When our depravity meets His divinity, it is a beautiful collision.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Air Force: Year One!

On this morning last year, I woke up for the last time (for a while, anyway) with my husband. We got dressed. I swear my legs wouldn't work. In one way I wanted the morning to last forever, but at the same time I wanted the next 6 months to fly. What an awful push and pull of emotions.

We left and went to eat breakfast at IHOP. I kept most of my tears in because I knew I had to be strong. He was the one walking into the unknown. We talked about the future and some about the past. I mostly stared at him because I couldn't believe it was really happening. After we ate I drove him to his recruiter's office, we hugged for a few minutes, shared a kiss, and he walked away.

That was it. There was nothing glamorous about the situation. There was no one last long kiss goodbye in the sunset. There was no soft music in the background. There was nothing but me watching my best friend walk away like he would be back tomorrow. Never have I felt so much pain and emotion all at once. I drove away as quickly as I could. Emptiness. It was almost like I felt nothing, and that is the worst feeling of all. Driving down the road, with no thought in my mind, the tears came. How in the world would I get through this? How does life happen without the one person that makes life?

I made it home, to my parent's house where I would live for the next six months of my life, and I got into bed. I was hoping that I could sleep away the hurt, or at least sleep away the thoughts racing in my mind.

I think about this day last year and it still makes me sad. The feelings and emotions were so strong. I didn't want them there. I didn't want to be sad, but I couldn't make it go away. Isn't that the worst? When something you don't want has taken over, yet nothing can be done to change the situation.

Now, fast forward life for 2 months and we had gotten past one big hurdle. Eight weeks, a handful of letters from him and a letter a day to him, a phone call every week or two if we were lucky, and we made it through. I still can't accurately describe the emotions of my first moment seeing him again. Sheer joy. Ecstatic. Elated. Jumping up and down. Nope, none of it describes the way I felt. Not enough, anyway.

 What a sweet time in my life. So much love and pride all wrapped up into one moment. My husband not only made it through basic training, but he made it out on top. I knew he was awesome, but...did he really accomplish that much???

One of the reasons that I can look back on that time and smile is because we came out on the other side and I saw a completely different side of myself, my husband, and my Jesus. I was strong. Stronger than I ever imagined I could be. No, not physical strength, but a toughness of the heart that let me know I could handle anything with the help of God. I had no choice but to see the faithfulness of God. He took a situation that I just knew I couldn't handle and he made me better because of it.

One year after that awful emotional day, I sit at my computer in my new home and I am happy. Truly. Sure, my husband works long hours sometimes. Today he started 12 hour shifts. He will be doing this for the next week or more. We'll only get 2 or 3 hours together every evening until this is over. BUT...2 or 3 hours is so much better than what we had last year at this time.

Isn't this what life is all about? Looking at my situation and seeing that it could always be worse. I try to look at where I am each day, and if I have things to complain about I remember a time that was worse. I give my thanks to the Air Force for teaching me this valuable lesson. 

Today, I am so very thankful for the Air Force. For what it has taught us, for how it has changed us, and for how it has made us better. I have no idea where we will end up in the next 5 years. Will we continue the Air Force life or will God have new plans for us? I have no idea, but I do know that God will take care of us.

Where do I want to be in 5 years? It doesn't matter, as long as I've got my man by my side and enough money to survive. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Freedom in Living Each Moment

Has it really been 7 months since I last posted? Back in February I thought April would never arrive, much less September. What a crazy ride this has been.

In just over 2 weeks we will hit the one year mark in Chris's Air Force career. Last year at this time I was dreading each new day, as it was a day closer to loneliness. Today I'm loving each new day as a brand new opportunity to love life and take in every moment.

Chris flew home from California on March 31. I can't remember exactly how it all happened, but his flight was late maybe? I think I've blocked out that memory just because I was so frustrated and wanted him home. I sat at the airport for hours that night just waiting, but everything...and I mean EVERYTHING, was forgotten the second I saw him walking down to meet me. I remember telling all of the other people waiting for their loved ones that my husband was coming home after 6 months away. I was so proud. After Chris and I hugged and kissed I looked around and realized that everyone was watching us. I was slightly embarrassed, but I was loving it. 

