I walked out on him one night when we were at dinner with my sister and her husband. Once again he changed the topic of discussion to his desire for our eldest son to enlist in the Navy. Once again I adamantly said we would not have this discussion.
“Our son will not enlist in the military.”
With that I stormed out of the restaurant. My sister and her husband followed my lead.
Walking out of that restaurant and walking out on my husband happened over five years ago.
Fast-forward five years to the present time. In less than 30 days my husband will return home from his first deployment as a solider with the U.S. Army Reserves. He has been away from home since November of last year. Three weeks ago I had a “see–you–later” moment with our eldest son . . . our sailor. His deployment has just begun.
In September 2010 we started our journey as a military family. God used what I feared most to lead us to Him. I no longer ask why. It’s what fuels me to keep seeking and trusting Him.
Surviving ten months apart from my husband has not been easy.
- I broke a bone in my foot right in time for Christmas.
- Chicago had a horrible winter with over 80 inches of snow and one of the coldest winters in the last twenty years.
- Our oven broke, requiring a new one to be purchased. The new one arrived defective, and I had to purchase another one.
- The bathtub would not drain completely.
- All three cars needed repairs.
- Our eldest son deployed.
- The younger of our two dogs tore his ACL. He just recently had surgery.
During our time apart I will have celebrated five holidays without him and countless birthdays between both of our families, including both of ours.
To say the least, I am past the ready point for my husband to return home. There are moments when I’m convinced one more thing breaking or one more celebration without him might throw me overboard.
But God never promised it would be easy. Jesus tells us in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble.”
I must not leave out the second half of that verse though.
“But take heart I have overcome the world.”
In the NIV Life Application Study Bible the notes for John 16:33 say, “With these words he told his disciples to take courage. In spite of the inevitable struggles they would face, they would not be alone. Jesus does not abandon us to our struggles either. If we remember that the ultimate victory has already been won, we can claim the peace of Christ in the most troublesome times.”
And I already know this to be true.
Jesus has never abandoned me these months without my husband. With each obstacle, I have claimed the peace found in Him and have overcome because of Him.
This is why I no longer ask, “Why the military, God? Why did you choose what I feared most to draw me to you?”
He used what I feared most to teach me to rely on Him completely. He used what I feared most to bring me to my knees with complete surrender and trust in Him. I do not need to fear “for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
So I wait for my husband to return home from the Middle East while my son makes his way to the Middle East. Of course I am fully aware of the turmoil that exists in this part of the world.
But I take heart. I have courage. The alternative would be to recoil in fear. Instead I put on the full armor of God for I know our God is far greater than satan and his evil forces. This is my opportunity to proclaim His goodness. To glorify Him.
Yes, in this world we will have trouble. But take heart! We can still have joy because He is the source of all our joy.
Let’s seek Him with all our heart. In return we will experience His love and protection. We will experience victory even when defeat seems certain (John 17:13, NIV Study Bible).
Beth Stiff is Simply Beth, at least that’s what her blog is called. A wife to her Army Reserve husband and a mom of two boys, with her oldest son serving in the Navy, and a mother-in-law too. She a Jesus lover, a family gal who loves her friends, and reading with a hot cup of coffee. Her life is changed, even after 20 years of marriage with a love that grows stronger. But the bottom line, is in the heart. Beth loves the heart things and to speak about the Love that changed her and keeps changing her. She’s an encourager who thrives on being in our corner. You can also find her over here, blogging, Twittering, Facebooking, and posting pictures to the Pinterest world.