It has been two and half months since my husband left on deployment; we are not half way through, and the summer lays at my feet. Up until this point, the time has been flying by. We were evacuated during the wildfire that burned some 24,000 acres of land out here in California. Our house was not damaged, but the fire did reach the base we live on, burning about 300 acres of grassland.
Shortly after this bit of excitement, we needed leave our house again. This time for fumigation. Our house was tented for three days in order to eliminate the dry wood termites that had literally started coming through the walls of our master bathroom.
The week after that fun, I found myself squarely in the middle of a fight with the school department; lobbying to allow Samuel back in for the 2013-2014 school year. With a great number of tears, some sweaty palm moments, amazing support from the staff at his school, and a face to face meeting with the superintendent, I successfully negotiated the terms that would allow him entrance back into school.
During all of this I kept thinking, "God, I know I have been praying for time to speed by...but this? Does it have to be this way?"
With the start of summer, life has slowed down for us quite a bit. It was pointed out to me today that I have not posted anything in a while. It's not that I don't think about it, or that I haven't been learning new things that I am eager to share. It's just that honestly, I have been living a very unbalanced life.
It's taken a long time to get to this point, but at this moment in time I can say without hesitation that my husband and I are one. We are a team; we have the same goal in mind, and we know that God has given us to each other to walk together, and to grow together, and to journey together down the specific road that He has laid out for us. The problem is that half of my team is on a ship, or perhaps in an airplane, quite literally on the other side of the world.
I want to pause here and say that I am so proud of Cory, and the guys that are out there with him. Being here in our own country with our day to day lives, the comfortable, and the sometimes monotonous lives we live...we can easily forget that there are men and women (at this very moment!) flying missions, or standing duty, or guarding somebody somewhere, all in an effort to keep us safe...to keep us living our comfortable lives. Those men and women have families, they have children, like our 3 amazing boys, and they are missing them...badly...so please never forget to be thankful for their sacrifices, and for their protection of your freedom.
I think I have said it before, but when we are apart it is very much like living a half of a life; it's like walking on unsteady ground; you're never quite sure if or when you're going to fall, and you don't quite understand where the strength comes to get up when you do...but it's there...it has to be. It's unbalanced; it's often one sided, and it's a constant giving of yourself. It's a difficult time, but difficult times often result in growth of character, and so I'm kind of okay with difficult.
I have a dear friend who has shared with me her motto for this deployment, "to not just survive, but to thrive".
I often am guilty of looking at our military life as one of survival; the thought of thriving is hard when you are in the trenches; when everyday you are mom and dad. When your heart is heavy, and you feel alone, you can start to wish the days away. You can start to tell yourself all sort of things; your patience goes, your frustration rises, and your heart breaks with loneliness, and longing for your husband...for the daddy your children miss. In your heart you can start to think, "This will never end." Hopelessness can set in. In those moments, what do you do? Is thriving permanently out of reach when your balance goes, and uncertainty seems the course of the day? Where can it be found when your two year old wakes up screaming at 3am, your 6 year old cries with leg pains at 4am, and then everyone is up at 6am, and the day starts out in defeat?
It can be found in the One who is able to energize even the most exhausted of mommies and daddies. It can be found in the Healer, the Restorer; the One who helps us in our weaknesses. When we surrender the need to "survive", and we ask for the strength to "thrive" suddenly our half of a life starts to feel a little more full. After all, He is the Filler, and the Grower; the only One who can give balance to my very unbalanced life.
I read a verse this week that has spoken to my heart: 1 John 3:20, "...For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything."
I think so often we (I) skate along on the thin ice of survival. I know I need help but my weak heart forgets to ask. I get so focused on the next step, and the next step, and the next step, trying so hard not to fall through. If only...only when...I ask for a firm footing...God tells me, "I am greater than your weak heart. I know you are frail. I know you need me. Come to me." And I am set right again.
It's a daily process. A daily choice. It's not just for me, but for you too. The unbalance in my life is deployment...yours is most certainly something different. In everything though: God is greater than your heart. Bigger than your fears. Stronger than your weakness. And available anytime we come to Him. Need some balance? Just ask.