Two weeks later we moved to Shreveport on April 24, Chris's birthday. I knew I would love being with Chris again, but I never expected to settle in so quickly, make friends so quickly, and love this place so quickly. Sure, I'd love to travel the world and see new places, but for now, I'm loving every second at Barksdale AFB.

A few weeks after moving to Shreveport, we celebrated my college graduation. Even though I haven't been able to use my degree in journalism yet, I am so proud of the fact that I have that degree. The 5 year road to that degree was not easy, but it sure did have it's fun moments. 

In May we took a trip to Dallas to celebrate Memorial Day. Chris had his first 4 day weekend. I had no idea then how much we would grow to LOVE those weekends. We found delicious places to eat, went to the zoo, and simply took time to soak in each others company. It was a beautiful time.

We celebrated Independence Day together with friends. We spent the evening grilling, eating, and hanging out, and then went to watch fireworks at the Boardwalk. We saw a movie after that, and it was the first time that I truly realized how much God has blessed us by placing us here and placing these friends in our lives.

This summer, between Chris working and my attempt at job hunting, we just took time to live. It's the first time that we've ever had a couple that we truly just connect with. We've spent hours outside playing volleyball, throwing a frisbee, playing video games, getting Sonic drinks, watching movies, laughing...the list goes on. It's the small moments in life that remind me how God has a hand in every detail.

In August we took another weekend trip to Dallas, but this time with Kelsey and Alan. I wish I had video footage of that whole weekend. My husband is so silly and it's one thing that I absolutely love about him. I'm glad that my friends feel the same way. He acted like a fool. I guess we all did. We went to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and spent a hot and sweaty day waiting in long lines for water slides. Fun, but definitely not the best part of the weekend. We went to the Dallas Museum of Art, and for once in my life, I told myself that I didn't care how unsophisticated we all probably looked and sounded like. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate art, but some stuff is just funny. 

And I'll never forget walking along and hearing my husband whisper, "Did you see WHO that was?" Of course I didn't. I have this horrible habit of not looking at people that I walk by. Chris walked up to the nearest security guard and said, "Was that...." She said, "Yep, it sure was!" I was still clueless, but it was Jon Voigt! That's right. Angelina Jolie's dad. The man that I see on Bill O'Reilly all the time (I made sure to tell him that). The dad from National Treasure. A real live celebrity. We were all starstruck. My husband, who always swore he would never do this, walked up to the man and asked for a photo. I had such a hard time keeping it together. You would swear we were 12 years old in 1998 meeting Hanson for the first time. It was madness. Just one of the sweet moments from the weekend.

On August 30 we celebrated our 2 year anniversary. In a way, it's hard to believe it's been 2 years, but on the other hand, I feel like my life has always included Chris. This summer marks 6 years of knowing and loving Chris.

Last weekend we traveled to Hot Springs, Ar, stayed in a cabin for two nights, and had a blast. Our cabin was super sweet. It was in the middle of a horse pasture. Yes, horses walked up to our back porch every night looking for food. On Saturday morning we went horseback riding up a mountain. It was an incredible experience. After the horseback ride we went on a 7 mile hike up Sunset Trail to Music Mountain. The names sound like they are straight from a game of Candyland. The hike was definitely not as easy as Candyland. I had to take breaks. Lots of breaks. I wish those breaks included meeting Queen Frostine, or I would have even settled for falling into Molasses Swamp. But, nope, we just had our Camelbacks filled with water and felt so hardcore. We found cool rocks to bring home with us. We had sweat dripping down our backs. Lots of it. We made it to the top, gazed off of the mountaintop and made the trek back down. We drove home on Sunday wishing that we could drop everything, move to the wilderness, and live off of the land. I think everyone needs moments like that every now and then. It was a feeling of true freedom.

Today, life is back to normal. I'm sitting at home, hoping, praying, wishing for a job, and Chris is working hard in the hot sun. Actually, today it's beautiful outside. The first breath of fall is in the air. It feels oh so good. I've got Derek Webb playing on iTunes. I've got my dreams. I've got faith in the fact that God knows my every step. He knows exactly where I'll be next year at this time. Hopefully wherever that is it includes my handsome husband, super sweet kitties, and maybe, just maybe, a sweet baby. 

But, for today, for right now, I'm happy. I'm loved.

This is the beautiful collision.

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