Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

Veterans Celebrate Easter – Gig Line #347

By Marsha M. Brown

Celebrate

Believers in God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit consider the significance of this time of year…Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

We believe that our Lord God Almighty created Heaven and earth and we privately and publicly acknowledge our faith in His divine and masterful plan, and we accept that we do not always understand why things happen as they do sometimes…earthquakes, floods, tornados, hurricanes, and man created wars that destroy the evil that perpetuated it but also hurt and killed the good and innocent in their midst.

They say we won’t know much of what and why things happen as they do during our life here on earth until and if God reveals it to us in Heaven; I sure don’t know why things happen as they do…why there’s a need for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Walter Reed National Military Medical Center…but there most positively is obviously and while the initial consideration about each brings pain and suffering to mind; it also brings faith, hope, charity and healing at the forefront as well. It reminds us of the incredible medical teams that see anguish each and every day…but still, they remain there to help…to heal…to encourage and to love.

There’s no doubt in my mind, as a believer who falls short of doing everything God wants me to do, but somehow in my daily journey, I know that He still loves me; I know that in the darkest hours of my life I could count on His love, forgiveness and comfort because I humbly and respectfully ask for it.

I know too that when I say my prayers that He listens; He cares, and He will respond to my plea in His time and as He sees fit. His answer may not be as I hoped…the outcome of the dilemma might not be as I expected…or prayed for but I trust God…that He knows best and at times I’ve later realized He ‘had it’ all along using the result toward a  good either for me or whom I prayed about.

My first realization of one of His miracles was when I dedicated my heart to the Lord at age 17. It was on a Friday night following a week of revival at Manteo Baptist Church. The following day, I was in a horrible accident and my best friend died as a result. I didn’t know why I survived, as a passenger in the car I mourned my best friend’s death…it was the first time I had experienced losing someone I loved dearly and for the next almost fifty years I carried a guilt about it…why did He let me live through the tragedy? Years later I realized the essence of ‘survivor’s guilt’ and at the point in time I came to better understand a   heartache that contributes to our service members PTSD.

I also came to realize that good people die young; that life is unpredictable and often short…for some very short; that life can be hard…sad…and a struggle but…but…it can be a good, healthy and happy life too especially when we’re in the service of others – whether we serve at St. Jude’s or Walter Reed or in our churches helping the lonely, sick or heartbroken; praying for others on our knees or while lying flat on our bed…we are all entitled to loving others and being loved by others…we are all capable in one way or the other to do good, to be an instrument of God to offer our prayers, our care, our attention and our sincere will to help others get better or be better…to “pay it forward” as they say; that we can ALL find our purpose in life and why God allowed us to live through devastating storms, atrocious vehicular accidents or a war.

The accident I survived was indeed horrific but through that horrendous day in my life, it resulted in my realizing who God wanted to share my life…a man every woman (with any sense at all) would want to love her…children that a mother could not possibly love more or be more proud of…grandchildren that bless my heart every day…and the drive I have to meet, personally thank for their service to our country and be blessed in knowing…our United States of America service men and women.

Easter time represents that our Savior, Jesus Christ, painfully and horribly hung on a cross as a punishment in our place so we could be reconciled to God. I realize that some folks don’t see it that way…that some folks don’t even believe in God…but I know Him personally and once I write the book I’m working on, it explains the miracles and testimony of my meeting Him, leaning on Him even as a seven year old, trusting Him and praising Him for all the tremendous help he has given to me and our family…even with the heartaches I have endured, His love and comfort exceeded it all.

God is good…He put my beloved husband Billy into my life…He has brought me through the accident, our house fire, a foreclosure, Billy’s Agent Orange related brain cancer, the cancer I personally dealt with and my heartbreak ever since my sweet Billy died in 2016. He has ALSO given me a mighty love for others…especially our veterans…a weekly column in which to express that and as a tribute to my US Army Vietnam Veteran husband…and the tremendous love that surrounds me…every day of my life through His presence, my family, and friends that I pass on to others.

As a believer…I see God all around me – in the sun that rises in the east and sets in the west…in birds that fly and the beauty of the ocean…in the kindness of people to others, their willingness to help a stranger just because it’s the right thing to do…I see and feel God’s presence and His love for me and you every single day and I am thankful. 

I believe and accept that not everyone believes like I do and that’s okay, hopefully someday they will; hopefully someday non-believers will let their guard down and accept that something way beyond our imagination created the world in which we live and that this isn’t by   mistake and that its alright to let our guard down and accept that He is alive and well…that having Him in our hearts and holding Him near gives us comfort in our times of need and that His love far exceeds any stretch of the imagination.

I pray this day and every day for non-believers, agnostics, and atheists to give faith in God a chance. I pray too for our soldiers, airmen, seamen and Marines – for their good health, safety and successful missions; I pray for their families left behind when they follow the orders they are given and to come home again; I pray for our country and that those who wish to destroy it by whatever means are met with total resistance and impossibility.

Thank God for the strength He gives us to maintain, to keep moving forward when times are tough, for the blessings in our lives – our skills, our talents, our abilities, and our opportunities to do more, give more and love each other more than ever and as He loves us.

Wishing you all a beautiful Easter with a hope for a fresh beginning, forgiveness of others who have hurt you, healing for your infirmities and a determination to stand up for good, honesty, integrity and to let the love in your heart shine through to be cast on those around you. Whatever you and I have done in our life that we regret, God knows about it already, and He still loves us…no matter what.

If you haven’t asked Him for forgiveness, just think about it…it will change your life.

Until next time, be healthy, safe, and happy…celebrate this time of year; the fact you were brought into this world, because you have a purpose…because you matter and because you can change and make better the lives of those you love. If you’d like to contact me…my cell is (252) 202-2058 and my email is: [email protected] If you’d like to talk to a Veteran Service Officer (VSO), please contact Patty O’Sullivan office# (252) 475-5604 or email her: [email protected] Patty can assist you with filing a claim, acquiring a duplicate DD-214 and she can answer a multitude of questions with regard to Veteran Benefits etc. Call her and let her help you to the best of her ability.

Lastly, I love you veterans! US Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard,  Marine Corps and Space Force. Members of our National guard…we thank and appreciate you too! Thank you all for your service, for your protection and for your incredible sacrifice. Next week I’ll update you all on the goal our Dare County Veterans Advisory Council has to (hopefully) bring ‘The Wall That Heals’ to the Outer Banks in 2023 and much more! God bless you and everyone you love. Stay tuned!    

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