Honor the wounded

When a soldier goes to war, a family goes to war.
– Linda Cope
Founder & President of Warrior Beach Retreat

Wounded_Warrior_SaluteOne by one, they walked down the center aisle. If they could. Some had no legs; they were in wheelchairs.

Others came slowly with canes. Some had dogs by their side.

And still others looked strong on the outside. But you knew they carried deep wounds on the inside.

They were twenty-five of our combat-wounded warriors from the Iraq/Afghanistan war, along with their spouses or caregivers.

They were in Panama City Beach, Florida, for a seven-day retreat. To rest. To connect. And to heal.

Many civilians and military alike had gathered in the Lynn Haven United Methodist Church this night to show them we cared. Local choirs sang and Air Force Lt. General William Welser, III, (Retired), spoke encouraging words.

The streets had been lined earlier as a parade route filled with flags and smiles and waves. Welcoming. Celebrating. Honoring these military heroes.

Because when someone gets hurt for the cause, they deserve an extra salute.

And shouldn’t we all participate in the healing of the wounded?

We all know wounded warriors. Not only from physical wars. Other battles—spiritual, emotional, mental—are just as real and cut just as deep. The wounded fall every day in families. In jobs. At churches.

Let’s honor them too. They also need healing. Lend a hand to help a struggler up.

And when the injured are us? Because who hasn’t been cut? We need to seek help from others. Acknowledge our pain. Find beauty in scars.

To remind us that none are broken beyond repair . . .
no circumstance has the final word . . .
and no wound is beyond healing . . .
when God is invited into it.

He makes all things new again.

At the conclusion of the ceremony for the Wounded Warriors, the servicemen and women and their caregivers (and wheelchairs, canes, and dogs) lined up in the foyer of the church building. One by one we got to meet them, shake their hands, and say, “Thank you for your service.”

It felt inadequate. They paid a high price to keep hope alive for me in my country. Now I invite God to keep hope alive for them in their souls.

So to all wounded warriors, regardless of your battle, I say, “Thank you for your service. It’s an honor to know you. And may God bless you as you heal.”

Because your beauty is deeper than two perfect legs or an unscarred complexion or a head devoid of PTSD.

When God is for you—for us—none can stand against.
He is and will be victorious.
We’re all in this together.

* * *

Will you pray for these warriors too? They’ll be returning to their homes tomorrow. And their battles will continue.

39 thoughts on “Honor the wounded

  1. bluecottonmemory

    Praying for the wounded, especially that hearts and eyes are opened for those that see life as the glass half empty- praying their hearts opento see life half full – my heart especially hurts for those and so applauds those half-half full whose eyes see life hopeful despite their circumstances:)

    1. Lisa notes...

      Yes, my heart aches for those who are having to push through each day to hang on to hope. I can’t know the struggles they have, but I know they are real and that they are difficult. It helps me put mine into better perspective.

  2. Kim Adams Morgan

    This post touched me so much, for the wounded warriors, and also the wounded in all of us. I pray for them every week having many in my family from the military and a career with DoD. Thank you for highlighting their struggles and path to truth, hope, healing and salvation, and being seen as perfect in Christ. What more could we ask for?


    1. Lisa notes...

      As I sat in the ceremony last Thursday, I thought of my own dad and brother who served in the military, even for a short time.

      And I also was reminded of how deeply the families also sacrifice. You know about that much better than I do if you have many in the military in your family. May the Lord bless you all.

  3. Linda@Creekside

    Lisa … thank you, my friend, for bringing attention and honor to these, our true heros. I join you in saluting each and every one today. And their wives and children.

    Because one of my daughters has been one of those wives whose man has been overseas. For a very long time. And while he returned unharmed, a sacrifice was made all the same.

    1. Lisa notes...

      Thanks for joining with me to honor these heroes, Linda. They deserve it, along with their families. I imagine you know more than many of the sacrifices the families back home have to make, having watched your daughter. I’m glad your s-i-l returned unharmed, but yes, even then, he and your daughter gave up much.

