Looking back, it feels as though I can remember every little detail about the day it all – this military life – began.
The cold fluorescent lighting that reflected harshly off the shiny white linoleum floors of the old government building in downtown Houston.
Sitting right next to my husband in a hard metal-folding chair, yet feeling hundreds of miles away from him, already.
Watching elderly men in scratchy gray suits shuffle up and down the hallway, handing out complimentary copies of The New Testament to anyone who’d take one.
Talking in whispers, waiting for something to happen, and not really knowing what to expect. Feeling like my heart was going to leap out of my chest when the ceremony began, and ducking off into the restroom to pull myself together at the last moment, because I was afraid I was going to be sick.
The overwhelming, contradicting feelings of pride, excitement, worry, and sadness I felt as I heard my husband recite the words.
The fear of not knowing what we were getting ourselves into.
Although I couldn’t have understood the significance of the moment, the choice, and how it would forever change us, I found myself reeling from the ramifications of it all. Then, suddenly, one last kiss for me, and a hesitant rub on my 34-weeks pregnant tummy for our baby boy before I saw my husband disappear down the hallway.
I walked back to the parking garage in the cold with a lump the size of Texas in my chest, and drove to our empty house feeling more alone than I ever had before.
In retrospect, however, I can see, no matter how I feel, I have never really been alone. I believe God is and has always been with us, walking through the valleys; working through the trials and the heartache, the harsh life lessons and the victories.
Tearing down, building back up. Shaping, disciplining, teaching, strengthening. Always providing – not always in the ways we want, but always in the ways we need.
Knowing what we know, now, I honestly can’t say whether or not we’d make the same choice all over, again, if we had the chance to, but I’m so thankful for the experiences we’ve had, the lessons we’ve had to learn the hard way, where we’ve been, how far we’ve come, and where we are, today.
Because, today? We have Hope.
“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope.” | Romans 5:3