Wednesday, August 08, 2007

An Interesting Road

For all those who want/need to know what has been going on in our family over the last few months! It’s an update but it’s long so be forewarned.

An Interesting Road . . .

That exactly describes the journey that God has taken me on over the last many months. Things have definitely been interesting and the Lord has taken me down a road that I thought would be much better paved and much clearer than it has.

The whole journey started in June when I got a text message from Mike saying, “I really want to go active duty.” I wasn’t surprised by this message; we had been discussing the option for almost a year before that but had never made a complete concrete decision. When he texted me that day, during his two week duty with the Marine Corps, I had a feeling that this time it was more than just a thought, that it was serious. Once he was home we talked through things and made some decisions. He decided to go active duty. This didn’t mean immediate deployment; it meant changing from working a full-time “civilian” job to working a full-time job at a military base. This meant that we would be moving out of Minnesota to an active duty base.

The first decision was with which branch he would go active duty with because his contract with the Marine Corps is over in November of this year and that would free him up to join another branch if he wanted. Well, we decided to go forward with the Air Force because we thought it was a little more “family friendly.” So Mike gathered the necessary paperwork and talked to a recruiter a few times and then turned it all in. There was a lot of back and forth in the decision to go with the Air Force and both Mike and I went back and forth with whether it was the right decision; we both have deep ties to the Marine Corps. The recruiter told Mike that he would call him back in 2-3 days. Well, he didn’t call and 4 days later when Mike called him, he told Mike that the office that processed the paperwork was closed for the week and at the earliest he could call Mike would be Monday of the following week.

Through that first week and the weekend, and the beginning of the next week the kids and I took many walks where I prayed over and over: “Lord, if you want Mike to go into the Air Force have them come back to Mike with the perfect or near perfect job. And Lord if you want him to stay with the Corps have the AF come back with nothing.” Well we waited and prayed for 4 days and the recruiter came back with NO jobs. I viewed this as a complete answer to my prayers! Mike on the other hand was a little discouraged and a little hesitant. We both had expected the AF to come back with at least something. He wanted to make the RIGHT decision for our family, understandably so. So I needed to wait, wait on Mike, and wait on the Lord. God was taking me through a big test in patience and trust. I needed to have patience with Mike and patience with the Lord – that He would communicate to Mike if it was the right decision. I needed to trust that if it was God’s plan for us to be a Marine Corps family He would move in Mike. I never once doubted that Mike was trusting God, I just needed to remember to trust Him myself!

Well, God did move in Mike and he came home one day, spun me around, and said, “We’re going to be a Marine Corps family!” Needless to say, I was ecstatic. God had given Mike the confidence and peace that He had given me earlier. All I had to do was trust the Lord, and trust that Mike was listening to the Lord, which he was – and is.

That started the process of completing the correct paperwork with the Marine Corps. Mike completed what he could at the base and was sent home with more paperwork to re-type and fill out which he started working on. In the middle of this (Tuesday 07.31.07) he was laid off from his current job at the Transmission Doctor. Most people would view this as a bad thing; we however viewed it as the clearest sign that God could have given us that Mike was making the right decision in going active duty!

So, he wasn’t able to fully complete all the paperwork without the help of his Staff Sergeant who was at WE Fest with the unit doing security. (That brings us up to this last weekend 08.04.07) So he decided he would bring it with him to his weekend duty and see if he could get one or two of the guys to answer his questions.

Saturday, 08.04.07, he went off to duty and over the course of the day talked with a guy about getting a temporary position at the base to cover his “waiting” time until his active duty papers went through. While talking with this guy he found out that a full time active duty mechanic position would be opening up soon – here in MN. This would mean that he would be Active Duty Reserve – active duty but working on a reserve base. This also means that we would not have to move out of Minnesota for 4 years. This would also mean that he would be deployed with his unit next spring, for sure.

That is where we are currently. We are waiting to hear back about the temporary position (ADSW) that would cover the time from now until he was able to start training for the mechanic position at the base. There’s more paperwork to be completed and filed. More waiting!

This has thrown me onto a very interesting and testing road. I was confident and peace-filled in the decision to go active duty military, and also with the decision to go active duty Marine Corps but this whole reversal of plans threw me for a loop. I seem to have this tendency where if Mike tells me that we’re going to do something – even if it’s not set in stone yet – I tend to plan it all out in my mind and run with it. This leads me to having certain expectations and certain timelines that aren’t real but I make them real in my mind. So, in my mind, we were going active duty with the Marine Corps meaning Mike would get this particular job working with Ospreys (new aircrafts) and would go through MOS training in another state – where we would move with him, and then he would get stationed at an active duty base in another state as well, most likely NC, AZ, or CA. In my mind we would be on an active duty base by the end of the year, we would be living on base in base housing, and I would be around other Marine Wives. I was excited to move, I was excited about living on base, and I was excited about the ministry that was possible with being around other Marine Wives.

Needless to say the events of Saturday changed all of those things that I had set in my mind. And I do not like when my plans get rearranged or changed! God keeps trying to teach me that I can’t make my own plans before His are fully laid out but I keep doing it. Most of the reasons that I am struggling are selfish reasons! I wanted to move (it was exciting to me), and I wanted to be in a house on base (more room and decorating potential), and I was excited about all the amenities on base (swimming pool, gym, etc), and mostly I was excited about being around other Marine/military wives – being able to be a support system to other women and to be around other women who were going through similar experiences, other women who understand the military life. I am slowly but surely realizing that these things are all still possibilities, it’s all just on a different timeline now. We will probably still move but not for 4 years, we’ll be able to work something out with the gym at the base here, and there are going to be other wives that I can connect with – especially when the unit deploys next spring. God is teaching me that His timing is different than mine, but usually it’s better. He is also teaching me that I can’t plan things out in my mind because He is the one in control. I am still fully confident in Mike and his decisions and I am trusting that God is leading him and leading our family.

We have not come to the end of this road yet and it’s going to be a long and bumpy one, but God is good and sovereign and I trust Him! I still have my own issues to work through and it’s all still a work in progress in my heart but this is where God’s taken me so far!

There are still unanswered questions I’m sure so please feel free to contact me if you want more details!