I knew the weight that one carries when they have a loved one serving in Iraq. That heaviness had reminded me to pray—almost hourly for my brother-in-law. But, Rusty had come home and he was safe. Why today had the heaviness returned?
I had just returned home from taking my son Joel to school when I felt the urge to pray: Lord Jesus, I ask that you protect Jennifer Sphar. I ask that you give her strength and wisdom as she serves in Iraq. I then finished my prayer and began to tidy the house. Yet within minutes, I found myself again in prayer asking God to protect Jennifer. By noon, I couldn’t count the times I had stopped to pray.
Standing by my sink, I made up my mind. Even though I knew that Leslie, Jennifer’s mom, was at work, and even thought I had only called her twice in ten years, I picked up the phone called her house, leaving a message.
“Hey, Leslie, this is Janet Mitchell. I know that you’re not home, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve been praying for Jennifer today. I’ve asked that God would protect and bless her. I’ll see you at church. Bye”
It was while preparing dinner that my mother called. “Janet, have you heard? Leslie and Steven Sphar are on the news. Just hours ago, their twenty-year-old daughter Jennifer was hit by a mortar shell. She’s alive, but injured.” Stunned I explained to my mom how I prayed for Jennifer that morning and even called Leslie earlier that day.
Now I understood. The heaviness I felt was a good thing—a God thing, as it brought me to my knees in prayer. That morning, I only knew I needed to pray, God knew that Jennifer was in the line of fire.
Corporal Jennifer Sphar was stationed at Camp Pendleton. Her unit was redeployed for their third tour to Iraq September 2005. On April, 27, 2004, Corporal Sphar received a Purple Heart for the injuries she received on the day—I fell to my knees and prayed.
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