Diary of a Military Wife: Feeling of Discontentment

when deployment is coming to an end and the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter daily, it tends to feel like every minute is a lifetime and every day is an eternity. every skype date and phone call with hubby becomes so bittersweet and rarely does a conversation pass without words of discontentment being spoken. “would you PLEASE just come home?!” i say in exasperation; as if he has any control over the situation. “i’m so ready to be done” he replies when i ask him what’s wrong.

i find that sleep is a sweet escape because, in sleep, the hours just seem to disappear and when i wake the number on my countdown has been reduced by one. i wake and think; “one day closer.” and while the excitement builds as his return nears, so does the discontentment in the reality that it is not here yet.

yet, when Paul speaks on the subject of contentment, he doesn’t speak about being discontent and struggling through each day until the circumstance changes. quite the opposite actually.

Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Philippians 4:12-13 (MSG)

in my discontentment i lose sight of Jesus, “the one who makes me who I am”. and when i lose sight of Jesus, i lose sight of reality; i lose sight of the fact that “This is the day that the Lord has made… Psalm 118:24” and rather than rejoicing in it i bitterly survive it.

but not any more. i am daily realizing that where i am is exactly where He wants me to be, and where He wants me to be, is exactly where i want to be.

i’m not saying it’s easy. quite the opposite, actually. it’s a battle every day. and every day i have to constantly remind myself of who i am, who He has made me to be and Who has made this very day. but when i do, i not only survive, i thrive. and i know that I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me!

Diary of a Military Wife: Why Can’t Mine Be Receiving Gifts?

when it comes to love, everyone has a language; a way they express and receive love. for some it’s words of affirmation, where every compliment means the world to them. for others it’s quality time; having full and undivided attention melts their heart. some feel loved through the receiving of gifts while acts of service make others feel beyond appreciated. and for some they feel most loved when physical touch is involved. walking hand in hand, a hug, arms wrapped around their waist, all scream love!

chris & i took the 5 love languages test before our first deployment together… and were not surprised by our findings. my love language was quality time with a dash of physical touch mixed in. his was physical touch with quality time sprinkled here and there. we took the 5 love languages test again before this deployment, just to see if anything had changed. mine, not surprisingly, stayed the same. i love, and crave, quality time spent with my husband. his changed from physical touch being first to words of affirmation with physical touch being the runner up. he holds on to my every word and every compliment makes his heart smile.

“why does mine have to be quality time when you have to leave me for so long?!” i said jokingly, as i tried to cover up the seriousness of the question. “why can’t mine be receiving gifts? then you could just send me a gift a week and i would be perfectly happy.” then maybe the distance wouldn’t feel so… distant.

but, my love language is not gifts; it’s quality time mixed with physical touch. both of which are not possible in this season. and both of which i crave more than anything. what i wouldn’t give to have a night curled up in my husbands arms, TV off, computer shut down, phones put away, with our full and undivided attention focused on one another. talking, dreaming, and being.

and while this is anything but possible right now, i hold on to hope. hope of our future. the hope that we will soon be reunited. the hope that this journey will soon come to an end. and the hope that while in the midst of it all His grace is sufficient.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Diary of a Military Wife : Planning & Trusting


we sat at Starbucks, catching up over soul warming lattes, with the ground bean aroma swirling in the air and the buzz of the early risers humming away. we chatted about life, marriage, and our plans for the future. and without missing a beat he spoke words that struck my heart and put a pit in my stomach. “one thing i have learned time and time again is that planning is pointless….. because God always changes them. the best thing you can do is not plan.”

WHAT?! not plan?! but you don’t understand, Pastor, i’m a planner, through in through. i plan EVERYTHING! and anytime there is a hope that something might happen, i start planning for it to happen, making it happen. i plan, as if my life is my own and i have complete control and that the final decision as to the direction that it will go lies solely in my hands.

it was time for our nightly Skype chat and i couldn’t wait to chat with my husband about our future, how things would play out and in what order we wanted things to go. and we chatted about what we would do if the sequence didn’t go the way we were planning it to and whether it would work if the order of events were mixed up. and i began to get stressed. would it work if the sequence was changed, if things didn’t go as planned? how would we make it work? could we do it? and i heard our pastors words speak softly to my heart, “the best thing you can do is not plan.” and the pit in my stomach returned. every part of me wanted to plan, plan, plan, yet my heart knew that all the planning in the world would do me no good. that what i really needed to do was sit back, relax, and trust.

all that planning ties you up in knots and distracts you from Me… vast quantities of of time and energy are wasted in obsessive planning. when you let Me direct your steps, you are set free to enjoy Me and find what I prepared for you this day.  -Jesus Calling

