One more time

The first time he said goodbye for a year it was to me and my 7-month pregnant belly in a German airport. He’ll tell you it broke his heart. I often wonder how it must have been for him, to get that phone call in a war zone that he was a father for the first time. Of all the moments he’s missed – first teeth and first lost teeth, first steps and first days of school – I wish the most that he could have had that, seen that, when Rhema burst onto the scene in all her glory.



The second time he said goodbye Rhema was 5 and Hope was 2, and it was the hardest. Before he left, he kissed Rhema and put her on the bus and hoped she understood. Then he held Hope. And she gave him a dinosaur hug so big I believe he could feel it for the next year and two months (to be exact).



Now we are trying to wrap our heads around the fact that he’s being called to deploy again. The girls and I will not have to move… It’s bittersweet. We prayed that God would keep the family together. Another year-long deployment is not what we had in mind. But I trust that God’s answer to the prayer is still yes.

I’ve known him for a long time and I marvel at his generous heart. I marvel at him and others who serve in the military; they are willing to sacrifice again and again, they have duty, honor and service at their core.

He loves this family and he loves this country.

He will take these next few months to cherish the time with us. As he’s done before, he’ll put everything in order – and give me a tutorial in auto care and changing light bulbs and checking the mail. He’ll find a way to tell the girls he’s leaving again. Then with a heavy heart and not a single complaint, he will go.

One more time.


“…We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.” ~Colossians 1:11, The Message

26 thoughts on “One more time

  1. Oh Jeneil.
    We’re forever grateful for your family’s dedication to our country. Thank you all. And I am so glad you are staying.
    I just wish he didn’t have to go again.

  2. My heart aches for you! You’ve been through so much this year….Will be praying for you and your family and especially for Rhema and Hope. Your faith will keep you strong. In the mean time, enjoy your days together!

  3. My heart is heavy and sad. Don’t underestimate the sacrifices you too are making. God keep him safe and bring him home to you once more. Much love and respect and admiration and many, many hugs!!

  4. I just don’t really know what to say except that I will be praying for you all through his deployment. So sad that he has to go but so thankful that you and the girls can stay. You are right, bittersweet. I love the verses you posted from the Message. I will be praying that God gives you glory-strength!

  5. Praying for you and your family that God will give all of you strength through this. I am so grateful to you and your family and countless others like yours for what you do for this country every day. Thank you. Hugs.

  6. Not much to say except he goes with lots of prayers and lots of people who are holding him in their hearts. You and the girls stay with lots of prayers and people who love you so very much.

  7. So deeply saddened to hear this and so grateful for your sacrifice. I doubt I will ever listen to our national anthem again without great emotion. Yours truly is the home of the brave. All of you are strong and courageous and beautiful. And we owe you much of our freedom. With all my heart I pray and trust that you shall live to see these days renewed. Brandon will be missed and fervently prayed for. And you my sister will be “held”. And may it be as the “days of heaven on earth” for you all when he returns. Deuteronomy 11:21

  8. I can’t even begin to fathom Brandon’s and your sacrifice, and the girls’. I thank you from the depths of my soul. Know that, as always, you are in my prayers, and in my heart.

  9. Pingback: I believe I can fly | Autism In a Word

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