This week was the culmination of a dream. One that my husband has dreamed for years now and I have recently begun to share with him. Bear enlisted in the army way back in 1991, and during that time, through a course of events came to believe that God had called him into the ministry. I was of the opinion back then that he must have been mistaken because God certainly hadn’t called ME to be a minister’s wife! Oh, no! That was not the life for me. I had no desire to go to Africa or some poverty stricken town where the minister and his family lived in a tumble down shack at the back of the church. No thank you!
Well, during the years between 1991 and now God was working on my heart, gently, but working still. I believe that my attitude delayed Bear’s calling, or the fulfillment of his calling anyway, while God got me in line with the game plan. How He worked out this change in me was so gradual, so loving and gentle that I hardly noticed the change in my heart until a few years ago during Bear’s second deployment to Iraq. He was getting more and more involved in the Chaplain’s lives and ministering to his fellow soldiers, and he decided that was what he wanted to do--to become an Army Chaplain.
We have both thought that being in the UMT, the Unit Ministry Team, was the best job in the army and we loved every minute of it. Now God was pushing Bear into a deeper calling, a more substantial sort of ministry than being an assistant to the Chaplain. Now that I was willing to obey and be submissive not only to God, but to my husband, he was revealing the next part of the plan. Army Chaplaincy.
Bear did the legwork, and I prayed. He looked up seminaries and Master’s programs and I prayed. God worked on my heart and Bear prayed. Bear started school shortly after he returned home from Iraq and then we knew we were in for the ride of our lives.
Napoleon said the army moves on its stomach; it doesn't, it moves on paperwork--piles of it, packets of it, volumes and volumes of it. DA photographs, forms, triplicate, DD-this and DD-that, x-23’s and blah-blah-214’s. Finally it was all put together, and we discovered that Bear had to exit the army to “stop the clock” of his enlisted time in service, and that we had about 2 weeks to “get out” of the army.
Wow! I didn’t know how we were going to do this huge step. So many of our friends thought we were nuts to do something like this, it seemed too much like counting our chickens before they had hatched; of only having birds in the bush and none in our hands; it smacked of burning bridges before we had crossed them. We sort of thought so too, but looking back at all God had brought us through, we had faith that He would not lead us to the precipice and leave us to falter there. We placed our lives in His loving and protective hands and stepped out on faith.
On May 14th of last year he was released from active duty and the next day was commissioned as a 2LT in the Individual Ready Reserve, released from service to pursue a Master’s Degree in seminary.
We know that God has always provided for our needs but through 8 months of unemployment that was to follow, we relied on His provision for our every need.
More to come… (sorry to leave you hanging, I'll come back soon, I promise)