Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Miracle on Pendleton Avenue

Because my husband is only a Chaplain Candidate and hasn’t finished his seminary yet, he has a civilian job while he’s in school but gets to do some active duty work and “play army” periodically. He loves it, he’s a good soldier and really loves ministering to the troops with which he is working.

I long to be full-time army, all the time. We are an army family, we have been for nearly 18 years, and our kids have grown up with secure gates, ID checks and the commissary. I feel at home in our army community, and my truck wants to turn in when we pass the gates to post.

But in the meantime we are a family without a city; we straddle the fence, neither here nor there in a constant state of change. Transitions are hard, I hate the “limbo” feeling of not belonging and I had to deal with the effects of it yesterday. Well, rather, it started the day before at the pharmacy. I had tried to refill a prescription using our civilian insurance. Of course, since Bear has been on active duty our civilian insurance has lapsed and they refused to pay for the script. Oh, duh! I thought, try it through Tricare, he’s active duty now, it should go through. I handed the pharmacy tech my military ID card and she tried processing it that way. No go. Turns out, each time he goes active, we have to go through several steps in order to get medical coverage. Why it can’t be automatic is beyond me, but it isn’t.

So today, I had the privilege of driving to my beloved post to take care of some errands. (At this point, I’m going to use some acronyms that the army uses, I talk this way, sometimes my civilian neighbors can’t understand me, but it is my life. I’ll try to clarify, or you can always Google it.) I needed to go to the DEERS office at the Welcome Center and verify our enrollment. Now we’ve been in the DEERS system for 17 years, so this is where the frustrating part comes in. I don’t know exactly what they see on their screen when they look at my husband’s file, but we are always there, 7 dependants, all in order, spouse, and 6 kids. But each time, we re-verify. Yes, we’re still living; we still need health care, blah, blah, blah.

As I turned into the Welcome center on Pendleton Ave, I could see we were in trouble. Every parking spot was full. Summer is a big time for PCS-ing and ETS-ing, scheduling household goods shipments, and clearing quarters. The housing office is in an adjacent building and they share the parking lot. I could see the throngs of soldiers and family members funneling through the doors to the ID office. Oh, no, that was right where we needed to be.

I squeezed the suburban into a “compact” space, (I’m good at maneuvering that thing,) and loaded the little boys into the double stroller, with strict instructions to the “walkers” that they were to stay with me at all times and maybe we could stop at the park later.

We got to the counter and read the sign, wait times today were running 2 ½ to 3 hours. No. I needed this prescription, (I have asthma and can’t go through the night without my medication.) I was disheartened. When the receptionist got to the counter to “field my request” I told her what we needed, knowing that I would not like her answer.

These are his orders? Yes.
Do you have a Power of Attorney? Um, no.
(I get the look over the glasses.) Yes, I know, I should have one.
I can’t do anything without a POA ma’am. Well, he’s in training from 0500 to 2200 each day. (Zero-five-hundred to twenty-two hundred = 5 am to 10 pm.) I know his commander is supposed to give him time off to take care of such things, but how’s he supposed to do that when he’s in training all that time.

Deep sigh from across the counter and a glance at the swarming masses filling the waiting room. (Here's the miracle--)She then took her little stylus and started tapping the screen, then with her inch long acrylics, tap, tap, tap on the keyboard, more dabbing with her stylus, and flip, she passed Bear’s orders back across the counter. Go see the people at the Tricare office.

That was it? Done. We were out of there. I felt like crying. I could not believe it; I had witnessed a miracle. Truly, a miracle.

Now, those of you in the civilian world may not realize what just occurred here, but the red-tape was cut, the red-carpet was rolled out and I moved to the head of the line. I went from being third class reservist family member to “President’s Own.” We were passed through the gate without an ID check. Come to think of it, she never even asked to see my ID card.

Definitely, a miracle, I tell you! I have never, in all my 17 years of Army-Wife-hood, had anything like that happen. Typically, we wait, in lines here, in lines there, suffering along with the thronging masses. You just get used to it. But, not today. Today, God’s blessing shined on us, and we were providentially passed through the crowd, and brought to the head of the line and given the go-ahead.

Now, I just have to draw an analogy here, this is what happens when we are saved by Jesus’ blood. This is what happens in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

When you follow the steps in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”, you get a new ID card, you go the front of the line and the get the red-carpet treatment. When you confess your sins to Him, He draws you into His arms and won’t let go. Your name is forever written down in His Book. There is no receptionist at the counter to glare at you over the top of her glasses, or to tap her computer screen to see if you are who you say you are. When you get your marching orders, you don’t become one of the President’s Own riding in a stretch limousine with a uniformed chauffeur, and flags waving. No, it’s better than that; you become a Child of The Most High, riding in a golden chariot, clothed in Jesus’ Righteousness, driven by the Lord, Himself.

The elation and relief I felt as I walked out of that mass of waiting people, was nothing compared to knowing that you are clean in God’s eye’s, knowing that you are His Own.


Cheri said...

Oh you were truly blessed today!

Love the analogy too - thank you.

Kiki said...

Wow, that was a miracle!

Emily said...

That was a miracle. Glad He shined down on you today.

Reformed Grits said...

I've never been in the military in any way but I think that's a GREAT analogy! But as a mom who knows what it's like to drag around little ones and wait in lines (think DMV for instance!) I KNOW what a blessing it is to have this happen! :-)

Elizabeth said...

wow, that is a blessing...and rather unexpected b/c i have sat in those same lines when my husband & I got was at least 2 hours long.

it's funny how you feel such a sense of belonging when you're full-time military...i feel like i am just a nomad and while i have made 2 cities HOME (my husband is only 5 1/2 years in) we always feel like we're in transition no matter how much our home feels like home. we are actually very ready for civilian life but God said "not yet" this time around...we're PCSing in 3 weeks.

my husband and I are excited about the move...we're going back to the first city we were living at when we got at least we know the city & have friends there...but we are still looking forward to civilian life...even as much as we cedit the Air Force for SOOOO MANY THINGS in our lives.

Laura said...

That is truly a miracle! God is good. Tell me more about the chaplain anniversary. I didn't know. My husband may have not heard or has been too busy and forgot to tell me...


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