A State of Brokenness

The other day, I started watching God’s Not Dead on Netflix. I had heard about it, I was familiar with the lead actor from Good Luck Charlie (hey, don’t judge), and I needed something to watch while I ran on the treadmill. I’m not usually one to watch movies based on religion, even though I am a Christian, simply because, as a writer, I need plot lines in my stories.

Although the movie does sort of lack the tying together of the plot at the end, there were a few scenes that really stuck out to me. I won’t ruin it for you, because I do think it’s worth the watch, so I won’t give away too many details. Basically, the lives of some of the characters in the story began to implode—breakups, disownment, etc.—and each one of them fell on their knees, whether literally or figuratively, and cried out to God.

One of the pastors of my church that works at the main campus in Texas came to my church campus and delivered a powerful message about two weeks ago. What stuck out to me from his message was the idea of staying in a state of brokenness. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Brokenness? If you’re Christian, shouldn’t God heal you? Yes, He does heal. But often times we see God most clearly when we are broken because we revert to our original state of seeking His love above all else.

So, these scenes physically represent, to me, the importance of being in a state of brokenness. Sometimes we have to fall to our knees to see Him more clearly and to see and accept His grace and mercy.

My husband and I have also discussed the importance of the state of brokenness. We both felt broken, albeit in different ways, while we were separated. Since being together again, we seem to have fallen into the same routine, and we realize we have to get out of it (at least I think we do). But how do you stay in a state of brokenness when the reason you felt broken in the first place is no longer present? Do you continue to remind yourself of that feeling? I think the answer, for myself anyway, is to remind myself that I adjusted during that time because of God. He was the one I turned to because I didn’t have anyone else.

We discussed in my women’s ministry group that so often we cry out to God during the hardest of times, but when times seem easy, we tell Him, “Oh, no, we got this. Thanks, though.” And that is a dangerous place to be. If we do not acknowledge Him in the times when we feel life is going great, then crying out to him when we are struggling is almost pointless. After all, life was great because of Him.

It is important that we fall to our knees to remind ourselves of where our grace comes from, where our help comes from, to remind ourselves that we need Him. So, what does “a state of brokenness” mean to you? And how can we stay in a state of brokenness?

Back To Reality

This week I headed back to school and work. It was definitely bittersweet. Of course I enjoyed spending all of last week, my spring break, with my wonderful husband. I am also eager to just get this semester over with. I have a lot going on between teaching, my class research project, and other homework. With only 2 months left of the semester, I am getting back to the grind, and I plan on getting ahead like I did while my husband was away.

Which should have been easy since he was gone again for 2 days this week for drill and his battle handoff to the officer candidate group (or whatever it’s called) he will be drilling with for the next year and a half. But, of course, I procrastinated.

It has definitely been an adjustment having him home, too. He has been adjusting to what it’s like to be home again, with chores and my desire to spend time with him without technology. I am adjusting to having him home in general; I have done things in a certain way for 3 months, and I forget that I can’t expect him to catch on as quickly. At the same time, I also forget that he does have to adjust to the “civilian” way of life. That’s hard for me because, to me, that’s “normal.”

Sometimes he tells me stories of his time at training. I listen, of course, and I am interested, but there are times he says things like, “Oh, you wouldn’t get it.” And that’s hard for me because I want to relate and I want to support him, but those comments make me feel like he wants to keep it at a distance. And I don’t know how to react to that. Then there are times I will say something that I experienced while he was gone, which usually has to do with work or school, and he will seem interested, but then he will immediately launch into another story of his. From my standpoint, that says he doesn’t care about what I experienced, and in turn, I take that to be because what I’ve done isn’t as important.

It’s been getting better, though. We have been talking through those sorts of things and working on what we each need in the relationship at this point. That’s sort of a hard thing to verbalize, too, what you need in a relationship. I have never been asked that question until recently. In fact, I don’t think either of us has been asked that. So it’s something we’ve been thinking about and discussing.

But through everything, I remember the concepts I discussed in my previous post, Love: more than an emotion (which can be found here: ). I continue to choose my husband, every moment of every day. Nothing will ever be perfect, and that’s okay. I have to remind myself that it’s okay that I can’t relate 100% with his experience, but I can be supportive. I have to remind myself that everything is a work in progress.

