Iraq Departure

March 1, 2006

Early last year, Michael told me that he was scheduled to leave Iraq on March 10, 2005. Needless to say, the kids and I were counting down the days! He was not coming all the way home to Bristol then, just back to Bamberg, Germany for several weeks, but we were anxiously awaiting the day when he was safely removed from the dangers of being in Iraq during this war. I know that his days have already been numbered by God and that changing his location would not make him “safer” if God had a different plan, but from our limited viewpoint, I would much rather him be on German soil than Iraqi sand!

Last year at this time, the kids and I were staying at my parent’s house taking care of their dogs while they were in Kansas City for a few days. March 1 started out like any other day and around mid-morning I was preparing to take my shower. (I had my cell phone glued to my side in those days, never knowing when I might receive a call from Michael and if I missed it, it might be a few more weeks until he could call again.) So, I went in and laid the phone down by the sink in the bathroom and turned around to head into the bedroom to grab my clothes and my phone started ringing. I glanced briefly at the number displayed but didn’t recognize it. I answered it and I heard Michael say, “Guess where I am?” I said, “Iraq?” and he said, “I’m in Germany!”

I was not expecting this news for 10 more days so I was really surprised and very relieved. I don’t think I realized what a cloud was hanging over us while he was there until it was lifted. It was so good to know that he was back in Germany and that I was not going to get a call or a knock on my door from a military officer telling me that my husband was never coming home. I knew that also meant a more predictable schedule for him so we could talk more often. It was very good news!

We didn’t get to talk very long right then because he was calling on an Army phone that a Sergeant had let him use for a few minutes. He said he would call back on his phone card soon.

As soon as we hung up, I told the kids and then Alley wanted to call everyone we knew! I emailed alot of people and Alley called Mom and Dad and we called a few others to share the news. It was a great day!

The picture above was not taken that day. It was actually taken on July 28, 2004, the day that Michael arrived here at Tri-Cities airport for his 2 week R&R from Iraq. He sat next to a man on his short flight from Atlanta who offered to take pictures of his reunion with his family and later he emailed us the pics. I really love this one because it captured the moment so well. Liam had just turned 3 the day before this picture was taken and I don’t think he really understood exactly what was going on with this R&R thing, so when Michael came through the glass doors at the airport, Liam said, “I found you!” It was so sweet! It made me think of how God sent Christ for us long before we even existed and He planned it all and then we say to Him, “I found you!” Michael had been traveling for a very long time, by convoy and plane, and waiting for several hours at a time in order to arrive there at that moment and from Liam’s perspective, he found Michael. God teaches us in so many ways.


6 Responses to “Iraq Departure”

  1. Dad said

    Yes, it was like a cloud was lifted when he go out of the war zone. (How history changes. 62 years ago, Germany WAS the war zone!) It’s good to have you here, Michael!!

  2. jana said

    I am so glad that you all are together again as a family…what a blessing.

  3. Jon Williams said

    I didn’t know that Liam said that when Michael got off the plane. How fitting.

    This post actually brought a tear to my eye. (but only one)

  4. Mom said

    I will never forget when you told me what Liam said! It is exactly the way we see our “finding God”. In all actuality it is the other way around. He finds us, well He always knows where we are, but we do NOT find Him. He has to make us alive or we would never even know Him. So, what a fitting way to show how limited our view of God us…As limited as a 3 year old’s, but how precious to hear what he said when he “found” his Daddy once again! I, had more than one tear in my eye as I read and remembered that day. Love, Mom

  5. jeph said

    I will definetly steal that illustration some day. I also remember when Alley, all upset over the various drama’s around the time of the weddings, and Michaels going to Iraq, and everyone crying about different things at different times said, “The good day will be the Wedding.”

  6. Mom said

    Thanks, Jeph for that other illustration! Wow, out of the mouth of BABES! Love, Mom

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