John 15:13 - Memorial Day

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John 15:13 (ESV) reads Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  It's one of my husband's favorite verses - even before he became a Christian.  Why?  My husband is a Veteran. 

He served proudly in the United States Marine Corps from 1999 to 2008.  Yes, that means he enlisted before September 11th, in fact he was in Japan the day we were attacked.  The passage of time during those years are marked in deployments.  "Oh yeah, that was before you deployed to Afghanistan...."  or "That was the [first/second/third] deployment to Iraq, right?"  These are very real conversations in our household.

Memorial Day, as you can imagine, is highly respected in our home because my husband lost friends - good friends - blood brothers.  It's a time of feeling very alone in his mourning while the majority of people enjoy their three day weekend, first taste of summer, no work on Monday holiday.  He doesn't hate them for that, he understands.  I love that man because he often reminds me that people can be blissfully ignorant because those blood brothers laid down his life for his friends.  For this woman, it's not just a husband and friends either.  My Father served in Vietnam.  My sister also served in Iraq.  I am fortunate to have been raised with extreme reverence for Memorial Day from the start.


I see Memorial Day differently because of it too.  I see the struggle for those who battle daily with survivor's guilt.  Not from afar, but as close as a person can from the outside.  On Memorial Day that battle becomes a suffocating tidal wave filled with grief, guilt, pain, and torment.  I pray hardest on days like today:

Jesus... Heavenly Father... bring a distraction.  Provide a belly laugh from our children that will make him smile despite the pain today.  Fill my mouth with words of grace for him today.  Let me reflect nothing but love and boundless mercy to him today.  Please bring healing to a broken, mended, scarred heart and weary mind.  I beg these things of you.  In Jesus' name... Amen.

I have seen the healing that only Jesus can bring in my husband.  When the Savior comes alongside a broken spirit and begins to put the pieces back together like only He can.  God stitched my husband together in his Mother's womb and only God knows how to expertly repair what is broken within him.  Praise God for His constant restoration!! 

I want to share a quote I saw recently that I feel most conveys the spirit of Memorial Day:


"I’m going to say this as gently as possible; please accept it in the spirit that it is offered.


Please do not thank a veteran this weekend. We have our day in November. This weekend is for our friends, our brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the cause of freedom.

When you thank us, as sincere as it is, it reminds us that we came home, while they did not. Somehow, for us, it lessens the solemnity of the day and heightens our survivor guilt.

We appreciate your gratitude. We are embarrassed by it, but we appreciate it. But please, please, this weekend, remember it is not about service, it is about sacrifice.

And while willing, we did not make that sacrifice. . ."
-Anonymous

So please, be extra kind to everyone you meet today, they may be carrying an unimaginable burden.   If you do know a Veteran... give them a hug, handshake, or genuine smile and in that moment pray for them.  Even something as simple as... "Lord, touch this life in a way only You can."  The Heavenly Father knows us all and knows what we need, He'll handle the details.

Then go have your barbecue  picnic, pool party.... whatever it is your doing.  Because someone died for you to be able to do that.  And my family, we will make it a point to shift our focus from mourning life lost to celebration of life that was lived.  That someone loved so much, they would lay down life for a friend.

Gone but NEVER forgotten.

Jodi @ God Still Speaks

Head Writer

Boy mom of three. Married to the same man since 2002. Former working mom turned stay-at-home mom. I love my faith, family, and coffee.

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Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests to made known to God. — Philippians 4:6