My husband told me that after I left on Family Day, the guys in his barracks said something along the lines of “you seem to have a great marriage.” And you know what my husband said? “Yeah, I think we do. But it takes work. It’s like maintaining a building. If you keep everything in order, it works, but if you don’t continue to maintain it, it falls apart.” And that has really stuck with me.

The Beginning of a New Beginning

Yesterday my husband officially graduated from Basic Combat Training. It was a great ceremony. I am very proud of him, and he looks amazing in his dress uniform. I am so happy to have him coming home instead of having to go to additional training immediately.

And do you know what the best part is? When we went to the airport in Columbia, they managed to not only get him on my flight, but they also made sure we had seats together. I am so happy to get to fly home with him!

So today we are flying back to Phoenix and having a mini vacation there before heading back home. Which means I will be offline for about 2 days, because I’d like to take the non-travel time to spend with him and get to know him again.

It’s been quite a journey, even in the last day or two. We are working on what has changed in each of us and what that means for our marriage. We want to start a new chapter in our relationship, but that means a lot of work. I think we are both willing to put in the effort, but it won’t be easy.

It will take some adjusting on both our ends, and I hope that we can work on that over spring break. I’m hoping the fact that I will be home will help us both.

No matter what, I am a lucky woman to get to have him come home. I will cherish these times and use them to make our marriage even better.

The Time Finally Came

Yesterday was the day! Well, it was Family Day. When they allowed the families to go onto the field to find their soldier, I was so excited. I couldn’t see him at first, but then I spotted him—the person at the end of a row. I teasingly told the girl in front of me (who I am friends with after these months; don’t worry it wasn’t a random stranger) to “move, I see my husband.” I went right up to him and hugged him and started to cry into his shoulder. He hugged me like he wasn’t going to let go, and he kissed me.

All of the things I have felt the last few months just disappeared. How can you possibly be mad at the one you love when you finally get to see them and hold them again? He drug me around the field to meet some people, and it was nice to see who he had been spending his time with. They all really did look out for each other. I even saw the guy he will be training at OCS with, who he shipped out with, and gave him a hug.

The day was really nice. We explored base and talked. He told me some stories about his time there, and I told him my stories about school and work. It was just so great to finally get to talk with him. At the end of the day, we went back to his barracks so he could pack to leave today. The guy he shipped out with ended up being in his company and in his platoon, which I seriously think was a God thing. Anyway, that guy came up to me and wanted to tell me that my husband always made sure that everyone behaved so they wouldn’t lose their phone call privilege.

“I don’t think anyone was more excited to get their phone call than he was, and it was because he was calling you.”

I don’t know what prompted him to tell me, but I am glad he did. After everything we have been through, it was great to hear someone witness how excited my husband was to call me.

Today, though, is the BIG DAY: graduation. They get to wear their dress uniforms and all the companies in the regiment graduate together. Then they are allowed off post for the day. But here’s the best part: most of these guys are going to AIT right after, but not my husband because he starts OCS in his home state. So, he gets to come back with me! I will take him to the airport in Columbia so they can change his flight to fly out of Charleston tomorrow. We are going to try to get him on my flight, but if we can’t, at least one that departs and lands in Phoenix around the same time mine does.

I am just so thrilled he is done and coming home. I have my emotional moments still, and it doesn’t mean everything is perfect; we still have things to work on as a couple. But I love him, and I respect him, so we will work things out. Going home may be the toughest part because we have to get used to each other again. He has to get used to being in a home environment, and I’ll have to get used to it not just being me (though I don’t think I’ll have too much of a problem doing that). I am a little afraid and nervous, and I think he might be too, but that’s okay. We can handle this.

I am just so thankful God has brought us this far. I am working on looking for God in everything, so I am sure yesterday and my husband and I’s ability to put some things behind us and talk was God given. I keep praying that we can both open up to each other and talk about what we need to without losing it entirely, and I know if we put our trust in Him, everything will work.

Getting Set…

Today is the day I get on a plane and head to South Carolina. I don’t like flying, and I don’t really like going through security, but I don’t mind the airport so much. The interesting thing is this: in my qualitative research class, my group is working on an ethnography on communication strategies in airports. For part of our research, since the three of us travel during the time of the research, we are using autoethnography. That means I get to take notes on my own experience of travelling while I am in the airport tomorrow and Friday. So that should be interesting.

