I was not going to date one of those soldiers much less marry one!
That was my firm stance. After accepting a job teaching middle school Language Arts on a Army post in Texas, I refuted the prophecy of the superintendent hiring me. He predicted I would be a military wife in two years.
And he was right.
A tall, dark, and handsome soldier swept me off my feet. I would’ve married him the night of our first date. I knew he was the one. Love had changed my resolve. It no longer mattered that he trained for war–except that there was a war brewing. (This was 1990 and Saddam Hussein threatened the countries around him.) I quickly learned what it would require to be a wife of a soldier.
Mike received word that his unit could be deploying to the Middle East. So, we moved our November wedding up three months (planned it in two weeks) and got married on a Friday night at 8:00.
I hold many good memories of serving our country beside my soldier. Good friends. Travels to foreign lands where this girl from Oklahoma never dreamed she’d visit much less live. But one of my favorite memories was the night he came home from his first war. I’ve written about it in one of the lessons in my new Bible study on the Book of Ruth which will be releasing very soon.
In honor of our men and women and their families who serve our nation, and with great excitement for The Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study release, I felt led to share this snippet from the study. This is one of the introductions to a chapter. Each chapter introduces a Hebrew word, and my stories help explain their meaning.
This is the rest of the story after our whirlwind nuptial . . .
After our expedited wedding, Mike’s unit was selected to deactivate rather than deploy. Working for the military is like that. Plans change all the time. Though thankful for this news, the chances for deployment still hung in the air like a threatening cloud on the horizon. We knew a phone call could change our future at any moment, and we knew a war would launch soon.
A month after we said, “I do,” we started our family. I was thrilled, scared and green. Morning sickness was renamed all-day sickness—the honeymoon hadn’t lasted long. Real life moved in and unpacked his bags. Our first year of marriage would be marked by a war, me throwing-up, and a baby.
Months passed, the all-day sickness dissipated, and the threat of deployment waned. We seemed to be in a good place. A safe place. Until the phone call came a few days after Christmas. His unit was reactivated and scheduled to go to war.
Mike boarded a plane for Iraq on January 14, 1991, leaving his pregnant newlywed wife and unborn child behind. I struggled with his excitement. But I soon realized soldiers train for this. This was why they serve. And looking back, this war proved a great one to fight in. The battle unbalanced. The advantage ours.
E-mail didn’t exist at that time. Snail mail and phone calls were our only forms of communication, but my soldier served in a battalion with access to phones, unlike many soldiers. I went to sleep praying for a call to wake me in the middle of the night, and every other week it did.
The war ended quickly, and four months later and a week before Lamaze classes, Mike’s unit was scheduled to return home. I didn’t have to write the President of the United States to petition my husband’s return for the birth of his first child. That was a relief. I didn’t think he would agree anyway.
On the night of their return, the time of the battalion’s arrival continued to change. With each update I held my breath and my heart. I wouldn’t allow joy or excitement until I saw Mike’s face. Many friends joined me to welcome him home, but thinking back to that dark Texas night, I don’t think either one of us allowed our hearts to be free until we walked through the front door of our little blue home on Pearl Street. For a moment we were strangers—both changed. Mike witnessed war. I gained fifty pounds with a baby doing cartwheels inside.
But the moment we walked across our threshold, the ša ̒ar to our house, we were newlyweds again. My husband was home.
Will you pray with me for the families still serving our country today?
“Dear God, thank you for the men and women who sacrifice daily for our freedom. Protect them. Protect their marriages and families. Cover them with your grace. We pray for our government and those making global decisions. Bless our military. Don’t let their service be in vain. Bring those deployed home safely. We love you. Amen.”
Share your thoughts: Do you do anything to celebrate Veterans Day or to thank military families?
Jesus loves you,