I know we all have a lot of topsy-turvy crazy in our life right now, but I couldn’t let this month–Month of the Military Child–fade into the rearview mirror without lifting up and celebrating the youngest of those serving our country.
In these current times, I can’t help thinking of our military families all the more. As I wrote before, military folks are just some of the people who know what it’s like to have their plans derailed with little notice. And those younger family members certainly aren’t exempt from that reality. Pandemic or no pandemic, they know what it is to not be able to regularly hug grandma or worry about losing a parent or even play with friends or visit all the places they want to because they no longer live where those beloved friends and places are.
Of course, the suffering and sadness experienced by all of us these days–military or not–deserves its time to be grieved. I write this not in the spirit of comparison, but to simply shine a light on those who feel and know some of these losses multiple times throughout their young lives. This pandemic will eventually end, although many of us will know lingering loss because of it. Our military kids will feel this, too, as a continuous cycle of change keeps showing up for them and their parents.
A few years ago, I sang the praises of our military kids over here. Today, I offer these humble words of prayer for those born into the military, those who never signed up to serve but serve just the same.
Dear Father in Heaven,
You see each military child’s struggles, the ones standing in full daylight and those hiding in dark corners. Encourage her now where she needs it most.
These next few weeks and months will likely bring changes in various colors and sizes. Some will be wonderfully welcomed with upturned hands, some will be viewed warily with crossed arms. Help her name the changes she fears to her mom, dad, or another safe person in her life.
Help her eyes and heart stay wide open to receive the good–and fun!–things You have in mind for her in the coming months and years.
There are times when she may hear whispers from partially closed bedroom doors or loud words from the cable news station and have questions. Give the one listening to her questions gentle truth and patient wisdom on how to best respond–and let her really know that you’re taking care of her and her family.
Give her Your presence as she waves goodbye to the moving truck or her mom or dad.
Give her Your courage to walk into the new town, the new school, and the new house one brave step at a time.
May You build within her an empathetic, caring heart who looks out for the new kid as she knows all too well the feeling of being the new kid herself.
May You build around her an empathetic, caring community who is for her and loves her exactly as she needs to be loved.
If she misses the familiarity of former things, help her remember You have fantastic new things in mind for her future.
If she has no adoration for her location, help her to know it’s picked by You, not mom or dad’s job. You determine the exact place where she and her family should live.
Yeah, she probably gets tired of that question, “Where are you from?” because it’s a tricky one to answer. Help her know that home is wherever she is because home isn’t the place she’s in but the people she’s with–and Christ who lives within her.
You’re building exceptional things in her, things that cultivate in quiet darkness now but will one day flourish within the light of day. As she waits for what is to become what will be, help her to know that You are using this time to grow good things in the soil of her soul and the content of her character.
Lord, even as her roots are shallow, make them strong. Help her to bloom beautifully not in spite of frequent transplants, but because of them.
Give her abundance in surprising, just-for-her ways that are tailored to her personality quirks and perks.
And no matter what the seasons bring, may she know she’s loved, loved, loved.
In the always-faithful, never-changing name of Jesus,