ONE VETERAN SUICIDE IS ONE TOO MANY!
~Battle Flag Ranch webpage
Last year, during Bataan, Combat Boot Divas was officially born. Since that time, Battle Flag Ranch has officially received their 501c3. Amy founded Medals of Honor. Our hearts have always been with the military and their families but God has really grown us all.
Through Medals of Honor over 500 ribbons will be distributed at Bataan to represent our fallen. Each ribbon was hand-made and requested by a family member. We have worked with Amy to make these ribbons and there is something very humbling about seeing so many ribbons knowing that they each represent a life lost. I love this idea and I stand behind it 100%.
Yet, God was asking something different of me. I attended a funeral on my daddy’s side of the family – nothing military related. I went to the gravesite of my daddy for the first time in six years, alone. I had a panic attack and couldn’t breathe. I called Aaron crying because I couldn’t breathe. He calmed me down and stayed on the phone until I could drive and I drove home.
Combat Boot Divas was in full swing with our Daughters of Sarah’s class and I really needed to put my focus back on that. I kept my thoughts quiet and to myself for a while but, ultimately, God wanted my trip to Bataan to honor those military that lost their lives to suicide. I talked to Aaron and wrote the blog. As always Aaron said Yes. It wasn’t until the past two weeks that I realized the magnitude of that Yes. You see, very few people even acknowledged what I was doing. I wasn’t looking for acknowledgment but I was looking for stories and names. CRICKETS! I was shocked and confused. Maybe I heard God wrong. Maybe this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. Maybe I was dishonoring the fallen by changing my focus. My head went in all directions. Yet, my heart kept going back to the 22.
As always, God has a plan and he led me to another ministry 22 TOO MANY. They are like Medals of Honor, except they focus on those who lost their battle to suicide. Running/Marching to honor all of our military whether they lost their life in war or by suicide. They all matter and all of these causes were coming together. I do have some names of people close to me. I cherish those names but the others from 22 Too Many are just as important because they are loved and their stories matter.
As time has drawn closer, the spiritual attacks have become so great, some days my head spins and my heart breaks. Luckily, I believe that God is in control and periodically he shows me a glimpse at his long term plan. Friday night, I was working on my ribbons. You see, I have usually done this when Aaron is not around. This was not intentional, it just happened that way. He came downstairs and the shock on his face was one I will never forget. He said Yes! But he knew the reality behind everyone of those ribbons. He isn’t talking about it and the silence is hard. I was hurt at first but then I noticed others that have given me names are quiet too. They say only what they need to say to me and we don’t get into a long conversation. The reality of PTSD and suicide is so hard to discuss. It took me several days to understand the magnitude of this YES that I received from Aaron.
Other attacks have happened; my ministry and my story were attacked twice this week. One was really hard because the person made a snap judgment on who I am based on how I started rather than where I am. I believe the person came from a place of ignorance or lack of understanding and knowledge and not malicious intent. However, the words hurt and a seed was planted. Does Combat Boot Divas really dishonor our husbands? Am I selfish and inconsiderate every time I put on my boots?
I knew our hearts were right. I knew we had the passion. Yet, I couldn't shake the doubt. It is sad enough that we are losing members of our military in war, but we are now losing them at home at alarming rates. Our focus on has always been on Veterans and their families. Reintegrating in life after war is not easy. Husbands and Wives are saying I can't do this anymore and divorcing. Veterans are coming and not receiving proper treatment. The invisible wounds, the war in their mind becomes too much to bear and they end it. Divorce and Suicide - ONE IS TOO MANY! We have to stand and fight, but now the attacks make me question my beliefs, my path and my resolve to continue on this journey.
Here is where God would show up. Aaron and I talked. If he ever has a problem with what I am doing he will tell me. Dina talked to Jason and he shed some light on the lack of knowledge and understanding. Another wife talked to her husband. You see we had all just spent thirteen weeks working through Daughters of Sarah, growing our relationship with God and learning how to interact with our husbands in a way that is respectful and honoring. Disrespecting the military or our husbands is not something we will ever find acceptable. We hope as we grow, we will minimize our mistakes where we fall short in this area.
I had a very special phone call on Sunday. My friend and I shared our visions of ministry – the one she founded and Combat Boot Divas. We saw that God has woven a special purpose for our friendship and our ministries. We believe we were not brought together by accident. She told me that as things progress the spiritual attacks will continue and as I continue to push forward and let them roll, they will lessen. It was just the bump I needed to get over the negative I was feeling.
Suzie and I got home that Sunday evening, and my mom began to question everything. She wanted to understand Bataan and the ribbons. She didn’t understand the difference between the ones we made for Medals of Honor versus the ones for my pack. Honestly, I was tired and I was not ready for another discussion that could turn into an attack. Instead, I watched as Suzie gently explained the effects of war and PTSD and death to my mother. I would only have to interject every now and then, if there was something she didn’t understand or my mom needed more explanation. My mom watches the kids when I travel for these events and she does so without question but I guess she has never understood what we do or why. When MY CHILD was done talking to MY MOTHER she was completely on board with what we were doing. She finally understood our mission. As the conversation came to a close, Suzie said we need to mail these ribbons with a handwritten note to each family after Bataan and Mountain Man are done. I had not considered what I would do with the ribbons yet, but it was a beautiful idea.
I know this is a long post and if I still have your attention, I would like to ask a few things of you.
1) Pray that our hearts remain pure and our focus stays in line with God’s ultimate plan.
2) Pray for Battle Flag Ranch and Combat Boot Divas as we begin to navigate through fundraising.
3) Pray that God will give us discernment as we begin to work with new individuals or organizations.
4) Pray for our families – as we move forward with our mission, Spiritual attacks will happen. We need all the prayer we can get.
5) Pray for our military and their families – those who are still fighting, those who are suffering from PTSD and the fallen.
6) Lastly, if you have the financial ability to support us, please go to this webpage and donate. Battle Flag Ranch is a 501C3 so all donations are tax deductible. http://www.gofundme.com/oy45z8