Saying Goodbye to my Soldier

Saying Goodbye to my Soldier

Dustin and Andrea DeckerOn Monday July 12 I released my baby boy into Uncle Sam's care.  He's one step closer to fulfilling what he believes is God's calling on his life to serve his country and fellow soldiers on the front lines in Afghanistan. 

Driving up to the gate at RTI is when it really began to hit me.  (Dustin was in driving his girlfriend's car in front of me.)

We were yet unaware of the change in his orders.  We thought he'd be shipping out to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri but instead he received orders to report to Fort Sill in Oklahoma.  (This is actually good news to us since it increases the likelihood we might be able to see him during brief visitation hours after he gets out of "Red Phase.")  He'll complete his AIT at Fort Leonard Wood and will hopefully get to see his best friend Miles Holladay some time during that overlap.
None of us was crying until Samantha lost it (and so did we as we watched Dustin tenderly console her.)  Every one of us had tears in our eyes--even Dustin.  (The last time I remember seeing Dustin with tears in his eyes was when I mercilessly beat him at Monopoly when he was only five years old.)

Dustin was able to pack every personal possession he could carry into this single back pack from which he would live over the next four months.

Everyone asks me if I'm "okay" with all of this (as his mother.)  I have to be.  God loaned this precious baby boy into our care for a while.  All along his father and I have prayed that we would be used by Him to prepare this young man for service in His Kingdom.  We trust God who holds our son in His loving hands--the very God in whom Dustin has placed his own trust.  We claim Psalm 91 for Dustin:

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the Lord, who is my refuge—

10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

8 comments (Add your own)

1. Darcie wrote:
Blessed by this and not surprised at all. It takes the support of a family to feel peace about this kind of step. It is clear to see Christ in your family and home. Just knowing Dustin for such a short time was evidence of great investment in his life! The psalm is very fitting - our family will add that by his photo as we keep him in our regular prayers. Thanks for sharing Andrea.

Tue, July 13, 2010 @ 7:06 PM

2. Betty Decker wrote:
Andrea - My heart goes out to you and Kevin but I know that God will give you the strength each day that you need. It is not easy but when you are assured that it is God's will it is a comfort. Psalms 91 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible also and it certainly is fitting for Dustin and your family at this time. God will use Dustin in ways that will honor HIM (GOD). Love you, Mom

Tue, July 13, 2010 @ 9:43 PM

3. Mom wrote:
It is so awesome that you and Kevin are able let go of Dustin and gently give him into God's hands with confidence. That's what a parent is supposed to do when their child is grown, but so many are unprepared. You've done a fabulous job of raising your children to be competent, responsable, and deeply Christian individuals, and your lives will be blessed forever by the rewards of your wise and loving care. I'm so proud of Dustin, and I claim Psalm 91 for him as's perfect.

Tue, July 13, 2010 @ 10:30 PM

4. Karen Neumann wrote:
My prayers are with him and all our soldiers. I am very proud of our country and for every men and women that have made it what it is today, so I have made a commitment to God to pray for them every morning and at night before I go to sleep that God would keep them in His care. God bless Dustin and his family.

Wed, July 14, 2010 @ 4:03 PM

5. Vicki Turner Thornton wrote:
We said farewell to our Ahren at MCI in July 1996 as he headed to the Naval Prep School in Newport RI. Reading your notes brought it all back. God's blessing to you and your family. Give Dustin our thanks for his service.

Fri, July 16, 2010 @ 9:25 PM

6. Mauricio wrote:
Ohhh THANK you AMYDEANNE! A special JOYFUL dstekop calendar to help me with my JOY (WORD)for 2011. Too bad it's for September because in one month,it would have made a wonderful bd gift!(lol)I will SHOUT for JOY over our victory, every one and in the name of God set upour banners.May the Lord fulfill all your petitions! All our petitions especially for Denise (Shortybear) for right now URGENT need (explained best at )Bless you and have a GREAT WFW and week!Peggy

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