Monday, July 31, 2017

Words

Oh be careful little mouth what you say
Oh be careful little mouth what you say
For the Father up above is looking down in love
So be careful little mouth what you say.


Words have more power than you know--

the power to break

and the power to restore.

the power to bring life

and to bring death.



Choose carefully.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Ten Things Military Wives Wish You Knew

1. Don't tell us to "call if you need anything!"

We are strong, independent women who feel like we need to be able to do it on our own. It's awkward and hard to ask for help--really. So when you make comments like this one, we automatically brush it aside. I remember during deployment there were times that people just DID something for me without asking me and I loved that. Or they would ask if they could help in a specific way (mowing, fixing something, babysitting, etc). Or make specific lunch plans. Those were the moments that I felt supported and surrounded by my community. Of course it depends on the spouse, but puuuuhlease, don't make generic statements like "call if you need something." K, thanks.


2. We get lonely.

We've been a military family for roughly nine and a half years. I've made friends, even military friends, most places we've lived. But there's still a loneliness that I think is just a normal part of this life. A lot of times, that loneliness stems from the fact that most of the people in your life just don't "get" what you're going through. They don't understand the concept of long separations being the norm, or even multiple short separations. They don't understand what it's like to have your phone at your side 99.9% of the time and the one time you forget, you miss that all-important phone call. It's just a different way of life that civilian families don't understand.


3. Your time is a gift.

Okay, so I know I said you can't necessarily understand our life, but you're still an incredibly important part. We NEED people to talk to so we don't completely lose it. (Of course this can vary depending on personalities and such.) We need to know that we have people supporting us, just as much as our soldier/airman/sailor/etc. I know it might be hard when you can't relate, but even just a listening ear or spending time with us is so important. So please, be our friend--especially when our spouse is away.

4. We get tired of parenting (alone).

Let's just face it--parenting is a tough gig, even with two people doing it. Take a family that normally consists of two parents, pull out half of that equation, and you get one person who is eventually going to get overwhelmed. It's just a lot, especially when you're used to having help. Please know that we love our kiddos, even if it may not look like it. :)


5. We are not superhuman.

This one is BIG, you guys. I have lost count of the number of people who've said to me, "Oh wow, I'm so glad you are so strong to be able to do that lifestyle. I couldn't handle that!" The truth is, I didn't wake up one day and realize that I was perfectly equipped to be a military spouse. I didn't even like the idea at first. And even after I was married, I would frequently sit in a puddle of tears and just be sad until he came home.

The truth is, we love our husbands just as much as you love yours. And we're sad when they leave just as much as you'd be. The only difference between us and any civilian family is that we have learned to cope with separation. We have learned how to deal with the challenges that come with military life. So no, we're not some unfeeling, super-strong, super-capable spouses who barely notice their significant other is away. We feel it, but we also know that we've gotta keep living.


6. This life is not glamorous.

Have you ever seen a homecoming on a movie or on the news? It's magical, right? Everybody is beaming and excited and the tears flow freely as hugs are exchanged.

Can I tell you a little secret though? There's a whole lot of "messy" stuff that surrounds that sweet moment. There's the actual deployment prior, in which so many important moments are missed--birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's, and so much more. My husband missed our daughter's first birthday. You can never get those moments back. There are all the conversations you never have because you're tired and you don't think about it. Then there are the post-deployment hurdles--figuring out how to be a family again, who does what, who is "in charge," parenting, discipline, and so much more. There is so much hard stuff that happens behind the scenes that you'll never see on a homecoming video. So yes, homecomings are incredibly sweet and wonderful, but they represent only a fraction of our world.



7. Plans constantly change.

We learn to pencil everything on our calendars, because nothing is definite. I don't take any training timeline as definite until he is physically on the bus/plane or physically home. Plans change constantly and we have to learn how to roll with it. So yeah, if we can't give you a definite answer on something, please understand it's not how we want it to be, but it's the way our life is.


8. Military marriage is hard.

I touched on this a little bit in point #6, but it's worth re-mentioning. Military marriage faces some of the toughest odds. I mean really--take two people who've cohabited for the past (x) number of years, separate them for a year and see what happens. We grow apart. We learn to live without each other. As a wife, I have become very independent because military life demands it. The separations, the constant changes, the difficulties of communication--they all take their toll.


9. Sometimes we're okay.

There are times when separation is particularly hard and there are also times when we're doing okay. Being okay doesn't mean we don't love or miss our spouses, it just means we have learned ways to keep our head focused on the end goal, when our spouse comes home.


10. We need you.

I wish I could shout this from the rooftops. Even though you may not always "get" military life and you may not see all the "stuff" we're dealing with, WE NEED YOU. We need to know someone has our back. We spend our lives supporting our spouses in their career and it can be exhausting and overwhelming. Just knowing that someone sees and cares about things on the homefront is so important and truly can make all the difference. We need people in our circle who we can vent to, who care, and who support us.


Thank you to all of those in my life who have cared, invested and prayed over our family through every separation and our deployment. Some days, you guys are the reason why I don't lose it completely. You are amazing. Thank you.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Roots

Moving is hard, period. It doesn't matter if you move up the street or across the country or even around the world. It's all hard. (I should know--I've done all three.)


We've moved nine times in less than seven years.

I used to love it. I would just start to get annoyed by one particular thing in our home, and then find out shortly after that we were moving. It worked. It was like a brand new canvas, erasing all the quirks of the previous house and giving me a clean slate to work with.

