Today, Nov. 11, we honor our veterans. These are the men and women who have bravely offered their service and their very lives to protect our country and our freedoms. Many face danger and death so that we could have our way of life here in America. They are true heroes, exceptional leaders, and an inspiration to all.
First and foremost, I would like to thank each and every person for their service. Thank you for your courage, your integrity, and your devotion. May today be a day that you feel the honor and appreciation of which you are so deserving.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”
I am fortunate enough to be friends with a godly couple — Mike and Stefanie — who are both veterans. Mike served in the Air Force for 10 years, and Stefanie served in the Army for eight years. In celebration and honor of Veterans Day, I asked them if their faith played a role during their time of service and how God used their time in service to mold their lives.
The Air Force gave Mike the confidence he needed to deal with people, he said, and the intuition necessary to connect with others by understanding their personal motivations, viewpoints, and values.
He was able to discover and develop new strengths, including the ability and determination to stand up for what he believes regardless of the consequences. These realizations taught him the attributes needed to be a leader, but also — and possibly more importantly — a servant. Mike displayed love for others and country with his very life. According to John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Stefanie shared that she grew up as a sheltered, introverted country girl. She was terrified when she headed off to basic training as a 17-year-old, leaving her home and her family behind for an entire summer.
She turned to and memorized Isaiah 41:10, which says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Stefanie used that verse to remind herself that she was a child of God and that He would protect her. He gave her both the strength and peace to successfully complete basic training. Thanks to her faith in God, Stefanie was able to stay consecrated with her choices and committed to her values.
Another veteran, Jennifer, who has served for 16 years in the Army Reserve, said her faith always helps when she has to remain positive during difficult circumstances. She finds comfort in prayer whenever she is away from friends and family and has no other source of communication. She knows that God is in control when she faces uncertainty, and she is able to trust in Him to work out the details of her life according to His plan.
God has used these three people to bless my own life and to encourage me personally. They are examples of character and honor. It is a privilege to know each of them and share a faith in Jesus Christ together.
Today, thank the veterans you know. Thank God for them and their willingness to lay down their lives, making the ultimate sacrifice for others.
Katie Nations is a wife of 15 years and a working mother of three young children. She lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.