Recently I made a trip to the Enlisted Heritage Hall, an Air Force museum, where my husband’s uniform is displayed. It is the uniform that he almost died in when the bombing of Khobar Towers happened on June 25, 1996.
I was just a young bride with no children at the time; married less than 5 years. After my husband completed his deployment, he came home and we got pregnant with our first child, a boy. During that year, we were told I would miscarry that child.
The same week my husband had a massive brain hemorrhage. Again, he should have died. Two years later we welcomed another child, a girl. During that year, she and I were hospitalized 7 different times. At the time, we did not know that she would most likely have lifelong health issues.
Over the years hardship plagued our family. We dealt with a child on the Autism spectrum, military moves that were difficult on the family, a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a Traumatic Brain Injury (PTSD/TBI) and suicide of an extended family member. Most recently, in the span of a year, we endured the death of my father, 2 uncles, my dad’s beloved dog, and my husband’s first service dog.
I am not writing these things to say “woe is me” or for you to think I’m looking for pity. Quite the opposite! I want to share how I managed to be in a happy fruitful marriage of 26 years despite these struggles.
When my husband and I married, we knew that God would be the head of our home. Yet we were young and didn’t understand this concept completely. It is through some of these adversities that I learned who I had to lean on in the dark times. My biggest struggle is loneliness even with others around me. I think this a common issues most military spouses endure, especially those that have a spouse with the PTSD/TBI diagnosis. I can no longer go to my husband with things that bother me, because he will likely get overwhelmed and not be able to handle multiple issues.
I can’t share with those who are not in the military, as they do not understand the lifestyle. I do not share with other military spouses for fear of being judged. Likewise, they don’t want to hear it for fear of it happening to their family.
Comfort can be found in Philippians 4:11 (KJV) “Not that I speak in respect of want for I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.”
This does not mean a state like Nebraska or Ohio, but rather our mental state. Although in truth, sometimes I needed it to mean what literal state I was in at the time! For me, I learned to rely heavily on God and I did this through His written word that was written in my heart. We may not think it is important as we get older to remember verses, but when I couldn’t think of anything to say, to do or even how to just be; I relied on reciting verses. This is how God kept me calm through many trials.
I was faithful in my devotionals, attending church, serving in my given mission fields, and trusting the advice of a few Godly people in my life. It was the reliance on my faith through adversity that made me a resilient person.
I have always sung the song, His eye is on the sparrow written by Ethel Waters, but never knew the backstory. It was about one couple seeing another couple deal with adversity that seemed incomprehensible. When they asked the couple how they dealt with the life difficulties handed to them, the wife responded with “His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me.”
That, my friend, is how I live my life. When my emotions and the drama of life is all consuming, I know and TRUST that my God is watching over me and he is watching over you too.
-A Military Spouse