The purpose of the Memorial Day holiday is often forgotten in the excited planning of a three-day weekend. For some, it is a day off, an excuse to fire up the grill…and not much else. Some people take the time to remember and thank everyone who has served our country. This is great and necessary, but it misses the main point of the holiday.
The focus of Memorial Day is to remember and honor those who dedicated their lives to protecting our country…and did not make it home. This is the day we remember those who willingly stepped into battle, carrying all of us on their backs. They laid down their lives for many people they would never know because they believed that our freedom was worth protecting.
If all U.S. wars are taken into account, over 1.1 million people have given their lives for us. The path to freedom is paved with the bricks of bravery, sacrifice, and love. While those willing to charge into battle were motivated by selflessness and did not demand recognition, it is important for us to remember them.
We must remember also the people they left behind whose lives were forever changed. While today is a day off for many of us, for others, it is a sad reminder of a child, parent, or spouse who isn’t coming home, a loved one who will never again feel our embrace, or a friend who will never share another laugh with us.
On Memorial Day, please say a prayer for the families and friends who have been impacted by the service of loved ones—and a prayer of thankfulness for those who were willing to serve.
It takes a special person to give their all in service to our country. Let us live in a way that honors their sacrifice. May we be a people who remember.
In the garden of life, there are many who cultivate—who nurture, guide, strengthen, challenge, and bless others. God uses their influence to grow impressionable children into the men and women He desires them to be.
While there have been many such people in my life, there is one who bears mentioning above all others.
It’s so easy for us to miss the self-sacrifice of mothers. Becoming a parent and watching my daughter grow has given me a deeper perspective. I see my wife work tirelessly to shower her with kindness and love. Many times, raising children can feel like a thankless job. It’s in those moments, I think, that we can fully appreciate our own parents.
When she was just sixteen, my mother lost her own mom to cancer. It’s hard for me to imagine navigating my later teen years without my mom by my side. She has been a guide, a steady hand to hold. When entering the confusing waters of college and my twenties, she was there to show me a path and teach me how to avoid getting swept downstream.
During the inevitable times that I didn’t listen and fell into the rapids, she would dive into the raging waters, hold on to me, and bring me to shore.
Her love was an intense fire that instilled within me value and joy. It still guides my perspective all these years later. Mom was a gardener who would not give up on what she planted, a woman committed to God and building His kingdom through her son.
I love my mother, my wife, and all of the other women who have had their hand on my life. I can never thank them enough for their influence on me.
While I was blessed to have a godly mother, I pray for those whose mothers did not provide the love and nurture that God intended. I know that on this Mother’s Day, while many will have fond memories of their mothers, some may silently weep for the relationship they never had, or a relationship that has deteriorated.
If that is your situation, take courage. Whether you are a mother or not, you may step out in faith and be a mother to others. Walk into their garden and begin to cultivate it. Shower them with the love, patience, understanding, empathy, support, and respect that will nurture them. Raise them up for the kingdom of God and He will bless you abundantly—if not in this life, then in the next.