There have been many times this year, when I have been shown how God provides for us, offers a moment of heart touching joy, or even a glimpse of hope when we need it most.
This year has not been easy and I have spent most of it crying tears of sadness. Sometimes, I could not even see the blessings around me, because my heart was so overcome with grief and bitterness from loss. It has been a year full of change, mostly unwarranted, but here we are survivors of yet another season.
I began the month of December knowing it would be tough for my husband and I to truly feel joy. I dreaded pulling out the Christmas decorations, because there would be reminders of the losses we have been through this year. I pushed forward and even put on my favorite Christmas music by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. We decorated our home and turned on the Christmas lights. Something still felt like it was missing from my heart. It was that something that grief had taken away and I had fought all year to try and regain.
The following week, I went to Operation Homefront’s Holiday Meals for Military event. I was familiar with this nonprofit as I had volunteered at their Back to School Brigade event earlier that year.
It was my first time going, as a participant, to the Holiday Meals event and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had to pull over a few times on the way there as my car was having issues, which wasn’t new.
I finally made it and was greeted by smiling soldiers in uniform with Santa hats on. The Director greeted me at the door and I recognized him from volunteering before. He directed me to a table to check in, and there I was welcomed by smiling volunteers. As I showed my ID and ticket, another spouse checking in beside me began sobbing as the volunteer handed her a Walmart gift card. She had an infant in a carrier and toddler standing beside her. As I listened to her sob, I tried to hold it together because I just could not imagine what her story or situation might’ve been.
Next, I was greeted by a soldier carrying a large bag of food, complete with all the trimmings necessary for a wonderful Christmas dinner. He offered to carry it to my car for me. As I walked out of the building tears began to fill my eyes. I tried to hold it together, once again, so I could have a conversation with the soldier as he accompanied me to my car.
As I waved goodbye to the soldier, I could not fight back the tears any longer. I got in my car and sobbed. I knew what my family had been through this year and how my car almost broke down on the way there. I couldn’t even imagine what the spouse beside me may be facing or might have faced this year. In that moment, I knew that God had provided her family just what it needed, and he had also provided me just what I needed; a touching moment that caused joyful tears to fill up my eyes and heart.
That something that had been missing inside me all year was returning as I sobbed several times throughout the day reflecting on what had happened. I was finally able to truly see what I needed to be joyful about this year and the many blessings that surrounded me, despite the pain and suffering my family had endured this year.
Through the generosity of Operation Homefront, my life and my family’s Christmas have been impacted in a very positive way. I know that the situation I encountered was probably not the only life changer at that event. It is organizations like this that truly reach out with generosity and kindness when military families need it most. It is the God sent helping hand, tender moment, and kindness of this organization that changes lives. I have had the pleasure of seeing twice already this year where the money goes and how the programs are directly and positively impacting military families across the nation.
Joy has finally filled my heart again, just in time for the Christmas season.
© Wendi and Strength 4 Spouses, 2017.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the nonprofit mentioned, nor will I receive any compensation for my recommendations and story. I wanted to write about my experience because the public does not witness the true impact that Operation Homefront has on the lives of military families. For all that they give us; this is my way of giving back to this amazing non profit organization.