Love Letter to the Troops

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Marriage Built on Faith in Indivisible

Humvees roar past soldiers awaiting instructions in 100-degree desert terrain on a military base in Iraq. This depiction of true American heroes is taken to another level in the film Indivisible.While these soldiers are fighting a war with ammunition, many also face a battle where loved ones strive to survive in their absence. The call to serve in the military makes heroes out of the entire family.

Darren and Heather Turner both grew up in Georgia and met while working in campus ministries at the University of Georgia. It didn’t take them long to marry and start a family. When the couple learned about an opportunity to serve as military chaplains they knew it was “their calling in life.” Darren completed seminary, finished basic training and was sent to Fort Stewart. Before the couple could unpack boxes in their new home, Darren was deployed to Iraq.

Chaplain Darren Turner (Justin Bruening) shares words of encouragement with his troops before heading out on patrol in INDIVISIBLE--in theaters October 26, 2018. (Photo courtesy of © 2018 Provident Films LLC and The WTA Group, LLC. All rights reserved.)
Chaplain Darren Turner (Justin Bruening) shares words of encouragement with his troops before heading out on patrol in INDIVISIBLE–in theaters October 26, 2018.
(Photo courtesy of © 2018 Provident Films LLC and The WTA Group, LLC. All rights reserved.)

As a chaplain, Darren (played by Justin Bruening of Grey’s Anatomy) speaks of faith to men who daily face death. He not only establishes community within his Battalion, he must build hope. In an interview, Turner says, “The reason that I would travel with my guys where we were in fire fights is because they’re going there. If I stay back in the safezone and I say, ‘God Bless’ as they’re going out the gate and I’m not willing to go with them, what does that say about my God? So, I go with them to be with them. I want to be with them, they’re my guys. I love them. I would die for them. But I also want them to know the presence of God is with them. That doesn’t mean we’re all going to come home. But God is good.”

While Darren’s on the frontlines, his wife Heather (played by Sarah Drew also of Grey’s Anatomy) is back home supporting the wives and families of the soldiers who are deployed. Wives find out their husbands aren’t coming home. Mothers give birth to babies while fathers are overseas. Children grow up without both parents around to see them reach milestones. Heather strives to support these heartbroken and hurting people, yet her own family is struggling.

Life is established at home, only to be disrupted by the return of a soldier whose soul is shattered by the brutal world he or she just experienced. How does a soldier rejoin a family who’s been living without them for so long? The reunion should be a gloriously happy time, but that’s when the real battle begins. Bruening says that his character was a little unprepared for the effects that war can have on a man. Darren and his team hold on to the scars, which only secludes them from their family. The real Darren Turner says, “A lot of things in the military revolve around marriage because the military understands that a strong family, produces a strong soldier. The opposite is also true. A struggling family is also going to produce a struggling soldier.”

What makes this film so unique is that we’re really investigating and coloring the story of what it is to be the families left behind when our men and women suit up and deploy.

Sarah Drew

With divorce rates increasing, soldiers are coming home to nothing but loneliness and haunting dreams. It’s a chaplain’s job to repair the brokenness, but how can he do this when he’s feeling broken himself? The strong and healthy marriage that he had when he left becomes strained to the point of breaking. Justin explains his character in the film, “He went over there to help, and he really did, he helped a lot of people. But he came back, and he didn’t heed his own advice. He had no one pep talking him so he became the broken thing that he went over there to fix. Honestly, the people that he helped, rose up and helped him to get back on track. That is so wonderful, it made me want to do this film.” As wisdom speaks into the heart and mind of Captain Turner, he chooses to do what it takes to survive.

L to R: Army wives Amanda Bradley (Madeline Carroll), Heather Turner (Sarah Drew) and Tonya Lewis (Tia Mowry) seek strength in each other upon hearing news of the troop surge in INDIVISIBLE--in theaters October 26, 2018. (Photo courtesy of © 2018 Provident Films LLC and The WTA Group, LLC. All rights reserved.)
L to R: Army wives Amanda Bradley (Madeline Carroll), Heather Turner (Sarah Drew) and Tonya Lewis (Tia Mowry) seek strength in each other upon hearing news of the troop surge in INDIVISIBLE–in theaters October 26, 2018.
(Photo courtesy of © 2018 Provident Films LLC and The WTA Group, LLC. All rights reserved.)

Though the context of this film is about marriage, it speaks into the life of any family member. The film demonstrates how God never intended for us live life on our own strength. We need to rely on community and find strength in God to prevail over life’s daily battles.As teenagers prepare for marriage, Indivisiblecan be an inspiration and reminder of how you need to fight for your marriage and when you do, the result will be overwhelming and amazing. Sarah Drew says, “For me, the heart of the story is about what it means to fight hard for the vows that you make on that day that you stand before God and say, ‘I will love you until the day we die’.” She continues, “What really drew me to this story is that I saw my story playing out. I’ve been married for fifteen years. Several years into my marriage (before we had kids) my husband and I went through the darkest time in our lives together and got very close to parting ways. I remember the feeling of total hopelessness, and that was really hard. We had a lot of wise people in our lives council us to fight for the promise that we made. I remember my dad telling me, ‘Just because something feels hopeless doesn’t mean that it is hopeless.’ I’m so grateful that we went through what we had to go through because we came out on the other side with a friendship and marriage that I had no idea was even possible.  I’ve always wanted to share the incredible hope and beauty and redemption that comes from working hard and trusting God in the midst of pain and this is the opportunity.”

This film can also resonate with siblings and children on the importance and relevance of communication. In today’s mobile society, when we’re separated from loved ones who may be across the room or on the other side of the world, we can easily communicate. But we must ask ourselves if we’re really connecting? In any family dynamic, you have to be open, honest and vulnerable to keep a relationship strong and growing. Showing interest in your family member’s daily activities and speaking of life’s struggles brings you closer to one another. Asking God to enter into that communication mends the brokenness and dissolves the distance.

With Faith in Christ and those people around you that are going to support you – you can be indivisible.

Eric Close

No matter what war you’re dealing with inside, God will help you overcome that situation. Eric Close (of the hit TV show Nashville), who plays Lt. Col. Jacobson in the movie says, “When you think hope is lost, faith prevails.” God’s greater than any earthly struggle we face, no matter how big. He can win our battle. As Eric Close so aptly states, “With Faith in Christ and those people around you that are going to support you – you can be indivisible.”

“What makes this film so unique is that we’re really investigating and coloring the story of what it is to be the families left behind when our men and women suit up and deploy,” said Sarah Drew. “What these incredible men and women, who put themselves on the front lines to protect our freedom, are facing is enormous and requires so much courage.”So, whether it’s Veterans Day, or just a typical day of the week, take time to thank and appreciate a military family – Not just for their service, but for their sacrifice. Make them a meal, send them a gift and pray for them. You never know when your prayer may be what gives them the strength to make it another day.

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