In this week’s Monday Minute, Liz Giertz shares with us four ways we can wait well during deployment.
Waiting Well and Flourishing During Deployment
by Liz Giertz
I am not a patient person. Just ask my kids. Or my husband. Or the cashier at the commissary.
Waiting well doesn’t come naturally to me. More often than not waiting quickly turns to frustration, anger, helplessness, or worry. Sometimes a mix of all of the above.
Deployments are a true test of my ability to wait well. I have fixated on frustration and fear and I have allowed anger over unmet expectations to ruin hours, days or even weeks. I have felt helpless and hopeless over my circumstances and I have been bitter because the people around me didn’t or couldn’t understand what I was experiencing. Sleepless and lonely nights intermingled with long and stressful days that make everything seem more difficult.
When We Don’t Wait Well During Deployment
During my husband’s second deployment to Iraq, all these emotions threatened to pull me under like a deadly riptide. (You can read more about that here.) Every planned phone call that never came. Every news report of a mortar attack in the region. Each change or delay in the timeline. Every homecoming ceremony that wasn’t my own.
The turning point was placing my faith in God. Not just in some trite saying, but in the deepest, most personal ways. Believing He loved me enough to care for me no matter what happened to my husband. Trusting He would never leave me nor forsake me no matter what storms raged around me. Knowing He loved my husband even more than I did. Accepting He was in control of our destiny. I was incapable of waiting well until I realized it was Him I was waiting on, not my Soldier.
What I Learned About Waiting Well During Deployment While in Uniform
When my faith finally quieted my fears, I was able to clearly see the keys to waiting well and even flourishing during a deployment. The funny thing is the answers had been with me since my own time in uniform.
As a Soldier deployed to Bosnia, Kuwait, and Iraq, I knew the people around me were in the same boat. Day after day after day. Together, we counted down the days until we’d be home with our families. We stayed busy and the time passed quickly. Believing in the mission we’d been called to, gave us a purpose that made the waiting less pointless. We worked exceptionally hard but we also never underestimated the value of resting when we could. On some level, we all realized we had never been nor would ever be in control of our destiny or our mortality.
I discovered these four ways to wait well during deployment and have been blessed as I’ve practiced them during each of his subsequent deployments, training exercises, and TDY’s. The best part is that they work whether you are the one in uniform waiting to come home or the one waiting at home for your military member to return.
How to Wait Well and Flourish in Deployment:
- Connect with a Community. Having real life people (not just Facebook friends) close enough to provide tangible support takes a load off our shoulders, physically, emotionally, even spiritually. God never intended for us to walk through trouble alone. He provides a community for us all, but we have to make an effort to connect with it. And certainly not least of all, God is an ever-present help in our times of turmoil. He promised to never leave nor forsake us. You can connect with like-minded people at your chapel, a women’s Bible study, over produce in the commissary, or on the treadmill.
- Pursue a Purpose. Having a purpose that serves other people and ultimately the Lord helps us to see past ourselves and our problems. Survey your community and see what the needs are. Where do your own skills and abilities intersect with those needs? Pursuing a purpose makes the waiting less pointless.
- Remember to Rest. When we are under stress, our bodies require more rest than usual. But generally, those are also times when we are least likely to give ourselves what we need. And I’m not just talking about Netflix and chill. I’m talking about soul rest. Sabbath rest. Even if it doesn’t happen on Sunday, we need to be intentional about carving out time to rest our bodies and our souls in order to flourish.
- Foster Your Faith. I cannot stress this enough. Deployments bring on so many worries and fears that threaten to consume us. I would never have survived them on either side of the uniform without my faith. Believing in the God who is in control of the universe, who also happens to love you, and trusting He has your best eternal interest in mind no matter what you face on earth gives you the strength to not only endure deployments but to flourish during them. Prayer, coupled with reading and meditating on God’s Word are the best ways to foster your faith and flourish.
We Flourish by Waiting Well During Deployment
We can flourish during deployments by training ourselves to wait well. Ultimately, in any situation where we find ourselves waiting, we do well to remember that is it the Lord on whom we wait, that He loves us, and is able to make all things work for our good. Even waiting. Ultimately, we all await the return of Jesus and our final homecoming. Let’s do it well!
Verses to Ponder
The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27 ESV)
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT)
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 ESV)
Lord, inspire me by Your Holy Spirit to wait well. Help me to find a supportive community, to pursue a purpose in serving others, to carve out time to rest both body and soul, and to lean into the faith you’ve given me. Amen.