Nick completed his 20 month Company Command this morning!
In his farewell speech, Nick addressed his soldiers, family, friends, and distinguished guests (though I probably listed those in the opposite order) and made me cry through the whole thing. Of course, he praised his wife and thanked me for my support and encouragement, which every wife loves, but he also gave such a touching and humble testimony of his faith that I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. It was beautiful.
Probably the most beautiful part was that mid speech, when it would have been fitting to boast about his great accomplishment and what he has done for this Company, he told everyone, from his soldiers to the very high ranking officials who sat in the stands, that the most important thing he did for the Company as its Commander was to pray.
Not lead this mission, not accomplish this task, not teach, not train, not prepare for combat, or any of the other great things he truly did as a Commander… but pray. He said that prayer and pleading to God on behalf of his soldiers was the most important thing he did as a Commander. Then he told his soldiers that he will continue to pray for them, for their success, for their salvation, and for the company and it’s goals.
Isn't that beautiful? And do you see why I got teary eyed? This man of mine never takes credit for himself, but gives all the glory to God. It’s humbling and convicting on so many levels. Boy, do I love him.
It’s clear Nick’s genuine love, humility and Christ-likeness has made an impact on every member of his company. As a token of his impact, after the ceremony, the Soldier’s in Nick’s company pulled Nick into a boyish huddle away from all the Battalion and Brigade bigwigs and gave Nick a very unexpected (and HUGE!) plaque of their own; thanking him for his efforts and impact as the original (and only(!!!!) until today) Company Commander for the unit.
We were deeply touched by this private gesture, for the money that must have been pooled behind the scenes and for the thoughtfulness of every soldier in the unit to make it happen.
I think the soldiers were pleased with their secrecy too. Look how they smiled for this picture, and soldiers are always supposed to be straight faced for photos! They gladly posed for this picture for their beloved commander (and his wife—thanks, guys!). Wish I could have gathered his whole company for the photo, but this is less than a third of the soldiers he led.
More than just a happy family at the end. An ecstatic, proud, thankful family. Have you ever seen Nick smile so big? God is good to have brought us through such a huge milestone and to have given us the strength to endure one of the most challenging assignments we’ve ever had in our 9 years of service.
* I love how Noah cleverly hid daddy’s name and rank so that I didn’t have to edit the pictures for the privacy of my blog. :) A little handy work by our youngest.*