Monday, September 05, 2005

On the road again . . .

My middle daughter, Laurie, came home last year from serving in Iraq, and this morning her military police unit is in New Orleans. My big faith tests always concern my kids. The “mom” in me fears what Laurie will experience in the coming weeks—the violence, death, danger, disease—and how it will impact her. She was issued more body armor for her duties in New Orleans than she had driving a convoy in Iraq. My writer’s imagination has a field day with that. The day I heard she’d been pulled out of college to go to Louisiana, my imagination ran rampant, focusing on looters with guns, dangerous rescues in rotting houses, near drownings, and alligators. I knew there wouldn’t be any contact with her until phone lines and cell phone towers were back up.

I also knew I’d drive myself crazy unless I got a firm grip on my thoughts—and pronto. First I reminded myself that “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) And from past experience I knew that the fastest way to a sound mind was found in Philippians 4:8 (KJV): “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Talk about a challenge! What could be virtuous or just or praise-worthy about this situation? Actually, as I prayed, there were many possibilities. Instead of focusing on fear-inducing images, I started picturing Laurie giving food and water to those in need…finding missing children…encouraging those who lost all their belongings…and (if necessary) subduing criminals who have taken lawlessness to whole new (low) level.

Yes, as a mom, I wish Laurie had chosen a safer way to serve. Yet I’m so proud of her for volunteering even before she got called. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV)

God bless those hurt by the flood—and those giving help.

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