Here's our third Sunday devotion by our own Shelly Thompson (you can watch her on our Facebook LIVE each Monday at 9:30 for Vintage, Rustic, & Primitive). Remember, Cheryl will be doing LIVE video devotions each Sunday in December from her home.
This devotion honors both God and our Veteran’s. Again to all of our Veteran’s...thank you for your courage and sacrifice.
On January 24, 1955 my Dad left for the US Navy. The photo is the Bible that my grandmother wrote in and sent with him that day. I pray that during this time of turmoil in our country this brings you comfort. There are a few tears as I can feel the heart of my grandmother that day so long ago as her oldest son left the warmth of his family home on 5th Street in Highland Park and headed across the ocean. But God...blessed him on this journey. Her prayers were answered.
Cold winds swept through the Midwest on January 24, 1955. In a tiny kitchen on 5th Street being kept warm by a coal furnace in the next room, a mother sat, pen and Bible in hand, with a broken heart. That woman was my grandmother. I am sure tears flowed as she penned the following words inside the cover of the Bible she would give that day to her oldest of two sons, who would later be my Dad-
Dear Sheldon - This little book is a token of our love for you. All we want out of life is the best for you. May this book be a constant companion along life’s way as a daily guidance. May the Lord bless thee and keep thee, may the Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift his countenance upon thee and give thee peace. Numbers 6:24- “God bless you son” - Love from your Mom and Dad.
At age twenty, her son was leaving to begin life in the U.S. Navy. He would board a train that would carry him miles away…eventually he would be oceans away…from his family as he served his country. The draft was in effect in 1955. He most likely would have been drafted into the service. But as his parents had taught him, he did what was right for his country and voluntarily enlisted. This day, was the day a mother would offer her son to the military...hoping and praying for his safety and that one day…he would return to their small family home on 5th Street.
My Dad’s family lived in severe poverty during the very early years making their home in a ‘shanty’. The depression occurred in 1929 and times were very hard for their family when he was young. They didn’t own a car for many years and walked the two miles to church each week, even in inclement weather. My grandmother was apparently an expert at bundling up her family in the cold Iowa winters. Her testimony of Warrior faith still amazes me today. She knew that despite everything they didn’t have…the One thing they did have was more than enough. She trusted that God would provide one day at a time…one prayer at a time…providing just enough to meet their needs.
The day her son was to leave home and go miles away, she knew the most important thing she could send with him was the word of God, with a love letter inscribed in the cover from the heart of a faith Warrior mother. I imagine it crossed her mind that this Bible might be the last thing she would give him. As I look back, I can see my Dad’s courage as a young man. He didn’t cower in the shadows hoping maybe through some error he wouldn’t get called in the draft. He enlisted voluntarily. Tough decisions...for both mother and son...who knew God was in charge...no matter what.
Deep in her heart as she sat at the kitchen table that day she knew her years of faith in God had been passed down to her son. That was something she couldn’t pack into an overstuffed duffel bag, but it would fit in his heart. She had given him something he would never outgrow over the years, but grow into as he matured in his own faith. Her Warrior faith had planted seeds that God would continue to nurture and grow…across the ocean.
God calls us to make tough decisions of the heart. He calls us to take a stand for what is right, even when others don’t. If we listen, we can hear Him calling us into His army. We know that He is for us...no matter what we face. He is for our families. He is for our children. He is for the ill, the addict, the poor, the dying, the young pregnant unmarried woman, the person in the nursing home. He is for us and with us. My grandmothers faith let her know...her son was not traveling alone. He had God and an invisible army as his companions. For those with faith in Jesus Christ we need to show those God has brought into our life that Jesus is more important than anything else.
My grandmother inscribed words of love to her son in the cover of a Bible. Is the Word of God inscribed on your heart with the penmanship of the Author and Perfector of your faith? Like the Bible my grandmother inscribed her words in the cover…we can leave evidence of a lasting legacy of faith that can be shown to those coming after you.
I know my grandma’s heart broke on that day in 1955...but she left behind evidence of Who she trusted. Let’s leave a legacy like that…a ‘letter of recommendation’ for those coming after us. A legacy that satan cannot destroy. Let's remember that God whispers from heaven, what my grandmother could only write inside the cover of a Bible…“God bless you child” - Love, Your Father.
You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 2 Corinthians 3:2