November is National Military Family Month. [Have you ever wondered why on some months the label comes first while on others it comes last? Why is it National Military Family Month, but Month of the Military Child? I don’t know either, and this is a most definitely a rabbit trail. Back to my point today …]
In honor of all our military families, I want to think a little more about a common thought process around America today, one that drives me crazy. I’ve talked in other blog posts about Bloom Where You Are Planted and Respect is Earned, among others.
Today, let’s talk about the thinking that the parents chose the military lifestyle, but the kids didn’t. Some say it less tactfully, inferring while the parent(s) made a decision, the children get dragged along for the ride.
Let me be blunt so you’re not confused on where I stand on this issue. No. Just no. Absolutely not.
Curious about why I say that? Keep reading …
Our Journey to Military Family
We’re in this together, no matter how far apart. ~Unknown
When my husband and I got married, he wanted nothing to do with the military. He was working at a great little company, taking college classes, and heading toward an electronics degree of some fashion. Then, well, life happened. Thirteen days before our second anniversary, he took his first steps into Basic Training on Lackland Air Force Base.
Did we discuss this before he signed his enlistment papers? Yes. This was a tremendous change for us, one that didn’t come easy. I had settled my mind around our children growing up in one or two houses. I dreamed of looking at doorframes with growth markings on them, and their relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Now we faced uncertainty, moving … and adventure.
Part of me looked forward to the adventure.
When he left for Basic, our oldest was four days shy of fourteen months. Our second child was born thirteen days after we reached our first duty station. Our third child was born at our second duty station. The military life is all our girl remembers and all our boys know.
But that fact alone doesn’t prove they got dragged along for the ride. Yes, their father and I made the decision to join, and yes, we made the choice to reenlist. And no, we didn’t ask any of them what they thought. Truthfully, they were too young (or nonexistent) for the first decision, and we didn’t consider it for the second.
But stop and think about it from this point of view: Why did we make the decision we did?
God Directs Our Military Family
One of the questions I worked to drill into my children their entire lives is this: What does God want you to do?
When we talked about whether or not they wanted to go to college, I’d tell them I expected them to follow God’s decision for them, regardless of what that looked like. When we talked about future potential careers, I reminded them that God had a plan for their best life, and I wanted them to follow that plan as closely as they could. When we talked about where they might live once they moved out … yep, I worked to always bring them back to God’s thoughts on the matter.
More than once, I told them that I didn’t care if they spent their life flipping burgers at the local fast food restaurant—as long as that’s what they believed with their whole heart that God wanted for them.
God’s plan. First, foremost, only.
So, who got told what to decide?
When you think about it in that light, then truthfully, their father and I didn’t decide to go into the United States Air Force. We just agreed with God that it was the best plan for our family. We didn’t decide to reenlist six years later. We just agreed with God that it was still the best for our family. In that way of thinking, we got told what we were going to do just as assuredly as our children did.
And I made sure that I told them that. The USAF was God’s choice—God’s absolute best—for our family. All of us.
Some of what we endured while we were active duty, none of us were excited about. Some of it still casts shadows of pain over our lives. But as I know God is sovereign, that means it was all directed or allowed by God. Every single moment.
We have to prioritize our lives as God leads and not worry about what other people expect from us. ~Kathy Barnett, The Warrior’s Bride
And that’s where this all comes to rest. Do I believe the Bible and what it tells me about God or not?
I believe God loves me and wants what is best for me. I believe God is sovereign—over everything, including the United States Department of Defense. And that means whatever my life looks like in the moment, God is bringing good out of it for me.
If you want to read more about my life in the USAF, pick up a copy of The Warrior’s Bride! It’s good for more than just military spouses.
The call came down from Command, and your warrior husband is out the door, leaving you behind to handle whatever he has left undone. Whether it’s the day-to-day monotony, the inevitable appliance that breaks, or the months without his presence beside you, being a military spouse brings challenges few appreciate.
Yet God sees you and longs for you to boldly step into His plan. He purposely chose you for this moment—for your man. He wants to give you abundantly more than what you have right now and desires you to thrive as your warrior’s bride.