Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tour of Duty Week 1

Last week was the beginning of our Tour of Duty Bible study.  We spent the week over at Wives of Faith introducing ourselves and read chapter one.  This week we are discussing chapter 1 and reading chapter two.  After responding at Wives of Faith, I'd like to post each week's questions here along with my response.  Feel free to comment whether you are doing this study or not. 

Chapter 1
1. What were your initial thoughts about this chapter/this topic this week? What’s one thing that stuck out to you?

As I began reading, I was thinking of how you can't truly receive the blessings of God unless you have a relationship with Him. 

Last summer when my husband was at Ft. Jackson, I felt like a married-single mom of 3.  Our home, our finances, our everything was my responsibility. During those 3 months apart, my grandmother passed away, I got a flat tire 30 miles from home with our new baby, and our electricity in the front of our house went out, not including the normal everyday stuff of coaching soccer and going back to work and school.  Everyone asked me how I did it, how I got through those months without Jeff. My answer was, "God took care of me." He provided me with a strong support system of family (blood and church). He placed people in my path that helped me, not took advantage of me.  Needless to say, I was kind of freaked out when those 3 burley men approached me at Target about my flat tire! But they helped me out and offered all kinds of advice.  

You see, I see those things as blessings, those that God placed there for me, the strength, comfort, and wisdom He provided, even the timing of our time apart. It was all God. I don't think someone who doesn't have a relationship with Him would recognize that.  

Because of my relationship with Him, I know he will take care of me whatever the circumstance.  To me, that was the overall "theme" of the first chapter.

2. On pg. 11, what were your early expectations when you were first married or you first became a military wife?

I have to say that I had always dreamed of the whole white picket fence thing, 3 kids (2boys and 1 girl), dayshift jobs, lots of fun and love!  Never in a million years did I expect to be a military wife.

God definitely has His own plans!

My husband and I started dating early; I was 13 and he was 15.  We married my senior year of college and moved in with his parents for a few months.  We moved back in with them when we were remodeling our first home. I was VERY pregnant at the time. Jeff travels alot for work (he missed Thanksgiving one year because he was in Japan, almost missed Christmas due to an ice storm). We opened our hearts to Jesus just days apart and were baptized together.  Needless to say our lives are not ordinary. We did have those 3 kids, just not the girl! 

Jeff has surrendered to the ministry. He is a deacon at our church where we both teach Sunday school. Our children are active in the children's programs as well.

Our lives are far from perfect. We disagree and we get behind on our bills like most people.  I think though that we are an example of what God can do if you let Him.  HE is the center of our home and that has made all the difference in the world.  Being equal, the comfortable lifestyle, the picket fence...none of that matters.  We have learned that following God's will is what matters most.

3. What are some of the things you’ve done to prepare for deployment?

This study is what I am doing to prepare for deployment so far.  At this time, my husband is non deployable as a Chaplain candidate, but we know that a deployment could be possible within the next year or so.

When time comes, I hope to use what I learn from this study and all of you as well to help prepare.

4. In this chapter, we describe deployment as hills, valleys, sharp turns, U-turns, thick fog, desert heat and stormy wet roads. Have you experienced some of these conditions? Which ones? What are you experiencing now?

Losing my grandmother while my husband was at Ft. Jackson last summer was definitely a low point.  I never thought I would have to go through anything like that "alone." I don't think I grieved the way I would have if my husband would have been home. I felt like I had to "stay strong," especially for my two oldest boys and my dad.  

5. In the section, “God has His best in mind for us” (p. 13), we talk about the big picture and “God’s best” versus “our best.” What is the difference? How have you seen this played out in your own life?

I think knowing that God has a plan for us, that He has HIS best in mind for us in comforting.  

I think back to how He showed me He knew best when my husband and I were considering having another baby.  WE were trying to plan it around the military. We knew what the timeline would be with CHBOLC and felt WE couldn't get through that time with a new baby.  When we finally decided to let God take control, I was pregnant in no time and all of the Army "stuff" starting falling into place. God had plans to show how HE would get us through that time.

When we look back and honestly reflect on things that have happened, we can see how God worked in those circumstances. It makes it easier to trust and depend on Him.  

6. We talked about choosing bitterness versus trusting God. It’s easy to resent God for what He allows to happen to us. How can you trust Him despite your circumstances?

We can focus on ourselves and our circumstances which can easily make us bitter.  However, we must place God as our number one priority.  In doing that, we allow Him to use us in ways that will bless others and it allows us to work through our situation in a healthy way.

7. Which letter of the SET acronym do you struggle with the most? What steps can you take to struggle less with it?

I think that being SECURE, EQUIPPED, and TENACIOUS work hand in hand.  If we are not equipped, we won't be secure or persistent.  The best way to be SET is to keep God the focus of our lives.  To be honest, I'm sure I am weak in all those areas at times.  

8. What’s the hardest thing about deployment for you? What do you need to do to turn this fear/challenge/struggle over to God? (And how can the rest of us pray for you in this?)

Although we have not faced a deployment yet, the hardest thing for me to do when my husband is away for trainings or work is to let go of my independence.  I do not like to depend on others; I'd rather do things myself.  I have been learning that needing others is ok.  In fact, I have seen when I have denied someone's help and they have been disappointed. Some people receive a blessing when they are made useful and I am becoming more open to that.

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