Spiritual Commissioning Ceremony


The Hubs and I workin’ it at West Point, you gotta

Sitting in the hair salon, black smock snapped up around my neck, oh yes, you know it, I was a thing of beauty when my stylist asked me about the West Point graduation. At last distance and perspective are finally allowing me to drink in the enormity of the events. Thank you Julian for a fine haircut and a necessary reflection on life.With the ligature of exhaustion behind me, I’ve summarized that if Graduation Week was a car it would have been a cherry red Maserati with Lindsay Lohan behind the wheel. Fast. Full throttle. Overwhelming.

Hat toss!

We were spent, emotionally, physically and financially. At times, I wasn’t sure I could do one more early morning departure and high intensity event. And although the actual graduation ceremonies were truly epic, they were eclipsed by what happened afterward.

Upon receiving his diploma, Nate went to finalize things back at the barracks. Our gang headed to the Cadet Chapel for an event organized by Officers’ Christian Fellowship.

We were so happy to get something to eat and drink before the ceremony!

After the sponsored lunch reception, we walked into the chapel. For the second time that day, our son’s name was read and this time, he joined the other newly minted officers up to the front of the church. Still mottled with sweat but thanks to ice cold bottled water and a sandwich, I now had a small amount of energy to prepare me for what was next.

Nate and the others were asked to find their families in the chapel. Tom, who is an LTC, a West Point grad and the current OCF coordinator, instructed each of the 2LTs to locate a place where they could be prayed over individually. That’s when Nate knelt down before us. Head bowed and silent, the Hubs and I, followed by his two younger brothers placed our hands over this gift from God. I laid claim to Nate’s freshly shorn head and tenderly held his face in a way he has allowed me to as his mom. He was wearing his dress uniform for the first time in public. So handsome and strong. The Hubs had a firm grasp of one of Nate’s shoulders, Aaron and Ike rested their hands on the other.

Nate had just demonstrated a profound act of service and submission as an Officer in the United States Army and as a Christ follower.

An intimate family moment captured

Somber and reverent, we entered the sacred moment. Nate’s girlfriend and her dad traveled all the away from El Salvador and my stepfather were present and remained seated. I wonder what it must have been like to be an observer, to catch words and facial expressions filling the chapel.

Protuberant pride and unspeakable humility were shared by all even though I heard only the prayers of my clan.

I have been privileged to pray for and with my children. We have prayed for their health, salvation and future, even things like basketball games, grades and friendships. On one hand, you could say we are skilled prayer warriors but I wouldn’t recommend that. Yet despite years of experience, I have never felt so spiritually raw as I did during this moment.

My awesome, exhausted, sweaty and dehydrated olive shoots

What do you adequately say to God when your child has successfully completed this 47 month journey? Are there even words in human language to express to the Lord all the thankfulness a mama can contain for bringing her child thus far? And how you do ask the Author of Life to protect your baby without sounding selfish because you mean it truly from the bottom of your heart for all the other Soldiers everywhere in harm’s way?

So glad someone took this picture of us

So this is when the Hubs and I began to lose it. Tears streaming, hearts open wide, we supplicated and spoke to our Heavenly Father. Oh we were a fright to be sure, stripped of our own energy, but there we were – a daddy praying for his boy, a pink hair-streaked mama inclining the ear of the Lord and two knuckle-headed brothers spiritually lifting up their big brother. Not a traditional Norman Rockwell scene but I hope it was a beautiful picture in God’s sight.

The West Point part of our adventure draws to a close but the memories usher in. A deeper level of faith and trust are now required. Yes, it’s a lot to absorb. If you have read this, you have blessed me and helped me more than you know.

And this is what happened to me at the hair salon in June and on a steamy day in May at West Point. I’m glad Julian asked, I must be ready for this. Lord, let it be so. ❤

22 thoughts on “Spiritual Commissioning Ceremony

  1. Thanks ladies, I’m still trying to process everything and writing helps. I just had to share and I really appreciate your sweet words. You’re both mamas of sons so I know you understand how I feel!

