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!

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Diary of a Military Wife: Learning to Embrace

it’s said that the first & the last month of deployment is always the hardest. in the first month you are still trying to accept the fact that your loved one is gone and desperately trying to adjust to this new life and schedule with out him. and in the last month the days can seem to drag on at a snails pace. you can see the light at the end of the tunnel but still have a few weeks to actually get there. and it’s hard. this proved very true for me last deployment. it was hard, and then smooth sailing for a bit, and then very very hard again.

this time, however, has been different. deployment was very quickly followed by a family 4th of July, a move to Seattle, and my brothers wedding. it was busy and it was great. the first month seemed to fly by and i was optimistic. and then… everything stopped. i found myself in Seattle, settled, and alone. and the reality of Chris being gone seemed to flood our empty apartment. i could fill my days till mid afternoon but then the minutes began to crawl. and i felt myself slipping. i knew this feeling. it was the same feeling i felt most of last deployment. a darkness, a feeling of hopelessness. the reality of being alone was consuming me. my heart was heavy and the worst part was i felt like i was doing it all on my own. i tried to stick it out, thinking i just needed to suck it up and endure this season. but i’m not alone, and i’m not meant to endure, i’m meant to embrace.

so in an effort to embrace this season, i have taken myself out of the daily routine of life, hopped in the car, and headed south, where i can surround myself with family and keep busy while Chris is away.

 

 

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

on throwing it all in, shaking it up, and taking back out

finally having the freedom to build a business doing what i love can be very rewarding. i wake up every day so excited to start the day, my mind racing with a million ideas and anticipating great things. it’s a feeling i have never felt before and one that i honestly didn’t know was possible. it’s these days that make me so grateful for the husband i have. the husband who has encouraged me to take this HUGE leap of faith and follow hard after my dreams.

there are days, though, where it all feels a bit overwhelming. days when i push and push and push and see little to no growth. days where specific dreams seem to die and the questions begin to rush in like a flood. days where i write out our budget for the month and feel like i’m failing us. i look at our income and see that i contribute nothing to our household; every penny that comes in from photography goes right back to the business and we are left completely reliant on my husbands income alone. it’s these days that i want to give up, throw it all away, and seek a “normal” job.

i poured out my heart to my husband over skype the other night. my worries that i wasn’t contributing and feelings of selfishness in it all. tears beginning to well up as the feelings of defeat crept in. i felt stuck. stuck trying to make my goals and dreams happen as a business owner while contributing to our goals and dreams as a family. he listened patiently, and when i was done he spoke words that i will never forget.

“see this cup?” he said. “we throw in my pay check and we throw in your pay check… shake it up… take out money for rent, utilities, business expenses, etc. it’s all the same.”

it was a simple illustration and it was all that i needed. with reassuring words he changed my perspective back to where it needed to be, reminding me that the decision to begin this business was a mutual decision, that no part of it was selfish and that he 100% supports where we are and the road we are on.

it’s these days that make me so grateful for the husband i have. the husband who has encouraged me to take this HUGE leap of faith and follow hard after my dreams.

 

James & Rachel: Expecting

she is the soft spoken sweetheart-of-a-woman that i had the privilege of working next to for the 4 weeks i teller’ed before my husband and i made the move to Seattle. and on my last day we chatted about life in the big city and all the amazing food there would be. she joked about her pregnant appetite and i laughed. while our time together was short lived i know that i will always have a friend in this wonderful lady.

i made the drive down to her home town Saturday and we spent the evening taking photos of her dashing husband, beautiful baby bump, and herself. and we had such a great time. her husband is as sweet as she and i left with a heart warmed and softened by their love and excitement for their precious little one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of a Military Wife : An Honorary Best Man

the rehearsal went flawlessly and was full of joy and laughter at what the next day would bring. yet as we sat at dinner later that night my heart hurt at the thought that he was missing out on it all.

we went around the room, sharing stories of their past and excitement for their future but as the turn came closer to mine my mind raced as i tried to think of the perfect words he would want me to say. every word i could think to speak brought a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes.  my turn came and went and the only words i could speak were “i’ll pass”. not out of a desire to leave words unspoken but simply because i knew i wouldn’t be able to speak any of them.  my heart hurt at the thought that he was missing out on it all.

the sun was shining bright and the buzz of last minute wedding details being put into place left a smile on every ones face. it had been months in the making and she had thought of every little detail, leaving all involved thoroughly impressed. while she put the last minute touches on as she prepared to walk down the aisle i snuck away, with laptop in hand, determined. while he couldn’t be there in person, i wanted him to experience it as much as he could.

we walked down the aisle, all smiles. but as i took my place in the bridesmaids row and turned to look at the many who came to show their love and support for the happy couple i couldn’t help but look immediately to the computer screen. front row, third chair from the aisle, there sat chris, watching via skype, from Afghanistan. and my heart hurt, knowing he was missing out on it all. his best friend and brother was now committing to a life of love and laughter to his best friend and chris was 8000 miles away.

when my brother asked chris to be his honorary best man, i cried.  the thought of my husband, my brothers best friend having to miss my brothers wedding overwhelmed me. the thought of deployment overwhelmed me.

as the ceremony concluded and the reception commenced i stood in the grass and talked to him. “thank you so much baby”, he said. he didn’t look at it as missing out at all but rather was filled with gratitude that he was able to experience it. and while my heart hurt, and i missed my best friend like crazy, i was so grateful that he was able to witness one of his best friends marry the love of his life. even if from 8000 miles away.

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

The Inn at Diamond Woods : Roger & Amanda

Roger & Amanda were referred to me by my dear friends Holli & Marissa (love you ladies!) and i was thrilled. these ladies rock and i knew that any one they sent my way would rock as well… and oh did they. Roger & Amanda were the kindest, most welcoming couple. they invited me to join them for their rehearsal so i could get a feel for how their big day would play out and while there i had the wonderful opportunity to meet their fun loving family. we had a great time and showing up to the wedding the next day felt like going to hang out with old friends. it was truly bliss. i left feeling so blessed and beyond excited for their future together!

The tears were flowing as Amanda slipped on her wedding gown. It was such a precious moment.

Bride and mom, taking a peek at their beautiful venue.

The Inn at Diamond Woods had these amazing vaulted ceilings… love!

Amanda has such a sweet relationship with her dad and opted to do a daddy-daughter first look. I loved it… and needless to say so did dad!

After the daddy-daughter first look came the bride and groom first look. Love Love Love