"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Emerson

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Advice for Deployments...

I recently had a blog comment from someone whom I am only connected to by these words of mine. I wanted to share it because I thought it would make for a great post. Here goes:

"I found your blog from a friend who found it through P31. I too am a military wife, my husband just left for his deployment. Was wondering if you have any advice, wisdom, to share to a fellow believer? Anything you would do different? Anything you did you wish you had not?

You asked for it Joanna...
First, I must make it so you know, I am no expert. Life during a deployment is a day-by-day, and sometimes minute-by-minute existence. There were days when I was not mommy of the year. There were days when I was. There were days when my attitude was great and I was going to make it through this deployment. Then, there were days when I didn't get out of my pajamas, sang "Woe is me!" and was generally quite pathetic. There were good days, bad days and everything in between.

If I had to give my best advice though, it would be this:
1.) KEEP BUSY! I don't care if you have to invite yourself to dinner, make a day out of the McDonald's playland, or throw a party, busyness is key to deployment survival. With a toddler, we could only handle one major event per day, but with church, playgroups, playlands, and the like, we were able to fill almost every day. Check out the library and local papers for events. Call around local churches and see what groups are available.
2.) KEEP POSITIVE! Deployments suck. This is fact. But, you can choose to find the positive in the negative. One of the positives for me was that I got to work on some of my hobbies, such as writing, I could make salads for dinner, watch chick flicks relentlessly, and sleep diagonal on the bed. Little as they may be, those things kept my brain (most of the time) from heading into that danger zone of negativity.
3.) ASK FOR HELP! I am blessed with an amazing support system yet I found it so hard to "ask" for an extra hand at times. But, I found that, especially amongst military wives, they are more than willing to help. In a way, you are blessing the person you ask for help from because they know they can help another person out.
4.) SPEND TIME WITH GOD! My spiritual life was at an all time high when my hubby was deployed. It may be likely that the absence of another adult in the household made me converse more with my creator, but I also started to think of God as needing to play the role of my spiritual husband. We put so much emphasis on the earthly spouse and that relationship, but truly our love for our God is supposed to be the most consuming love in our life. From that, our love for others flows. Deployment is a great time to get back track in our quiet time and prayer life.
5.) GET WITH A FELLOWSHIP OF BELIEVERS! I start Bible studies for military spouses. It is kind of my thing. God laid military wives on my heart about three years ago and He hasn't quit since! Everywhere we've been, He has blessed me with an amazing fellowship of believers, both fellow military wives and church families. These people are the ones who got me through those ugly days I mentioned before. If you don't have something to get involved in, consider starting something yourself.
6.) SERVE OTHERS! Nothing can keep us more focused on ourselves then constantly thinking and serving only ourselves. To get out of that, we have to start looking outward and into the lives of those around us. Yes, it is tough being a military wife. Yes, it is tough to go through a deployment. But, challenge and trial make us more understanding of Jesus. Find a way you can serve someone else: is there a fellow military wife you can cook dinner for? Can you help feed the homeless? Anything to get your mind focused on the needs of others and outside your own situation.
7.) TRY SOMETHING NEW! What better time to try a new hobby, take a new class, try a new diet, try a new workout, or try a new __________, then when the hubby is away. Make a "bucket list" of sorts and work on those things that you can never do because you are with your husband at nights.
8.) DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF EACH DAY! Whether it is a bubble bath at the end of a not so pretty day, fifteen minutes of vegging out in front of the tv, or reading a mind numbing celebrity gossip mag, do something to help recharge your batteries.
9.) PRAY! Ultimately, we have no control. We like to think we do, but let's face it, we don't. The only true way to survive and perhaps enjoy a deployment is to pray. Pray for your husband, of course, but also pray for yourself. Pray that you will keep sane. Pray that your mothering skills will maintain the same level of excellence when the hubby is away (mine did not). Pray that God will give you the strength to get through each day. Pray that you can find peace and joy in what can be a time of difficulty.

For all you military ladies out there going through a deployment, remember:
"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
Tomorrow is a new day. His mercy for you is renewed. In the end, no matter what happens, He will continue to be faithful to you. This is our promise in Him.
Here's to good advice...
Until next time,
Any other blog reader God, Military or Life related questions? I'd love to hear 'em!

1 comment:

Mommy Dearest said...

I just started following your blog. I literally just finished reading your article in P31. Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement!