Military life is nothing new under the sun. While it is, right now, new to our family, many other families have lived this life long before me. And there is comfort in that—knowing I am not alone in feeling trepidation for what comes next, knowing there are others to lean on for support—but also knowing there is ultimate comfort in God because of His concern for our anxiety during this vocational transition.
Prepare for Humbling
I have a new motto. Here it is: Be prepared; humbling will happen, and none of us can help it.
My husband recently went from serving in the Navy Reserves while pastoring a local congregation to a full-blown, active-duty Navy chaplain who will soon depart for a long first deployment. Since this transition began, I have relearned something valuable: in no way have I been (or am I) capable of handling life on my own. Trite, maybe, but no less true or in need of repetition. The only thing keeping me sane, organized, and able to care for my children and myself is the strength my loving heavenly Father gives.
I can’t go for long without needing to be reminded of that. Can anyone? It reminds me of 1 Peter 5:6–7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God … casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
Humble myself. It’s often an involuntary humbling—not something I can even do on my own, but something that happens externally and makes me fall flat on my face, such as having a child with developmental disabilities or becoming a single parent while my husband is stationed elsewhere in the country. I can plan every detail in response to what may come next in life or convince myself I won’t lose my cool with my children while single parenting, but my very best intention utterly fails when I leave my reliance on God at the door (as we all tend to do). Plans change. Details shift. Mama snaps. Welcome to Humbletown, population: me.
God Reminds Us: He Is Here
The passage is a good reminder, though. It helps me confess that my estimation of my abilities is—always—unbelievably arrogant. It’s also good to read on through verse 8: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The devil likes to capitalize on our arrogance, thrilled when we poise ourselves to wander off into his pitfalls without heed.
But the sweetness and the point is this: God cares for me. For us. This is most certainly true, no matter how many times we may forget it. Better yet, to repay our human forgetfulness, God still shows up all over the place to remind us of His love. I see it not only in the ways He has promised—and in the more abstract, philosophical ways—but also in the everyday.
I know He cares for me, deeply and personally, when my soul needs soothing, and the gentle patter of rain outside my window lulls me to sleep. When friends steal us away for brunch or a playdate after a few days of being cooped up. When someone brings dinner to share. When text messages remind us that friends are praying for us at just the right time. When new friends open their homes to us for an impromptu stay. When everyone in the family finally starts sleeping through the night after months of nightly wake-ups (if that’s not proof of divine intervention, I don’t know what is!).
Humbled by His Help
The boom I’ve been waiting for is about to drop. My husband may be stationed a few states away from us now, but soon he will be in the middle of an ocean. I suspect I may know how he’ll feel in that situation—emotionally, at least—while I tend the home front. That loneliness is another humbling. But despite the looming boom, I know I will continue to be humbled in a more significant way: by the help that comes from my Lord and His faithful servants on this earth, especially when I don’t ask for (and am resistant to) it … by the help that comes from God’s gentle and unfailing hand, even while thinking I can barrel through all life’s hard things by myself like some brainless sheep.
Suffice to say I don’t have a handle on life. I don’t when all is smooth sailing, and I won’t when it’s boom time. But you know what makes me the gladdest? Knowing I don’t need to. The Lord has got it all in His mighty, nail-scarred hands.
A source of strength, comfort, and inspiration for military personnel: Armed Forces Devotional Book.