Darkness. Clouds. Rain. Autumn winds.
I open the back door, coffee mug hot, full to the brim. Staring out, I feel the fresh morning breeze. I hear the drip, drip, drip, drip of raindrops on the garbage can. I close my eyes, listening to the passing of time. Willing myself to believe that each drop is one more moment closer to being in his arms.
A cough from my daughter shakes me out of my daze. I’ve got things to take care of, so I push my worries back with a prayer and make my feet move.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”
This verse has been playing in my head this morning. Lean not on your own understanding. Boy, have I been doing that lately. I feel bad for myself, I feel bad for my child, because she doesn’t have her Papa around in this season. I know that a child needs both a mother and a father, that is the best way for a child to be raised. And so I get upset that she can’t have that, and I get overwhelmed because I know I’m not enough for her.
And then I go back to this verse. If I trust in the Lord, and I trust in his sovereignty, and I trust that he has a plan for our lives, then I need to think about this differently. God is perfect. He is perfectly good. He is perfectly wise. He is perfectly sovereign. So that means that for this child, for myself, this life, this way, is the best way for her to grow up. This is indeed happening, so it is in his plan. How can I know better for myself or for my child than God? I can’t. And this is what he has laid out for our lives. So it must be the best for us. I need to stop trusting in the world’s wisdom, it is foolishness.
Well then. Why am I fretting so? Why am I worrying? I need to actively rest in his goodness. I need to be still, be content. And trust. I need to trust that he is doing something good. I need to remember that this is so much bigger than me and my family.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
Trust. Still. Abide.
A Prayer for a Daughter
Father who breathed into this daughter…
And may all the hills be an exhilaration
the trials but a trail, all the stones but stairs to God.God, clothe this girl in a gown of grace
Grace, the only dress that makes beautiful,
the style of Your spirit.
Nourish her on the comfort food of the Word,
Word, that makes her crave more of Christ, have hunger pangs for Him.
Enclose her in communion with You
You, Love who makes her love, who folds her heart into a roof
that absorbs storms for souls,
that makes her tongue speak only the words that make souls stronger.
May her vocation in this world simply be translation
Translating every enemy into esteemed guest
Translating every countenance into the face of Christ
Translating every burden into blessing
When it’s hard to be patient… make her willing to suffer
When it’s ridiculous to be thankful … make her see all is grace
When it’s radical to forgive … make her live the foundation of our faith
And when it’s time to work… make her a holy wonder.
May she be bread and feed many with her life and her laughter
May she be thread and mend brokeness and knit hearts
May she be dead to all ladders & never go higher , only lower, to the lonely, the least & the longing
Her led of the Spirit to lead many to the Cross
that leads to the tomb wildly empty.
Oh, and raise me, Lord, from the deadness of my own sins to love this beautiful girl like You do…
In the name of Christ who rose and appeared first to one of His daughters…
I suppose I shouldn’t post on only the good deployment days. That wouldn’t be fair to anyone else going through this kind of trial. It wouldn’t be honest. Or real. The reality is that hard days sure are hard. The missing him is an ache that nothing can soothe. My God can soothe my fears, my anger, my disappointments, He can meet me in this lonely place. But we are one, dear husband and I. We are meant to be together, that’s what marriage is. So when he’s gone, when he’s 8,000 miles away, it’s not an ache that can be fixed.
Sometimes there is so much going on in my head that I forget plans I’ve made, or I lose things, I get a headache. You thought “deployment brain” was fake? Yeah. Not so much. Please forgive me if you have been, or will be in the future, inconvenienced or hurt by my lack of brain power. I promise it’s not personal.
When it’s all too much to handle, I run to the Rock which is higher than I. I look to my God who is all-powerful and all-loving. And I do my best to remember his grace, his goodness. I do my best to rest in his faithfulness. I remember how he has blessed me in so many ways by giving me such a man as this, a man that would lay down his life for not only his friends, but his enemies. I am so blessed to be married to this man, a man who resembles our Savior in ways that I rarely see.
But all that doesn’t change how much I miss him and how terribly I want to just wrap my arms around him and bury my face in his neck.
