Yesterday I received a very special email from an alumnus of the university where my husband teaches . In the email I learned that this former student and her husband (a member of the US army) were mailing my son an American flag that had been flying in Iraq while he served there.

Tears came into my eyes as I imagined the war-ravaged country of Iraq. As bombs explode unexpectedly and buildings fall daily, this land gives every appearance of being forgotten, forlorn, and in many ways finished. Yet the thought of the American flag peacefully flying amidst the chaos and confusion somehow brought me an inner peace at that moment in time. I never really thought about an American flag flying in Iraq.

“From sea to shining sea” swells in my heart as I reread the email from this couple. For some reason, God has blessed America in so many ways in her short history. I pray for our country. I pray that the leaders will look back at the history of our nation and remember WHY it was created and on WHO it was formed.

Then I think of my son Nick who will be receiving this special flag. Nick is in his own kind of battle. A battle against cancer. And just like the American flag flies in Iraq, the Holy Spirit abides in Nick as a daily source of strength and hope.

I am so excited about holding this flag when it arrives at our home. I want to display it for the world to see, because just as I am thankful to be an American I am even more thankful to be a Christian. Earthly nations come and go, but Christ is eternal. I want Nick to see this flag as a symbol of hope! The battle he is fighting, he is not fighting alone.

Thank you, Lord, for unexpected gifts of unexpected kinds that remind me that You are working to encourage us and keep us going! Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the Holy Spirit who abides in Your children! May we feel Your peace as we rest in Your arms! And may we always display our hope in You just as the soldiers display their hope in our country’s freedom!