  4. Nancy Sturm

    What a beautiful, moving tribute to our wounded. My father was a 24 year Air Force veteran who served in three wars (conflicts). Although he was never physically wounded, he never talked about battle experiences. Yes, there are wounds we never see, both among our military personnel and our civilians. May we all be more sensitive to these wounds.

    1. Lisa notes...

      Many come back with so many things locked up in their memories and hearts that they don’t let out. That’s a lot of years and a lot of war to experience. 🙁 I’m thankful to your father for giving up so much for us all.

  5. Hazel Moon

    Yes, may we pray for the wounded and also their families. I lost a cousin in WW2 and my son in law was wounded in the Viet Nam war. He suffers today with head aches and other problems. He is provided for by the VA and that is good for him and his family.

    1. Lisa notes...

      You’ve known a lot of grief through times of war, Hazel. I haven’t been as touched so directly and I’m thankful for that. But it makes my heart go out to those who have been. I’m glad your s-i-l is able to get help from the VA.

  6. Jenn Hand

    Lisa thank you for this beautiful post. It is such a great reminder to pray for those on the battleground.. not just physically but mentally the battlefield of the mind also. What a beautiful writer you are. Thank you for this post!

    1. Lisa notes...

      Your comment reminds me that I never read Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind. 🙂 I’ve heard so much about it through the years; I’m sure it’s good and pertinent to all kinds of wounds. Thanks for stopping in and also for your prayers for these men and women.

  7. Janis@Heart-Filled Moments

    Lisa, this was a heartfelt tribute to our wounded warriors. So many carrying those inner scars that exceed what is evident on the external.
    I loved your ending–“When God is for you….none can stand against . He will be victorious.”
    Gives me hope for my own wounds.

  8. beverley

    As I have done family history for about 30 years i have come across family names of the fallen, those that didn’t come home, who were buried in France, Italy and Afghanistan, but it wasn’t until i was stood at the city memorial a few years back that what it really meant hit home.
    As i was stood there a group of students came with their teacher to discuss and look and take photographs. Somehow or other the teacher and i started talking. I began to share with the names of the fallen Robert Tennant aged 28, left behind a wife and daughter Agnes, died and buried in France, Harry Sowden, 22, Afghanistan, and so on and on. It was at that moment that i realised that this group of bored teenagers were no longer bored but listening intently to every word i was saying. I finished by saying something like ‘we owe our lives and our freedom to those that didn’t come home.’ The teacher thanked me and i left.

    God put me there for a reason so a group of teenagers would know that those names are real soldiers, real people.

    1. Lisa notes...

      I love this story, Beverley. I believe too that the Lord had you there for that place and time and for that reason. We never know who he’s wanting to touch through something we might share. I think it’s easier for teenagers to gloss over deaths if it hasn’t hit home with them yet, so you gave them a good reminder that these were real people who had real lives and real families attached to these names.

    1. Lisa notes...

      We were glad that we “happened” to stumble upon this. It certainly wasn’t anything we had planned, but I’m thankful that someone and Someone had planned it out, and that we were able to participate. That’s just like God, yes?

  9. Dionne

    This line,…”and no wound is beyond healing . . .
    when God is invited into it” really hit me as I need some healing and how we need to
    be open to God’s healing. I will be praying for those soldiers and their families. Thank you for
    sharing this wonderful tribute and truth today.

  10. Shelly Miller

    Beautiful reminder of our falleness, our humanity amidst such sacrifice. Thankful for our soldiers who have given their lives to protect mine. I’m not sure that words, any of them, are quite adequate. May we remember to show kindness to one another as we navigate various stages of healing.

    1. Lisa notes...

      You’re right that no words would have been adequate. When someone is willing (or does!) lay down their lives for ours, words are nothing. Just as our words to Jesus can’t repay what he did for us. We’ve received so many gifts from so many others….

  11. Rebekah Hughes

    This battle will never be ours until the Prince of Peace reigns but we rejoice that “He is and will be victorious. ” Heartfelt tribute and honour to the One who has won the victory. We keep pressing in to the One who bore our griefs and carries our sorrows. He is our refuge! Thank you for the stirring reminder!

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