We sat down on the couch at 8:30am on a Sunday morning, there were some things we needed to talk about. So with the baby already down for a nap and the other two in the other room, he and I sat on the couch to talk about his upcoming trip for work.
Work trips used to be to conferences, squeezing into row 16F, flying to retreats and leadership summits. Now, work trips are to desert outposts, to the sand and the heat and he reminds me that it’s going to be different this time than it was before. “Oh yeah? How?” And as we sit on the couch, sipping our coffee, so mundane, so normal, he tells me of the conditions, the primitive conditions. No electricity, no showers, no walls even. Sometimes, soldiers there just sleep on a cot placed next to a vehicle. Sometimes, soldiers there just sleep in a sleeping bag under the sky next to the tower they’re guarding.
“No walls even, baby?”
And I kind of chuckle as I say it, partly because it’s a little comical, but mostly because I also feel the fears rising up underneath me, the tears threatening to rise up underneath me and when you can either laugh or cry, sometimes it’s easier to just laugh.
“It’ll just be like I’m camping for four months.”
“Yeah, baby. Just like that.”
And we talk about this upcoming work trip for a few more minutes and I suddenly just get so tired. It’s like my body can’t process the information coming in and it needs to just shut down and reboot so in the very middle of our conversation I tell him I need to sleep for just a few minutes. He looks at me with a little bit of a grin, a little bit of love, and I lay down on the couch. I rest my feet on his lap while my head is on the other end of the couch on a pillow and he drapes the blanket over me, being especially tender as he makes sure that my feet are covered too.
And at 9:00am on a Sunday morning, I take a nap. As I begin to stir again, he grins and puts his hand on my feet, gives it a little squeeze.
I feel better. I feel lighter. We begin to talk again but all I can think is “Man, this is going to be so hard.”
We have been in the military before and then we got out. And now we’re back in again, surprising ourselves most of all in that decision.
As we shared this decision with people in the beginning days of this new life plan, I always got one of two responses; either: “Wow. How do you feel about that?” or “Isn’t that going to be so hard?” And so sitting on our couch that Sunday morning, I had to offer myself the very same words I gave when I responded to their questions.
See, in asking “Isn’t that going to be so hard?” we’re really asking Can’t you avoid the hard? In asking that question, you’re really asking Why would you choose something that’s hard?
But that is missing the point.
We try to avoid the hard of life, shelter our hearts and stay away from discomfort. We try to keep the status quo, keep it together, keep from rocking the boat.
God however, is not concerned about our comfort. He is concerned with matters of our heart and who we are becoming and how we are reflecting hope and grace to a hurting world.
The purpose of our life is not to avoid the hard, the purpose of life is to become more like Jesus.
God doesn’t try to shelter us from life’s hard, instead, he puts us in situations that will reveal his character within us.
Yes, the military is hard.
And it’s completely possible to only see it as hard; to only see it as inconvenient, as exhausting and uprooting and constantly changing.
But see, there’s also another way.
There’s always, always another way to see.
Because within it all, I have learned that if we can shift our vision just a bit and look for God’s presence even when things seem hard, we end up finding courage waiting for us too, beckoning us into our truest self.
As I have grown and changed and seen the movement of God in my life through the military and how it has helped turn me into a truer, deeper version of myself, I’ve thought of my other military wives out there.
I love you so.
I made something for you, a gift that I hope will help you look for this better way as well.
I created a free 30 day devotional for military wives, a downloadable pdf, that I hope little by little will turn your gaze away from the hard and into the only one who gives us unfailing love.
I know that this is hard. I know. But I also know that even when troubles seem to shout louder than the sweet whispers of peace, God surrounds you even then, cupping your chin, just asking you to look for him.
So, may this devotional help you to become more and more aware of his presence guarding you, offering love and hope and strength, no matter what.
And may this gift remind you that you are never, never alone.
— Please, friends, help me get this into the hands of as many military wives as we possibly can! If you are a military wife or love one who is, please fill out your email address below and have this devotional sent right to your inbox. Please share this on Facebook so that together we can help service member’s spouses know that there is always, always room at the table for them. XO. —