But then one day two years ago, I wasn't excited any more. I wanted a home. I wanted to be able to enjoy a place without the next move looming over me.

At the same time, I didn't know how to do that. Our entire marriage consisted of one move after another. We had never "settled in" or painted or made a place our own. It was scary.

Right around this time, my Abba whispered to me that it was time to put down roots. A part of me wanted that security of a home, but another part of me didn't want it...I wanted to go back to the security of Georgia and the people we love. It was a struggle, but we knew this was where God wanted us.

Then we bought a house. Pretty permanent, right? Even still, I found myself thinking about the next move in the back of my mind. When would it be? How settled should I get? They were natural questions when we'd barely lived in any home for more than a year (the longest was 15 months).

Today marks 14.5 months in our home--our place to just be. I'm still figuring out this whole "settling in" 'thing', but I am really enjoying getting to take this blank ol' canvas and make it something we truly love.


Our home...before



A little addition to our front porch. :) More changes coming eventually!



Living Room Before...

 Living Room After (pre-curtains and decor)


Dining Room Before

And After!



Master Bath


And after!


There's been a whole lot of transforming going on around here, and not just in paint and fixtures. I'm changing too. I'm learning how to be "settled"--how to make this place my home.


And I've discovered that there's beauty in putting down roots.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Waiting

"It's hard to wait, Mom."

I probably hear it five or ten times a day some days...the voice of a little girl reminding me that patience is not her strongest of virtues.

I tell her "I'm sorry" or "You'll have to be patient" but inside I think to myself that someday she'll know waiting is just part of this thing called life.

It's not easy though.

I found myself looking for an old toy tonight--a toy Selah used to play with and decided she wanted to cuddle again. I dug through tubs of her old clothes in the garage, fingered through maternity outfits, and ended up in the baby room touching sacred little outfits yet unworn.

That's when it happened.

As I touched the baby clothes, I found myself mirroring my girl as I whispered in the depths of my heart: "It's hard to wait, Abba."

It's not even that I doubt His goodness or His faithfulness. And I know His timing is best. I know He will bless us with another child.

But this mama's heart is longing for the fulfillment of the promise.

Waiting is hard.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Little Goodbye

Ever since we moved into our home a year ago, we have had a room designated as "the baby room." Over the course of that year, our references to that room in general conversation have drawn more than a few raised eyebrows, especially when we clarify that we are not expecting.

Call it what you will--expectancy, or hope, or just a need to have somewhere to put the gazillion baby things we have. It's our baby room.

I realized today that that room has been driving me nuts.

Over the course of the past five or six months, I've really struggled with waiting on God. All of the feelings I dealt with around this time last year were back--of just wrestling with God's timing, of wanting something different than my reality. And each month, there was/is that awful reminder that my dream has failed to become real...again. Needless to say, it's been hard.

Back to the room.

Several months ago...(ahem, almost a year ago), we bought new doors to install in three of our bedrooms (including the baby room). For various reasons, the baby room door never got installed, which means that every time I walk by, I can see into the room.

Already struggling + constant baby stuff in my face = not a good mix  It wasn't helping me focus on the today, the here-and-now, my God-given reality.

Today I rearranged that room. I put as many of the baby things in the closet as I could. I moved the furniture to the far corner, out of immediate sight. And I moved my craft stuff in.

Baby room, while I look forward to you fulfilling your intended purpose, I'm choosing to live in the present. I will pray over your walls and eagerly await my answered prayer, but in the meantime, I will live.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My heart this week...

"Oh the love that set me free
You bring hope to those in need
You have written and redeemed my story."

So very grateful to be free. So thankful to be Yours--chosen, treasured, beloved. So thankful for the ways He has redeemed my story and made it something beautiful.

"Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around
Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name
Let my life be a song, revealing who You are."

I pray I always live up to such a calling.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Pruning & Life

Ever have a moment where God reveals something to you in the middle of doing something mundane? Tonight I had a few minutes after Selah went to bed to do some desperately needed pruning in our veggie patch.
As I snipped, I remembered watching a former neighbor (back in Sedalia) trimming her yard back at the beginning of spring. I felt like she was going waaaay overboard and in a strange sort of way, felt sorry for her plants. I really thought there was no way some of those plants would come back with how severely she was trimming. Well, wouldn't you know it, but a few weeks later, those plants were blooming beautifully - far more lovely than they had been before the pruning. I was shocked!
Looking at my own veggie patch today, I could relate to my neighbor. Some of my plants, though flourishing, needed trimming to allow for new growth to come. Some plants were struggling and needed dead parts to be pruned away. And others just needed sections cut away to allow light in.

Isn't that so like us?
Life has a way of getting crowded and busy until we can feel suffocated. New growth can't come because there's too much cluttering up our time. Sometimes we let things linger in our life that don't need to be there. As I look back, this post seems like such a description of the last year and a half for our family - trying so desperately to find God's place for us here and doing lots of good "things" but coming up empty and dry and lonely. We waited and longed for community but it seemed like our plea fell on deaf ears. It was an incredibly difficult season. Little did we know, in the midst of it all, our Abba was snipping away the dead and dry parts...pruning deep, to the parts where it hurt the most, stripping away things that had lingered too long. He was turning up the ground in our hearts for a new season with a new body of believers. And this body He has planted us into? It's more beautiful than we could have imagined.