But travelling means I had to leave my furbabies behind. So I’m really nervous about being away. A pet sitter will be coming by today and every other day until Saturday to check on them, but I’m still nervous. They’re my babies…

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I got up earlier than I really needed to. I thought I would fit in a short, in-room exercise set, and I did. But it didn’t take up as much time as I thought it would. So there I was, 2 a.m. and showering 2 full hours before I had to take the shuttle to the airport. Time has seemed to move quicker than I thought it would the last 2 months, especially in the last 3 weeks, but it always seems to move slower when you least want it to.

The airport at 4:30 a.m. is relatively quiet. The gates to security weren’t even open yet when I got there at 4:15. It took me maybe 10 minutes to get through security, which may be a record. Although I rarely like getting up early, it’s worth it to beat the rush.

Today is filled with traveling. I land in Charleston at 3:55, then I have to rent a car, and I won’t be to my hotel on base until around 7 because it’s an hour and a half drive. I’ve never had to drive after flying all day, so I have a feeling it will be a coffee-filled kind of day to keep me going.

I am praying for safe travels and for tomorrow to come quickly.

 

 

Getting Ready…

Today is my last day of teaching before spring break (which is next week)…because tomorrow I leave for South Carolina to see my husband! Needless to say, I am having a bit of a hard time focusing…

Midterm grades are finished, homework is finished (well, except for a Lit Review I have to submit tonight), and my heart is about to jump out of my chest! I cannot wait to see my husband again.

I got a call (for 15 minutes!) on Saturday. It made my entire day, and it was so great to talk with him. The first thing out of my mouth, apart from “hello,” was “Tell me you passed Victory Forge and everything else and can come home.”

There was a slight pause, and I said “I just want to know you passed and you can come home, then we can continue our conversation.”

He says, “Well, yeah, we marched back, and I made it.”

“Can you come home?”

“Yes…”

“Yay! So how are you!?”

I think I took him off guard, but I needed to know he passed and can come home to me! He is excited to see me just as I am excited to see him. We have a lot of catching up to do, but we also have a lot to discuss. He promised time on our own to talk about a few things.

I am mentally preparing myself. I know being on a military base will be a little difficult for me emotionally, so I am going through all the scenarios in my mind and trying to keep my attitude in check, which can be hard for me.

I am also praying constantly for guidance. I know I cannot do this without God, and I will freely admit that. So I know I must pray and ask for His help. I’ve also continued to ask for healing.

My church is currently doing a series entitled “God Is…” and we have started by discussing His names. The last one last week was Jehovah Rapha, which means “the Lord that heals you.” I have needed emotional healing, and He reveals in this name that He can heal all things. So I have been asking for the healing of my heart. I have been much better since my discussion with my pastor a few weeks ago, but I know that the frustration, anger, sadness, all of the emotions I have felt are still there. Any time I find myself thinking a negative thought toward my husband or my marriage because of this experience, I write it down and give it to God. It is seriously amazing how much that helps. It feels like a weight is lifted every time I admit those feelings and admit that I need help. And if I admit I need healing and ask for it, He will heal. It is a wonderful thing, and I have already experienced it.

I am also praying for guidance as he transitions home. I know I will have to get used to having him around again, and he will have to get used to being home. I’m worried I won’t have the patience or that I’ll be frustrated by something he does. So I am praying for patience and guidance in that regard.

The weekend was busy with the packing, cleaning, and finishing homework and grading. I am glad, though, that it’s all done now. I am especially glad all my homework is already completed because it means I don’t have to worry about school while I am gone (I had assignments due Tuesday and Sunday, so I finished them early). I then have an entire week off for spring break, so my husband apparently has some romantic things planned for us. In one of his letters, there was something about getting up early with coffee and driving to the Grand Canyon to see the sunrise. The week should be interesting and full of surprises.

Anyway, I want to challenge you, my lovely readers, just the way my pastor challenged my church: if you have something that needs to be healed, ask Him for healing. You may be surprised by the results.

To thank you all..

With this separation finally coming to a close, I wanted to take some time to thank all of people who have been with me on this journey. Some are people I have known for years, others I have just met. But you each played a part in my emotional recovery.

Mom: Thank you for all you have done for me. You have listened to me cry, in person and on the phone; you have said “uh-huh” at all the right times; you have been supportive of both of us, especially when he didn’t think anyone supported him.