  2. Cindy, we too were privileged to be a part of this incredible ceremony with our son that day. Like you, it was more meaningful to me as a West Point momma than anything else we experienced in four years of school. Also like you, the incredible experience of praying over our son, committing him and his Army career to the Lord, was the most fitting end to our West Point years. AND also like you, that was the moment where I lost it emotionally! The climax of a week of little sleep, deep and profound emotions, and the solemnity of his career choice did us in. What a special experience for us as moms of young soldiers! Thank you for so adequately capturing in words the event we experienced. I will pray for your son as I pray for mine.

  3. Thanks for sharing – expect I will be experiencing something similar in another few years (son is class of 2015). Praying for your son(s) and you! (followed your link from the WP moms page)

  4. Thank you D! Tell your yuk about OCF if he doesn’t know about it. Officers’ Christian Fellowship was a great organization for our son while he was at West Point and it will bless you too! Appreciate the prayers for my olive shoots and I will remember to lift your cadet up to the Lord as well! Blessings!

  5. Nancy, I’m so glad to hear you had a similar experience at the Spiritual Commissioning Ceremony. It brought some measure of closure to our West Point journey and gave us a chance to take in the enormity of the day. I was pretty sure we weren’t the only ones crying in that chapel, what a beautiful and emotional experience. Lord bless and keep your family and especially your 2LT as he begins the next part of the journey!

  6. Thank you for sharing this amazing event. My son is currently in CBT and the issue of growing in his faith while at USMA is one of his greatest concerns. This was very encouraging to me as a mom and I will certainly be sharing the ministry of OCF with him.

  7. Thank you, Cindy, for your post! I can’t believe we were at the same spiritual commissioning and didn’t get to exchange hugs! What a treasured time at the OCF spiritual commissioning. You writing brought back the emotions I felt and still feel for that “holy” time. I felt like the Lord have lavished on us His great favor to have such an opportunity to be a part of this amazing experience. It truly was the culmination of the week, and summed up my son’ s time at WP. Blessings and hugs to you! Hope we get to meet sometime…sooner than later..I hope!

  8. I have to read your WP posts in small doses because they always make me cry. You have such a beautiful way of sharing your family’s journey there. I can’t help but see this event as a way of God restoring some of what was “lost” when Nate had to say goodbye so quickly that first day four years ago. I can only imagine how hard these next months and years will be as Nate is off being a full-time soldier, but I can’t imagine a young man better equipped to serve God and his country.

  9. Some of these pictures are absolutely golden. What special moments the Father gives us to drink deeply from a life that only makes sense in Him. Thank you for sharing these blessings with the rest of us and congrats to the entire family!!!! Again and again and again and again . . .

  10. Jenn, you knew my boys when they were just little olive shoots and you didn’t have babies of your own. So much has changed and we are both truly blessed. I sometimes wish I could have taken a breather on these events because they were so significant. I keep trying to remind myself that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, even be the mama of a Soldier. Thanks for reading and caring!

  11. Gigi and Gigi (how many women can be blessed to have two friends named Gigi!), thank you so much for your sweet words. Both of you were at the Commissioning Ceremony and experienced it as participants and observers. It was a holy time and a fitting way to culminate the day!

  12. Sharon Eagan, oh yes, do tell your CC to check into OCF. Our son got a lot out of the fellowship and really loved the leaders. It was a solid place for his faith to grow. Best wishes for you as he (and you in a way!) go through Beast!

  13. Rob, what a lovely surprise to see that you posted a comment. The pictures aren’t professional, the people are horribly sweaty and tired but I know the Lord could see our hearts and they were wide open to Him. Thank you for always being a source of encouragement and blessings. We love our pastor!

  14. Having been through 5 of these moments with my ‘adopted’ 2LT’s I wept reading this. It is a beautiful thing for sure to commission these men and women to God’s hands in service to their Lord and their Country. We started to hold the program inside the chapel in 2007 when the number of folks attending was just so large and it was hard out on the lawn. So that was the first year to do the prayer with the family. It has become the high point of Grad week for so many. Thanks for sharing from a parent’s perspective and also sharing the pictures. LOVE YOU, Cindy!!! You are a kindred spirit for sure. Wish you lived closer.

    • Thank you Barb! Nate really wanted to do the ceremony and I praise the Lord we had the opportunity. I’ve heard from many other parents who wish their 2LT would have done this so I consider it a beautiful gift from Jesus that we participated. Thank you for your devotion to others and to the Lord!

  15. Pingback: An Army/West Point mom angry about orange beards | My Awesome Olive Shoots

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