Day 15: The Dangers of Comparison

How did it go?

For the first time ever, I had to board all 3 of my fur-children, and I can’t explain the anxiety and utter sadness I felt over this.

I’ve had to board Belle before, but I’ve always managed to find someone to cat-sit at home. I couldn’t this time. The one cat, Raptor, has a history of urinary blockage, so I’m super anxious to move him to a new environment, even for a few days. Luckily, where they are being boarded is also a veterinary hospital. Even so, I kept apologizing to him and Sabrina as I placed them in the cat condo they will be sharing for the next 3 ½ days.

Belle, of course, didn’t even look back since she’s so used to going to daycamp (and loves it).

So, I spent most of my day travelling—to the boarding facility, to the airport, on a plane, to the hotel…Ugh. Being on my own for a few hours—between hanging out in the airport and being on the plane—meant I had time to think. I was in danger of being overwhelmed a few times, but I took those moments to sort of watch those thoughts drift by. I actually created an image of myself talking to me and telling me to stop and asking the questions I usually ask others in similar situations: Can you control that? (No.) Can you do anything about it now? (No.) Do you know what you want? (Yes.) Take a deep breath. Pray.

And something came to me: I have a bad habit of comparing my life to the lives of others.

I realize I shouldn’t do this, that it’s terrible to do. The phrase “don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel” comes to mind. But I have! And it’s no wonder people felt they were an inconvenience to me, that they could not meet my (impossible) expectations, they would never be good enough for me. Because I was so busy thinking someone else has received a blessing I desire, why not us?

And just writing it out makes me feel so utterly guilty.

What did I learn?

God has something designed for each one of us, and it will not be the same as anything anyone else experiences. Comparison, then, is pointless. Not only pointless, but also dangerous.

I felt that a certain job or a certain lifestyle would be the answer to all the problems I thought I was experiencing, but that just isn’t the case. And God will let you know, somehow, when you have strayed.

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This particular image on Toby Mac’s Facebook page spoke to me today. It really made me look back and see perhaps God is trying to save me from myself.

I pray I haven’t gone too far.

In the time I have had alone today, I’ve realized that keeping my mouth shut can change my perspective and can even offer some hope. I’ve realized that maybe God is trying to tell me something.

“I look to the sky, where does my help come from.” My help comes from the Lord. And that is the most positive thing I could experience.

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.

It’s Amazing What A Few Months Can Do

I would like to first apologize for not updating in so long. It has been a rough few months, and graduate school has made me crazy busy to the point that anytime I am on my computer, it is school related.

My husband has been at Basic Combat Training since January and will graduate in March. He is an officer candidate in the National Guard, so at least he gets to come home immediately after graduation.

The time apart, though, has given me an opportunity to examine myself in a variety of ways, from how I can be more devoted to school to how I can be more devoted to my faith and, in turn, him. I have been able to keep up more regularly with my coursework, especially my online classes, because I don’t have my (albeit, wonderful) husband to distract me. Sometimes I’m even ahead (on a good week)! I am planning out my assignments because I will be gone the second week of March to see him at his graduation, so I am trying to ensure I don’t have a lot of work to do then, which means I need to get ahead as much as possible now.

Delving into my faith is where the self-exploration comes in. I realized, with the help of my pastor, that I was holding on to far too much anger at him, and it was really affecting my relationship with him and with God. It was a constant black spot that I needed to clear away. I feel, through prayer and study, I have been doing well at removing that blackness. I don’t feel that way anymore, though. I’ve tried to let go. I have come a long way in just a week I think.

His letters help, actually, because I know he is still the same person I left December 29th. That isn’t to say it isn’t difficult, because it is. In fact, it hasn’t gotten easier. What has gotten easier, though, is loving him and forgiving him. I know now what I should have known all along: he loves me no matter what and God is in control. I am ashamed that it has taken me so long, but I am glad to have that bit of enlightenment now.

In the most recent letter, he told me he wanted to plan something to make up for not being home for Valentine’s Day and that he is trying to plan the entire first week he is back home. It definitely took me by surprise as he has never really done that before; it’s been all me. But I am happy he is thinking about it, and I am really excited to see what he plans.

Most importantly, I am really excited to see him. On Wednesday it will be 4 weeks until I see his handsome face again. His hair is still SUPER short (like, practically bald), which is, I have to admit, not something I’m looking forward to. But I am so beyond excited to see him and kiss him and hug him and spend time with him.

I will do my best to update more frequently, especially as the BIG DAY looms closer and after we are reunited. Let the countdown really begin. In fact, I would like to share some Bible verses here in the next few weeks that have truly helped me through this.

Smile. Keep the faith. And remember: God’s got it.