Growing up, I used to tell people I could never marry a man who was either A) in the military B) a police officer or C) a fire fighter. I was terrified of falling in love with someone who would regularly be in dangerous situations because I feared what might happen to him. When it came to the military I was especially afraid because not only did that mean a dangerous job for the man I loved, but it also meant spending significant time apart where I would have to do life largely on my own. So I made up my mind at an early age that I just wouldn’t let myself fall in love with someone who had any of those 3 careers in their future.
Well, God had other plans. At age 14, I met the man I would one day marry. And there was nothing “safe” about any of his life ambitions. I knew from the time I met him that whatever road he ended up taking in life, it would be a dangerous one. It’s in his DNA. A desk job would drive him crazy. He has to be right in the action. But more than that, he has to be doing something meaningful with his life. He is constantly looking for ways to improve the lives others, protect those who cannot protect themselves, and stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. He is a man founded on courage and selflessness. He does not fear for his safety. All he can see is the need in front of him, and he can’t help but respond.
So naturally, I was scared to let my heart fall for this guy, who at age 14 was already fearless and more motivated than most adults I knew. But despite my young stubborn self, God began preparing my heart for what was to come. When I wasn’t so sure about this guy I had met in gym class and tried to talk myself out of my feelings for him, it was as if I could hear God whispering in my ear, “You don’t have to fall for him right now, but that is the guy you are going to marry one day.”
Over the next 6 years, we became best friends who were head over heels in love with each other. We were confident that marriage was in our future. But there was one not so little hurdle we needed to address: Will felt strongly that God was calling him to join the Air Force.
After a great deal of prayer and consideration, it became evident that God was definitely leading the man I loved more than anything into a career I had always feared. And I had to make a decision.
Would I let fear prevent me from continuing to walk forward with the man I loved? Or would I realize that a life led by fear was no life at all, that God was bigger than any of my fears, and that my love for this man outweighed my own fears and insecurities?
Looking at my options, I realized that I would much rather have Will as my husband and place my full trust in God than sacrifice a life with Will in order to hide away in my own little secure bubble—which, let’s be honest, was not invincible either.
It’s been a little over 3 ½ years since I took one of the greatest leaps of my life by saying “I do.”
Last week (the day after Christmas), Will moved across the country to our new duty station. After quickly setting up a new home for us, he will then leave on assignment with the Air Force.
Because I am just a few short weeks away from delivering our sweet son, I was unable to move with Will. Instead, I have stayed behind with family and friends to prepare for my next big adventure: giving birth to our first child while my husband is away.
At this point, we don’t know how long it will be before we see each other again. All we know is that the next time we’re together, I’ll be handing him our son for the first time and congratulating him on becoming a father.
This situation is a prime example of what I used to fear so strongly and why I had once been so determined to never marry a man in the military.
But you know what? I wouldn’t trade my life with Will for anything. Marrying him and following him on this journey was the absolute best decision I could have made, and I would do it all over again.
I’m not going to lie—sending my husband off and knowing he would be unable to be at the birth of our son was very difficult. For real y’all, this pregnant lady was an emotional mess. Everything in me wanted to go with him or have someone say, “Just kidding, he can actually stay with you, hold your hand while you give birth to your son and help you tackle the challenge of being a first time parent to a newborn.” But neither of those wishes were an option. My husband has been called to his own set of responsibilities and challenges, and now it is my responsibility to “hold down the fort” if you will & embrace my new role as a mother.
It’s not going to be easy, but God has placed this season in our lives for a reason. Rather than letting fear control me, I am going to take my grandfather’s advice and make a daily decision to approach this time with a positive attitude. I am going to look forward to the joys of motherhood and count down the days until I can hold our sweet baby in my arms. When the ache of missing Will becomes too difficult, I will lean on God & my wonderful support system to push forward. Mostly, I will remember that the rough moments are temporary and that they each hold something special for me to learn.
So to everyone who asks questions like: How do you do it? Aren’t you fearful for his safety? How are you going to handle deployments, because I could never do that? What if, what if, what if?! … (Trust me, this list can get quite long)… To all of you sweet and thoughtful friends, I would say this:
Rather than fearing the worst, join with me in faithful prayer for Will’s safety and God’s provision. Trust that no matter how long the two of us are apart, no matter what challenges come our way, no matter how much I have to tackle “on my own,”… trust that God is bigger than it all. Pray for him to equip each of us with the strength to face each challenge and pray that our marriage would continue to grow stronger. Pray for our precious son and that God would create special moments for him to connect with his dad, even if it’s from a distance.
Secondly, take time to examine your own life. Where are the places that fear holds you back? Are there things that perhaps God is calling you to do that you would rather turn down because taking the leap would be too terrifying? Does fear dictate the little choices you make in your daily life and prevent you from stepping outside of your comfort zone?
If there is one thing this past year has taught me, it’s that life is extremely unpredictable. Disasters happen. People get sick out of nowhere. People die when you least expect it. Jobs end suddenly. Relationships transform in ways you don’t expect. Life is short and it is uncertain. Having a “safe” job guarantees you nothing. And no matter how much you try to create a safety bubble around yourself, it is not invincible and it can and will be broken at some point.
If pain, death and hardships are all guaranteed to show up in our lives, what good is it to live a life controlled by fear?
So let it go already. Actually live your life. And trust God with the outcomes.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10