Another deployment. This was the first since having our third little boy.
They were 1, 3, and 4 when he departed. I knew I was in for an adventure in the world of playing single mom. Thankfully he was only gone for 7 months, but it was the longest 7 months of my life. The boys had a terrible time without daddy, our 3-year-old was diagnosed with a life-long autoimmune disease, and I struggled with various physical issues.
As if caring for the household and three boys wasn’t enough for me, I found myself stretching to serve more in many areas. I even committed and accomplished a 60-mile walk for breast cancer that summer!
If I am honest with myself and you, I would tell you I couldn’t stand the thought of empty time. In the quiet, my mind would start to worry. I would become overwhelmed by the growing list of things to do. Anxiety and stress grew like those annoying dandelions in our backyard. So I did my best to fill those empty voids with whatever I could.
This crazy method worked until about 5 months in. It was then the weight of my life pace came crashing down on me. My body physically just gave out. I couldn’t get out of bed. Everything hurt. I was exhausted in every way a person can be exhausted.
It was in the quietness of my bedroom, when I could not bear the pain of getting up, that I finally gave in to what God had been trying to show me.
“This is My stage, not yours. Stop trying to run My show. Be still. Come sit at my feet. I am trying to show you something but you are making yourself too busy to hear Me. Slow down. Rest and let Me renew you.”
As I look back on this time in our life, I can see so clearly all the ways God was trying to tell me to slow down. But I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see it. I was too busy trying to be super mom, a strong airman’s wife, and a multitude of other things. What I really needed to be doing was resting in my Heavenly Father’s arms.
God had to literally break me down to get me to be still enough to hear His voice.
Why are we so stubborn? Why do we, especially us military women, insist on doing things in our own strength and in our own timing?
Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Don’t run away! Stand where you are and watch the Lord save you today….You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The Lord will do the fighting for you.” – Exodus 14:13-14
When my husband returned I told him I believed he was deployed all because of me. He looked at me quite confused.
You see, I truly believe it took Matt being gone and me completely overloading myself to the point of brokenness for me to be still enough to hear God speak.
The noise of this world can be so loud we forget what the still, small voice of God sounds like. If Matt would have been home, life would have gone on like normal and I would have missed the abundant blessings God has given me over the last year. I would have missed the growth and the lessons learned. I would have missed it all.
My point in all of this is to encourage you today. No matter what you are facing that seems too much to bear, before filling the emptiness or the scary moments with “stuff,” take some time to be still and sit at the feet of Jesus. Seek Him, and then be quiet enough to listen and hear what He has to say.
Maybe your husband is deployed, maybe you are deployed, or maybe life is throwing fireballs at you right now. Jesus is there beside you. Don’t lose sight of that. Take His strong hand, and don’t ever let go. He has something to say about your circumstances. Are you listening for Him?
We are assured and know that God, being a partner in their labor, all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose. – Romans 8:28 (Amplified version)
This past year has been a time of learning and shaping for me. I am not where I should be yet, but I am telling myself each day to remember to find rest in Him and still my spirit down enough to feel His arms wrap around me.
We all need to feel the loving arms of our Savior wrap around us! There is comfort in those arms. There is joy in those arms. And there is peace in those arms. Can you feel it? If not, I challenge you to make some time, even if it’s in your car on the way to the grocery, to quiet your mind and soul, then praise God for who He is and who you are not.
He is there waiting for you. When you reach for Him, He will reach back!
Jennifer is a blogger, author, military wife, and mom to three rambunctious little boys. With excitement on a daily basis and grace around every corner she loves sharing life with others! You can find out more about her ministry by visiting www.amommasjoy.com or connecting via www.facebook.com/jennifermoye or www.twitter.com/jenmoyewrites