Sunday, July 13, 2014

How do You do it?

How do I do it?  I get asked this more than I get asked how I'm doing.  I think it is because people are afraid I'm just going to break down and sob.

I find the question funny.  How would I not do it?  This is my situation.  I'm alone with my kiddos while my husband is at war.  I don't have time to break down or feel sorry for myself.  I don't have time to drink my worries away.  I typically only finish about half a glass of wine between all my distractions.

Tonight I'm sitting on the one couch that isn't covered in unfolded laundry with my back purposely facing away from my sink full of dirty dishes.  I guess that's how I do it.  I don't stress the small stuff.  I will get to it eventually.....maybe, but I know my limits.  I'm exhausted, and I need to sit this evening.

I do it by not doing everything, and being content with not being perfect.  I still push myself to the very limits of my physical and emotional capabilities, but I know when to stop.  I know that tonight dishes and laundry won't get done.  I'm sure there are I some who would judge and say my pool time with the kids today could have been used better, but I beg to differ.  They only have one parent.  If I have to choose between wrinkles in my clothes or ignored kiddos I choose wrinkles every time!

My advice to anyone feeling the pressures of being the perfect wife, mom and employee during a deployment is to give up.  Don't give it all up, but know that you're not perfect.  Those that are expecting a sparkling house, clean and well behaved kids at all times and tons of overtime at work are living in a dream.  When you give up your spouse for a year or more you have to give up on a few other things as well.  I'm not advocating for living in filth, never bathing your children and quitting your job.  I'm just advising you should keep things in perspective. Know what is important and what isn't, and don't let yourself get too run down especially in the beginning.  That's how I do it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Forged by Fire

This Sunday I was at the church I grew up in.  While the preacher was new, nearly everything else remained the same.  It was hard sitting there with my parents and kids.  Church is supposed to be a family thing, and I am missing a huge part of mine.  It was in that loneliness and despair from learning of CJ's extension that God decided to speak to me through the sermon.  

Forged by fire.  What does it meant exactly?  When a metal is forged by fire it is placed in hot flames, shaped then cooled down.  The intense heat makes the metal playable and easily shaped by the right person.  As the metal cools it is transformed into a much harder, stronger and more pure piece of metal.

How does that pertain to a deployment or church one may ask.  Read the scripture below from 1 Peter 1:6-7.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:6-7 )

There you have it.  This is my test.  This is where my faith will be strengthened and purified.  It is through this deployment that I have learned to completely rely on God.  Most nights I have no clue how I made it through the day or how I'm going to make it through the next.  As I lay in my bed I pray for strength, support, comfort and a whole load of other things.  

I pride myself on being hugely independent.  This deployment has shown me that I am completely reliant on God.  To the outside world I may look like I'm doing it nearly all alone, but I know I'm not.  I know I would have failed by week 3 without God pushing, pulling and dragging me through.  Words can not express my gratitude in God for this.  

It amazes me every day how God knows exactly what little boost I need to make it through.  On Sunday it was a sermon that I swear was written just for me.  That may seem a bit odd since I already mentioned the only thing in my old church that has changed is the pastor.  God used a man who I've never met to push me through when I was at one of my lowest points right after learning CJ will be gone for much longer than expected.  

My trials aren't over, but the promise of joy ahead will keep me going.  The fire around me will not melt me.  It will only purify and strengthen my faith.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Rolling with the Punches

I've gotten pretty good at rolling with the punches.  I've had a lot of ups and downs in life.  This deployment has shown me a handful more, but not much could prepare me for what I learned on Thursday.  It rocked me to the point of tears which does not typically happen.  I cried in front of coworkers for the first time ever.

I had been at work for a mere 2 hours when CJ asked me if we could FaceTime.  I knew it was going to be bad since he wanted to tell me as close to face to face as possible.  I found a quiet room and quickly called.  The news that followed made me want to puke.  His unit is being reassigned.  Instead of coming home in August they will go to Kuwait.  There is no word on what exactly they will do from there, and more importantly no word on when they will be home.  They may be released when their original orders are up in October, but there is a highly probable chance their orders will be extended.  This could push their homecoming back to next summer. 

We all know it's possible for a unit with one foot out of country to end up staying, but I was beginning to get past my pessimism and believe he may actually be home by mid August.  

The saving grace for me is my kids.  When I told them my daughter asked if there was still more work to be done.  I told her yes, and she turned to my son and said Daddy needed to do more work but would be home when it was done.  I told her he might not be home for her birthday or Christmas, and she just said he is hurrying and it is ok.  How amazing from preschooler.  If my children can handle this so well I guess I can too.

Rolling with the punches doesn't mean we have to like them, and it doesn't mean we won't shed a tear or two.  It means we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and move forward.  I will not be knocked out by any punches this deployment brings me.  I will make it to the end whenever that may be.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fireworks and Change

It's the little things that stop me every time.  Today it was fireworks.  I was listening to the explosions all around the neighborhood.  I have always loved the sound of fireworks.  They are the sound of freedom!

It was in that moment though that I realized my husband is also hearing those sounds, but they definitely do not mean freedom.  For him the explosions are a very real danger, and an all too common occurrence. 

I started to wonder what next year will be like.  Will he come back and love the fireworks as much as he used to?  Will we be able to shoot them off with the kids?  What other little things in our life will change when he gets home?

As much as I am ready for CJ to be home I am also a bit apprehensive.  I know we have both changed and grown this past year.  We had to to survive the situations we have been in.  I know we will make it through, but I worry about the bumps in the road ahead of us.  In short I worry about the fireworks.