But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Most do not know my story. God has made my heart courageous for you. To the others who already know my story, please never question how much you mean to me.

As military dependents, our lives are often subjected to many degrees of pain in turmoil, deployments, uncertainty, isolation, and disappointment. Amazingly, these trials and our journey are what make us stunningly courageous and significant in God’s eyes. God does not intend for us to be weak, passive, or ineffective. Instead, he cherishes our discovered self-value in our hardships, big or small, when we depend on him.

With our experiences interwoven with God’s grace, our hearts inevitably build beaming character, strengthening us.

Many years ago, God began transforming my soul in a way that keeps me close to him. I hope my story encourages you today in your military life.

Senior year of college is usually defined by a celebratory time full of parties, pretty dresses, exultant faces, hugs, and smiles of overjoyed parents. The beaming promise of young men and women with stampeding confidence creates a year that transports many from childhood into adulthood. It has the potential to be a year of profound transformation.

My senior year was defined by a diagnosis of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I was referred to intensive counseling to find resolution from severe panic attacks and incapacity for self-defense. For the first time in 12 years my soul would be led to self-acknowledgement of the traumatic events that robbed me of my childhood. As I began to share with my therapist, God found my heart in suppressed despair, fear, and anger. He, with the help of a beautiful therapist, began to nurture my core, shedding away the layers that gridlocked my true self.

I began to learn that my diagnosis originated from a traumatic event during my 10th year of life.

A peaceful Saturday morning would set the engraved imagery of my dad’s passing and so began my bitter relationship with God. Hate, blame, and fury engulfed my little heart. The kind of fury that led me to tell God nearly every day, “I hate you.”

Over time, I became incredibly depressed, nearly mute and faint. How could God take a father you read about in storybooks? One that released dozens of bunnies for us on Easter morning, proudly gave me my first bee-bee gun, and passionately worked with me until I was quite the sharp shooter by 9, taught me how to cook gumbo, and sweetly laid out our school outfits each morning. Dad adored my lovely, timid mother in a way so rare that I beamed with pride knowing I had a dad unsurpassed by any other.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

My once beautifully joyful mother lost herself in grief, becoming fragmented. For many months, I would become the one to remove the heavy noose from her hunched, porcelain neck. Life worsened. Each day was adrift in anxiety and fear. By my 11th birthday, I began to plead for understanding and mercy, pushing me to contemplate suicide.

I was broken.

Over the years, my family’s journey would slowly recover as God delivered treasurable angels into our lives to show God’s grace through love and support. This brokenness that I had been carrying would be the catalyst in rebuilding my faith. God’s grace allowed a transparent and vulnerable love, unmatched by anything else.

The brokenness never entirely disappears, does it? However, when my weak and self-doubting nature arises, I am now equipped with His grace.

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.

Isaiah 41:10

As a military spouse, you are being equipped with a richness of experience that can be transformed into abundant thankfulness and quality of strength.

Leaning on God allows the agonizing loss of a loved one to transform into boundless compassion for others. Your eyes and hearts will learn to understand how to listen and comfort a new military spouse in need. God’s grace can humble us in a way that mends our relationships, families, and communities. God’s grace is unbroken and undeniable. You, as a military spouse, are so deeply equipped to nourish the hearts of so many, even your own.

Find your source of strength in the kindness of Christ Jesus.

Your difficult, heartbreaking, or challenging journey will be different from all others, but it will be just as beautiful, just as awe-inspiring, and just as transforming.

Take hold. It is preparing you for something worthy, small or big.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9