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32.8

Diary of a Military Wife: One Box at a Time

we were a week away from our trip to NYC and on our way to church. while chatting about life and what it would be like while Chris was deployed we came to the realization that the best place for me to be while he was away was much closer to our church and the family we had found there. we prayed  and prayed and scoured craigslist over the next couple days and by mid-week we knew without a doubt that moving to Seattle needed to happen much sooner than we had originally planned. by the end of the week we were signing our rental application and as we waited for our plane that Saturday we received the call that we had been approved. we arrived in NYC and wrote our deposit check, placed it in an envelope and handed it to our hotels front desk. it was official. we were moving to Seattle and there was no turning back.

i was grateful for the distraction that i thought moving, unpacking, and setting up our new home would give me. but as Chris tried so lovingly to help me figure out our wireless router over the phone last night i cried. “i just wish you were here” i said. moving had become overwhelming and the fact that i would have to do everything on my own brought about tears. there was so much to do and i just didn’t know how i was going to do it all.

with his soft words he reassured me that it’s a process, that i don’t have to do everything in one day, that i need to relax and enjoy it. with is soft words he gave me the perspective that i needed. and now? now i’m just taking it one box at a time.

So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own troubles. Matthew 6:34

Diary of a Military Wife : This Season

i shed a tear as we sat in the car, wishing that time would freeze right there and hoping that this next season in our lives wouldn’t come. maybe if we just stayed right there it wouldn’t happen… if we just stayed right there, in the car, we could skip this season entirely, move onto the next and start our live together outside of the Army. but time didn’t freeze. and this next season was unfolding right before us.

we kissed, he prayed, we kissed again and then we opened the car doors. he threw his bag over his shoulder and gave me one last kiss goodbye and as i watched him walk away i couldn’t help but feel that i was dreaming. it was surreal. and if i was truly honest with myself… it’s still surreal.

last deployment i was a mess. it was his 3rd deployment but my first, and i wasn’t ready. there were many days that the thought of him being gone overwhelmed me. i cried and i cried and i couldn’t wait for the deployment season to end. i isolated myself from friends and family because i could’t bare attending anything with out him by my side.  i allowed my circumstances to dictate my emotions and i sank under the weight of it all.

there’s something different about this deployment. and maybe that’s why it feels so surreal. there’s a peace, a comfort, an expectation that in the midst of it all there is hope. last deployment i lost sight of Jesus, and i sank. i allowed every circumstance around me to consume my attention until i could no longer see who Jesus was in my life, that He was my peace, my comfort and my hope. but as i sit here tonight, alone, i am reminded that while i can not change my circumstances, i can change my perspective. so tonight i set my eyes on Jesus, the one who never changes, to be my constant. where my husbands arms normally give me peace, comfort and hope, there is Jesus, my constant and everlasting source of peace, comfort and hope.

 

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with it’s earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  

Philippians 4:6-7

in these moments

most days the thought doesn’t even cross my mind. i enjoy all that we are and all that we have and think nothing of the looming future. but there are other days; often brought on by a specific event, something someone says, or a movie we watch, that the thought is painfully present. and it’s in those moments that i can’t help it. i try to hold back the tears but they just begin to flow.

as we lay on the couch, watching PS I Love You, the thought of having to do life with out him, even if only for a short while, was overwhelming. and i cried. i tried to tell myself that his 3.5 month absence is less than most have to endure but the reality of being away from the one you love, no matter the length of time, hurts.

it’s in these moments, when i feel so weak and vulnerable, that Jesus reminds me yet again that He is sufficient for all that i need, and it’s in these moments that i know i’m going to be ok

each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” so now i am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

gc conference, my tears, his gentle words

we rode home and tears ran down my face as i confessed to him my failures and shortcomings. i have been trying to do it on my own, i admitted, and i have been coming up short, tired, and burnt out. my hopes, dreams and desires had been an effort of self rather than a dependance on God and i was growing weary trying to make them happen in and of myself. i knew this had to change and i felt frustrated and discouraged that i had been so naive to let this happen. i poured out my heart to him on our drive home and in the way that only he can, he spoke gentle words of encouragement, gentle reassuring words that pointed my sights away from my shortcomings and on to His incredible grace. and my heart melted. he spoke the words that my heart needed to hear and as i look back on that night i can’t help but to think of where we were a year ago. gc conference was where my crush on him became apparent to all those around me. gc conference was where i gave him the first of many shoulder massages. and gc conference was where his relationship with this amazing church began. and a year later we returned to gc conference, humbled and so grateful for the road God has led us on up to now and hopeful and encouraged for where He is taking us.

