Sunday, February 7, 2010

From the Heart of a Soldier's Mom

In the spring of 2009, I got the news that my precious son Dude, was going to be deployed. Over the last 10 months or so, I dealt with so many emotions. I knew that my son had made the best decision of his adult life, by joining the 278th of the Tennessee National Guard, but knew that this was not only a test of strength and endurance for him, but a time for me to rely on the strength of the Lord's arms to hold me.

I spent a lot of time on my knees asking the Lord for His peace....that which "passes all understanding", and He was and is so faithful to lovingly grant that on me.

As time drew closer to prepare for the trip to Camp Shelby, Mississippi - just outside Hattiesburg, I contemplated calling my doctor to get a prescription for a tranquilizer, for that moment when I would have to say that last good-bye before his deployment.
The Spirit of God spoke to my heart and said, "I can handle that". Being the sometimes stubborn child, I said, "OK Lord - I'll just ask for a couple in case I need them". Again He said, "Trust me....I can handle that for you". Well let me tell you - He was faithful to his promise!

Of COURSE I cried!

And yes, I sobbed as I saw my son walking back to his barracks as we were leaving, but by the time we got to the back gate of the Camp, I was once again flooded with that sense of peace, and the tears were no more.

To totally trust God with your only son.....

Scary.....YES, but I'm also reaping the blessings of His Peace, in just trusting Him.

As Mary said in Luke 2: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. The Mighty One has done great things for me – Holy is His Name.”

My son, along with over 3000 other troops were given four "Family Days" and then honored at a send off ceremony on Friday, February 5.
Below are photos of my time with him....memories I'll cherish every day of my life!

Cutting up together - trying to pull out the wrinkles, like they did to Robin Williams as Peter Pan in "Hook"

Hanging out at our hotel, after getting back from The Hard Rock

Enjoying steak at Outback on our last night together, thanks to my endodontist Dr. Sinopoli, who gave me $100 to take Dude out
One Nation Under God

The Army Band - who even played "Rocky Top" for all the people of TN!
Over 3000 troops in the 278th, and over 9000 family and friends to honor them at the send off ceremony

The barracks where Dude lived for 6 weeks at Camp Shelby

Kissing my soldier after the send off ceremony

As a dear friend said..."This looks like Mommy Heaven".....yes indeed!

My sweatshirt says it all.....

Ok......just one more hug before I have to go....

My last goodbye - laying hands on my precious son as I said a prayer for him

U.S. Army MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected)- what Dude will be driving in Iraq. I am so thankful that these were the last thing I saw as we were leaving the back gate - I needed to see for myself, the size of them, and how well armored and protected my son will be.

I LOVE YOU "ALL THE NUMBERS" DUDE....see you when you get home!


~GoldieLoo Woodworks~ said...

Janelle,I'm very proud of Dude and all our soldiers and pray they return home soon & safely. Dude is a very handsome young man & very lucky to have such a loving mom.Hugs~~Pam

Janelle said...

Thanks so much Pam!

Sandy, Sisters of Season said...

Hi Janelle, Thanks for coming by and visiting my blog. My heart goes out to you . . I have two boys and a girl. My boys are my pillars. They make me strong. My oldest son moved back east after college, he lived there for a year. His job would take him to some pretty rough areas and I would be so worried about him, constantly in prayers. My other son is away at college up north in Davis, Calif and my daughter still lives at home. The worry got to be too much and I found I was not trusting God enough . . once I gave all my children to God, I made the decision that they belong to him and what he decides to do with them is his business not mine. Proverbs 3:5 . . this scripture settle my heart many times. You're a wonderful mother, I can see that by the pictures. Enjoyed the pics.

Dogpatch Primitives said...

Janelle, thank you for sharing with us. Your son is so handsome and brave!

Countryfolk Keepsakes said...

Janelle, thank you so much for sharing such a personal and touching family moment with us.
He is a strong, brave young man and we are all proud of him. Know that myself along with all his cyber-aunts will be praying for him and everyone in the 278th for a safe return home. Blessings to you and your family. :> )

Cookie said...

I hope you know we are just as proud of Dude as you are and because of your wonderful moments together, we feel even more close to him. Like everyone else, my prayers are with your brave son and all of our awesome soldiers!
May God keep His hedge of protection tightly around Dude.

Carmen C. said...

Hi there, not sure how I got here, just blog hopping but I am crying sweetie! My 18 yr. old son (only child) just joined the Army under delayed enlistment, he will leave for basic in June and I can only imagine for now how hard it is to see them off! I will keep your handsome soldier in my prayers and hope he comes back real soon :)

Janelle said...

Thank you so much everyone!
My favorite quote (although I don't know who said it originally) is:
"My two greatest accomplishments in life call me MOM".
I so appreciate your support and prayers, as does Dude!

Sharon Stevens said...

Thanks so much for sharing this special time on your blog, Janelle.
You are one brave momma. I begged my only son to not enter the military, guess you could say I am a coward. I don't think I could have survived the deployment.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I came across your blog from searching TDIPT. I have two grandsons that are in the Army Airborne Division and both have served time in Iraq and now back in the states. They both have re-enlisted now are going into special forces. I am very proud of them and all the guys and gals that serve their country! God Bless them all! Your faith will carry you through this time in your life. God is our refuge and strength.

God Bless you and your son.

PEA said...

I cried like a baby as I read this post as I have been there in your shoes. It was the best and worst times of my life. Pride and faith take over and this shall be a experience that will bond you even further.
I will keep him and all our men and gals in my prayers.
Thank him for us please. It is most appreciated. GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!