Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is tomorrow and here on base, there is a sense of excitement in the air - the Blue Angels are practicing for their air show this weekend, and service-members are abuzz with plans for their 3-day holiday. I can't help but think about the many men and women who have lived on this base before us and how many of them gave their lives to protect and serve our country.

But something else is on my heart this morning, and it has been for some time now. For a little while tomorrow, my generation will stop and honor the older generations. In typical American fashion, we'll throw parades, have family get-togethers, maybe even watch a few documentaries on the History Chanel. But come Saturday morning, we will be back to our normal ways of being annoyed at the old man holding up traffic. Or the little old lady who still insists on writing a check at the grocery store. Or, God-forbid, the grandmother who dares to give us advice on our marriage or how to raise our children. 

And I have to ask myself - what is it about my generation? Are we really that insecure? What is it with the selfish pride, the "superman" persona, the huge chip on all of our shoulders? Would it really kill us to be respectful of all that our parents and grandparents have gone through? Would we cease to feel valued if we stopped and asked someone for advice, for their experiences? Why do we feel the need to "learn as we go" or to figure everything out on our own? Why would we NOT want to learn from others' mistakes and successes? 

Why do we think we don't need them?

Pride. Stupid Pride.

So today, I'm asking you to find an older person to respect. To honor. To thank. I'm challenging all of us to GROW UP. To realize that we are all fallen humans and those who have gone before us can be some of God's greatest blessings in our lives. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Warrior's Wife

Integrity First٠ Service Before Self ٠Excellence In All We Do

Loving someone means sometimes having to let them go. Letting go is a challenge, an every day calling to putting someone and something else before yourself and your needs. Letting go, for me, means inspiring and supporting my husband to discover who God has created him to be – no matter how difficult the answer may be. When I saw the desire in Josh to serve in the military, there was no question in my mind – he needed to pursue it. The last thing I want is to wake up in twenty years filled with “what if’s” and regret. I could have easily kept him from this path – there have been so many times in this process where, with the right words, he would have given up. But where would that leave me? In a marriage with someone who was defeated, unfulfilled, and restless. I couldn’t be the reason he spent his life in the comfort zone - and to be honest, I don’t want to live my life there either.

Josh had to write a personal statement as part of his application package for the Air Force. Reading it today, I am again reminded that we have found God’s calling for our lives. The following are some excerpts from his statement:

“The United States of America was built by the determination of ordinary people who devoted their lives to a cause that they believed in. Whether it was the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the storming of the beach at Normandy, or the first man stepping foot on the moon, individuals felt the need to commit, and sometimes sacrifice, their lives in order to make America the greatest nation in the world. Every generation must produce these types of patriots to insure America’s continued greatness.

I believe that anything can be attained through hard work, dedication, and a confident spirit. Throughout my life, I have striven to be the best at whatever I do. I feel that while family, community, and circumstance all influence people, each person is ultimately responsible for his or her actions and achievements.

I come from a family rich with military heritage, and have always had a deep sense of patriotism and love for my country. I am deeply impacted by stories of my ancestors serving in the Civil War, World War II, and Vietnam. It is my intense desire to wear the uniform of the United States Air Force and to be counted worthy to stand for the same ideals that so many men have given their lives for.

The Air Force is defined by a high standard of excellence, and I eagerly anticipate dedicating my life to the continuation of that tradition while protecting my country.”

I may be idealistic to a fault, but I truly believe that this is our calling, our place in history. We both have it – a yearning for something greater, something that pulls us out of ourselves into the bigger picture of reality. It’s an urge to fight against the mundane, to buck at settling for the norm, to never be satisfied with the status quo. It’s a restless heart that knows that God has something amazing out there for us to uncover. I truly believe it’s the same spirit that early American settlers had, that our Founding Fathers had, and that Western Pioneers had. A different time, a different place, may have found Josh and I forging across the Atlantic or cutting our way across the plains of Kansas.

Given the chance, I would have added a few things to Josh’s personal statement. Which, I suppose would have made it Josh’s Wife’s statement and maybe the Air Force should look into accepting those as part of the selection process. I would have told them that my husband is a living example of the Airman’s Creed:

“I am an American Airman. I am a Warrior.”  Josh has the soul of a warrior – he has the “ability and will to fight to protect himself, his friends, his family and his ideals. Yet at the same time, he seeks the perfection of his own character through a life lived with honor, integrity, and an unflinching dedication to what is right.” (Bohdi Sanders)  Becoming an Officer in the United States Air Force will change my husband, but it’s not going to create the warrior spirit in him – that is already there. His training will refine his character, sharpen his skills and deepen his commitment to our country and the service God has called him to. But, as Aesop says, “A change in scenery does not change one’s character.” I’ve known from very early on in our relationship that Josh was a man of deep conviction, strong determination and was destined for a life of service – and I wanted in on it!

