It’s been much too long since I’ve posted. So much has occupied my time since November! Holy cow, that was eight months ago. Back then, I thought my husband would be deploying in January. I had mentioned in a previous post about the squadron that we were assigned to for his Department Head tour was a squadron full of great people, even if it meant that the deployment schedule was not ideal. K was deployed from July 29, 2011-February 26, 2012. And even after that, he was in and out all spring and summer of 2012 with the air wing and ship. Finally mid-July he flew off that steel bucket, and joined the family for a week in Tahoe. It was day-1 in Tahoe when we found out which squadron we were heading to next. I was a mess knowing that he’d be in and out again all of the fall and then deploying in January. But before all of that started up AGAIN, we learned that he didn’t have to report until late August, so for six weeks, we had him all to ourselves. Time to rest, so I thought. But a January deployment was still too soon for me to really relax. I was anxious, angry and heart-broken… but I didn’t know it. The Lord was beginning to do some work on us.
K went to Fallon in August, missed M’s first birthday (if you recall, he missed her birth too.), and came home discouraged. He was home for a few weeks, then back out on the ship for what seemed like FOREVER, even though it was only five weeks in October. He came home even more discouraged. We believed that the Lord had brought us to this squadron for a reason… or many reasons. We just couldn’t see them all yet. I’ve experienced this mystery time and time again, but I think this go-round was different. The first night K was home, we sat up talking late into the night about his frustrations, his epiphanies, his hopes for his career, personalities in the squadron, etc. I left that conversation feeling very burdened for him… The Lord through Paul extolls us to bear one another’s burdens, and, to be honest, I was really feeling the load. We went to bed, but I didn’t fall asleep right away, tossing with all kinds of thoughts. I finally drifted off, but it wasn’t long before I shot awake, and just started crying… trying not to wake K by sobbing in the sheet, but when that proved futile, I went into our bathroom and sat on the toilet seat with hot tears streaming down my cheeks. And I prayed. I whispered out loud to the Lord, “Why? Why is this so hard? I know you are here to comfort me, but I am angry. So angry. I’m angry that he has to leave so soon. I’m angry that he’s so tired and burned out. I know you will do what’s best for us, but I just can’t see it yet.” At that moment, I truly felt the arm of the Lord wrap me in a warm embrace and whisper back, “I’m here.” The tears of anger became tears of relief, as I sat in my Father’s arms. And then the verses just started coming... Rest for the weary. Peace for the anxious heart. Love for the lost. He is all of these things. My Lord is greater than my circumstances. As I sat there, this old song came to me that we used to sing in high school youth group… the lyrics go something like this: “Rest for the weary. Peace for the confused. Renewal for the heart that has been used. He’s got directions for the lost. Faith for unbelief. He’s got every little think you need.” So I got up at 3:45AM, grabbed my journal and Bible and went to our guest bathroom so I could turn on a light. I sat down on the floor and scrambled through the concordance to find the addresses of all the verses that were gong through my head. Matthew 11:28 Rest for the weary. Isaiah 55:8-9 His ways are higher than mine. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. Psalm 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone. REST. That is where my prayers landed. My husband needed REST. Solid rest and real renewal for his heart and soul and spirit. Isaiah 30:15 In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength… Jer 6:16 Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. I claimed all of these verses as true and real and applicable to our current season. I wrote in my journal: trust and rest in Him alone. My heart aches for my kids and for K. I’m not excited about deployment – obviously. But I didn’t realize how angry I was… and broken-hearted.
Then the Lord started to move again... and He showed me without a doubt, that He heard me and was indeed responding to my prayers for rest. Just about five days after K returned and I had had this hard talk with the Lord at 4AM, K came home from work with news that the deployment originally scheduled for January, was now pushed to April! At first, if you can believe it, I was so irritated! For two reasons: 1), I just wanted this deployment to start and be over with ASAP. 2) K’s sister is getting married in the fall, and we had just gone through an ordeal getting the right date scheduled in order to hopefully ensure K’s attendance. With the deployment pushed back, he would surly miss it. But then I remembered, or should I say, I was reminded, that I had prayed for rest. And we were now getting three months of it! My attitude instantly changed, after this humbling realization. So, I thought, if He can move deployment, he can also certainly shorten it. And that’s what I started praying for: a shorter deployment. A week or so later… you guessed it… a shortened deployment was announced. Unheard of. Now I know, and you know, that dates in the military are written in Jell-O; however, after all of this, I am holding on to the possibility that it might actually happen the way it’s scheduled now. K might actually still make it to his only sister’s wedding.
Christmas was fabulous at home with our kids. January saw a fun trip up the PCH to Monterey, where we witnessed M’s first steps! And the kids just LOVED the aquarium. K did another boat det in February… missed Valentine’s Day again. Then K’s sister and fiancé J came to visit, and we celebrated their engagement and upcoming nuptials. My parents joined us for the March birthday whirlwind, when C turned 5, E turned 3 and K turned 29 again all in a span of 48 hours! Then we had about two weeks as a family. M started talking a little more, and K had a chance to do a little presentation as a Community Helper at C & E’s preschool with his flight gear! Next thing I know, I’m doing last minute laundry and K is packing up his sea bags. Even though the time went quickly, K did experience REST and renewal, thanks to the only One who can provide true rest and peace. K & I both agreed that this shifting of deployment was certainly God’s provision for our family, and that this deployment was a season to be consecrated to the Lord, knowing that He has work to do in us to prepare us for His service. We committed to prayer for our future in the Navy and to our kids as they grow in the Lord.
So, here we are, two months into deployment. And our Rest has been faithful to us. As always.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Can you relate to my feelings of anger or heart-brokenness? Has the Lord met you in that place? Maybe you’ve never thought to seek your Heavenly Father, who cares for you and always gives you what’s best… if you are experiencing what I did, would you consider His help? All you have to do is ask. He will meet you, no matter your state of heart or mind. He can handle it.