It’s PCS season again and today I found myself saying goodbye to two of my closest friends. This time though, my perspective is different. You see, my husband retired 2 years ago and instead of being the one to say goodbye and leave, I am the one saying goodbye and staying put.
I find myself feeling left behind and alone.
Friendships made in the military are significant and create an extended family. We learn to accept moves and new friends as a way of life. Yet, today I find myself realizing the significance of these friendships. These ladies are the last of my active duty friends stationed here and now they are moving on, headed off to new adventures. Today highlights that fact.
And I am standing still.
Over the last five years I have found support and encouragement with this particular tribe of women. We have shared major life experiences – pregnancies and births, preschool and kindergarten, deployments, TDYs, health issues, family deaths, promotions and retirements. These events create a bond and tie us together as a family, a unique community.
As I took time to pray for my friends I found myself selfishly asking, Why don’t I get to move? Why do I have to stay here? I felt jealous of their moves, experiences that create growth.
How would I continue to grow without that military life of constant moves? Yet, what if God calls us to stay put? What do we do then?
With tears rolling down my cheeks and wondering where I am now going to get my support and encouragement, I was drawn to read in John 14.
John 14: 16-18 says,
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Jesus tells us that he will send a helper, an advocate, for us! An advocate who will live with us so we know the truth that Jesus does not leave us alone. The more I read, the more those tears of sadness turned to joy and peace. Peace that God is my source of support.
What if God has me staying put for now so I realize my encouragement is in Him? So I learn that my growth is dependent on God and my relationship with him and less on my military experiences? Exodus 14:14 says,”The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
We need only to be still. That is it and nothing more.
Still, so God can purify from where our dependence is.
Still, to hear that our identity is in him.
Still, to serve myself less and to serve God more.
Still, to see that our next adventure isn’t where the military sends us but rather in following Christ.
I can stay put and grow in Christ.
While I appreciate my friends giving me their food and cleaning supplies that couldn’t be packed, I appreciate even more them giving me a part of their hearts and sharing their life with me all these years. What I do with that is the real adventure. My real growth and encouragement comes from abiding in Christ and taking those experiences with my friends to act in accordance with God’s will for my life.
I am still heart broken to have to say goodbye to my friends. Yet, I know I can move forward with the freedom and truth that is found only in Christ. That staying put isn’t a bad thing but rather a new adventure into the civilian world.
So, I am not alone. While the last of my active duty friends move on, I still have the blessing of other retired friends as well as new civilian friends. My community isn’t gone but instead changing and expanding as I share this new part of my journey with them as God calls me.
Yes, it is PCS season again. Let the adventures begin!
Tricia Kollars has a heart for adventure but an even bigger heart for Christ. She lives in Colorado Springs as a wife to an amazing retired Air Force officer and a homeschooling mother to two sweet girls. She is grateful for all of the blessings in her life and hopes to extend those blessings to others.