Everywhere I Go, There I Am and There He Is

"So where are you now?"

I have been asked this question so many times, not just by acquaintances, but close friends and family, because that's how crazy mobile our family has been over the past year.

Where am I now.

I'm trying to figure that out, friends.

This is our fourth PCS--Permanent Change of Duty Station, but permanent does not mean the same thing in the Navy as it does in rest of the free world.

If only this meme had proper punctuation.

So since I'm such a seasoned Navy wife, old pro, been-there-done-that type of gal, this should be easy. Cake and pie.

I think it's been the hardest one yet. (Including the last PCS, which included a horse that refused to load in 5 degree weather, setting us behind our travel schedule a day, which started a chain of events, including no heat or hot water in our new house for several days and holing up in a hotel in an ice storm. And then the Navy decided to ship my handsome Sailor off to the carrier for a month THE SAME DAY HE CHECKED IN, which we were not expecting. Yeah, that was hard, too.)

After a year of RV living--which we loved in many ways--then living back home on the farm--which we also loved--during the seven month sea deployment--which we did NOT love in all the ways it is possible not to love something--followed by two months of living in a furnished rental--which had its good times--while my darling Sailor finished up his tour, and then moving ourselves to a new home in the frozen tundra, well, it feels a little shaky up in here.

I'm weary. Bone-tired. I'm a Midwestern girl from birth, but my new Midwestern town feels so strange and foreign. It's only been a few weeks, so I need to be a little gentle with myself and give myself some time to find my footing while helping the kids to feel safe and secure and hopeful as well. The boxes are unpacked. The house needs a little work, and we are working on that, too.

I have been trying to be strong for so many months, and my strength feels deflated and wilted like a ten-day-old birthday balloon. Sometimes when I think I am relying on God's strength, I am actually still trying to be the scrappy, boot-strap-picker-upper that all the people tell me we military wives need to be, especially we Christian military wives. Forget all the "put on your big girls pants" advice you might read about military wives, our human strength is finite, too.

What does it mean to rely on God's strength when the task before you is harder, longer, bigger, dirtier, lonelier than you think you can handle? I cringe when I hear someone say that God never gives us more than we can handle. Sister, if we could handle everything, we wouldn't need God. God is famous for allowing more than we can handle to come into our lives, but he is famous for being more than enough. The deaths of two of my dearest friends and my beloved niece was more than I could handle. The paperwork, finances, and travel to bring home our darling girls was more than I could handle. The loneliness and longing during multiple deployments is on some days more than I can handle, and I would be willing to bet that every military family that has walked that road could attest to those times. Sometimes it's a treasured relationship that feels distant, or a worry-wrinkle on child's brow that you can't kiss away, or unmet expectations, or just the newness of change that are too much to handle.

I wake up daily setting my worries at God's feet, because they are too big for me to carry. I don't know about you, but I often have to work hard to leave them there, and by that I mean plunging into prayer and consuming His Word. One year ago today, I posted this quote by Kara Tippets, mother of four who died from breast cancer at the age of 38: "The absence of suffering in my life is not my good. The nearness of God is my great, great good." Thank you, God, for coming near. Emmanuel.

The Lord IS my shepherd. There is nothing I want outside of him. Green pastures and still waters, baby. The only one that can soothe this soul. He asks for righteousness, because he is righteous; and because of his righteousness and death and resurrection, I can be righteous before God, too. The valley is full of deadly shadows, but shadows can't hurt me; he is victorious over death anyway. Evil holds no power over me, so I don't have to be afraid, because HE IS WITH ME, comforting me with his direction and discipline. My table is full of good things, good things that the enemy cannot touch. He heals me with his anointing. He provides more than I could ever possibly need.  He pursues me with goodness and mercy until the day I die. I am part of his household forever.

If you are feeling weak or unloved or unseen today, please let me offer this encouragement: you are loved more immeasurably, more infinitely, and more intimately that you could possibly know. Press hard into Him in prayer. Dig deeper into His Word. I pray this now for you and for me:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19, emphasis mine). Take a listen to songwriter/singer Jami Smith and her excellent song: "Your Love Is Deep." I hope it gets stuck in your head. 

I would stop there in Ephesians but I love the next verse so much:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (vv. 20, 21).

If you think what you want to ask God is too much, it's not. Dream big, ask big, worship big, and He will still do more. 

And there is that strength we need when it's all more than we can handle. 


SiNana said…
Jodi, thank you. I needed those words of courage today.

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