In 2014 I met a military spouse on a bus en route to pick up our soldiers returning from deployment. With anticipation + eagerness to welcome my now-husband home, a military spouse with five kids- four boys and one girl that included a set of twins sat across from me, hands full with a baby and sigh of relief. Just like any good, normal, nervous person, we began talking.
This was their 4th tour and she was elated for her husband to meet their new baby in person. I was shocked, I could not believe what she had said…
“Excuse me, did you say meeting?”
The woman responded, “Yes, I had the baby during over the deployment. I mean he has met him over Skype but never in person.”
“So you were pregnant? And your husband left? Did the Army know what your due date was? Did you know he would miss the birth?”
The woman laughed and if you know anything about the military you are probably laughing as well, but I was astonished at her peace, her strength, and her joy amidst hard and undesirable circumstances. Seeing how I was in shock, she responded with such grace and ease, “Girl, this was the third birth he has missed.” We have it down to a system now.” She continued to laugh and make jokes.
Now 6 years into my own military journey, here are 3 things that help me personally have joy in the midst of uncertainty:
1- Prayer- Scripture tells us that God goes before us and not a single thing happens without His knowing. I also know that God is good and He only gives as a loving Father without flaw gives. My choice is then to trust Him, to rise above the circumstances and rest in what He is doing, even in the unseen.
2- Worship- Whew! Worship music plays continuously through my house and in my car. Left alone, my thoughts can wonder, and if I’m not careful and protective, I get lost in the shuffle of what is fair and what isn’t. I get confused on what I want and what God is doing in my current season. Worship helps ground me in a way that my joy flows freely apart from the season, circumstance, or emotion.
3- Time for Me- You can label this one as self- care. Intentionally a plan is made via budget and calendar to allow time for me to refill and reset. Maybe this is going to get your nails done, go to the gym. Sometimes for me, it’s as simple as going to a small local coffee shop for a few hours and creating something. I leave refreshed, reset, with a perspective bigger than my current season.
The woman on the bus impacted me deeply. I will never forget how she chose to speak life over the military, her husband and over their reality. In our 10 min drive, she showed me that not only did she survive, but she was thriving.
Situations may be hard. Circumstances may not be ideal, but choosing joy is always a choice! Remember, God is always at work, even in the unseen.
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