No two deployments ever look exactly alike. Different location, time in service (you’ve been married longer), new job, or additional kids, these can all change what a deployment looks like. Then you add in the craziness that can take place. You’ve no doubt been there too – ER visits with children, garbage disposals that cease to function, or cars that won’t even start. All fun and exciting, I know, but they too bring a new dimension to each deployment.
Survival is not good enough. I don’t want to just get by and pray I come out alive. Instead, I want to grow and change–thrive! I want to live on purpose – even in these times.
So if each deployment is different, how do we thrive in each one when we can’t even prepare for what’s coming? I think the key is not knowing all that will happen, but in knowing who will walk with us.
1. Recognize the Mission Field – Deployment is not a vacation from the purposes of God. It’s a part of them. Even during this time when we think we have nothing to give, God has put us here for a reason. He has also intentionally put our husband where he is.
2. Trust that He is God – I have written a couple of blog posts on this before, but it comes into play so vitally here. Deployments can be fraught with worry. Will our husbands come home? Will our children be okay? What will our family look like when he gets back? So many questions. If we let them, these questions can overtake our hearts. The God we serve is God of all things. He spoke the world into being and knit us together in our mother’s womb. He is God. But there are moments in the midst of these fabulous deployments when we let worry and questions seep into our soul. It all comes down to one simple question – do we really believe He is God? He is either all God or He is not God at all. If He is who He says He is, then He is God everywhere, at all times and can be trusted with our husbands, our children, our families, our lives.
3. Rest in Contentment – In the midst of a deployment, sometimes rest seems elusive. We long for times when our kids will sleep through the night or we can actually go to sleep at a decent hour. Rest seems like a luxury we end up doing without. I am the first one to say I would like more sleep, but this is more than just sleep. True rest comes deep in our soul. When we finally take that deep breath knowing that though the laundry may never get finished, the car may not always be clean, and the flower beds may never be weeded, we can know that we have done the best we could and there is a God of grace who sustains us and fills in the gaps we surely leave behind.
4. Find Joy – Easy, peasy, right? I have noticed in the midst of these awesome times apart that I get tired and driven, trying to accomplish all that I think needs to be done. I miss a lot when that happens, including joy. We can all have joy regardless of where we are or what we are walking through. As I’m sure you’ve been told many times, joy is not the same as happiness. We don’t wake up every morning saying, “Wow, deployment is so great! This is so much fun!” What we can do is remember the purposefulness of God and know that He loves us enough to walk through this with us. Joy comes in knowing and trusting God, regardless of circumstances–much better than happiness which can come intermittently. Joy – through our relationship with Christ we can intentionally seek out joy through our time with Him. He is the source. Spend time with Him.
Deployments can be difficult, but not impossible. God wants us to do more than survive. His heart is for us to grow in our relationship with Him and do the things He has called us to for this time and this place. That’s it. This is not an insurmountable mountain, although some days it may feel just like that. This is just another part of the journey of life God has us on. The purpose is no less important and the journey is no less an adventure. May you recognize, trust, rest, and find today.