As I sit here quietly this morning I am reflecting on a very stressful year, filled with chaos, stress, deployment workups, parenting, depression emergency plane landings (yes that happened) and yet a simple reminder that God has been there this whole time.
Have you ever been in a stressful season of life where it's hard to see beyond that, or yet, why God would have this chapter in your life?
This year started off stressful as we knew my husband had a deployment in the future. And before the deployment there are these magical things called workups. They train for the deployment for weeks, perhaps months before the deployment begins. As a military spouse for over 8 years now, I have found you can never fully prepare yourself for this lifestyle. Just like life itself, being a military spouse has many unknowns you can never fully prepare for, this year was one of them.
When they year started off quickly with my husband gone I felt this sense of anxiety and depression come over me. I wondered how we can cope with this lifestyle now having a toddler in the mix.
I felt overwhelmed with my business, sadness being away from my beloved family and stresses from difficult relationships. Taking a trip to Ohio in the spring was a wonderful way to see family, friends and take our annual girls trip.
On my way home from the girls trip (oh did I mention we went to Las Vega?s?!) my plane abruptly announced an engine went out and we were preparing for an emergency landing. In that moment a million things cross your mind. Mine was, " God I never take risks in life, I didn't even gamble in Vegas and now is my time to die...like this?!"
It was thee scariest moment in my life. When you look around and see the airline stewards crying you know this isn't a simple landing. Our life was truly in Gods hands. I sit here in tears as I still write this. It's scary and all I wanted was to live so badly. "God I have a family who needs me." God heard my cry as we braced for impact. I have never,EVER been so thankful to see the ground. Through it all God planned a little miracle to happen. My husband just happened to be in Yuma Arizona for 6 weeks for training. His commander graciously allowed him to drive 4 hours to come see me that night. God knew I needed my husband. I was emotionally a wreck, shocked and just needed my husband. We had about 12 amazing hours together. It was so precious and I will forever thank God for that little miracle when he knew I needeed my husband.
When I arrived back home to North Carolina my world of depression and anxiety sank deeper. I found relationships with some family and friends were shaken up. As a woman who has been a people pleaser her whole life, not having everyone like me was devastating. I questioned my self value, self worth and I allowed it to tear me apart. I had many things in my life out of my control .
I reached a point I knew I needed help. I reached out and got a christian counselor. What an amazing woman who was passionate for specifically helping military wives! Counseling taught me several life changing things:
1. Setting Boundaries with people we love
2. Learning how to deal with depression
3. CoDependency is an area in life I struggled with
Its a process and it takes alot of work to strive more of where I want to be as a woman.
As the weeks passed I'd like to say life slowed down but it didn't. My husband was gone even more and unexpected which created more stress. There were days I just cried to God, " God please, I give my day to you. This is so uncomfortable in this chapter in life." He always heard my cry.
Each day was a way to have a fresh start. Do you ever find yourself starting your week off right then ending it in chaos. I can chuckle because I have been there. One thing I quickly learned this fall was to slow down, take things out of my life. For so long I was keeping things and in my life because I was afraid if I didn't have it/them I'd be lonely during a deployment.
Finally in the fall, I reached a point driving in my car and I said, "OK GOD, I'm taking things out of my life and will fully trust YOU that you will provide for me." He delivered that.
I quit a job that I originally took because I was scared I'd be lonely and put my business as a full priority. I realized the passion I have for my own business and want to pursue that 100%
I stopped having a battlefield in my mind of how people have offended me and started praying for them instead.
I learned to feel my emotions, not bury them in brownies or social media. If I feel sad, I allow myself to feel that emotion.
I learned I can control my thoughts.
I joined a bible study, MOPS (Moms of Preschooler's)
I started being home more and simply enjoying it. I learned not every moment of the day has to be planned but to simply enjoy time, reading, way less social media and more time for me
I started getting a 90 minute massage 1 time a month. Self care is HUGE!
I learned to speak my voice. I have a voice now and not everyone will always like or agree with me (and that is OK!)
I learned I cannot control others or their actions but only my reactions.
I created a deployment bucket list of all the fun things I want to try (triathlons are calling me!)
If you suffer from depression, seek help, fight for your health. Each and every single day.
*In this moment, I know we still have a hard year ahead with a deployment in several months. I'm looking back at this year and phew it was rough. But you know, I give God all the glory. I truly believe God gave me this hard chapter in my life to refine me. Make me stronger, expand my faith like never before. When God took away everything that was comfortable to me it exposed me to rely on Him alone. And I'm grateful for that. On the days that felt so exhausting I have more compassion now for others. Perhaps, the lonely woman sitting by herself at church or an exhausted single mom. My compassion has grown and having a hard chapter in life created that compassion.
I'm in a really good headspace now. It's not because this rough chapter is over, because it's not. But because I have chosen JOY. My heart is filled with Gods love, I have felt the freshness of faith overpour my soul, I am a more patient and loving mother and I know that no matter what happens in life, God is and will always be there, that bring me JOY. I have fought hard to get out of the black clound feeling depressed. I feel amazing, and I know I have to go to God daily because I need Him so much!
So today my friend, you can CHOOSE JOY in the midst of your trial. Go on, give it a try.