May 2008, 7 Months into Our Deployment,
Excerpted from "Military Mommy, Finding Faith and Surviving Motherhood when Daddy's Deployed"
Max had been sick with a nasty fever and he was simply not sleeping. I later realized that it was hand, foot and mouth which he caught from some germy kid at daycare but at the time I was simply tired. I was a walking zombie, only awake thanks to some Folgers made at the crack of dawn when I gave up on sleep and just got up for the day.
Max had been sleeping even worse than normal for about 4 days. We are talking up every hour; I think the longest stretch of consecutive sleep was 2 hours. At 2:30 in the morning on the 4th night I reached my breaking point. He kept crying and crying, even though he was in bed with me by then and I was crying out the Lord, WHY LORD? I knew there was a reason that we were enduring this season alone, I knew that this deployment and even Max’s sleep problems were a part of the Lord’s plan but I was begging him to reveal Himself to me in that moment. I asked the Lord, “Please show me WHY or tell me something. I don’t know if I can do this much longer”
I took Max back to his room because I needed a sanity break. I stood in front of his crib swaying back and forth with him, as the music on his little crib toy played softly and I cried out in frustration and exhaustion to the Lord. I need you to show yourself to me Lord.
And I looked up and all I could see in the darkness was Prove Yourself, part of the wall quote on Max's wall above his crib. From Pinocchio, not the bible...I looked down at my drowsy child. Tears threatened my eyes again and I looked up once again. You Must Prove Yourself
”Oh Lord, am I not? What does that mean? Why do I need to prove myself to you? I thought that you would carry me through this as a Father does a child, what do I have to PROVE?” For the first time that night I laid Max down and he slept. I crept back to bed and vowed to figure out the message the next day.
So in the morning I found the time and used my trusty friend, Google to do some research and what I found was so simple but so profound to me. I found a link online from Theater Church that was all about overcoming adversity and it definitely spoke to me.
James 1:2 reframes trials.
Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Thank You Lord for reframing this trial for me. Thank you for testing me with this adversity, for developing my perseverance and my character and for bringing me closer to you through it all.
Adversity expands our capacity to serve God.
This is so true for each of us. It is in difficult times that we tend to lean on God more and more. We turn to him when in doubt, when we are tired and weary and surrounded by the outsiders. How blessed am I that he has given me this time frame to take away distraction and lean on Him more completely. To surround myself in his presence.
I don’t know what kind of adversity you’re facing, but I know that God is in the remodeling business. And instead of being in such a hurry to get out of adverse situations, sometimes we need to make sure we get something out of those adverse situations! There are lessons to be learned and character traits to be developed. And honestly, it is adversity that will present you with the greatest opportunity to prove yourself as a parent, a spouse, a friend, a neighbor, and a leader.
This was a BIG one for me. You as an Army wife understand that I was WISHING this deployment away. I was willing time to pass more quickly and what I gleaned that day was this. This is what the Lord spoke to me.
Stop, slow down and use this trial, this adversity to mold you closer to what I want you to be Jess. Learn what I want you to learn. Turn to me in this time of need and I will turn this challenge into your destiny. You asked Me to take over, you asked Me to guide your path, you surrendered yourself to MY PLAN for you many months ago and this is it. I did not ask you to live easy, I did not ask you to sacrifice everything, I only asked of you this. Live this, Love this, and Learn This and I will lead you into places greater than you have imagined. Give up control once again and surrender to me and I will develop this day your destiny.
So I did it. I accepted the deployment as part of His plan and the trigger to a destiny that to be honest I couldn’t see at the time.