You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:1-6
We often find ourselves trying vicariously to live our lives through our children. I suppose that’s why God gave me children who have strong wills and independent spirits. I learned very early on that I would be rearing children, not living my life and dreams through them, helping and guiding them to make wise and sometimes difficult choices.
Matthew has always had a mind of his own. He always made friends easily, but he rarely ever allowed those friends to control his thoughts or emotions. Matthew could think for himself and he was always extremely pertinacious. As he grew older, we talked about the possibility of home-schooling him, but he said to me one day, “Mom, if God can use me to make a difference in one person’s life, then I want to stay in public school. One person is worth it all.” Matthew did, over the next few years, make a difference in the lives of several of his friends.
At the end of Matthew’s sophomore year, he said, “Mom, I want to be in the military. I want to join the Marines and be on the front lines. Don’t bother signing me up for the SAT or ACT. I’m not going to college.”
My first through was, “Sure thing, Buddy. You’re only 15 and likely to change your mind in a few months.” Besides, what 15 year old could possibly know he wants to fight on the frontline for his country?
While he spent the next year talking, I ignored him, until the start of his Senior year and he was still talking about it. I called his dad and told him Matthew’s plan, needless to say, he was not a happy camper. Having served in the Navy and knowing the potential Matthew possessed, he convinced Matthew to talk with a Navy recruiter. Only after lengthy discussions with the recruiter, did Matthew decide the Nuclear program in the Navy best suited him
After Matthew’s decision was made, I really didn’t think it was what he wanted to do; however, as he focused more on the Navy, his excitement accelerated. His hope was to go in immediately after graduation; however, due to the economy the Navy had a significantly higher number of recruits; so, he would have to wait a year. While he was disappointed, it also gave him more time to spend with friends and family and also take a 3 ½ week trip to Europe. The wait also made him more eager to join. At that point, my reluctance and disbelief in his choice diminished.
If there were any doubt left in me, I definitely had closure, if any doubt remained, when Matthew wrote the following words, “I just want you to know that joining the Navy was the best decision I have ever made. I have definitely found where I belong.” (Letter from Matthew, dated 11 July 2010) Wow! The words resonated my heart and soul, my precious boy has found his calling. I don’t think there is any greater feeling of accomplishment that a mother can feel when she knows that her children are where they belong.