Every afternoon, Gabrielle would make a mad dash to the mailbox when she heard the mail being delivered; today was no different. She waited with anticipation each day for a letter from her husband of two years. She checked and found nothing but junk mail. ‘Perhaps tomorrow,’ she thought, trying not to allow the disappointment she felt to overcome her.
Anthony was on the front lines in Iraq and their communication was limited. Unlike office personnel who had access to computers, any contact with Gabrielle was through letter. He was faithful in writing a letter when time permitted, but those times when he couldn’t were agonizing to Gabrielle. She wrote him a letter every day even though she was certain he didn’t get them that often.
Anthony had only been deployed for three months, but to Gabrielle, it seemed more like three years. He would be in Iraq for another twelve months.
Just two months before her brave husband left for Iraq, they learned they would be parents. They both accepted that Anthony would not be home for the delivery and that it would be some time before he saw his son. He now proudly carried the sonogram picture of his son in the upper left pocket of his uniform every day along with a picture of Gabrielle.
Anthony Keith Grover, Jr. would be born on December 8, 2010. Gabrielle and Anthony had the chance to paint the nursery together – robin egg blue. They also spent time before his deployment to furnish the baby’s room so Anthony could have some part in the preparation of their son’s arrival.
One afternoon when more than a month had passed without a letter, Gabrielle called her mother who lived on the other side of town. She didn’t like calling her mother with her fears so usually made light conversation each time she called. But today was different. She needed her mother and needed to be honest about her feelings.
“Mom, I’m really concerned. I haven’t heard from Anthony for over a month. My stomach ties up in knots when I think about him and where he is. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s so hard.” Without realizing it, hot tears had begun falling down Gabrielle’s cheeks.
“I wish there was something I could say that would calm your fears. I don’t want to come off as a preachy mother, but perhaps you should search the Scriptures about how God feels about fear. I think it might make a difference in your outlook on things,” Gabrielle’s mother said.
After some thought, Gabrielle responded.
“Oh, mom, you’re so right. Thank you for bringing me back to reality and the knowledge that God is in control – not me, not Anthony, not the Army – nobody but God. I’m so glad I called.”
From that day forward, Gabrielle kept herself bathed in the Bible and prayed more fervently than ever for the safety of her husband.
The very next day Gabrielle received the letter for which she had been waiting. Finally - a letter from Anthony. She read it with tears of contentment falling from her eyes. When putting her letter back, she discovered another letter in the envelope. It read:
To my precious baby son -
I don’t know you yet, but I do know one thing – I love you more than life itself. I carry your sonogram picture with me every day and when possible, I show you off to my army buddies.
Please know that if there was any way possible for me to be there with you and your mother right now, I would be. I would love to feel your little body move in your mommy’s tummy – something I won’t have the privilege of experiencing. But when I return home, I will feel your little body up next to my chest and our hearts will connect. I will tickle your toes and read you books. I will laugh at your silly antics and cry when you are hurt.
I love you my dear son. Stay safe until I hold your precious body in my arms. Take care of mommy. I love you both.
With tears flooding her eyes now, she took this letter as a sign from God that He would continue to put a hedge of protection around Anthony and bring him safely home to her and their son.
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