I’ve learned so much about being in a military family simply by watching how others survive this armed forces life. I watch brave young mothers pack up their apartments, readying for yet another move, all the while wanting more than anything just to be able to stay in that safe little nest for just a bit longer.
The last days before deployment are bittersweet at best. Sometimes our soldiers have only a few days notice before they are swept off to war. Others trudge through the mud of slow-moving time, knowing the day is coming; dreading it, bracing for it, waiting for impact.
Like ripping a bandage off quickly, or pealing it ever-so-slowly; either way, it’s going to hurt! The waiting is always agonizing. Yet, military spouses and children go through it with their heads held high, their hearts resilient, and their faith ever on the increase.
Military friendships are forged in the most scorching fires, and thus produce the strongest bonds. Our service families learn to rely on one another. Some of the most incongruous people become the best of friends. I see these friendships as a gift from God; someone who understands without words, steps in and shares the burden, and brings laughter and sunshine to an otherwise dark and lonely place. The Lord knows that waiting for deployment is only practice for all the waiting still to come, and that these friendships will be invaluable during the long months that lie ahead.
When my daughter and her husband prepared for his deployment to the war, their base in Germany slowly became a ghost-town. Most of the left-behind spouses moved back to the States. They seemed to scatter all across the country. Our soldier was one of the very last to go, and many sad farewells had already been given. A cloud of gloom seemed to settle in along with the cool weather. The remnant families pulled together all the more, and it was truly a difficult time for all. Still, the bonds of the friendships created during their years in Germany held strong. Phone calls, letters, and emails from those who had already moved away brought cheer and assurance that some things would never change. Plans to visit each other in the States gave them all something happy to look forward to.
Watching my daughter and her family courageously march through this difficult time in their life, I could see that, even during periods of uncertainty and sorrow, we can rely on the Lord to abundantly provide everything we need, and more! I’m so very thankful for all the wonderful friends who have come alongside of my family to lighten our hearts and brighten our days.
Thank You, Lord, for sending friends into my soldier’s life, especially when they are most needed. Thank You for providing camaraderie, someone to talk to who truly understands, someone who will not judge, but will encourage and support my soldier. These friends are true blessings!
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17 NIV)