We joined the United States Army knowing that it was only a matter of time until deployment would be our reality. My kids and I don’t wear the rank, but I’m learning more each day that “we joined” is an accurate statement, as every area of our life is affected by this community of which we are now a part.
After spending five long months apart during the initial training, seeing each other only for a short visit here and there, we were finally reunited. We spent about 2 months together settling into our new home, making new friends, getting the kids settled into their new school, and creating a new normal. Then the time came. Lee was told that he would be getting orders soon and would be serving in Afghanistan.
I took a deep breath and started wondering how the kids would react, which occasions would be missed, what conditions he would be living in, and how each of us will change during our time apart. I remembered the verses that helped get me through our first separation:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
A few weeks later we said goodbye. My 4 year old clung to her Daddy crying, “I just want you to stay.” “Consider it pure joy…” I sent my husband to a combat zone and then returned to the comfort of our own home without him. “..whenever you face trials of many kinds…” My 6 year old sat on her bed sobbing silently with the picture of Daddy clung to her chest. “….because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” My 7 year old prayed, “Thank you for letting us have a good Daddy who will follow You no matter what.” “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
This deployment will change us, but it will not break us. We will cry, but we will also laugh. We will be weak, but we will turn to Him and find strength. We will trust Him to work through Lee in Afghanistan and through us right where we are. We will learn, we will grow, and we will persevere. And when we face trials, we will consider it pure joy.