PCS season is upon us and, whether it is your first move or your 15th, you know you’ll go through the struggle. But this week’s guest writer, Marian, encourages us to go through the struggles and find the celebration.
Through the Struggle, To the Celebration
We had just signed the lease for our first apartment together after four months of tech school when the phone call came. My husband was heading to Afghanistan. Later that night, we found out I was pregnant.
I was pregnant with our second child when we moved to a tiny town sweltering under a hundred degree heat wave that had already lasted over a hundred days. You could smell the dog poop baking in the backyards on base.
We managed to add a pair of sleep-optional twins when we moved the third time. The exhaustion coupled with the loss of my safety net set off my typically well-managed depression in unexpected ways.
I was only a handful of weeks post-surgery and a couple months post miscarriage for the next move. I was terrified that my grief coupled with the move would send me right back into the depression I had just gotten out of.
The move after that, I was nervous about the role I would be expected to take due to my husband’s new position, and I was falling asleep in the back of the car while unloading groceries and blacking out in the garage while unpacking. We found out about the vitamin D deficiency fairly quickly. Learning to be comfortable in my own skin took more time.
We all have stories like this.
PCS season seems to be the time military spouses jump from frenetic activity to hiring themselves out as full-time nappers. From the outside, often, we make it look easy. And sometimes it can be. But most of the time, it’s just a lot.
Rebuilding a life (or multiple lives, if you have kids with you) from the ground up takes time and intention and energy. It doesn’t matter how good we are at managing movers and unpacking boxes and getting art up on new walls—it is hard. We know this. And it’s good to remind ourselves so we don’t end up feeling like we’re losing our minds when suddenly we’re falling asleep at eight every night and only capable of providing take out for dinner.
But here’s what we want to remember too. Getting through the struggle is hard, but it’s also good.
We are making something new and fresh. We are building something that matters, something that’s more than temporary. And we have the possibility of creating something beautiful and life giving as we slice through tape and unwrap plates and make a new home for our families (even if it’s a home we only live in for a few months or a couple years).
Even more than that home, every time we purposefully choose to engage in a new community, we’re spreading Christ’s light, encouraging another who may be struggling, building up the Church in a way that we wouldn’t if we hadn’t pulled up roots, boxed up our lives, and moved again.
As military spouses, we have incredible opportunities to spread hope, to build something good, to strengthen others’ hands, to share the Word of God to ears that may not hear it otherwise. But we have to want it, and we have to work for it, and it’s not easy. We have to be able to look past the weeks and months of pre- and post-move exhaustion and see the possibility of doing work that lasts in a community that, for us, will be temporary.
This is a truth that applies past PCS season: it will be hard, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it.
Now that I’ve given you both sides of the coin, I want to remind you of one more thing. Christ is enough.
He’s enough to get us through the struggle; and he’s enough to get us to the celebration. He may use a lot of things and people to get us through and to: neighbors to support us, old friends to pray for us and talk us through, our spouses to encourage and pick up slack, doctors or churches or coffee or just one uninterrupted night of sleep. But underneath it all, he’s the one holding us up, helping us to our feet, strengthening our hands. He uses creative means, but we know, if we stop to look for it, underneath all those helping hands are his everlasting arms.
Trust him with your exhaustion. Trust him with your tears. And trust him with the hopes you have for each new place. Trust him with the moving boxes (and the moving company), with the old landlord and the new neighbor, with your heart and your head and your health (and everyone else’s).
Trust him to get you through the struggle and to the celebration.
by Marian Frizzell
For encouragement and practical advice for finding your tribe on the other side of a PCS check out these great posts:
Marian Frizzell entertains herself by bopping from one side of the US to the other with her military husband and their myriad military children. When she’s not unpacking the five hundred boxes of books she insists on owning, she homeschools aforementioned children (making sure to teach them about the country where she grew up), writes books she hopes will one day get published (and keeps up a blog), goes running to maintain her sanity (what’s left of it), and strives to encourage those around her (making them laugh is a bonus). She loves Jesus and wants to reflect his light.