Thursday, February 21, 2008

Heavenly Homecoming

Recently, my sweet friend Kelly was able to briefly reunite with her husband, Lee. Although he is now back in Iraq until late June, I felt her insights from his homecoming were such a blessing to me that I should also share them with those of you who have been praying for her family in this journey.

About two weeks ago I stood in the B terminal of DFW airport awaiting the arrival of my husband, home on leave from Iraq. I stood with my toddler son and infant daughter anxiously staring at the gate from which he would emerge. The stars-and-stripes music was playing over the intercom, the flags were waving, and the volunteers stood ready to meet and greet the soldiers as they came off the plane.

It had been months since I had laid eyes on my husband, and I was ready to see him!

The soldiers started turning the corner, one by one, and the knot in my stomach started to constrict. A fear welled up in my heart as my son pulled and squeezed on my hand; What if my little boy didn’t recognize his daddy?

It was on his second birthday when we traveled to Austin for Lee’s deployment in-processing. Now, only a few months from age three, would he know his father? Each soldier emerging from the gate looked fairly similar – same general age range, mostly male, all wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army. It would be most understandable if my little boy mistook one of those other Army men for his own.

But as I stood there, holding tight to my son’s little hand, praying that he would recognize my husband, he suddenly broke free and began to run toward the gate. My inclination as a mother was to quickly grab him back, but then I looked up to see my son jumping up onto a soldier.

My soldier. His dad.

I seemed to exhale a deep sigh of relief as I inhaled a breath of nervous excitement. As wonderful as it was to see my husband – and it was truly wonderful – it was even sweeter to me to see my son embrace his dad. I kept thinking “He recognizes him! He recognizes him!”

I watched our little boy jump into the arms of his father, and then hug him tightly, not letting go. After a long, tight hug, my son took his small hands and cupped them around my husband’s face, studying him intently. It was almost as if he was really, truly making sure that this soldier was his, not an imposter. After confirming his dad’s identity, my son once again hugged him tightly, bringing a big smile to his father’s face, and more than one tear to his mother’s eye.

Now that our brief visit is over, and our soldier is back on duty, I have spent some time thinking back over that homecoming. In reality, there was no reason to fear that my son wouldn’t recognize his dad. After all, we spend time each day looking at pictures of daddy and talking about him – about what he’s doing, where he is, and how much he loves us. Because of this, of course my son was able to pick his dad out of crowd and run to his open arms!

And this again made me think. How much time do I spend looking at the “picture” I have of my father, talking about him, learning about him, thinking about how much he loves me? Not my earthly father (although I do have many pictures of him, and I do know that he loves me!), but my other father, the Heavenly one.

Do I spend time getting to know God daily? Do I know Him well enough that on that last day when He comes back, I will be able to recognize Him? Will I run into His arms and put a smile on His face? Or will I search through a crowd of imposters – of people, things, and ideas that falsely claim to have saving power – and not be able to find the Truth?

In order to really know our Heavenly father, we must spend time getting to know him. We must study His Word, spend time in conversation with Him, and spend time in conversation with others about Him. We must teach our children about Him. Sing songs about Him. We must think about what He’s doing, where He is, and how much He loves us.

When we do, we will be able to recognize Him working in our lives, carrying us though the trials, and showering us with blessings. And most importantly, when the time comes, we will be able, like my precious little boy, to run and jump with full assurance into the saving arms of our loving Father.


Christy said...


Breathing His Joy said...

I was so blessed by this post today. Thank you-thank you for sharing this.

Kelly and her family will be in my prayers over the next few months!

Joanna said...

Wow. I just ran across this post through links from other blogs and I'm sitting here bawling - that is so sad and I can't even imagine. My heart goes out to that woman and the sacrifice she is making for her marriage and our country. What a beautiful picture of God's love for us. Thank you for that.

Amy said...

I am always so blessed by the story of Kelly's family. Thank you for continuing to share it with us. She is an inspiration to us all.

Kelly said...


What beautiful words of wisdom, thanks for sharing. I will continue praying for Kelly and her family.

Sun said...

wow - this made me cry! I LOVE this post - I haven't stopped by your blog in a while - I hope you guys are having a wonderful New Year! Happy Belated Valentine's Day! Sunshine

CPT Mom said...

This post was so beautifully written.

It brought back so many memories of my own reunion, that I just sat here with tears pouring down my face.

Give Kelly a hug today. She will need it.

Autumn said...

How blessed I am to have my husband here everyday. Kelly, if you read this, you are such an inspiration. Thank you for posting this, Britt.

Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

So precious :)

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

Just so sweet.