I never wanted to marry a soldier. Growing up I had met couples who had never spent a night apart in their entire married life. Their kids had grown up in the same house and had gone to the same schools as their parents. How amazing would it be to be able to say that?
God had different plans for me though and I found myself married to a soldier for over a decade (And I wouldn’t have traded a minute of it for a different life). Between the time we spent dating and married, our relationship survived three 6 month deployments and 1 short pre-deployment mission. The bad dreams would start months before a deployment was scheduled to take place and I would spend sleepless nights locked in my bedroom while he was gone waiting for a knock on the door.
Ben was in possession of a satellite phone on all of those deployments so we were one of the privileged few at the time who were able to talk consistently (almost daily). I would wait for his calls about the same time every day and if it didn’t come, I would start making up stories in my head. If someone knocked on the door, would I call his parents to tell them? Would the army send someone to tell them in person? Would I get in the car and drive to tell them myself?
Deployments were spent riveted in fear, but those fears didn’t end when he returned home. During our first move to New York every time Ben was out late at night I would listen for a knock on the door. He drove a Corvette convertible like a mad man around mountain curves and through winding passes next to the river. He was a good driver, but I lived in fear of him sending it flying over the edge. After we had kids I cautioned him how critical it was for us to drive safely and carefully EVERYWHERE!
Then cancer came. It came in like a wrecking ball and after the first surgery we came out on top! But, we still lived in fear of every next scan (although he remained positive through every one of them). As the scans grew further apart we were able to let go of some of those fears. And then, it was back. Not just once, but twice.
I lived in fear of letting him drive for months after each surgery, afraid he would hurt himself or someone else. Then last September, a month after I gave his keys back, he drove out of state with his brother and on the return trip started having uncontrollable seizures that landed him in the hospital for a week. My sleepless nights at the hospital were plagued with nightmares about what would have happened if they had started when he was behind the wheel of that moving truck with his brother. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to let go of those fears enough to let him drive again.
Then just before last Christmas God laid on my heart that I needed to live a life of joy. That I needed to embrace the storm that we were in and lay aside those fears. I prayed that God would allow me to not live in fear of the unknown. That He would help me to embrace and enjoy every moment.
I prayed that I would be able to live out Isaiah 41:10 in real life. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV). I wasn’t always fear free the past few months, but I did try to embrace the place that we were and create joy for the kids and I (and sometimes Ben) this summer. I tried to put aside those fears of what could happen and start living in the present.
Then a few weeks ago, my biggest fear became my reality. Oh yes, I had lived that scenario in my head numerous times over the past decade, but never was it supposed to happen like that. Never did I truly expect to have to say goodbye to the love of my life, my best friend, my person! Never did I think that my worst fear would come true when I least expected it.
And here I am left standing, and God is still here, comforting me and holding me in His loving arms. He is holding me up with His right hand. Even though my worst fear became my reality, I can feel God’s love strengthening me and helping me.
I don’t know how I will ever survive without him, but I’m no longer afraid. I don’t lock myself in my room at night like I have done my whole life when I’m the only adult at home. I don’t fear the unknown. I don’t how we will pay bills or where to go from here, but I am not afraid. God is with me. He has held me through this battle and I know that He will continue to hold me no matter what comes my way. My fears are gone and I stand embraced by a God who I know will comfort me when the storms come.
I don’t doubt that the potential for worse storms is still there. In fact, I know that the potential IS still there. But I am not afraid. If God can get us through this storm, He can help us get through anything.
Do you have fears that you worry will become reality? I pray that God will help you to let go of those fears and live every moment to the fullest. That He would throw His loving arms around you and hold you up as only He can. And if you feel led to, I would love for you to comment or message me if there is a fear I can help you lift up in prayer. I would love nothing more than to lift each one of you up in prayer daily that the God would touch you right where you are!
Matthew 6:34- “Therefore do no worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”