The following is an excerpt from Sara’s new book, GOD Strong: A Military Wife’s Spiritual Survival Guide.
One of the hardest parts of the military life is the deployment. Being separated from your spouse can be emotionally grueling, depressingly solitary, and overwhelming. If you let it be that way.
During our first deployment, I was determined that it would not be that way. I approached this new experience in our lives with the fervor and determination of the defenders of the Alamo; whatever happened, I would not let our family down. I had a plan. I would be the Great Communicator, keeping my husband and son and the rest of our family and friends closely connected.
I would be the Great Organizer, juggling all of my son’s activities, my work responsibilities, church functions, and aforementioned family communications with the ease and skill of one who knows no scheduling conflict.
I would be the Great Cheerleader, offering an unending supply of encouragement to my husband in Iraq and to our son here at home. And to do all of this, I would have to be the Great Health nut. Yes, that was my plan. I would eat right, exercise every day, and stay fit and healthy, stress free and positively motivated throughout the deployment. I would be physically, mentally, and emotionally strong. Those incredible endorphins would keep me going!
To help in this quest for uberstrength (or what I ultimately learned is Me Strength), I brought along my iPod to the gym, loaded with the music I thought I needed to “get in the zone.” There were songs on there I had never listened to before but had bought specifically for the deployment – titles like “Fighter” and “Push It’ and “Let’s Get It Started.” I chose songs that encouraged me to push myself, to make my life happen how I wanted it to happen, to be sexy (after all, I wanted to look good when my husband came home), to be a rock star or at least live the confident rock star life. The other songs I owned – songs praising God, songs that reminded me of his goodness, his grace, and his control – were left off my playlist because I’d decided they weren’t intense enough. Not motivating enough. I needed fast and loud. I needed tough and strong.
What I didn’t realize until months later, when I was so spent and worn out and sitting on my couch in the dark, was that I had overlooked God’s strength. I had fooled myself into thinking that because I was Me Strong, I didn’t have to be God Strong. God was there, but at a distance safe enough to keep me from being reminded just how weak I am.