December 2016 -January 2017
Beyond the Walls
Jumping With My Son
By (CPT) Kevin Trimble
In June, I had a special opportunity specific to my calling, ministry, and job. I was able to jump with my son Nathan. For those in the airborne community, jumping is a regular event and at 4th Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), it is a biweekly occurrence. Typically, I have the chance to pray, to connect with soldiers in the Q-course (special forces qualification course or Green Beret school), discussing family and relationship issues, their faith, and perhaps the butterflies in their stomachs as many haven’t jumped since airborne school.
This day was different. It was a beautiful June day, early in the morning, and I was to jump with the 18A class, the young officers in training to be detachment commanders. This class was especially important to me, as our son Nathan was a member of the class. Nathan’s road to the Q-course began at Welch College while enrolled at the Vanderbilt ROTC program. He has since graduated ranger school, deployed, and has been selected to go through the two-year rigorous training of the SFQC.
I must confess I enjoy being a chaplain. I enjoy getting up each day, working out with soldiers half my age, jumping from planes with them, hearing their struggles, and leading them into a deep and rich faith. Yet, above my professional joys, the privilege of being my son’s chaplain is a blessing beyond measure.
In the spring of 2015, Darla and I moved to Fort Bragg at roughly the same time Nathan and his wife Delaney moved there to begin training. As a family, we prayed earnestly not to get in each other’s way, granting space for each of us to work and minister. Our places of worship are different as well. In our prayers, we asked God for the privilege to make the most of our time. Our situation is unique. Most generational soldiers never serve at the same post, much less the same battalion.
As we settled in and began work and ministry, our family looked for intentional ways to connect without being obtrusive. We live close enough that Nathan often stops by for food, a place to change clothes, a visit, or a chance to rest. My counseling load is fuller as regularly a young man stops by and says, “Your son said you could help me.” The privileges of ministry are endless, and to find open doors in the lives of young families as they work through the demands of the Q-course is a daily reminder of the glory and grace of God.
On that June morning, I served as I do through each airborne exercise. I helped soldiers put on their chutes; talked and prayed with several; and asked about families, faith and children. I prayed for the group before we began the operation, and I must confess, my spirit was moved as I remembered our struggles to raise godly kids, memorizing Scripture and pointing them to God as the source of strength for our lives.
I was reminded of the words the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian church: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). J. B. Phillips shares a unique perspective on this passage:
Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning and purpose of life, but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. Don’t be vague but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of God.
Long ago, Darla and I determined we would live intentionally in our family. We are making the best use of our time, realizing that each day is fleeting. As Phillips writes, “make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days,” I understand. Life is filled with difficulty for the modern family, with society’s deteriorating views and the rapid evaporation of the cause of Christ from many lives. Intentionally, with determination, our kids—and now their spouses—understand the importance of every day, of every jump.
About the Writer: CH (CPT) Kevin Trimble serves as battalion chaplain for the 4th BN 1st SWTG (A) in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He formerly pastored Oak Grove FWB Church in Greeneville, Tennessee. He and his wife Darla have been married more than 30 years. His son, (CPT) Nathan Trimble, a graduate of Vanderbilt University, is married to Delaney. Learn more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist chaplains at www.fwbnam.com.