This short narrative is a quick look into the life of a career military wife.
"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for theÂ LordÂ your God, HeÂ isÂ the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
Stand tall, love, honor, and protect your country--but what about your family?
The simple answer comes from the family: Pray, "Be Strong", "Hold Down the Fort", but an immediate question seems to nag every waking moment. "How can I do these things without him?"
The life of a career military wife looks glamorous to those looking in. "You get to travel", says my sister. "You have no worries about where you are going to live or who will provide", says my brother. Do I dare tell them? Would I be complaining or simply explaining?
This life, although at times chaotic, does have its perks--I will admit that, but at what cost? You move when they tell you to move and go where they want you to go. Your life as you know it is put on hold for 20 years as you iron cammies, help shine boots, attend mandatory spousal deployment meetings, and follow him to Timbuktu and back. It's a cycle that never changes, and yet, there is never a dull moment!
Then, when he leaves for months on end, your knees become bruised from praying without ceasing.
One day during a deployment, there was a knock at the door. "I wasn't expecting company" I thought to myself, "Who could it be?" Fear rose in me like a mighty rushing wind. I hesitantly made my way to the door, quickly reciting Deuteronomy 31:6. I took one last deep breath, grabbed the door knob and with all the courage I had I opened the door.
"Mrs. Tyson?" asked a tall young man in a pecan-tan uniform. I grabbed my chest and whispered, "Thank you, Lord", then spoke directly to the young man who was patiently awaiting my answer "Yes. Yes I am". I seem to have replied with a sense of pride. A smile came across his slightly freckled face as he handed me a big beautiful arrangement of Japanese flowers. "These are for you ma'am", he said with a sense of accomplishment. I knew who they were from without even looking at the card that was sitting on top of the arrangement. That man of mine seems to always know exactly what I need. I grabbed the beautiful bunch and opened the card that read:
"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for theÂ LordÂ your God, HeÂ isÂ the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6.
That was the only thing written on the card--nothing else, but it was enough to send me to my knees crying. This time my prayer was for forgiveness for my lack of trust. It was time to get up, dry my eyes and walk in the courage, strength and power that I knew God had equipped me with.
During the 20 years beside him in the military, my front door was ever revolving. At times we would see this dad and husband for a week, and then he'd be gone for months--one training and deployment after the other. It was nonstop!
The difficult thing about those ongoing transitions was that just when I got used to being mom and dad, used to wearing multiple hats, that's when I'd have to take off the dad hat and hand it back over to him. I'd think to myself: "I'm used to being dad, taking care of the bills, mowing the lawn and taking out the trash and now he wants to come back and take it over.!" To some that might seem trivial and perhaps a simple task, but for me it was the hardest thing to master! I had to learn how to be a temporary dad, temporary head of the house and full-time mom while being his forever faithful and supportive wife (which was the only thing I was when I began the journey).
A glimpse into my world as a career military wife is what I always try share in hope that the gift of commitment to love a military man, the triumphs and defeats that go with it, might shed a light of understanding and perhaps a glimmer of encouragement into someone else's experience.
Would I have traded this life for another? Inconceivable! God was faithful to His word. I was never alone nor forsaken. He went with me every step of the way and answered the nagging question, "How will I make it without him?", by teaching me that I would make it with Him.