Our military experience may be different than most – we don’t live on a base, Hawk has a full time civilian career and we don’t get stationed in new places. I wouldn’t begin to relate or speak on the level of one who picks up her family and moves often for the sake of her husband’s duty to our great nation. Our story looks a little different – but I am an Army wife.
I may not live on a base or have much connection with other military spouses or familiarity with the “norm” of military culture, but there is something to be said about developing a connection with other military families.
I was not raised a military brat. In fact, the closest I was to military men were my grandfathers who served decades before I was even born. I never even really knew anyone in the military other than a few acquaintances who enlisted after high school.
When I met Hawk, all of it was new. All the many confusing acronyms were new too. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why Hawk couldn’t fly because the air conditioning was broken in the helicopter. I’m happy to report that my acronym game is slowly improving. (By the way, for all the other oblivious civilians, A/C stands for aircraft, not air conditioner.)
I didn’t necessarily have the adjustment to “full” military life, but there were, nonetheless, adjustments to be made.
So when I see a yellow ribbon that says “Support our Troops” on a vehicle, my heart immediately empathizes with those who lovingly placed that ribbon on their car. An unseen, unspoken connection is made, because I am an Army wife.
I, too, know the challenges and difficulties, and heartache of distance and a loved one’s deployment.
I, too, worry about the unknown and hope my man won’t have to deploy again.
I, too, worry about my loved one’s safety.
And I, too, have the lingering nightmare shoved deep inside – praying that I never get that notification of the worst.
There’s an unspoken bond between hearts of military spouses and families. There’s an unexplained respect. Because they too experience these things – they too have these feelings at some point or another.
There’s a bond that crosses military branches, that crosses state lines, and crosses personal differences; which is why my heart bled and I fought tears when I stumbled upon an Instagram page of a wife who just lost her husband in the helicopter crashes in Hawaii. There’s a bond because my worst nightmare became her reality. My greatest fear was now her greatest sorrow.
There’s a bond because you realize what happened to her could happen to you. She’s a young widow with four small children and yet even in her greatest grief, she clings to her greatest Comforter.
Her testimony of how her Jesus gives her breath when she cannot breathe and how He carries her when she cannot walk had me fighting back ugly tears in my cubicle at work – she’s in a living nightmare and Jesus is literally the source of her life. The Lord who is close to the brokenhearted is giving her that peace that surpasses all understanding. Her life is evident that even in the worst, Jesus is still there – He is still God – and He is still Good. In the same breath of sobs from the deepest hurt and darkest place, she still continues to praise Him.
This moved my soul in the mightiest of ways. Satan uses fear to make us doubt God’s goodness. He poses the hard questions, the questions that have deceived and turned people away from the faith. Can God still be good in such deep sorrow?
I’ve always struggled with fear. If I’m honest, that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t want to fall in love with any one in the military. I didn’t want to have to deal with all the different worries, anxieties, and yes, certain nightmares associated with it. Please don’t misunderstand, watching my man serve his country fills me with such admiration, respect, and pride; however, when Satan knows a person struggles with fear, he uses everything in his arsenal to capitalize on those fears.
Being truly transparent, many of my wrestling-with-God-moments are over my fears. Over my lack of trust. Satan loves fear. He can easily turn an emotion designed to be a healthy respect and reverence for God into an unhealthy, distorted fear that cripples, suffocates, kills our calling, our effectiveness, our purpose, our joy, and sometimes our very souls.
I love the Bethel Music lyrics to No Longer Slaves:
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
If we let fear plague our minds, distort our perception of God and even erode our faith, then we are slaves. Those chains get tighter and tighter around the throat and we are so consumed by the “What Ifs” and worst case scenarios and nightmares from the pit of Hell that we miss the Goodness of God. We miss the only One who can set us free from our bondage. The only One who can heal us and give us breath to fill our lungs so we can take the deepest inhale of our lives – no longer enslaved, but exposed to the light – because perfect love (Jesus) casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)
Setting our eyes on Him instead of our fears gives us the liberty to declare, “I am no longer a slave to fear. I am a slave to Christ.”
We have to come to a point, I have to come to a point, where we learn to trust God with our “What Ifs.” Unless we trust Him, we will never experience true freedom. Unless we trust Him with complete abandon, we will never be the people He desires us to be.
Fears found deep in my heart have been exposed. My faith has been challenged and my soul encouraged by a military wife who still declares her soul is well and her Jesus is real -even in her deepest sorrow.
Jesus is our only hope in this life.
I’m an Army wife – but I’m also a child of God – a God who sent His Son to free me. A Son who knows what it is like to be afraid. A Son who is well acquainted with sorrow. A Son who is in control at all time. A Son who comforts the brokenhearted.
And a Son who takes after His Father. A Father who is Good, no matter what.
As I wrote this my man just happened to be flying- when he got home and woke me from sleep with a kiss, I thanked the Lord for his safety, and prayed for this military wife whose testimony and faith has crossed oceans. Please continue to pray for all the families who are in such sorrow at this time of tragedy.
May we take heart – He has overcome the world. He has defeated the grave. He is here, He is God, and He is Good.