This has been the longest few weeks of my life. Easy. I honestly can’t decide which is more difficult: childbirth or deployment. Missing my Other Half is more painful than I ever could have imagined. Knowing he’s in a dangerous place is not new to me, since his job at home is a police officer, but not being able to hug him between shifts sucks. Every time I get to talk to him, whether that’s on Skype or a quick message on Facebook, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing he has made it this far. The anxiety and aching is enough to overwhelm me completely, enough to paralyze me from functioning like a normal human being.
But I simply CANNOT let it do that to me. He’s gone for so long that I can’t just find someone to take the baby or put on Elmo for a year. Even if I didn’t have Squishy to take care of, I couldn’t do that to myself!
So I’m searching for ways to actually live. To find joy. To enjoy my days. It’s an honest internal battle that I win some days, and lose other days. Where I find my strength: God’s Word.
“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!” It doesn’t say, “if everything is going well, if you have what you want and you are feeling well, be happy.” God made EACH day. The Halcyon days and the stormy days that you don’t know you’ll make through. Even the times where the powerful wind and rains don’t seem to ever stop. God made those days and tells us to rejoice in them.
In his letter, James tells us right off the bat, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” God is really DOING something with this trial. He is bringing something into my life that wouldn’t happen without this trial. He is making me whole, complete, more like himself. And that is joy! Knowing my Father is joy. I am constantly praying for God to show himself to me and teach me more about himself, so I am learning to accept the ways he is teaching me. Honestly, I could not learn the lessons I am learning if everything was good all the time. I have to lean on him and trust in his love!
God is also bringing me through this through physical means: endless cups of coffee, a glass of wine here and there, good friends and conversation, people who need love, my mama and dad, weddings to celebrate, sunsets, baby giggles, and lots of people to pray for.
He is good. He is worthy. Bless his Holy Name!
I don’t know how to tell non-Christians how to deal with unbelievable tragedy. I don’t know what to say when they ask how I believe in a good God when the unthinkable happens. I don’t have all the answers, I really don’t.
All I can do is go back to God’s promises and lean and trust, even when I don’t “feel” like He could possibly care about us. Even when I don’t “feel” His love. I know he did not promise an easy life. He promised trouble. And He doesn’t tell us why.
But He does tell us that He will be with us. He tells us that He will never forsake us. He does tell us that He has a good plan. He tells us that the fire will not consume us. He tells us that He fights for us. That if He is for us, who can be against us? He tells us that we do not mourn without hope.
He is good and we cannot possibly understand Him. So all we can do is trust. And turn to Him in worship, humility, and in repentance.
Let the tragedies of this world turn your face to Him who can fix everything, even if He doesn’t choose to when we think He should. Run without abandon to His loving embrace and trust in the promises He gives us in His Word.
I know that without Him, I would crumble. I would not be able to handle the weight of the world without being able to cry out to Him and give it to Him to carry. God can take our questions and doubts. He is big enough to take our fears and frustrations. He forgives, even when we get mad at Him when He is last one to deserve our anger.
Call me weak, call this a “crutch”. I don’t really care, because I know that deep down, no matter how strong anyone is on the outside, we all are crying out for answers, we are all crying out for comfort. We are all weak and feeble (try going without food for a few days – or getting shot in the stomach – and tell me that you are strong and can handle anything with grace and strength). And God knows our frames, He made us this way. He made us to need Him. Recognizing our need of Him is what sets Christians apart. He shows His strength in our weakness.
So I urge you, brothers and sisters, to turn to Him in your distress. Turn to Him when you are horrified. Turn to Him because there is nowhere else we can find true comfort in times like these.
It’s been a whirlwind of a month. Almost nothing has gone as hoped or planned. Can you spell topsy-turvy? I can: A-R-M-Y. Also, D-E-P-L-O-Y-M-E-N-T. We have been traveling all around, running around, trying to enjoy our time together, getting ready to be separated for way too long. Way too long for my heart to be ripped in two and living on opposite sides of the world. We have been throwing caution into the wind and spending cashmoney on things that we normally wouldn’t, and I can’t even tell when it’s okay and when it’s foolish. And I can barely see straight through the fog and confusion, much less through the tears. The anger. The disappointment. The pride. The sadness. Even the excitement.
I’m not sure I can explain what this life is like to anyone unfamiliar with military life. I feel like I have barely dipped my toes into the ocean of this thing called the military and my head is spinning. It’s all so new, scary, unfamiliar, frustrating, and really quite neat.
