Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Life in the Military...How it Came to Be and What Happens Next

Deployment - probably the most dreaded word in a military wife's vocabulary. Unfortunately unavoidable. And a real possibility in just a few short months. But let me go back in time a little bit...

A few years ago, shortly after our engagement, Jeremiah asked me how I would feel if he joined the military. Just the Reserves - no big deal. He was working for himself at the time and sometimes he had plenty for work and other times he had nothing. As a bachelor, it wasn't too much of an issue. As a husband it was a HUGE issue. He takes his responsibility as the provider of the home very seriously. His biggest fear is not being able to take care of his family. I love that about him. So when he asked about joining the reserves I reluctantly agreed to consider it. Long story short - he got another job offer at a sod farm that I was more comfortable with and accepted that. We moved to the Nashville area (him a few months before we got married and me right after we got married) and the military job option was no longer a serious consideration.

Fast forward about 2 years. It was Christmas time and we had recently bought a house and then found out that we were expecting our first baby. The economy had taken a turn for the worse and thus business was sparse at the sod farm. I started working at a daycare and Jeremiah was doing other odd jobs to supplement our income but we were barely making it. We had to drop our insurance (which, long story, didn't cover the baby anyways). Something need to change. Joining the military became a serious topic again - but this time Jeremiah wasn't talking Reserves. He talked to different recruiters (one in each branch of the military) and took his ASVAB at which he did well. After some deliberation, he decided that the Army was the best option for us as a family. I had some major misgivings. My mom was an "army brat" and I had heard the stories from her and my grandma. It's not an easy lifestyle and the sacrifices are not just limited to the person who wears the uniform. Even during wartime. And, despite the fact that our great country seems to be oblivious to this fact, we are a nation at war. We did a lot of praying and it seemed the harder that I prayed that God would close that door the more obvious it became that it was the direction he was pointing us in.

March 11, 2009. That date will forever be stamped in my brain. It was the day that my husband left for Basic. I felt like my heart was breaking as I told him goodbye. The next few months would be the hardest that I have ever faced. Dealing with household issues, going through my final trimester alone, my car breaking down, my Grandma dying the day after my birthday, going through childbirth without my husband there (ugh...don't ask), being a single mom...and the stress of just not knowing which comes with life in the military. Moving all the way across the country - about as far away from family as we can be and still be in the continental US. But those are all stories for another time.

There were a lot of things that happened that I just didn't understand. But God used them to show us that HE was in control. Ft. Lewis (aka Joint Base Lewis-McChord/JBLM), WA has turned out to be an incredible duty station. Faith Baptist Church in Tacoma has helped us grow stronger both spiritually and in our marriage. It has not been an easy year but definitely a worth while one. I'm amazed at what all God has done.

Last week my husband told me that there is an 85% chance that he will deploy by the end of this year. It means more changes as I decide what to do during his deployment. And, even though my husband's MOS will put him in a "green zone," we are still at war. There are no guarantees. It means a year of playing both mother and father. A year of begging God for my husband's safe return.

But I was recently reminded that there are no surprises with God. Even in this, He knows and has His hand in it. And He has my family in the hollow of His hand. Nothing can touch us without His permission. Nothing. That is both awesome and humbling. But sometimes He allows us to go through things that are difficult. Things that test our faith; our strength. Things that test our peace.

That is what I struggle with the most. I have faith. I have strength. But peace? I tend to be anxious - I'm just not a patient person. Once I know something is going to happen I just want to get it over with. In one of those very difficult times God gave me this passage:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7

It has become my mantra, if you will. And when I focus on it and the knowledge that God is in control I find peace - a peace the truly does pass all understanding. Even my own. It allows me to make requests of God but then to leave it in His very capable hands.

I still find it difficult to wait for His perfect timing but I'm getting better...I think!

So now we wait. And do our best to prepare mentally and emotionally for what comes next.

1 comment:

  1. Our times are in His hands, but on a personal level it's always been a challenge to not try and look ahead but to take life ONE day at time. We are praying for ALL of you.