Life is combat – Dad’s ‘Dogfight’

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A warm welcome to my husband’s guest blog post below, offering a Dad’s perspective on this journey. Taj Troy is currently serving active duty, as an F-16 fighter pilot in the US Air Force.

*”Dogfighting is both an art and a science.” I’m not talking about an illegal back ally pitbull fight, but rather aerial combat. “To be successful at this, a fighter pilot must understand geometry, physics and aerodynamics. The application of this collective knowledge takes place in a dynamic, fluid and unforgiving environment. In one on one air combat, creativity, ingenuity and confidence identify the victorious; hesitation and uncertainty define the defeated.” The objective is to kill and survive in the aerial combat arena. If you’ve ever seen the movie Top Gun, you’ve witnessed the best Hollywood replication of a ‘dogfight’.
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As Mila’s dad, life for the past sixteen months has been like a ‘dogfight’! As a fighter pilot, life’s experiences in principle are extremely similar to those of my profession. I remember a time when just hours prior to her surgery I looked into my eight day old daughter’s eyes and I imagined seeing her first steps, her training wheels coming off, her first flight with dad, the father/daughter dance and a smile invitingly crept unto my face. The moment was then suddenly extinguished at the fleeting thought that my daughter could possibly not survive surgery, and I could be making funeral arrangements instead. It was an awful feeling that cut like a dull yet sharp knife being repeatedly raked across my chest. At that moment Mila physically possessed more heart than I did. As a father, husband, provider, protector I was helpless. As a man I’m supposed to shield my family from the troubles of this world. I would endure a thousand surgeries just so Mila could avoid her three. Helpless with nothing more than air in my lungs and warm blood in my veins all I could do was pray. I would soon learn that this seemingly ghastly ordeal would usher a rebirth of my faith. (ref Proverbs 3:5).

As fighter pilots we go to win 10 out of 10 times, decisively. When strapped into my jet I have the power to single handedly protect thousands of people at once. Looking at Mila lying in the ICU with seemingly more wires, hoses and monitors than flesh, was painful. My faith was truly tested. I had no control of this situation. I have known and served God all my life. I always prayed, worshiped and attended church but it wasn’t until Mila, that I discovered a relationship like no other with Christ. Why did I neglect to give the very God I worshiped relationship until now? It wasn’t just me anymore, but my vulnerable and defenseless child and my wife, which God had now charged me to provide for and protect. God wanted me to surrender not just this situation but all situations to him. I had to let go of the fears, doubts and inhibitions. With this revelation, I felt emboldened like a mad bull, a battleship looking for a fight! “I have God on my side, what?!” I no longer imagined “what if” pertaining to Mila. In God’s infinite wisdom I prayed for my child’s strength to endure surgery and my strength to endure His will.

Four weeks into our ten week hospital stay God shared something special with me. In the Holy Bible the common theme amongst the many chapters and verses is adversity that is overcome with overwhelming triumph. The Bible speaks of many significant men and women, however there is no mention of the many that were asked to build the Ark but failed in the face of adversity. Only Noah saw it through when the message was delivered and didn’t quit. There were many sick and stripped Christians but only Job remained faithful in spite of his plight, with uncompromising faith. There were many men who God asked but all lacked the faith to lead, but Moses. To put it simply, many men and women auditioned to be in God’s cast (The Bible) but only a few were selected per their free will of faith. I knew then I was being observed by God for greatness with this trial. I can’t quit, give up or lose faith. I want my family to make the final cut and be listed as a member of God’s all star cast. The Bible is a living document and is no different today than it was a thousand years ago. In my desire to live in God’s perfect will for my life, I make myself accountable to him. Yes, I’m accountable to Maya and Mila as a husband and father, but more importantly I’m accountable to Christ. My fear in disappointing God is sturdy (ref Psalm 111:10) and He’s counting on me to see the mission to the end not abort it in fear.

Jesus is my F-16 fighter armed to the teeth, with 2000 lbs of laser guided bunker buster bombs and heat seeking missiles. God is now my most lethal weapon on this mission and with this intrepid conviction I am not limited, I am not hesitant and my faith will make me victorious in battle. I thank God everyday for Mila with her physically under developed heart. God thought proudly of Maya and I to give her to us. He knew it would be difficult but he put us together for this very trial. We were made for this moment! To the average person that would sound crazy, loony, and downright asinine, but seeing God’s glory is really a matter of closing your eyes. I will conquer the enemy’s plan to rob and destroy, I will not walk away from this battle limping, I will be victorious in this ‘dogfight’ for my daughter! I wouldn’t trade this little half heart princess for the world. I’m truly excited about her life and the people she’ll inspire, especially me. Her story is already one of triumph and not failure! (ref 1 Peter 4:12)
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*Air Force Tactics Techniques and Procedures (AFTTP) 3-3.F-16
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11 thoughts on “Life is combat – Dad’s ‘Dogfight’

  1. Taj, thanks for sharing such a soulful testimony. You are all indeed blessed and highly favoured! Not only will Jehovah God place you in his all star cast, I think he is smiling at you all and saying ‘these are my beloved with whom I am well pleased’

  2. Wow I love the message of faith that resonates throughout this blog, The Bible declares that without faith its impossible to please him and you Taj are a walking epistle of who God as assigned as one of His ambassadors of faith. I have no doubt that God Almighty is going to show up and be a living miracle using Mila as that vehicle. I await with anxious anticipation of this amazing MIRACLE MILA!!

  3. Maya and Taj as I sit on the outside looking in, you two make me want to be an even better parent to my son! Thank you for sharing your journey with us! I pray daily for your family! Love you guys!

  4. What a testimony!! What a message of hope, comfort and tenacity!! I was inspired, encouraged … blessed by your honesty and vulnerability. We know that God doesn’t always need an entire army, He looks for a “few good men” … and I daresay, Taj Troy, you have certainly made the cut. Salute!

  5. Your testimony is inspiring to my faith, I’m encouraged by it . To God be the glory great things he hath done . Like my aunt who has a heart condition and has gone through numerous procedures will overcome as the devil will not win and cannot come near the miraculous power of the blood of Jesus !

  6. I am so happy that you all have found identity with the post. I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to voice my experiences about his glory. God is truly amazing! Be encouraged.

  7. I remember the first time I met at the gym TDY in savannah GA little did I know you would end up being the pilot of my jet. If your baby has even a hint of you in her she will pull through just fine, My prayers are with you.

  8. Maj Troy- I know I’m late, but that shows that your family and story of survival are still and will continue to bless people! Thanks for being willing to share and inspire others to trust God. I pray God continues to bless you all and give you strength and peace of mind as He takes care of your baby girl!!
    ~April Allen

  9. Maj Troy I am so proud of you. You are such a role model! In times like these we need more men like you who will make Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives and the head of their households. Keep soaring- both physically and spiritually.
    Praying for you,
    Alice H. London

  10. A truly inspiring story! Its not often that we get to hear a father’s perspective. Adversity has brought you closer to the awesome God that we serve and your story will inspire others to trust and believe in Him. I pray for God’s continued blessings upon you, Maya and Mila!

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