Heroes on the Homefront

by Brenda Pace

This summer I had the privilege of spending a week in the Colorado Mountains with seventeen true heroes. They were being treated to a week of ministry to refresh their weary bodies and spirits. Most of these heroes were experiencing their second or third long deployment to Iraq.

They were not the ones who went, but the ones who stayed behind. These were the heroes that said good-bye to their husbands once, and eight months after they returned said good-bye again.

They didn't even have time to take the yellow ribbons off the trees.

Who are these women who face life with such courage and have their lives presently defined by waiting? They are your daughters, your sisters, your girlfriends with whom you went to high school or college.* They are women whose emotions stay right at the surface. Yet, they are women who function anyway. Their lives are characterized by the hope they have in their husband's safe return and the fear they fight in his being called away again.

I listened to their wisdom as they shared the things this war has taught them. I watched them serve one another in the spirit of true community. I heard them as they honestly spoke of their fears and frustrations. I watched as they prayed for one another and as they opened their minds and hearts to the refreshment of God's Word.

I saw them care for their children with the constant prayer that they wouldn't do anything to 'mess them up' while dad is away. Oh, and I heard them laugh! It was cleansing laughter that bound their hearts even closer.

Jim Ryan, in his book Heroes Among Us, writes, "Is one born a hero, or are heroes made? I cannot help but think that one becomes a hero through consistently making small decisions that build one upon the other, fortifying one's character through a lifetime of right choices."

This summer in the Colorado mountains I met women who are making right choices. They are looking to God as their refuge and strength, their ever-present help in the time of trouble. They're looking to each other to build each other up and encourage each other. They are looking at creative ways to serve others.

I am better for being with them. I am proud to be a military wife alongside them. They truly are "Heroes on the HomeFront."

This article is dedicated to the women of Fort Riley, Kansas, who participated in the Spring Canyon Summer Celebration Week, "Heroes on the HomeFront" sponsored by Officers' Christian Fellowship. Thanks to all who made this wonderful week possible, especially Cindy Wesley for her visionary leadership!