The whole month of September I was asked, “So… do you feel like it went by quickly?”
(For those of you who are new here: they’re refering to The Deployment).
I would usually smile and reply, “Yes…. anddd no…”.
The question never felt easy to answer.
Yes, seemed to slip out first, probably because we were in the final month. I could surprisingly see the light at the end of the tunnel, my countdown calendar was almost full, and it felt good. Maybe even… easy? The excitement alone was almost causing me to forget everything that was behind us.
But then No was super quick to follow… As I would start to have flashbacks of what was behind us. The many lonely, sleepless nights. The hundreds of meals I cooked and ate by myself. The weekends I was desperate to do a second load of laundry. The trips and weddings and parties and festivals and events I hated going to alone. The excessive car break downs. The basement flooding. The overgrown yard. The scary black mold. And all of those even scarier bugs someone had to kill.
It’s funny how the things I thought I could never do, I did. Because I had no choice. And the things I didn’t want to do, I still did. Because I had no choice. (But really because the Lord made a way).
It’s ‘funny’ how I cried every day for a month when we found out about the deployment. Because I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Because I was so angry I was ‘losing’ my husband within our first year of marriage. Because I hated that he wasn’t as sad about it as I was. And, honestly, because trusting the Lord is my constant battle.
But now the 6 months have come and gone. And I smile at the thought of the old, ‘weaker’, doubting me. The one that never thought we would be on the other side. The one that couldn’t believe this was what God had in store for us as newlyweds.
The one that God is continuing to teach: If you’re holding on to control and worry, you might miss being held by ME.
Friday, October 7th, 11:15 PM. There he was. My husband. My groom. My hero. Grinning ear to ear, despite a full day of traveling.
193 days later… He. was. home!
The sweet embrace almost made the months of pain worth it. I could hear the Lord whispering, “I told you so” as I held that red head close, tears running down my cheeks.
Stronger, closer, deeper in love. I felt it.
Separation does that. Jesus does that.
By Sunday morning, living life together began to feel routine again. We snuck into church a few minutes late and sat in our usual spot. I reached for William’s hand just to make sure he was still really here.
The guitarist began to strum and my heart jumped. An all too familiar song, Sweet Comfort by Sandra McCracken. The same song I cried myself to sleep to every night after William left. The song that had spoken so much truth to me during a season I was stripped of control. A song that we had never sung at church before… but the Lord felt it necessary that day.
I looked up and began to sob (is anyone surprised?) because the irony was too much. It was one of those moments I was positive the Lord was speaking directly to me. William wrapped his arms around me and we swayed to the music, because he knew too.
“Whatever my God ordains is right
His holy will abides
I will be still whatever he does
And follow where he guides
Sweet comfort, sweet comfort
Yet shall fill my heart
Sweet comfort, sweet comfort
Sorrow shall depart
Whatever my God ordains is right
He makes my feet to stand
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine
He holds me in his hand
This bitter cup, I take it
My fainting heart restored
So here I stand, unshaken
I trust upon the Lord
He is my God though dark my road
He holds me, I shall not fall
Whatever my God ordains as right
To him I leave it all.”
I continued to quietly wipe my tears and mouth those precious words to heaven. Because my earthly groom was home, holding me close… but the Lord had never stopped holding us in his hands.
I’m still not sure if I can answer whether the last 6 months went by quickly. But I can say that on Sunday, it sure felt like the Lord was closing the gap.
We had gone from March, laying in bed alone, tearfully signing the words “This bitter cup, I take it, My fainting heart restored, So here I stand, unshaken, I trust upon the Lord”, to October, standing in church together, tearfully singing the very same.
Sure, a lot had happened and changed between the two moments, but Jesus remained the same. And faithful. And he was just as much worthy of our praise then as He is now.
And that’s where our ultimate comfort lies.
Watch our Homecoming Video here –> https://vimeo.com/194172652
Homecoming photos by Jordan Bauer
Homecoming video by Jacob VanOteghem & Joey Loftus