It has been a while since I have written anything, mostly because I do not feel that I have much to offer. I'm sure you have been in a similar place at one time or another- you try to stay distracted by the mundane of each day otherwise you would burst into tears. The last few days have been a battle of coersion just to get myself out of bed.
But I wanted to share a handful of things God has been teaching me:
1. The value of time.
It is only when time is working against us that we recognize its value. I never realized the preciousness of an hour until it was the last one Jon and I had together before saying goodbye. Or the costliness of one minute until I stepped away from my phone only to see that I just missed his call for that day.
We often speak of time in terms of financial language- we "spend time," "save time," waste time." That is why the words "Redeem the time" echo so loudly in Scripture. Redeem has the idea of buying back and attributing value. One friend remarked that the opposite of redeeming time is being a slave to time. Time is a precious commodity, perhaps the most precious. Value it, redeem it, use it wisely.
"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity ("redeeming the time") because the days are evil." - Ephesians 5:15-16
2. The power of words.
It is only when someone says something carelessly that happens to affect us deeply that we realize the power of words. After I shared that Jon was deployed a person remarked, "that is hard on our soldiers, they come back really messed up; it's no wonder that the suicide and divorce rate is so high in the military." I soon excused myself and found a secluded place to start bawling.
But I have been just as guilty of flippant words. I can think of numerous occasions where I have said something thoughtlessly or in humor, only the see the other individual's countenance starts to fall. It makes me think of conversation in which many young mothers were grousing and complaining about sleepless nights and poopy diapers, not realizing that one of the women in their midst struggled with infertility and would trade a thousand sleepless nights for the chance to hold her newborn baby.
That is why the Bible takes our speech so seriously. It speaks of our words as a raging fire (James 3:5-6) or a piercing sword (Psalm 55:21). We are so quick to speak without considering the impact of our words.
"The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." - Proverbs 12:18
3. The danger of comparison.
People have commented that they are so jealous that I get to do some traveling or have extra free time, but I am thinking to myself, "this is not what I want to be doing right now, I just want to be with my husband." But then I look at others and long for their situation without considering the hardships and trials they are facing. I grumble to myself that this is the worst way to spend the first year of marriage, only to be reminded of my brother and his wife who spent numerous months of their first year of marriage in the hospital while she battled a severe brain condition on the brink of death.
God has written each of our stories differently because He has designed us uniquely. He knows what we need and what we cannot handle. I am reminded of "The Horse and His Boy" by C.S. Lewis, when Aslan is revealing to Shasta that He was the Lion with them along their journey. Shasta protests "then it was you who wounded Aravis?" To which Aslan responds, "Child, I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but their own."
No good comes from the comparison of ourselves or our circumstances because we either measure favorably and become prideful, or we feel inferior and become discontent.
"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of the sand--when I awake, I am still with You." - Psalm 139:16-18
4. The purposes of God.
When I first found out about the deployment I started to become very bitter towards the military. I hated that they were taking him away from me. I felt that they did not care about him, he was just one of their assets. They definitely did not care about me as his wife, and they had stopped caring about this war long ago. It was no longer politically beneficial or conducive to campaigning to talk about the war. So Jon was going to put his life on the line for no reason and without anyone caring. These roots of bitterness were taking hold deeper and deeper until God slammed me with the realization that He needed Jon to be there and He needed me to be here. It was the only way God could accomplish what He wanted in and through each of us. Who knows what decision or action Jon would make that could save the life of another soldier. Or the example Jon could be that would be a testimony to others around him and help further the Gospel.
In the story of Job, God addresses Job in chapters 38 through 41. He asks Job question after question about things of creation and mysteries of this world. When I first read through these chapters I felt they were harsh and uncaring, until I put them into context. All of the things God speaks of are beyond our control or comprehension. The heart of what he is saying is, "I need you to trust Me because you do not understand."
To which Job responds, "I know that You can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'Who is this that obscures My plans without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things to wonderful for me to know." - Job 42: 2-3
So I conclude with the verse that God brought my way the other morning:
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." - Romans 12:12
1. Image taken from visionaryvanguard.wordpress.com