I was so thrilled and proud to watch my little brother officially retire
from the United States Air Force this past weekend. He has worked so hard for the last twenty years and his ceremony and all those who gathered to celebrate with him were a testimony of the many things he has done and the many people he has affected in those years.
So many people who loved working with Ben as he encouraged them and helped them become better soldiers in their fields. It was a amazing to hear testimony after testimony of those who had been touched by my brother and his wise words as he commanded those under him.
I too have been the recipient of those wise and encouraging words.
Words about what God wants us to do day by day, words of how to be loving, forgiving and meek, words of how to kindly deal with people and let them see Jesus through you. He truly is one of my most valuable spiritual advisors and we can talk for hours about spiritual issues!
But you must know, my brother has not always been close to God
and wanting to follow the Lord's will in his life. It took a deep, dark tragedy to bring him to his knees. He had no where to go, no one else to help him, so he turned his life to the only one that could heal his heart and love him through the pain placed on him. In the last few years I have seen my brother grow in his relationship with Christ and as he has grown closer to Christ, he has loved people more deeply and has been a refuge for hurting people who feel unloved and unwanted. He read once that you should treat every person as if they have a heart and soul and when you love their soul you will see amazing things happen in your relationship with them and that is exactly what he does! Whether it is the bagger at the grocery store, the gate guard at the base gate, or the people under his command, he looks at their heart and souls and loves them where they are.
At church on Sunday he was constantly approached by people saying how much they would miss him and how much he has contributed to their church and church body. He introduced me to an older gentleman named Pat that came to his small group Bible study that Ben had been leading. He told me he was so worried about leaving Pat, as Pat is a newly saved Christian and needs to be discipled in the Lord, which he had been doing. I love Ben's heart for souls and his desire to help them find the Lord and grow!
I have also watched him be a loving, tender and compassionate father to his two beautiful little girls and I know his greatest desire is for them to know God as deeply as he does.
Not only does he encourage me spiritually but also physically. He calls to see if I'm sticking to my diet and if I'm running every week. He even sent me new running shoes so I could train for the 5k we ran this past weekend. It was awesome to run my first 5k with him and Marisa and I look forward to running many more with him!
With his retirement from the military he is excited to move back to his childhood hometown and find a church where he can get busy serving God and the people there. He is also praying that he will be able to show his family and brothers and sisters how God has changed his life and that through grace and mercy, God can change their lives too!
I look up to my little brother in so many ways but mainly because I see him living out Psalm 116 in his daily life.
Psalm 116:12-14 - What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of my salvation, call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of his people.