As a mom of four littles, mom-brain is a daily burden. I misplace things. I lose track of time. I have to keep three different calendars up-to-date to ensure I don’t forget to do something, and then have to remember to keep those three different calendars in sync. It’s a wonder I’m able to function some days.
Perhaps the greatest victim of mom-brain is my longer-term memory, that piece of my brain that used to be able to recall the faintest detail of a past event. Like the feel of the drizzly rain in Prague while trudging up and down the city’s hills in search of our hotel when I refused to buy an umbrella earlier in the trip. Or maybe the sounds of our oldest son’s first baby laughs.
I remember these things happened, but I can’t recall the details anymore. My memories are becoming fuzzy, blurred. I hate it.
I blame it on mom-brain, but maybe it’s just what it means to get older. Maybe it simply happens quicker after spending the past nine-plus years living on such little, interrupted, and restless sleep. Whatever it is and whatever causes it, the fact remains. Time is stealing my memories.
Most of them.
There are those moments, however, that time and age and sleep-deprivation cannot touch. They remain as vivid and poignant as the day they happened. And it sucks.
The day my husband asked if he could volunteer for a deployment to Afghanistan.
The day I dropped him off at the armory and had to watch him walk away from me.
The second the entire world fell away when I got the call that his team had hit an IED and lost someone.
There are moments that no amount of mom-brain can fade, with pain and fear no amount of time can really heal. It doesn’t get easier; it gets different.
Those are the moments that initially inspired me to write Soldier On. The first scene I ever wrote was Meg and Charlie saying goodbye at the armory, and I’m sure I was a mess when I did. Later I would go back and write earlier scenes to help you, the reader, connect with them more, to know them better so you’d actually care that they were saying goodbye.
Several advanced readers noted how they could hear me in Meg, particularly in her slightly snarky attitude. While there are certainly parts of me that got woven into her, and Charlie does have some similarities with my husband, they are not us. I may have started with my own experiences as the jumping off point, but I ended with Meg and Charlie’s story.
Initially my writing goal was simple: share a piece of military life with others. As a national guard family we didn’t have much of a military community around us, and I met so many who didn’t, or couldn’t, understand what this life is like.
But the goal and the inspiration changed over time.
Here was my opportunity, not only to give others a glimpse into this life and all its trials and joys, but to give comfort and hope to those who might find themselves battling their own demons and fears. I had a chance, through Meg and Charlie and Piper and Aaron, to tell others they aren’t alone. That grief and fear and doubt? These things are real even for the faithful Christian. That we so often do not understand God’s reason for allowing such trials into our lives, and we may not understand why He waits to bring us peace and joy amidst it all.
But in the end we do not rely on our feelings to show us that Christ is with us. Our feelings are fickle, but His Word is not. Our feelings may insist that we are alone, abandoned, forgotten. But His Word tells us the opposite.
Meg and Charlie have battled far more than I have in this military life, even if only on paper and in the corners of my imagination. Their story, though, can hopefully bring some comfort to the Christian living those moments that even time cannot heal and mom-brain cannot fade.
Where time fails to soothe, God in Christ Jesus does not. In Christ we have the assurance of salvation, joy, and peace. The peace He gives to us doesn’t come in our timing or in the ways we desire, but He does give it nonetheless.
I pray my little book might help you remember that, as it has helped me. I’ll leave you with these words Charlie offered to his friend, Aaron:
“But we have assurance of an eternal peace in Christ crucified. And knowing what He’s done for us? And the life we have in Him? That brings us some peace regardless of what we face now. We know he’ll come again, so right now we wait. But we wait with hope.”
Soldier On is a contemporary Christian novel with a splash of military suspense. It is available now as paperback and ebook through Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. To learn more about Vanessa Rasanen and her Hearts On Guard series, visit her at http://vanessarasanen.com or follow her on facebook and instagram.
He’s fighting for his country. She’s praying for his safety. When tragedy strikes, can their marriage and faith survive?
Charlie and Meg Winters are no strangers to the military life and the challenges it brings. But when an IED rips through his convoy killing his friends, the loss proves almost too much to bear.
Meg finds her trust in Christ wavering, and secrets she’s been keeping for years drive a wedge between her and her husband.
What if everything Meg believes is a lie?
What if Charlie finds out what she’s done?
Can Meg and Charlie save their marriage or will the horrors of war and the ghosts of their past tear them apart and forever shipwreck her faith?