It was my 5th day in California, on my summer nanny adventure.
I was still in the early stages of figuring out an unfamiliar town with a somewhat unfamiliar family. The other nanny hadn’t arrived yet, making my breaks short and days long.
After coming in from playing at the pool with the kids, I decided to quickly check my phone. My heart started racing as my eyes locked in on an unexpected string of text messages from William…
We had been
patiently waiting 2 months to receive THIS email. The email that held our future. The email that would change life as we know it.
Honestly, it felt like terrible timing. We had prayed that we would receive it a couple weeks earlier, during my time visiting William in Honduras. C’mon God… it only makes sense that we find out while we’re together… we would plead.
A couple months prior, we had created and submitted a PCS “wish list” — both a gift and a curse, for those of us who like to be in control (ME). We each spent time mapping out the cities/countries we would be okay with calling home for the next few years and the ones we would absolutely not (looking at you, Guam).
You learn a lot about the person you should know most about in the world during this process. It’s almost humorous how different our lists looked (William’s being 90% international and mine being 90% in the south). But we did our best to compromise and pull favorites from both lists, ultimately coming up with 10 places we deemed fine to live. Pun intended.
Travis AFB in Northern California seemed to be the one and only base we both agreed upon. Probably because we had recently taken our one year trip to the area and fell in loveee. We easily marked it as #1 and got excited about the idea of living in wine country.
After MUCH discussion, Ramstein AFB in Southwestern Germany was placed as #2. But easily would have been #1-10 if it had been up to William. (And not listed at all, if it had been up to – scaredy cat -me).
Every mentor and fellow airman we mentioned the idea of Ramstein to, laughed at our naivety. Each letting us know that William was ‘too low in the game’ to get a placement like Ramstein and that we were essentially wasting our time even putting it on our wish list.
I would remind William of these comments as he fought to keep it on the final list. But we both knew Ramstein had always been his career dream, so I finally agreed to it… knowing it would never actually happen.
(Anddd #3-10 are hard to remember/seem irrelevant at this point 🙂 )
It was time for me to start preparing the kid’s lunch when I got the courage to ask my new boss if I could take a quick break to FaceTime my husband (something that would normally be a big no-no)…
“He just received the email that will tell us where we are moving”, I said, with a nervous smile.
“Oh, yes! Go! I can’t wait to hear!”, she responded, with a rare sincerity in her tone.
I rushed to a back bedroom, quickly closing the door behind me, as my iPhone tried connecting to another one, 3,000 miles away.
“Hey!!!”, I whisper-shouted, not wanting anyone in the next room to be a part of our conversation. “Hey! Are you ready?!”, William asked anxiously. “Yes!! Open it!”… my hands now shaking.
“We’re moving —— Poor Connection. comes across the screen. Of all the times I’ve seen those two dreaded words, this has to the be the worst.
“Nooooo! C’mon C’mon C’mon…”, I’m chanting out loud (as I’m shaking my phone), thinking that will help.
Finally it reconnects and all I can hear is multiple people cheering while staring at a blurry profile of William’s gigantic smile.
“WILLIAM! WHERE ARE WE MOVING!?!?!”, I’m (actually) shouting at this point.
“Babe, We got Ramstein! … We’re moving to Germany!!”, he shouts back, smiling ear to ear.
I removed the phone from my face as uncontrollable tears stormed down it. My body sank into total shock mode.
What? But how? This wasn’t suppose to happen! What about California? GERMANY?! Oh my gosh… I was thinking, as I tried to keep myself from passing out… still completely unable to say anything to William.
I thought for sure we were going to find out we were moving to California, while I was working in the state. And I may or may not had already picked out a quaint house with great built-ins that I could see us starting a family in. (Thanks a lot, Zillow.)
But then I remembered my deployed husband was still on the line, waiting to hear from me… his wife, his encourager, his helper. There was no longer any noise coming from his end, as I mustered up the courage to reveal my face. It’s not like I could hide it from him forever.
“Uh Babe……. why are you crying?”, he asked, with an unsure smile.
But no words would come out. I was so afraid of speaking before thinking and ruining this special moment in his career. Tears continued to fall down my face as I stared into
my phone his eyes, trying to force a smile onto my face. But who was I kidding…
“I’m sorry”, I finally mumbled. “I’m not trying to cry, I’m just in complete shock …… You have to understand this isn’t my dream, it’s yours”, I said, trying to defend my lack of enthusiasm and support.
“Okay… I know… but this is really exciting. Most people would give anything to receive these PCS orders…”, he tried assuring me.
But nothing he could say would help in that moment. And nothing I was saying to him was helping either. I needed time. We both needed time.
“Well I have to get back to work… but it’s going to be okay… I’ll call you later… I love you, Brittany”, he said slowly, before ending the FaceTime I’ll never forget.
I felt terrible. And shame and doubt swooped in. Why couldn’t I be excited for him? For us? How can we want such different things?
I sat in that room a while longer, trying to gain my composure and normal complexion back. I felt sick. But I knew it was anxiety. My brain had too many tabs open and my system was shutting down.
I finally drug myself back to the kitchen where the kids were lined up along the counter, waiting for their sandwiches. They just stared at me, as if they knew something big had just happened. The mom came into the room… “SO!? What did you find out!?”, she excitedly asked before getting a good look at my face.
“Well…… I guess we’re moving to Germany”, I said through quivering lips, as those unavoidable tears made their way back.
Her face shifted… “Ooh”. She walked towards me to give me a hug. It had been awhile since I had had a hug and I definitely wasn’t going to refuse one then.
I couldn’t help but notice that she was tearing up as well, as we pulled away from our first (and only) embrace. I wasn’t sure if it was because she naturally cries when other people cry, or if she was remembering the conversation we had over breakfast about Germany … and she was now regretting stating she wouldn’t want to move there either.
Regardless, it felt nice to not feel alone in that moment. Even if I was with people I had somewhat just met… and was there to clean up after… and was still expected to make sandwiches for 🙂
Truthfully, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for that call in California… from my husband in Honduras… telling me we’re moving to Germany. My little heart just doesn’t even know where to start with a moment like that.
But over the last 4 months, with the gift of time, conversations, research, and so much prayer, my heart has slowly changed — by the grace of God.
The Lord has reminded me of so much…
That others have moved to different countries before me… and they will after me.
That I will be WITH William! (Well, fingers crossed.)
That I love to travel, especially in Europe.
That I love Europe’s food and product laws/regulations.
That I was also very nervous about moving to St. Louis (and now I love it).
But most importantly…
That when I chose William as my spouse, I also chose his dreams. And when we chose Jesus as our Savior, we chose to believe that the dreams He brings to life are FOR us.
Does this mean that I’m no longer anxious about moving to Germany? Not at all.
Does this mean that it will be easy for me to leave our current home, my job, our friends and family? Absolutely not.
It simply means…
I’m daily choosing to trust the Lord’s plans for my life and our marriage. It means that I’m allowing Him to show me areas I need Him to grow and change me. It means I’m laying aside my dreams and plans, and believing that His are better.
So watch out Germany…. Here we come! Or should I say, her home wit 🙂
“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalms 94:19
Let’s do this, Captain Fine.