Dad: Even though it’s sometimes hard for you to hear me cry, you stayed on the phone and listened. You have agreed with me when I needed someone to agree with me. You made sure we were always okay. Most importantly, you let me know you cared.

Nana: Even though we do not always see eye-to-eye, you made sure I knew that I had someone behind me. You listened, and, as much as I didn’t like to hear it sometimes, you gave me the tough love I needed.

Jen: You may be far away, but you have always taken a little bit of time out of your day to check in with me and make sure I am okay. You let me talk (er, text) when I needed, and that has meant the world to me.

Madison: Even though I only got to see you for a day when I was in California, you let me talk…and talk…and talk. And check my phone nervously. You were there when I needed to relax and you helped me to take my mind off things, even if just for a little bit.

Mikaila: You were there with me, in wonderful Disneyland, when he called me to say goodbye for 9 weeks. You were there to see me cry as we stood in line for Pirates of the Caribbean. You let me talk about him a lot on that vacation, and you made sure I knew I had support. Even though I may have ruined a little of the Disney happiness, you helped me to look to the future and be in the moment.

Shelby and Cynthia: Even though you girls live a whole state away, and even though we don’t talk every day, you would like time to check on me. You answered questions and you supported me this whole time. You even asked how things were, and actually listened to the answer, even if the answer wasn’t pretty.

Erica: We have just “met,” but I think we have supported each other in ways that maybe other people could not. We both know what the other is going through, and that helps us relate and support each other. I am so glad we have been talking, and I am looking forward to officially meeting you in just a week.

Uncle Seth and Aunt Melissa: You have helped me to grow in my faith and really look to God for help. You are an inspiration.

I would also like to say a BIG thank you to my church family, Covenant Church Flagstaff. My pastors, especially Pastor Emily, have helped me to really let go of my anger at my husband and the situation and realize my wrongs and try to correct my course. You have all helped me to see that God is in control and that I have to trust in Him with my marriage. You have also taken me in to Women’s Ministry in a time when I was really struggling with who I am, my marriage, and not really having a lot of friends. For that, I cannot thank you enough. You have made me realize, even more, that I have to choose who I spend my time with for the good of my heart. You, especially the ladies, are all very wonderful, and I am so blessed to know you all. I am so thankful my husband and I found the church.

Without you all, I do not know what my heart would be like right now as I head into the home stretch. I do not know what my state of mind would be or what sort of emotions I would be dealing with. Without you, I honestly don’t know what he would have been coming home to. So thank you for all you have done; even if you didn’t think you did anything, you definitely did.

I am so blessed to have you all as family and friends. God really could not have provided me a better support system.

Just One More Week…

Today marks 1 week until Family Day, just one week until I see my husband again. Of course I am excited. I’m finishing up homework this week, grading, and I’m already starting to plan what I want to pack.

I have gotten a few letters from him since it was time to stop sending mail. He misses home.

I also got a phone call on Saturday. He passed his PT test, so he got a 10 minute phone call. We don’t talk much on the phone as it is, so there were brief moments where I wasn’t sure what to say. But it was great to hear his voice. He started to cry a bit, which made me tear up, and I joked with him that he couldn’t cry because I’ve been good the past week, and I don’t want to cry again. It got a chuckle out of him, so that made me happy.

This week has been a bit emotional, though. I misread the standards for when families are there, and I thought they said we can’t hold hands with our spouses while they are in uniform, so I cried for a little bit, just upset at the whole thing. But I went back and reread it, and we can hold our spouse’s hand, so that made it all better. I’m just looking forward to being back home and not having to obey anyone’s rules but our own.

It looks like it might rain when I am there, which sort of sucks. But I am confident I can still look grown up and pretty and impress my husband.

They are currently out in the field (until tomorrow). I am just hoping I get another letter (or a few) the next few days to get me through.

With only one week to go, I am anxious and ready. I even planned dinner reservations for the night we stay in Phoenix. The reservation is at the restaurant he wanted to go to, so I hope he is okay with it. I just can’t wait to see him and tell him the plans.

I’m praying that the time flies even quicker and that God gives me the strength to complete all my assignments and grading that need to be done before I leave.

There’s a lot more to say over the course of the next week, so I have many more things to jot down. I can guarantee you’ll hear from me again soon.