I started sharing this vision with him, it was so vivid and so real I still believe today that it’s a promise from The Lord. I was sharing of chipped paint on the porch, hot coffee in hand, linen overalls, two dogs on the porch and an uncertain number of children running around our feet. I had a thick headband holding back my I’ve-got-more-kids-and-more-things-to-do-than-wash-hair kind of hair. he stood strong while i had my arms wrapped around him, leaning on him like i often do. we were smiling at each other, at whoever was taking the picture, at the kiddos, and at the house on a plot of land we’d just bought. it was an older house – lots of love, lots of porch sitting, coffee drinking in the morning, popsicles under cover in a late summer day shower, lots of barefoot and muddy shoes kicked off at the door kind of house. there was ample garden space, something we’ve talked and dreamed about for awhile now. to grow and raise and care for our own food, this space was giving us the ability to do such things. the land around is a little fuzzy. but i am so certain this house is a real place and I am so certain we will live in it one day. and as i was telling him and paused to hear his reciprocated enthusiasm he says to me, “i’ve got something I need to tell you.” which, nothing good ever really comes from that, right?
before he could get the sentence out of his mouth, i knew where he was going. like Eliza Hamilton says (read:sings) “I know who I married” was running in the back of my mind. maybe i should back up? we were 17, in high school, had been dating less than a year when he originally signed the dotted line. oh you know, the one that means the army now owns him? yeah, that one. i know this man who’s name i share and child i bore is a man of honor, strength, integrity, valor, adventure, a man who fears The Lord and knows His voice. we had already trugged through basic training, Airborne school, AIT, a year active duty at Fort Bragg, a 10 month deployment, all in all – six years of our 7 years together had been owned by the army.
the sentence, when i was mid-vision-dream sharing, went something like this, “for the last few months, i have felt The Lord telling me I’m not done with the military. I haven’t shared it with you up to this point because I wanted to be certain these weren’t selfish, fleshly desires but something from The Lord. the stirring is only getting stronger.”
welp, that was in October 2020. He had just officially been out of the military four months. over the next four months there we a lot, like a whole lot, of conversations. sometimes hours everyday of the week. We met with our counselor, mentors, friends. Then, we got COVID for Christmas. So from New years eve through mid january we were quarantined. we spent every nap time for a week dong deep dives into both of our hearts, feelings, talking out the chaos the previous 2 years had been for us (a deployment, a baby, 2 job changes, buying our first house, the loss of grandparents, all while working on one bachelors degree). We used the study Love and Respect to guide us as we navigated this conversation that we both knew was weighty and ultimately was necessary for us to acutely hear what The Lord may (or what i was hoping: may not) be asking us to step into.
we walked out of quarantine a more unified front, having repaired some of our foundation and for the first time in years having had some margin and space to breathe. I walked out maybe a little like Jonah. certain, though denying, what The Lord was confirming was the next step for our family. only, the following 2 weeks were a series of events that confirmed, undeniably, that my sweet husband would be signing that dotted line again. The Lord was gracious to give us one night away(our first and only since becoming parents) the day before he would sign the papers.
Mid february he signed the papers. early march he left for training. sometime in July he will finish training. and sometime after that we will be together, as a whole family again, in a new state.
my initial reaction to this stirring on his heart wasn’t my best. at the surface I was frustrated and annoyed, having thought we were passed the army chapter of our lives. a deeper look would show more: doubt in his ability to hear the Lord, unbelief in The Lord speaking to my husband, or a reality that wasn’t my vision for our life.
but we did the work anyway. if I had shut down the conversation, convinced the only way our lives could turn out was the way I desired in the moment, there would be questions unanswered and (honestly) grudges held. hurt feelings. doubt in each other and The Lord.
we are 1-2 months out from memorizing another zip code. after some research on gardening in our new home state, i heard one local gardener say, “the conditions we face here are some of the hardest – both extremes. if you can garden here, you can garden anywhere.” God winked. the seeds i bought in anticipation for a spring planting and fall harvest in Tennessee have been sitting in the garage, i kept them as a visual promise believing that they’d be planted, watered and harvested. we will journey to a new place, call it home for awhile and learn to grow new things.
He who promises is faithful. He’s carried us into unknown.
He plants, He waters, He grows.
and by His grace, so might we.