Thursday, August 19, 2010

Army Strong

"...For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

About five years ago, my older brother enlisted in the U.S. Army. No one in my family was 100 percent certain of what was to come, but after we got through the first little bit of him going to Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT), it seemed OK because we had him back again since he only joined the Reserves.

However, it was right around two years ago, I learned he would be going to Iraq for a year. Yes, I have always supported the troops, but this year that he was gone, I learned a little about what it meant to be "Army Strong." Although I do not want to be considered in the same bracket as those actually serving, I also recognize that friends and families of soldiers can be classified under this umbrella of being "Army Strong." Often when things were difficult or I just felt like I couldn't take it anymore, I thought of my brother across seas. Here I was complaining about my day, when even now I still do not know what he went through. Perhaps it was the excessive heat, therefore, Bryan would get to work before the sun came up and didn't leave until the sun went down, and maybe skipped lunch because it was just too hot to go outside in fatigues. Or, maybe it was the dust storms that you can't even see in front of you. Or, it could have been doing your job only to see your fellow American soldier lying dead in a building too close for comfort. These are just a few of the stories, and I honestly don't know much more because Bryan's Army world is much of a "don't ask, don't tell" philosophy. But, possibly the most incredible part of this is that even with these things above and more, he never complained about what he was going through. In fact, if it wouldn't have been for Tim's and my senior years, he wanted to go to Afghanistan. Simply thinking upon what my brother might be enduring in the day, gave me some sort of strength to make it through my days while he was gone. I figured my little things failed in comparison to what he was facing-and he wasn't even grumbling!

Since then, although he is back, I still think about our armed forces serving here at home and overseas. They will never know it, but they give me strength. Likewise, even though I have many uncertainties and am a little emotionally drained, I think upon my little brother back in South Carolina. Every day is a different day with a different task until he starts his AIT, which he doesn't know when that will happen. That means, once he starts AIT, he has 10 weeks of that, then he gets to come home for a couple weeks. This means since he hasn't started, he is uncertain of when he will see his family again, and the same goes for us. He too, is giving me strength that he will never know.

I can't end this post without writing about my ultimate source of strength-Jesus Christ. He settles me down and gently asks me, "What is your finish line?" These giants that seem to be in my way at times (and now) are only going to be here for a little time, although it may seem like they are stationary. If Christ is my finish line, He has already defeated those giants.

By the way, I just ordered an "Army Strong" wristband. Our strength alone is not sufficient..

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