Jen Gienapp: Watching Iraq Fall Apart

Monday, August 11, 2014 - by Jen Gienapp
Jen Gienapp
Jen Gienapp

It is so disheartening to see the news out of Iraq.

My family, but more so my husband, endured many months of separation, due to his service there. He said a few days ago, "when we were there, those cities were so stable." Sigh. He always said this would happen, after we withdrew troops, and here it is, happening. When he left Iraq in 2010, after a second deployment, things seemed to be pretty good, all things considered.

But now, all we see is chaos. I am very sad that all of those collective months and years many of us Americans in our different ways contributed to, go to waste. Whether it was military, family members, journalists, contract workers, humanitarian aid workers, community members who sent care packages, church members who prayed, and yes, even some good politicians – it was a collective effort, and it makes me sad to see it going down the drain.

I hate these reports of Christians (and many peace-loving Iraqis who are just trying to live their lives in their home land) being persecuted and executed. I don’t know what the answer is, when I hear of these poor people being killed, or parents throwing their children over cliffs to escape the horrors of what might come.

I don't want the service of thousands of Americans who died, were injured, or served in the last 24 years to be for naught. I’ve had plenty of friends who went, and I have supported their families back home, when I could. I have seen what deployments do to families, including my own.

I don't want to see my husband go again into harm's way, but I know he will if ordered, and we will deal with it.

And then here I find myself complaining that he is in the middle of his Annual Training, for two weeks, and then I feel guilty. He’s only an hour away. I’m complaining that I have to do the whole kid thing on my own for two weeks. But it’s not a year across an ocean, in a combat zone.

At the same time, I know those two weeks are no walk in the park for him, either. He’ll be in an uncomfortable bed, living out of a duffel bag, eating Army food, working long hours, and training for the next time he might go.

I also just have to deal with two weeks…not a one-year deployment, or a husband who had his legs blown off, or is dealing with PTSD. And I’m certainly not a parent who had her son or daughter killed in combat, or one worrying about her kids’ safety from a radical group who is invading her country.

For the time being, I will use our two beautiful hand-woven Iraqi rugs and several other mementos around our house, to remind me to pray for the mothers, fathers and children in Iraq who fear for their lives.

I am conflicted, as an American, a military wife, and a Christian, as I watch a country being torn apart. I just want Jesus to come back soon.


Jen Gienapp and her husband, Andy made the move from Chattanooga to Cheyenne, Wyoming. She can be reached at

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