Tears for Warriors

His name was Jimmy. He was a mothers son. He was an only brother.

He died in Vietnam
AF changes military funeral requirements

A lot of Barbecues take place this weekend. A lot of friends gather to party, enjoy a three-day weekend, attend parades, hang flags, and drink beer.

For some of the vets and active military who are drinking,  it wasn’t just pulled out  this weekend.

It betrays the untrained civilian eye who can’t recognize the hidden wounds of war.

Vets are remembering their tours of duty. Or they are trying to forget them.

They are remembering their fallen brothers and sisters. Or they are trying to forget – just for a moment.

They will never forget the fallen. They will never want to.

They are remember the faces. They are remembering the tears. The prayers.

They are remember the empty boots. The rifle. The helmet.


My earliest memories are of weeping. I have very few early memories and it seems ironic due to my chosen profession that my earliest ones would be of death.

I didn’t really understand. I only knew he was supposed to leave Vietnam in three days, but he volunteered for one last mission. He never came home.

They hugged her as she sobbed.

I remember.

I remember feeling confused. I remember feeling sadness. I sat on the couch. I didn’t want to play. They gave me a drink. They tried to smile at me and tell me there were some games, or kids books.

Or something.

My father remembered. He was a medic in WWII. There wasn’t a roll call at his funeral. He was the last of the 90th Division to die.

In 1969, we visited France.

He wept.

He hugged the Frenchman, Henri Levaufre, whose town had been liberated by the 90th. Henri honored Americans who had fought by touring the battle grounds with them.  We were one of the first to visit him. We were not the last.

Many toured the places of death. The places of life.


He found the foxhole – the one that nearly took his life. He wept again. I was eleven years old. I didn’t understand. His friends died on that Hill 122. We walked on Normandy Beach and went into the pill boxes.

And he wept.

My mother made fun of him for crying so much. Theirs was not a marriage filled with compassion. Or trust. I didn’t understand the wounds of war then.

No one did.

Many still don’t. Hidden wounds. Lack of honor. Brave men don’t cry. Or do they? Soldiers don’t have hidden wounds. They’re not allowed to.

Wounds that bleed on the inside. Run with black blood and dark thoughts.  They often take a long time to heal. They need to be open to heal.

The families know. The families remember.

Ours is a family of warriors. We fight the good fight. We serve God. We serve our country.

We wound. We love. We cry. We pray. We laugh.

We understand death.

And Life.

Tree with sun

We honor the fallen.

We remember this Memorial Day not with a party, but with a prayer.

Please keep our warriors safe in body, mind and spirit. Bring them home safely to the ones who love them. Surround them with Warrior Angels to keep them strong and safe.  Comfort all those who mourn and grant us hope in an eternal life where we will never part again.  In Jesus name.

FINAL Poem To Mothers

 I didn’t understand then. I do now.

God Filled

Tea_bowl_fixed_in_the_Kintsugi_method (2) Kintsugi is the Japanese art of filling in the cracks in pottery with a resin combined with powdered gold, silver, or other metals. The broken pottery is not considered useless, but instead the marring reflects a life of beauty through brokenness.

Most of us in America see brokenness – weakness – as a  thing to be avoided. A broken vessel is one that should be tossed away and replaced with something newer, more exciting, more useful. If we don’t like something, if we don’t value it as useful for this current season, we replace it. Churches now cater to the young, the old, the middle aged, the professional, the student, etc. We change our programs, our worship, our times, our names, our image … to be “relevant” to our time and community.

Although I think we need to be culturally sensitive and open to meeting the needs of the community and people we serve, we have attempted to replace the gold filled cracks of brokenness with plastic models of your best life now.  In this age of technology where expensive cell phones and devices are replaced every year for bigger and better, we are replacing the age old tradition of a community filled with differences to a homogeneous version of look alikes. We no longer think in terms of “if it is broken it needs to be fixed,” but  “if it is broken it needs to be thrown away.” Cracks are ugly. They reveal that everyone and everything eventually ends up damaged, broken, or in total disrepair.  We are born that way. Broken vessels needing gold filling.

And yet, the broken vessel is the thing that reflects the most beauty. A community of differences doesn’t reflect the need to be replaced, but the blending of the old and the new, the traditional with the modern, and the wise with the passionate.  It is a transition from the known to the unknown, from the untarnished to the tried and true.  The Lord of change refines and fills the cracks with his purposes as we yield to the kind of love the Father has  towards us – to our uniqueness.  We learn to love with Kingdom love.  We see beauty instead of brokenness and unity where there used to be divisions. Only then can we be children of God and be known by our love.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” I John 1

Lord, please fill our cracks with your gold that we may be more beautiful to you and  to those who need to see how perfectly you form and fix us.

The Appointed Time

farmThere is a transition that takes place in life from looking ahead towards dreams unfulfilled to looking back and remembering.  I don’t exactly know when it happens, but one day you awaken to realize that most of your life is behind you, and most of your dreams have either been realized, or exchanged for other visions. I am among the fortunate ones – I got to realize most of my dreams.

I turned 55 today. Actually right about 8:30 this morning I hit this milestone which qualifies me for AARP. I don’t know how I got here, but I do know it was a wild and exciting, fun-filled, and often painful ride. Not a Merry-Go-Round, but a modern roller coaster that left me breathless and adrenalin pumped. Even feeling queasy at times. There were a lot of occasions that Dave and I would have liked the quiet ride, but you can’t always choose what tickets are given to you. God hands them out according to what ride He thinks will have Kingdom effects. Sometimes, opportunity came along for us to hop on a ride of our choosing and we mistakenly chose the wrong one, but even then there is always a different view, a different perspective to be gained from up there, hanging on for life.