My husband’s calling – our family’s calling – is, to say the least, NOT what I expected for my life. And as I’m trying to get my bearings, I am just scrambling to hold on and stand up straight. So all I can do is keep my eyes and my feet on The Rock that is my God. All I can do is the next thing. He knows what’s going on. He has a plan. And He loves me more than I can imagine.
My days are a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts. It’s such a weird place to be in, I almost want him just to go and be gone so we can get this started so we can get it over with. I think I’m ready.
I am not doing it all perfectly. I don’t think every step, thought, and deed is honoring my God. I’m just trying to survive. It takes conscious effort to keep my eyes on Him. I suppose that’s a good thing to practice. (See? God is doing something, here).
I don’t want this year to be just about surviving. I truly want to thrive. I want my marriage to thrive and grow, I want to grow in my skills as a mother, and mostly, I want to be growing closer to my God. I have no idea what is in store.
On the one hand, I want to be thriving, but I think any Army wife will tell me that sometimes, it’s okay just to survive today. It’s okay. I’m human, frail, broken, dust. And oh, so weak. And God’s power shows through so brightly, so mightily in my weakness. So I’m going to let myself be weak for a while. I’ll let God be the strong one, carrying me through the tumultuous weeks and months before me.
If this post is confusing and hereandthere and doesn’t make sense – it’s only a reflection of where my head and heart and life are right now. So I take this opportunity to tell you all, my friends and family (and any strangers that my stumble across this), that this is where I am right now. And I need all the help, prayers, love, calls, texts, company, and hugs that I can get. Here is my cry for help to my brothers and sisters in Christ.
And my the God of grace get all the glory.
I was reading 1 Peter this morning while I was holding my teething babygirl during her nap – hoping to help her sleep longer. In chapter three, Peter begins talking about wives and husbands. It’s wonderful to read, to be reminded of the woman I am called to be. And then I read the following, “And you are [Sarah's] children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”
Shut. the. front. door.
Do not fear anything that is frightening? But God! It’s frightening! You want me to not be afraid of anything that is frightening? It doesn’t make any sense! Not to me, anyway. But that is what I am called to. I am called to peace, to trust, to faith. Even when it doesn’t make sense. None of these can co-exist with fear. My Good God is Sovereign. Do I really believe that? I do, but if I really do, why don’t I act like it? If I really believe that God is all Sovereign, all powerful, all wise, and all good, then truly, truly I have nothing to fear. Nothing. Not even if it is frightening.
Here are something things that I consider frightening: being away from my best friend and husband for a long time, being a single parent, a single parent to this high-needs child, sleepless nights with no backup, what if she gets really sick?, my husband being at war, what he will see, what he will do, what might happen to him, what if he doesn’t come home?, and then what about when he does?, what if he doesn’t come home whole?, him coming home not being the same man, our marriage falling apart, somehow going back to having him home when he’d been gone so long, the changes that I will face in myself, the changes in him, his scars, how his scars might hurt him, or me, or our daughter. How will anything ever be normal again?
This is the short list. And it will consume me if I let it. It will cripple and destroy me if I fear what is frightening.
I am called to not fear anything that is frightening.
Lord, help me. I choose you. I choose peace.
Each day separated from my love makes my heart a little bit heavier. Each night that I can’t hug him. Each evening he can’t read to our little girl.
But each morning, he’s one day closer to being home again.
Today was a rough day. Squishy girl and I went down to the ATL to visit some friends, and she did great on the trip there. But the way back? Three hours of screaming. I don’t regret going to visit them, I needed to get out of this town. But this whole “I hate the car” thing just sucks.
Tomorrow, it will be less than two weeks till I see him again. And then we prepare for the deployment – I will cherish every look, every moment, every touch. Memorize his smell and the way it feels to put my forehead in the nape of his neck, my fingertips across his chest. The warmth of his skin and in his gaze. I will need each memory to get through the next year. I will burn them into my mind and into my heart.
It’s slow going. My parents are here to help me out. We’ve gotten things cleaned and put away, now is the time to go through it all. I do have somewhat of a deadline. There is a yard sale to raise money for my husband’s unit’s FRG (family readiness group). I hope to donate a few things. It’s time to say goodbye to some things I’ve been holding onto. This may hurt a little bit.
But that’s the point, right?