Still Riding the Roller Coaster…

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December 5, 2013 by comhomflt

It has been said that “The only constant thing is life is change.” That definitely holds true with regard to the military – and we are only a Reserve family! I used to believe Reservists were relatively insulated from these things. They wouldn’t be called “weekend warriors” for nothing, right? A weekend-a-month and two-weeks-a-year with a possible deployment along the way…all things that civilian life can be scheduled around without too much hassle. What I didn’t bet on were three and four week ATs, four years of nervously awaiting the outcome of every mundane phonecall from NOSC personnel, Christmas vacations lost to deployments (even though those deployments never happened), and thirteen months of living with a deployment prep mentality.

Overall, it has not been a terrible thing. We appreciate the extra income, the pride of being a military family (Go Navy!), and the honor of having our LT serve our country. However, we are ready for some stability in our Reserve family life. Knowing a call could come at any time has made it difficult to do long term planning. The kids have become used to hearing, “We promise we’ll go to such-and-such place next summer…unless the Navy calls.” They’re used to not knowing how they will be schooled next year, because it has changed several times – and our oldest is only in third grade. Just the other day, BM1 was busy making arrangements for alternate Dutch Blitz teams on the off chance that “Daddy is gone before Christmas.” This small taste of what I imagine is commonplace for active duty and even some National Guard families has given me a greater appreciation for their service, but the unpredictability of that life is also one of the main reasons my LT decided against an active duty career.

We are so thankful for the answered prayers that led to the cancellations of the first two deployments and that removed the threat of deployment in a situation several years earlier. Now, though, we are ready to move beyond this – ready to render our service as a military family, ready for some relief from the heightened state of alert that has been our reality for the past four years, ready to get this over and done with, ready to be counting down the days to a homecoming. Instead? We are back to waiting and wondering and riding the roller coaster.

Our first reactions to the cancellation were shock and elation, followed hard by frustration, disappointment, and discouragement. Without doubt, there were several Army or Air Force brass about whom I remarked, “And I’d like to raise [him] right off the pavement!” in my best Miss Piggy voice. Thankfully, the Word of God provides a perfect counterbalance to the tempest of discouraging thoughts that easily overwhelm. Like one who is drowning, I grabbed hold of the truths expressed in this verse I had been memorizing in preparation for the deployment; little did I know I would need it for a cancellation.

Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and of the end intended by the Lord, that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. – James 5:11

No matter how frustrating this situation has been, it cannot compare to what Job endured! In fact, rather than losing my husband forever, as Job did his children, I get to have him around a bit longer and most likely, to enjoy both Thanksgiving AND Christmas together. And then there is “the end intended by the Lord” – I’m not sure what the goal is in its entirety, but I know part of it was to help me recognize that no human decision or mistake is outside of God’s knowledge. That those Army and Air Force personnel who assured us the old billet was “secure” were mistaken did not surprise God at all; it was no sudden turn of events to Him. As for God’s compassion and mercy? Whether or not the current plan for the future stands, we can already see God’s care for us in where we stand today.

After spending the week of Thanksgiving in limbo, we have finally received word that our LT has been tagged for an alternate billet. That in itself is the compassion and mercy of our God, as it will relieve us of the deployment question; but, in addition, this billet has a shorter boots-on-ground (BOG) requirement, involves less stateside training up front, is in a safer place, and is unlikely to be canceled. (Although, I think I will believe that when he is skyping from the desert somewhere.) The only variable still to be determined is his departure date, but we do know it will be sometime this winter – hopefully after Christmas. To our human eyes, this certainly seems like an ideal plan – as ideal as deployments can be, anyway; but hopefully we are learning to be less attached to what we think is best while we wait to see what God intends to do and watch His plan unfold.

Many thanks to all who have been praying for us; please continue to do so, as we are now climbing the next big hill on this roller coaster of a deployment journey!

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