Spiritually Speaking

Q: I’m a single mom whose oldest son just graduated from high school and wants to join the Air Force. His thinking is that after he completes four years of service, he’ll get full credit to go to college. He knows our finances have been a struggle and that there is no way I can pay for his college education. Still, it makes me fearful about what could happen to him during his years in the service.

I have not told him about my concerns and don’t intend to. What can I do to lovingly accept his decision? Church has been a big part of our lives. I pray for understanding but, so far, no peace of mind. ~ Worried Mom


Dear Worried Mom,

I suppose it’s every parent’s job to worry about their kids, especially when we can no longer protect them from the harsh realities of the world. This time of year, as parents begin to say goodbye to their graduating children, there’s a lot of anxiety about letting them go. I imagine these feelings are only accelerated by the dangers of military service.

I think my recommendation would begin with you having an honest discussion with your son – not to convince him to change his mind but to express your fears and how you remain committed to supporting him in his decision. With my college-aged daughter living at home, I have found that our conversations have had to shift away from all-knowing parent and vulnerable child to something more along the lines of sagacious guide who supports her in each fork of the road.

I do wonder: Is the decision to join the Air Force solely financial? Local community colleges are some of the best in the nation and are virtually free – with the hardest part being “local” when our kids are ready to spread their wings elsewhere. There might be paths in the two years at a community college that do not involve being part of the military machine.

On the other hand, both of my brothers joined the military – one much later in life – and it afforded them opportunities to be happy and healthy. If your son wants to serve his country in this way, learning skills and positioning himself for a stable financial future to boot, then cheer for him, too. I don’t think our worries for our kids are ever extinguished – be reminded that God watches over your son, too, and cares for him deeply. Maintain that habit of prayer and trust, seeking God’s ways and all these others things will be added to you as well.

Rev. Kyle Sears

Rev. Kyle Sears




Dear Worried Mom,

I too have a child who just graduated from high school. It is both exciting and daunting to think that she is about to attend college and make her way in the world. So I can understand your concerns.

Let me first say that it sounds like you have done a great job of raising a caring and considerate son. He knows how hard you have worked to take care of him as a single mom and he is willing to help earn his way through college. Well done, Mom!

Second, it is natural to be worried about him. Whether or not he joins the Air Force or goes to college right away or finds a job, there will always be something to worry about. I’ve been told that parents never stop worrying about their children no matter how old they are! So I think the answer to your question is in the question itself – lovingly and supportively accept his decision. Let him know that you support him no matter what; that you will always love him; that yes, you will worry about him, but you will also be there for him. As he begins to make his way in the world, walk beside him as a loving and steady presence.

And finally, continue to rely on your faith. Your church can be a source of support for both of you. Invite others to pray for you and your son. Maybe the church can send him a care package once he gets settled into his new place. And remember that God is always with both of you.

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” (Ephesians3:16-17) May you and your son be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ and may this love continue to sustain you both as life takes you to new places and new adventures!


Rev. Karin Ellis


Q: I attend a local church and we support the military and police. We have “Coffee with a Cop” once a year and send boxes of goodies to military service men and women yearly. We just learned that a longtime member resigned his/her membership because, in his/her words, “I can’t support a church that supports the police and the military.”

I just plain don’t understand the person’s “logic.” I’m wondering whom they would call upon if someone invaded their home or our country. My prayer is that this isn’t a widespread opinion. What do you think? ~ Forever a Patriot


Dear Forever a Patriot,

Your concern regarding this person’s attitude toward the police and military is certainly a valid one. However, be assured that he only represents the minority of our society. It is obvious that this person is totally illogical when it comes to what Christ taught about helping the destitute, supporting what is right and loving and treating our fellow man as we would want to be treated ourselves. Either this individual or someone very close to him had a serious problem with law enforcement and/or the military that has affected his ability to differentiate between right and wrong. Trying to reach someone with a mental attitude like this usually requires psychiatric intervention. I suggest that your church group pray for him. And you’re correct; our society would be at a total loss without law and military enforcement.

God bless you, 

Andy Gero


Dear Forever A Patriot,  

One good thing about life is we always have choice … choice about how we deal with a situation, choice about lots of things in daily living. And if we don’t like the choice we’ve made, we can choose again … and again. We can’t always change the circumstances, but we have choice about how we deal with it.

Your confusion is understandable about your longtime member’s choice to resign because s/he feels s/he cannot support the church in its beliefs to support the police and military. Everyone has a right to their decisions and thinking. First step: Ask him/her what changed his/her feelings. Perhaps something happened in his/her life that caused a change. Avoid being confrontational. You just want to understand his/her decision. Listen for some insight. Don’t try to change minds. Humans tend to dig in and become defensive. Tell him/her you will miss his/her presence and membership and that the church is always there to welcome him/her back, if s/he so chooses.

I like to feel that it is God talking to God, with love healing all wounds and differences. God with a open heart, listening and sharing, without ego involved … and remembering that we all have choice.

We’ve become a nation that is divided and strongly opinionated in many issues. That makes life “interesting” and oftentimes challenging. And it comes down to our choice as to how we want to deal with it … join in the fight and chaos … or stay in love with the outcome of the highest and best for all concerned. There is always divine right action, with love prevailing. And then, who knows? Maybe we wouldn’t need to have police and military. 


Blessings and Peace,

Laney Clevenger White, RScP Emeritus