be a wife.  I was a amazing girlfriend-rocked the casbah in that department.  Loved his friends, loved his job, loved his mess. Our long distance, weekend relationship had been effortless and our four month engagement even better.  Fresh, exciting, new.  Now there were *gasp* expectations on both sides and not a single one spoken out loud.  Just.  Expected.  Quietly, painfully, brewing beneath the surface expectations. 

H had been an amazing boyfriend as well.  Thoughtful, generous, PATIENT.  Wow did that patience win me over.  He thought of me as quirky sometimes but loved the role of "I know better than you, but aren't you adorable".  I can't blame him-I put him there.  I loved how tough and stormy he could be because it made me feel safe.  He was, in some ways, an extension of my father.  I made him my solid rock and expected him to never waiver.

I began to change my way of thinking shortly after the birth of our beautiful son.  Our miracle.  H was deployed and I delivered with the support of friends and family. But there was no husband to welcome our son with a kiss and no looks of adoration for the bride who gave him his first child.  It was extremely painful to have that experience without him and soon after, the creeping, nagging thoughts whispered to me in those quiet moments alone with our new baby.

I did this all on my own.

I didn't need you after all.

You left me and I was still fine.

I am a good mother even without you here.

My pride began to grow, filling every void that had been opened with loneliness and insecurity.  That pedestal slowly made it's way into the earth's atmosphere and I established myself as martyr extraordinaire.  I was blameless and faultless because I had been (in my mind) abandoned.  Again and again and again.

How could he compete with that?

I know you might be wondering where God is in all of this but stick with me. We're getting there. Come back tomorrow as I finish Part III of my futile journey in perfection. 

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Striving for Perfection: A Lesson in Futility Part I

Four score and eleven years (plus some months) ago I entered into the legally binding, altogether consuming bonds of matrimony.  At twenty one, in love and in desperate need of rescue I married a man who, to me, epitomized perfection.

Perfectly established.

Perfectly patient.

Perfectly encouraging and empathetic.

Perfectly driven.

Perfectly six years older to take on roles as both father and husband.

We shared a love of everything in the beginning and seemed to compliment each other in the ways that mattered most.  Him, the charming naval officer, me the young and *oh so skinny at the time* trophy wife.  Both fiercely conservative, appropriately extroverted and mutually faithful to God and family.

I made him perfect enough for the both of us.  And then later.  So much later when life did not go my way-I resented him for it. 

Gone was the care free girl who looked up to him like a doting child.  The golden pedestal I had placed him on began to slowly tarnish and crumble over the years as separation, infertility and loneliness crept into my heart like a disease. 

Thankfully and by the grace of God the love did not die. We had fun, entertained, filled our time with friends and family, traveled.  We still managed to laugh despite the biting, sarcastic banter that became our way of communicating.  This, it seemed, was what marriage was. Growing older, growing apart and settling.

It wasn't until we had two and half years together with no deployments, little travel and an abundance of time together that we realized-we really don't like each other. Really. Did. Not.  In the quiet times when the kids slept there was little to say and that became better than speaking with empty words.

I felt cheated. He was no longer perfection to me.  His pedestal had become replaced with comparison, bitterness and utter disappointment.  How could I love someone so utterly imperfect? After all of these years, had I misjudged my needs?  Was he enough for my forever?

I can say these things now because I am the proverbial fool.  A charlatan masked as a semi-pious Christian woman.  When I said for better or for worse I did not mean it.  Oh, I thought I did.  I promised and vowed with every beat of my twenty one year old heart but what I really said was  

take me as I am, but you sure as hell better not change

That was the moment when I set up my beloved for complete and utter failure.

Tomorrow I will continue with Part II of lessons learned in a perfectly imperfect marriage.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants

I know we are not special. We share the burden of a deployed father and husband with thousands and thousands of families across the world. Yet, very selfishly, I feel like it is particularly unfair for my children. It's not that I feel a sense of entitlement, that we should be spared the pain of separation when others have done it longer and more frequently.  I'm not saying we shouldn't have to endure it.

It's that I have to look into the watery eyes of my children and explain each and every day why Daddy is not home and it breaks my heart. Why he can not be here for birthdays, holidays and their Clone Wars weekend cartoon marathon.

Daddy always makes pancakes on Saturday mornings so I can sleep in. It's a ritual I started last deployment and have since passed that early morning baton to my husband who in turn pretends to grumble and groan about being a slave to small children each and every Saturday. He loves it and so do they, secretly triumphant in their power of persuasion over their father.

I hate stepping in and having to replace him. I'm not good at it and it's why he's the Dad and I'm the Mom. I don't do cool tricks on the trampoline and frankly after ten minutes I feel like a chain smoker and my toosh is sore for a week from the *ugh* exertion.  Don't judge me, it's really hard (that's what she said) and the kids bully me to keep jumping until I cry Uncle.   I have no one to tag in.  It's just me and my sore butt.

I can't make paper airplanes that fly like Daddy.  I'm not fluid in Star Wars speak and I definitely have no skills in the Lego repair factory that is our playroom. H literally super glued some of G's larger Lego sets for fear they would break and I couldn't repair them during his absence.  I don't think ahead like he does.

I can't throw them in the air as high and little miss Prim notices that she can't touch the ceiling when I do it.  I also don't have the same stamina.  My husband has the energy and endurance of a ten year old in his pinkie finger alone.

I shouldn't have to be their everything.  They should have the best of both of us, the balance that we bring to each other.  They are learning so early that loss can be messy, even the temporary loss that deployments bring.  Sometimes I feel incredible guilt.  Especially for Prim.  Every time he goes away she regresses.  Emotionally she goes back to that place where life is not safe and the earth no longer spins around our home but is extended to a place across the world that is not tangible or understandable.  Iraq may as well be a fairy tale land far, far away.

It breaks my heart to hear G say that he wishes there were people in the world who don't need Daddy's help anymore.  But then, at night when we kneel to say our prayers, I know that God is working a miracle in our home because he prays:

Dear God
Please help Daddy to do a good job.
Keep him safe and his soldiers safe (still doesn't get that Daddy is a sailor :)
and help him to be a good example
to everyone around him.
Please help everyone in Iraq to see you
so that they can find peace.
Lord, be a light to my Daddy.

My kids are wiser than me because they see God without tarnished self imposed glasses.  While I scream unfair!! for the sake of my children, God sees fit to give them early, precious lessons in humility, mercy and grace.  While I pray that they are too young to carry such a burden, God responds firmly that they most certainly are not.  He has seen fit to develop them in this way for His divine purposes.

And I may not see why now.

Or ever.  But take comfort in the fact that He does.

Let me carry your burden He whispers.  Come to me as a child He beckons.   Cast your worries on Me.

To all of the men and women serving this nation and the cause of freedom throughout the world-I thank you and pray for your safe homecoming.

For the families who serve just as honorably at home, here and abroad, I thank you for being an inspiration and comfort to me.  May God use this time to bless you and grow you in deeper fellowship with Him.

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