In the recent 2010 congressional elections, polls indicated that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not anywhere near the top of many voters' minds as they went to the polls. But every day, our troops and their families continue to sacrifice and serve in both of these wars. Battlefields and Blessings - Stories of Faith and Courage from The War in Iraq and Afghanistan is the much needed call to remember not only the sacrifices our troops and their families have made and continue to make in these regions, but how the hand of God is ever present in times of trouble.
Written as a daily devotional, the book shares the stories of members of the armed forces, parents of service members, spouses, children, missionaries who have served in these countries and also politicians and civilians who serve our military. A source of encouragement amidst stories that could otherwise be overwhelming and disheartening, each day includes an inspirational story from the conflicts, along with an applicable Bible verse and a one or two sentence prayer. The varied perspectives from not just those who have served in the conflict, but many others affected by these wars, gives the reader a multifaceted look at not only the challenges, but also the positive outcomes in times of battle.
One of my favorite entries was the story of Stephanie Olsen, wife of military police officer Joe Olsen. Stephanie talks about how she answers when people ask her how it feels to be the wife of a serviceman. Her one word answer is "personal." Thanks to the efforts of Jane Hampton Cook, Jocelyn Green and John Croushorn, we have in-depth and encouraging insight into the very personal world of those affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the blessings given by the One who watches over all of them.
The structure of this book is totally different than what I was expecting, though looking back at the format for Faith Deployed, it makes sense and it fits with Jocelyn Green's style. Each account is broken up into days. There are 365 stories, real life stories, from real people and in their own words. Each day is titled, explained, and then summarized with an amazing, simple, yet effective prayer.
I read the first few months of the book aloud to my husband who just returned from his third deployment in 2 years. He was able to relate to a lot of the stories and even add comments on things he had been briefed on or learned through training exercises. For being a military spouse, who doesn't experience deployment in the service member's shoes, it definitely made me understand and appreciate my husband and all others serving in our armed services.
Battlefields and Blessings is a book made up of a bunch of different stories/devotionals. Co-authored by Jane Hampton Cook, Jocelyn Green and John Croushorn.
The book has 1 entry for each day of the year. Now I read the book all the way through over a few weeks. But you could also just read 1 entry a day based on the day or a couple each day. The entries are from different people associated with the military in some way. From Chaplains who work at the Pentagon who were there on 9/11, to military wives having to get through deployments. A lot of people who wrote them have about 3-4 entries each. I found this pretty cool because it let me know a little bit more about each of the people who wrote them. At the end of each entry, there is a short prayer for us to read. I could really see this book as a great tool to have during a hard situation such as a deployment. There are stories of faith, what people have gone through and some very inspirational thoughts that just stick with you.
The people who wrote in this book felt very real to me. Sometimes there were entries from a husband and wife and it was great to hear from both of them. There were stories about 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and life back at home. Stories from mothers and wives and from those who have been to war. I also really enjoyed the layout and even how the book was put together. Just a great mix of people.
The one entry that sticks out to me was from a military wife Kerri Hartwick who lost her husband in Iraq. One of the prayers listed said, "Lord, prepare my heart for whatever you have in store for me." Really this is what we have to deal with in life. We don't know the future or if our prayers will be answered but we can know God is there for us through whatever we must go through. There were many other entries that made me feel very encouraged as well.
While this is meant to be a DAILY book of meditations for anyone involved directly or indirectly with the global war against terror -- from 9/11 to today's battlefield -- most of us will find it almost impossible to stop from reading days or weeks ahead. The authors weave these stories together so adeptly as they are shared from the hearts of those in the battle, from those waiting at home, and from those called alongside as chaplains and medical staff. Our memories of the news accounts from the battlefield often dim with time, but these stories of our modern-day 'heroes of the faith' will be carried for years in our hearts and shared long into the future with our loved ones. VIC PRIMEAUX, CMF Director of Ministry to Coast Guard Forces and Families
Testimonies of Gods power, grace, protection, love and deliverance are clearly displayed in this devotional. My husband served during the war in Iraq and is soon to serve in Afghanistan so this really hits home. It is a true blessing to us as a military Christian couple, as well as a blessing to anyone who reads it. VERY INSPIRATIONAL, LIFE CHANGING AND A MUST READ!~Mrs. Tricia Mae Price, Army wife, health and fitness professional