So here we are, seven weeks into Officer Training School, and I know this is just the beginning of our wild adventure. There have already been ups and downs, adjustments and frustrations. More than anything though, there has been peace and excitement as I watch my husband grow and find fulfillment in his calling. Letting go gets easier as I realize the beauty that is returned to me – a husband that is fiercely dedicated to our marriage and who will fight to make us the very best that we can be. That warrior spirit not only drives him to service in our military, it drives him to protect me and love me with everything that he is – and for that, I can not thank my God enough.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blessings Abound

Day 3 of Operation LARC (Left Alone in Redneck County) was going fairly well. Beside the underlying urge to ball my eyes out, nothing seemed amiss. Work flew by as it usually does when I have too many meetings, phone calls, and customers to fit into an 9 hour day. I enjoyed a dinner with my sis-in-law and her two boys and even made it to the gym for a good ol' fight with the treadmill. Little did I know the real fight was waiting for me at home and it had a lovely, politically correct name of "Overtired and Emotional".

Perhaps a little background setting is necessary. In the last 4 1/2 years that Josh and I have been together as a couple, we have talked or seen each other every single day. Even when we were apart on college breaks or during Josh's last year of school, we talked for hours each day. The past 2 years, we've only been apart for those times we had to travel for work, or when I flew to see my family on my own. Every. Single. Spare. Minute. was spent together because we knew THIS day was coming. I am SO incredibly thankful for a man that was willing to give me so much of his time and energy and who I can honestly say, I never got sick of being around.

Fast forward to this week. My husband has left for Officer Training School for the Air Force. Yay!!! Finally - what a long, long process! So here I am, in my single wide trailer, trying to adjust to life without my man. You know what though? It's not as bad as I thought it would be. I know without a doubt there are people praying for me, because God's presence is so very real right now. I look back on the times we were apart during college and I want to go back to that girl, give her a good shaking, and make her let God take care of her. But that's the thing - you can't force anyone to let God in. I'm so thankful for the ways God broke me before Josh left so that I admitted I couldn't do this on my own and I let Him have it all.

Letting God have it all is a daily - if not moment by moment - process and commitment. The past 3 days have consisted of me staying up late hoping that Josh would have a chance to call. Add an hour-time difference into the mix and needless to say, it's an adjustment. It was getting very close to the cut-off time that I knew Josh wouldn't be able to call me after and I was tired, emotional, and alone. That underlying urge to ball my eyes out had haunted me all day, but nothing could crack the barrier keeping it inside. (Ladies, you know what I mean - there are just times you know you will feel better if you just have a good cry.)  So here I am at 11:45pm, climbing into bed to attempt sleep and I haven't spoken to my man all day. I have two choices to make - the emotional one, or the trusting one. All too often, I make the emotional choice. But something last night inside of me told me to make the trusting choice and to refuse to believe that God had anything less than my best interest at heart. So I prayed, gave it all to God and laid down.

Josh did call me last night - for 6 1/2 minutes. That's more than a lot of military wives get and I am so thankful that we have the ability to hear each other's voices, if only for a few minutes. I have to admit though, those emotions were still running high when we hung up and I went to sleep. There's just a place in me that is a dull aching pain - the emptiness of being away from the person you love most in this world. I told God about it and went to sleep - knowing He knows and He CARES.

Sometimes we have to make the decisive, purposeful choice not to let our emotions win. For me, it's not enough to just say "no" to my emotions, I've got to make that same decisive, purposeful choice to say "yes" to actively trusting my God.

I woke up this morning to the most beautiful confirmation from God that I have ever had - a loving text message from Josh! Those 10 lines mean more to me than anyone will ever know, because only God knows the emotional struggle I went through last night to simply trust Him. After reading the text from Josh, I had another confirmation from God this morning: Proverbs 28:20 - "A faithful man shall abound with blessings". God doesn't expect me to figure it all out, or to be "OK" on my own. He simply asks me to be faithful to trust Him and He's going to bless me beyond anything I can dream. You may think these two things are small and insignificant, and that's ok. But to me, they were lovingly orchestrated by the God of this universe to let me feel His love and confirm that He will take care of me. It was hard to be faithful last night, and He blessed me this morning. Nothing can ever tarnish the token of love He has given me. Blessings truly abound.


Time is a funny thing - it crawls along oh so slowly before suddenly rushing by without any consideration to your reeling emotions. Insensitive, impartial, unemotional - that's time for you. Dying for something to happen? Time's not going to speed up just because you can't sit still. Apprehensive about that change facing you? Time's not going to tap the brakes because you can't cope. It's a gift we've been given, a curse we've been burdened by, and an ever-ticking clock we can never turn back.

Time. What a conflicted relationship I have with you.