All of the random temperament tests I take come out the same – I am a lover, a servant, a loyal friend, devoted to family, given to rejection, a leader but prefer a team setting, yada-yada. Mostly true, though the rejection part is getting better as I rest in the unconditional love of Christ, and a husband who has modeled it faithfully for 32 years.  I wasn’t a wanted child and heard it enough growing up. I spent the better part of my earlier life laughing it off, a few years after my mothers death, grieving and reconciling it, and recent years in empathy for the woman who raised me from the place of her own pain.  As a lover, it set in me a deep desire to have the family I always wanted – and I did.

eddieI was granted the privilege of a marriage  far different from my parents which was filled with arguments and bitterness. I was blessed with eight amazing children, and three I will get to meet in heaven. Now, 10 grandchildren grace our lives. 

We were able to own our dream property  – above. For 7 years we lived the life I fantasized about as a child – big family – raising our own food, all home together laughing, loving, Dave working from home, coffee and breakfast together in the mornings… We knew we were never retire, but we had a retirement dream life. We lost the farm – we lost the dream with the job loss of 2009, but it came true for a season. I’ll take the bitter with the sweet.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 says is clearly”There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven; A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.…”

We were uprooted, but that is OK. God has a purpose and even the painful stuff is working in us something bigger. Something better.


To say it was all rosy would be a lie. I have many regrets over the last twenty years. I wish I could go back and do some things over again. We would plan more, and live by the seat of our pants less. I would take better care of Dave. I would love more and yell less. I would establish more boundaries for my own health and well-being. I would let Jesus love me from a place of grace and not waste time on years of legalism, and see that filter down into the lives of my children when they were young and impressionable.

comar and panda

I would stop and smell the flowers more – gaze at the stars- do more unit studies – pet the dogs.

Collect more colored fall leaves and seal them in waxed paper, press more flowers, make my own beeswax candles.  Can more of my own vegetables. Raise chickens sooner, color Easter eggs, and celebrate the birth of Christ.

I would have married David in a church and not just when we renewed our vows. david and iGoodbyes were said…

michaiahAnd through it all we held on fast to the promises that this fleeting life is just the beginning.  Life and death, joy and pain, rich and poor – life continues moving forward.

And we find new dreams to look forward to, new lives to greet, new friends to be made, and always the good-byes that come too quickly.

May 14 Joy Graduation 080And so on this my 55 birthday I say a toast to David Grubb and the life we have shared. May there be

another lifetime of joy and sorrow to share together.

A toast – L’ Chaim. To Life.



When the Sky Falls Pt. 1

prayer-bibleTheodicy. The aspect of theology concerned with how to reconcile a good God with the problem of evil and suffering.

My heart breaks for all the family and friends who said goodbye to loved ones during the recent rash of tornadoes. For the mom of eight children, who is now a widow with six children. The unimaginable has happened and three caskets were lined up for final good-byes.

The husband who lived, but his bride who will no longer greet him in the morning with a cup of coffee and a smile.

For the mother who received a farewell text from her son before the tornado hit.

For the missing daughters in Nigeria while mothers and fathers weep in agony while they wait for help, or news of their beautiful daughters.

For the hundreds of Korean families who won’t get to see their children graduate, or marry, or have children of their own.

Or cancer, car accidents, suicide, old age, crippling disease, kidnapping, human trafficking, gendercide, infant loss, miscarriage, birth defects, TBI’s, war, famine, etc…

Far too challenging a task to post in one blog; theologians have wrestled with this since the beginning of time. Job’s friends had plenty of ideas. The unfortunate thing is that they voiced them, as happens all too often within religious circles. It works like this – if evil and suffering is a real problem, and I am uncomfortable with the notion of a God that allows evil and suffering, I will do one of  several things – First, I will become a prosperity gospel, word of faith kind of person (been there, done that) and turn my eyes away from the real problem of suffering, believing that if I have enough “faith” only good will follow me. Or,  I will become agnostic or atheist so bad things are all just part of the evolutionary and scientific cycle and God is just a fictional cosmic character for weak-minded people who need to find an answer to suffering. Or maybe I will just overall ignore the problem and it will go away, bury it deep, even my own suffering.

There is a third alternative and one that we really need to address – we will start talking about suffering in the church. We will start educating people about suffering and evil and pain, and how to address it and help others. Oh, I know it is happening in many healthy churches, but it is not the larger part of evangelical circles. Suffering often equates with mental health as well, and we more often than not skirt mental health issues. Grief, loss, trauma – all the thing the people are experiencing in their losses are part of mental health, often leading into physical health challenges. It’s messy, it’s ugly, it’s difficult to define or be around. It makes us uncomfortable. We don’t mind addressing physical ailments, but not the mental health. And not the trauma or suffering that may have caused the physical or mental anguish.

Most of us go on about our daily lives and don’t stop to think about the intense amount of sadness going on in the world. We can’t dwell on it or it becomes an issue of our own mental health. But we need to address it. We need to think about it. It is our next door neighbor, our family member, our co-worker – it is not happening “over there” it is happening every day right here. And how we address it is the foundation of how we love others as Christ does. It is the foundation of compassion.

You can’t reflect the love of Christ to someone who is in pain, if you are afraid of their pain.

I keep going back to 2 Cor. 4:8-10  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us,  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in [us].”                

We all need a theology of suffering in our lives – a theodicy to stay as bright lights shining to others when the sky falls. We need to be able to stand strong amid the darkness of agony and reflect hope, even when we don’t have the answers – especially when we don’t have the answers.

 We don’t have all the answers, but we have the God who IS the answer.    

Next blog,  I’ll post some recommended reading, video, and scripture texts for personal study.