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5 Things I Learned During Deployment

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I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. —  Philippians 4:13

I learned a lot during this deployment. It changed me. Let me share:

1.        I learned that I am stronger than I think.

No military wife is ever ready for deployment. From what I hear from other wives none of us really feel that we are strong enough to go through a deployment. But at the end when we look back, we are shocked at how much we came through and how strong we really are.

That is how it’s been with me. I look back and I think, “Wow, how did I do that?”  The answer?  I did it with God’s help, and also by taking it one day at a time. There were a lot of days that I look back on when I felt I couldn’t go on, but I didn’t have a choice in the matter so I kept on going. Those are the days that I believe make a person stronger—when you realize you don’t have a choice but to keep on going and so you do. And when you finally look back you realize how strong you really were, and how much of a stronger person you are now.

2.        I learned that trusting God is my only option.

It’s sad that it had to come down to a deployment to make me realize this. So many times I try to do things on my own and I don’t think about trusting God or having faith in Him to do what He needs to do. I wrote about trust the beginning of 2012 on my blog. I had picked the word “trust” as something to work on throughout the year. It’s funny because when you actively ask God to help you learn how to trust, then He is definitely going to put things in your life to help you learn how to trust. And those things aren’t always going to be what we think they are!

It was those times when I was at the end of my rope, when I felt like there just had to be something else I could do—that was when I heard God’s soft and still quiet voice that said, “Just trust.”  And that is what I learned:  at the end of it all and even at the beginning, our only option is to trust. Because if we don’t trust Him for the little things, then how can we trust Him for the big things in our lives?

3.        I learned that letting others help me is necessary and that’s ok.

If there is one thing I hear from military wives most, it’s that they are afraid to let others help them during deployment. Either they are too proud to ask or they don’t want others to think they are not strong enough to make it through the deployment on their own. For me, it was a little of both.

Many events happened to our family during this past deployment over the span of 6 and a half months. It was pretty much impossible for me to get through a lot of it without asking for at least a little help. And that’s ok. It’s ok to ask for help. In fact, I encourage you to do so if you are going through a deployment. Don’t be afraid!  A lot of military spouses see each other as family, and wouldn’t you want to ask your family for help if you needed it?  It took a wonderful woman at the beginning of this deployment forcing me to let her in my life and let her help to get me to see this. I am so glad I did.

4.        I learned that deployment can be a time for personal growth.

I feel like I learned so much about myself during this deployment. I feel like I grew as a person. I learned more about who I am, what I want, and a little about what makes me tick. If you are currently going through a deployment, let me encourage you to use this time to learn about yourself and to better yourself. See what things in your life you can work on improving before your spouse gets home. It will be amazing to see the results at the end of the deployment!

5.        I learned that deployment can make your marriage stronger.

At the beginning of this deployment, I was absolutely terrified of what this might do to our marriage. Would we change?  Would our marriage change?  Would we even know each other at the end of all this?  Sure deployment is scary, and I think every deployment is different when it comes to your marriage. It depends on what place you are at in your marriage when the deployment takes place. It also depends on what you make it. Are you going to be an understanding wife?  Are you going to pray your way through?  Are you going to have a positive outlook even when you both may not feel like it or when you are both having a bad day?  Sure there will be times you are going to argue, or be short with one another, but, more than that, I found we were able to communicate our needs better.

We didn’t have any real face-to-face conversations. We emailed. And when you email, you have a response time in-between. It gives each of you time to think through a response. It also gives you a chance to write down your thoughts and feelings without getting interrupted. At times I felt frustrated that the communication was slow. But there were so many other times when I was able to really communicate how I felt about something through email, which gave him time to think about it and then gave me a response—instead of us interrupting each other or arguing about it. Deployment CAN make a marriage stronger. You just have to find a way to do it. Don’t let it get you down. Find ways to encourage and strengthen each other.

And, by and through His grace, this deployment is over!

Questions to Share:

1. Make a list of things that God is teaching you through this deployment.

2. What do you believe God is teaching your spouse through this deployment?

Kathryn is a military wife who blogs on www.singingthroughtherain.net.

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