Sunday, November 11, 2012

Two Veterans Riveting True Stories

Kevin and I both have a number of family members and friends who have served in the armed forces over the years. We would like to thank all of them for their dedication to serving and protecting our country.

This past summer I read a very powerful book I believe all military personnel and their families and friends will want to put towards the top of their readings lists.  Fearless is a full-throttle, no holding back, breakneck-paced true story of Navy SEAL Adam Brown. Ever since his childhood, Adam Brown was a risk taker who loved pushing the limits. This engaging account of his life is nothing short of breathtaking, earth-changing, and absolutely miraculous.
Eric Blehm, New York Times Best-selling Author of The Only Thing Worth Dying For, has masterfully illustrated and expressed the fascinating trials, triumphs, tribulations, and turmoil that defined a man hardwired with a mission to give everything he had and was in mind, body, and spirit in service to his country, his family, and his comrades.  To read my full book review, click here.

To listen to the song Fearless by Mark Dowdy, click here.   

The Shadow of His Wings

I read The Shadow of His Wings after hearing a friend sing its praises time and again. Though I’m not one to read many tomes that are predominantly about war, I took exception to this story and am grateful I did. Never before have I read about such profound faith being lived out in such unbelievable ways in the midst of a soldier in the midst of battle…
There were times when reading that I laughed aloud at the complete and utter audacity of this priest/soldier/nurse. Though steadfast in faith, boldly outspoken, and extremely courageous, even this man was amazed by how prayer and intercession made the impossible possible when it came to a number of circumstances. His journey to priesthood is not by any stretch of the imagination normal, nor are the ways he lives out his call to be a man of the cloth once he does finally get ordained.

Among my favorite examples of his unorthodox approach has to be when he held a bishop at gunpoint who failed to believe he was a priest and honestly wanted to be let into the church to obtain Communion, so he could bring it to his comrades on the battlefield. The minute the bishop concedes, the first thing Fr. Gereon Goldmann wants to do is have the bishop hear his Confession.    
Not only did this man dodge bullets to save soldiers physically and/or spiritually, but he also reserved using his weapon in order to gain access to the sacraments. He is a remarkable role model of faith fine-tuned in some of the most horrible circumstances. His missionary work after the war proves God had miracles upon miracles to bring about through this man dedicated to doing God’s will at all costs. I hope Fr. Gereon Goldmann’s life and service to God will be studied and that he will be considered for sainthood.

On Our Minds, In Our Prayers

The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to a dear family friend before he left for Afghanistan:  “Many times it is much easier for me to see Christ in others than it is to see and accept that He dwells within me, too.  There is a quote by Henri Nouwen that perfectly sums this up: You are here for just a short discover and believe that you are a beloved child of God."

As I’ve been praying for you this week, it’s come to me to remind you that first and foremost you are a beloved son of God.  Your service and submission to the Lord will always be most important in life wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.  God the Father, the Blessed Mother, and Jesus Christ are the only ones who will be with you wherever you go, who will never leave you, never give up on you, and never stop loving you. 
My guess is that some of the hardest battles you’ve fought and things you’ve been through have come from your own thoughts and feelings, most often, the lies you’ve believed about God, yourself, and others.  I know I’ve often been my own worst enemy.  Stay close to the Lord.  He will guide you even in what seems to be your darkest hour.  Don’t forget that even more important than your fidelity and service to the US Military is your role as a child of God put on this Earth to be and do things no one else can. 
God can take any situation, any place, any group of people, and any circumstances and use them to help you become the best version of yourself.  You never have been and never will be the “property” of the US government.  They have you on loan from the Lord.  Keep God at the center, and everything will come together.  That’s not to say there won’t be suffering, pain, and struggles, but it is to say that God’s Love, mercy, forgiveness, Truth, and peace will prevail.”

Follow-up note: We are very grateful that this friend has since returned safe and sound to the United States from his deployment.   

My Prayer for Veterans and Their Families: May God bless all those who are mourning the loss of loved ones and may He protect all of those who are in harm's way, and give their families courage to continue on.

Lord, guide us closer to You in all areas of our lives. Help us not lose hope no matter what situation we find ourselves in or how severely we are tested in mind, body, and/or spirit. Jesus, we trust in You. Amen. 
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