Jul 4, 2012

Wednesday SHINE (for the Fourth)

Wednesday 7/4: Ecclesiastes 3

As I think about the Fourth of July, Independence Day - one specific family comes to mind.  

Their determination and resolve has really blown me away.  This young family was literally carried through an uncertain valley
.  

God's provision was all over them and they stood firm, never wavering, never even complaining...truly unbelievable, such grace and fortitude.


Be blessed as my dear friend and fellow SHINE girl, Michelle Bonner shares her testimony of His faithfulness.  


Thank you, Michelle for letting Him shine right through you.  It's an awesome sight.
We love you, friend! 


My American Soldier
What a privilege it is to be writing for SHINE girls today. As I’ve looked back over several posts, it’s been incredible to see so many of your stories, so diverse, so rich, and so beautiful, with one common theme, God’s faithfulness. 

So, this girl, with perfectionist tendencies at my very core, has prayed to let all that go and brag once again on God and his faithfulness. Takes the pressure off, for sure!

Jill asked me to share this week because of my connection to the Red, White and Blue. Three colors that stir my spirit like no other. Growing up, my family attended about every single parade, concert, fireworks display all while donning our most obnoxious flag-inspired clothing, I’m certain. Thanks, mom. ;)
And, I loved every minute of it! Little did I know, I would fall in love with Josh, an ARMY ROTC guy in college, that would one day ask for my hand and lead me on a great adventure.

We married in April of 1998 and left two quick days later for an officer course in southern Arizona. I gladly gave up the traditional post-wedding honeymoon for our first assignment in Hawaii. Three and a half years of paradise and an island lifestyle that fit me to a T. There were some demands on our family during those years because of the military with training exercises that separated us for weeks at a time, but for the most part, we were together and learning how to ‘leave and cleave’.


Then, fast forward to Josh choosing to switch to the Army reserves and join the family business back in the familiar suburban Atlanta area. (I must say, as I write this, I’m longing to see the Pacific again! Wow!) We have 3 children and I work from home. Two summers ago, our little comfortable world was rocked to the core, when we learned that Josh’s unit would be deployed to Iraq for a year, leaving in the fall of 2010.

There were so many questions and uncertainties. How would the kids handle it without their funny, affectionate Daddy? Would the coming holiday season be overwhelmingly sad without him? How would I manage my time with work, kids’ school, sports, church commitments, managing my home, all without my other half? Would he be protected physically, emotionally, and spiritually? So many questions and with those, came so many uncertainties.


It’s amazing to look back at those questions, now that we’re on the other side, and be reminded of God’s hand providing for each and every one of those needs. If you can imagine feeling the prayers of others like a warm blanket enveloping you, we did. They carried us, lifted our spirits, and encouraged us daily. The kids got from point A – to – point B and sometimes C with the help of family and friends. Our home did not fall apart. In fact, we got some big things checked off our ‘wish list’ of home improvements due to the body of Christ using their gifts to serve our family. Josh came back to us, healthy and whole and more in love with family and home than ever before.


I love my soldier. I’m proud of his service to our country and the thousands of others who have served and are serving today. I’m thankful that we’re together as a family on this Fourth of July.   

I’m especially grateful for a faithful God who loves me, cares for my every need, and longs for me to depend more and more on Him. 
Major Josh Bonner and his baby girl, Aubrey Kate.
Lord, please bring our Soldier home.
The Bonner Family
(Michelle, Josh, Blair, Aubrey Kate and Bo)

I just recently came across this song and thought it captured my feelings exactly as I look back over our year apart and how God brought us through.

Never Once - Matt Redman (Worship with Lyrics)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e02UNZRsdSQ
Listen and be encouraged. SHINE for Him today as you reflect on His goodness and blessings.


With love,
Michelle