Here we are at gc conference🙂

my shortcomings, his example

it’s been a month. a month since i promised to be patient, kind and encouraging. a month since i told him i would put him first, above myself, not insisting on my own rights or ways but rather his, and always looking to find the very best in him, at all times. i promised to never forget these promises but it seems that in this past month i have.  i have let my patience wear thin, my kind words turn to harsh words and have insisted on my own rights and ways rather than his. i have allowed myself to turn into the selfish person i vowed to never be. and while i may feel that i come up short more often than not he never fails to be patient, kind and encouraging toward me. he never fails to put me first, above himself, not insisting on his own rights or ways but rather mine. he never fails to always find the good in me, even when i can’t find it in myself. and he never fails to demonstrate Jesus to me in all that he does. and in doing so he leads me by example, to be the woman i vowed to him to be, the woman he deserves to have. his silent example of loving kindness, gentle patience and unending encouragement pushes me more than any demand he could place on me or command he could state. and because of his silent example, he compels me to be the patient, kind, encouraging, and selfless wife i promised him to be.

chris, i can’t begin to put into words how incredibly grateful i am to have you in my life. you are more than i could ever hope or dream for and for that i thank God everyday. you are my exceedingly abundantly more.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…

Ephesians 3:20

How do you view what it is that you need?

Our understanding of who God is and who we are drastically affects our understanding of who Christ is and why we need him. For example, if God is only a loving Father who wants to help his people, then we will see Christ as a mere example of that love. We will view the Cross as just a demonstration of God’s love in which he allowed Roman soldiers to crucify his son so that sinful man would know how much he loves us. But this picture of Christ and the Cross is woefully inadequate, missing the entire point of the gospel. We are not saved from our sins because Jesus was falsely tried by Jewish and Roman officials and sentenced by Pilate to die. Neither are we saved because Roman persecutors thrust nails into the hands and feet of Christ and hung him on a Cross. Do we really think that the false judgement of men heaped upon Christ would pay the debt for all of humankind’s sin? Do we really think that a crown of thorns and whips and nails and a wooden cross and all the other facets of the crucifixion that we glamorize are powerful enough to save us? Picture Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. As he kneels before his Father, drops of sweat and blood fall together from his head. Why is he in such agony and pain? The answer is not because  he is afraid of crucifixion. He is not trembling because of what the Roman soldiers are about to do to him. Since that day countless men and women in the history of Christianity  have died for the faith. Some of them were not just hung on crosses; they were burned there. Many of them went to their crosses singing. One Christian in India, while being skinned alive, looked at  his persecutors and said, “I thank you for this. Tear off my old garment, for i will soon put on Christ’s garment of righteousness.” As he prepared to head to his execution, Christopher Love wrote a note to his wife, saying, “today they will sever me from my physical head,  but they cannot sever me from my spiritual head, Christ.” As he walked to his death, his wife applauded while he sang of glory. Did these men and women in Christian history have more courage than Christ himself? Why was he trembling in that garden, weeping and full of anguish? We can rest assured that he was not a coward about to face Roman soldiers. Instead he was a savior about to endure divine wrath. Listen to his words: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” The “cup” is not a reference to a wooden cross; it is a reference to divine judgement. It is the cup of God’s wrath. This is what Jesus is recoiling from in the garden. All God’s holy wrath and hatred towards sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, is about to be poured out on high, and he is sweating blood at the thought of it. What happened at the cross was not primarily about nails being thrust into Jesus’s hand and feet but about the wrath due your sin and my sin being thrust upon his soul. in that holy moment, all the righteous wrath and justice of God due us came rushing down like a torrent on Christ himself.  Some say, “God looked down and could not bear to see the suffering that the soldiers were inflicting on Jesus, so he turned away.” but this is not true. God turned away because he could not bear to see your sin and my sin on his Son. One preacher described it as if you and i were standing a short hundred yards away from a dam of water ten thousand miles wide and ten thousand miles high. All of a sudden that dam was breached, and a torrential flood of water came crashing towards us. Right before it reached our feet, the ground in front of us opened up and swallowed it all. At the Cross, Christ drank the full cup of the wrath of God, and when he had downed the last drop, he turned the cup over and cried out, “it is finished.” This is the gospel. The just and loving creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent his son, God in the flesh, to bear his wrath against sin on the cross and to show his power over sin in the resurrection so that all who trust in him will be reconciled to God forever.” Pg 34-36 Radical by David Platt