United States, Great Britain, Japan, Canada, Australia and elsewhere have loved ones serving in the military in trouble spots around the world. This interview explores how the author’s daughter deals with the anxiety of having her husband serving in time of war. But any individual with a loved one in the military will recognize her concerns.
by Annette Bridges. ©2006. All rights reserved.
Our daughter Jennifer married a little over two years ago, only six days before our son-in-law was to begin his Air Force training. In September 2005, his training completed, he left the country on his first overseas deployment. And our daughter came to stay with us.
In the hours we spend together, Jennifer and I talk about many things—her sweet husband, the spiritual ideas we are both learning from our study of the Bible and Mrs. Eddy’s writings, and how the ideas are helping get her through the holiday season when her husband is so far from home. We thought it would be helpful to share these ideas with others.
I know you’ve understood from the day you married there would be months of deployment. How did you prepare yourself for being separated from your husband?
At first the thought of my husband being deployed paralyzed me and brought my fears to a peak. I began having nightmares. I felt a sadness I could not define. I was struggling with fears of dealing with death. I felt anxious, not just at the possible loss of my husband, but anxious about dealing with the death of any of my family members, whenever that might be.
The laws of God apply to every situation.
So I decided to take a class on Christian Science. I felt this class would teach me more about God and how to apply the laws of God in the Bible for myself and my family, and especially for my husband.
I’ve been learning to focus more on the present instead of worrying about the future. To move from dwelling on death to getting a better understanding of Life—God. The more I study, the more confident I become that through God we’re all connected to each other; that all things are possible with God.
“All things are possible to him that believeth.”
Christ Jesus gave us this promise: “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” This faith-inspired confidence has lessened my anxieties about separation from my husband. It’s given me a more certain hope.
How have you been praying about the idea of your husband being in a danger zone?
I affirm that he can never for one millisecond be separated from God. He’s always encompassed in God’s love. I know that whatever he is faced with, he’s protected. Paul’s words encourage my faith: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In my prayers, I affirm there’s nothing my husband can’t handle, because God is always there to guide him. He’ll have the clarity he needs and will be receptive to the ideas he needs to make the right decisions. And not only my husband, but also the entire crew on his plane. They will all make the right decisions to stay safe.
I don’t dwell on fear; I’ve found a peace.
Relying on God’s power and control have helped me overcome illnesses and other challenges in my life. Remembering these experiences, and reading about others’ healing and life-transforming experiences, increases my faith now and supports my peace. They give me reason to pray for my husband and trust in my prayers. So I don’t dwell on fear anymore. I’ve found a peace. As a military wife, you have to find your peace—whatever that means to you.
Sometimes you don’t hear from your husband for days. How do you deal with this?
I have to know, really know, he can’t be separated from God and trust in that. Sometimes my imagination can take over, but I keep my thoughts in control by knowing God is in control. Neither my husband’s life, nor mine, is governed by circumstance.
I’ve found great comfort from this statement of Mary Baker Eddy: “Understanding the control which Love held over all, Daniel felt safe in the lions’ den, and Paul proved the viper to be harmless.”
God is always guiding His children.
To be assured that God, Love, is always caring for and guiding His children, wherever they are, quiets needless fears. That assurance also brings me the peace that my husband can do his job—even though he may be in a dangerous situation—and still feel and be safe.
When you hear of others who are hurt or killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, how do you feel?
I empathize with what these families are going through. I want to tell them that God is right there with them and with their loved one.
I’ve imagined all too often how I would react if I received that dreaded news. Hearing about other soldiers being hurt or killed brings home this possibility. You’re forced to think about this possibility even before your husband deploys.
I believe in Christ Jesus’ promise of eternal life.
The military makes families plan how they want to receive this type of news. If I had to deal with the loss of my husband, the only thing that comforts me is knowing death is not the end of his life. I believe in Christ Jesus’ promise of eternal life. And in the promise and hope that I will see my husband again.
How do you maintain your joy at the holidays with your husband away?
All my life, my grandmother has quoted Christ Jesus’ words, “Your joy no man taketh from you.” That joy is God-given—it can’t be lost or taken away. That joy is powerful and healing.
So I’m cherishing the time I’m spending with family and friends. Taking comfort and joy in these precious moments. Especially with my grandparents. But I’m also making plans to celebrate Christmas when my husband returns. I’ve decorated our house on base for Christmas and will leave the decorations up for him. In fact, my parents and grandparents are leaving their decorations up, too! I shop and plan just like he is home because I know we will celebrate Christmas together when he returns.
We’re setting a place for my husband at our Christmas dinner table and will honor his life of service before we eat. And then we’ll have another holiday dinner when he returns.
Has this experience made you more compassionate toward other military families, including those from other nations?
I feel a close tie with other military families, wherever they’re from. I cherish the knowledge that there are other families that understand what I’m going through. Whether we consider people an ally or an enemy, the struggles and losses families go through are the same.
I’ve always loved remembering what Abram said to Lot as they peaceably ended the tensions between them: “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.”
We’re all children of the same God.
No matter what is being fought for on either side, we’re all united in the brotherhood of humanity. We’re all children of the same God. Nothing can change that.
How is your husband dealing with being away from home? What has he shared with you?
It’s been a struggle at times. Life over there can become monotonous. It comforts him to know that I’m with my family and that we all love him. He values his experience as a lifetime learning opportunity. He is appreciating home more, even the little things. And he’s learning to not take things for granted.
Is there anything else you’d like to offer, particularly to other soldiers’ wives? Or to soldiers deployed or preparing for deployment?
My advice to other military wives would be to stay close to something you love a lot, whether it be family, a job, a hobby. Surround yourself with what gives you joy. But know you’re not alone. God is always with you. You can count on that.
To other soldiers deployed, I want to say, Know you’re appreciated. A lot of people back home value what you’re doing and are praying for your safe return.
|God is there to protect you, wherever you are.|
And if you’re a soldier preparing for deployment? You don’t have to be afraid. God will be with you to protect and guide you, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. The Bible gives you this promise: “When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies . . . be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee.”
And to people everywhere in the world, including non-military families—Mrs. Eddy wrote an article titled “Prayer for Country and Church” in which she wrote, “In your peaceful homes remember our brave soldiers, whether in camp or in battle.”
And these words, from the same article, have become part of my daily prayer: “… may their love of country, and their faithful service thereof, be unto them life-preservers!”
Merry Christmas to my husband and to all soldiers in every part of the world! My mom and I are praying for your safe return to your families and homelands!