brandon's first tour in iraq was in 2003 and our only means of communication was writing letters. we were old school:) there were no phones, no internet and no way of knowing where he was. or if he was okay. or even alive. looking back, i have no idea how i kept it together. i spent a lot of time with God during those months he was away and i truly believe that He gave me a peace that surpassed all understanding. brandon's mom, jenny, felt the same way. she said that she never once doubted that he wouldn't come home. we all rallied together and prayed and prayed and prayed and we are all thankful that God's plan was for brandon to come home safe. that prayer is a powerful tool:)
now that we have our own home, we have a little more space (and stability...no more moving!) to collect some items from our past. brandon had been keeping all things marine corp related in his mom's basement until this past weekend when she graciously handed them over (while silently thanking God for her basement back:)). there was a lot of nostalgia in the air as we looked through old uniforms, worn combat boots and pile after pile of training manuals. and last but not least, the letters. letters that still had remnants of dusty, dessert sand and smelled of musty, old library books. there was a pile of "family" letters and there was a pile of "maggie" letters. looking back at them brings back a lot of different feelings, but mostly an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness. thankful for keeping him safe, for sparing his life, for giving me peace.....so many feelings of thanks.
little by little, we are reading through them together. and boy is it an emotional roller coaster:) not many relationships live to see the end of a war, much less a marriage, so we have been feeling very blessed.
|all letters were kept safe in this handy MRE bag|
|the "maggie" letters|
a couple excerpts:
february 5, 2003
"....brandon, i need you to come home. i really, really need you to come home. so please don't break your promise to me and come back. i know it's all in the hands of God, and at times like these, i wish i could see into the future. but, unfortunately, i can't. i love you, think about me a lot, and most importantly, talk to God."
february 6, 2003
"....never forget my love for you, brandon. someday we'll look back at all these letters and laugh. actually, i'll probably cry:) my love is flying to you on angel's wings....keep praying...."
february 11, 2003
".....i am so incredibly proud of you. and i'm not just saying that because you're gone and i'm your girlfriend. when i really think about what you're over there doing, i feel so lucky and proud to say that you are my boyfriend. i can honestly say that you are my hero. i love you.....be careful and come home to me soon...."
" For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13