Saturday, January 30, 2010

Symbiosis and dividends...

This deployment is different than all the others.

Well, for one, this time Bear is the Chaplain, and not the Chaplain assistant. This time he doesn't carry a weapon, which given the success rate of his firing range experience, that's not a bad thing. This time he is in a different role, and this time, so am I.

I have mentioned before, I think, how I never wanted to be a Chaplain's wife, but through the examples of Godly women in my life and the Holy Spirit working on my heart over the past 16 years, He has changed me. But at the same time, God knows our needs, our strengths and our weaknesses.

I have a friend, Laura, who has stepped into the role of Chaplain's wife so beautifully it constantly amazes me. She is loving, and a truly compassionate partner to her Chaplain/husband through some very difficult circumstances, and God has built a ministry to the spouses of her husband's soldiers through Laura. She has been a comfort to hurting wives and families in her husband's unit and is lovely example of Grace, and "Jesus, with skin on."

When I grow up, I want to be like her. I'm so not there yet.

As Bear and I began walking this path nearly three years ago, I felt certain that I would not be able to be his "civilian partner" and minister to his soldier's families because of the ages of our children and the season of life I am in right now. God knows that and has given me baby steps, and a picture, (in miniature) of duties to come.

With this deployment, Bear is assigned to a Chaplain Detachment, so he doesn't really have a large unit of soldiers with whom he will be working. His "team" consists of him and his Chaplain's Assistant.

The relationship between a Chaplain and his assistant is unique, consisting of an officer, the Chaplain; and an enlisted soldier, the Chaplain assistant. Ordinarily, (in my experience) officers and enlisted soldiers are like oil and water. When thrown in a jar together and shaken, they will mingle and work together quite nicely, but when the shaking stops, they each retreat to their own levels. This is not the case in the symbiotic relationship between Chaplain and assistant.

The Chaplain relies on the enlisted soldier for protection in a combat zone, because the Chaplain does not carry a weapon; for support in his duties as a Chaplain, and sometimes the assistant becomes a gateway to the other enlisted soldiers in the unit. The enlisted soldier in turn, relies on the Chaplain for guidance, leadership and hopefully encouragement in his own career development, promotions, etc.

It can and should be a relationship built on trust and respect. In some ways it is not unlike a marriage--created in the halls of the pentagon, if you will, and sometimes, (more often than not) blessed of God.

Through the 17 years that Bear was a Chaplain's assistant, he has known some wonderful Chaplains. They have been mentors to him, spiritual guidance counselors, pastors and friends. He has also known some immature Chaplains, who were difficult, selfish, and lazy. These are not the norm, however and his good experiences far outweigh the bad.

I have prayed for Bear's unknown assistant since he embarked on this journey to become a Chaplain. I didn't know who it would be. It could have been a female. It might have been a non-believer with no regard for the things of God. I prayed that as a Chaplain, Bear could be a positive influence in the life of that soldier, just as Bear's Chaplains have been in his life.

God listens.

He has given Bear an amazing assistant who knows and loves the Lord. He has a great love of scripture and studying God's word. Plus, he's a crack shot at the firing range. For which I am most thankful.

God has blessed this relationship though, in a way I did not expect. He has given me a new friend. Someone I can hopefully mentor and teach. Someone I can come alongside and share what I have learned about Army family life. We have only just begun this relationship and it has already proved to be equally as symbiotic.

As you may know from my sidebar and my comments area, I don't use real names on my blog, so we'll just call her Kate. Kate and I have emailed a few times and gotten to know one another. I've come to know just how much she loves her soldier and her God. She will make a good Army wife, and I hope that we will be around to share the blessed event with them one day. But for now, Kate and Jay are in a long-distance relationship. (Darn deployments.)

She is new to this whole "army-family-deployment-separation-what's going on with my soldier" thing. So I've been trying to find ways to encourage her. To help her understand the army system and answer any questions she may have. A day or two ago, I passed along a compliment I "overheard" about her soldier, just to give her a boost for the day, and she ended up returning the investment I made in her, by passing along some encouragement to me which she also "overheard."

That's the way God does things. We are blessed to be a blessing. We pass it on to someone else and it, in turn, gets passed around and we all end up getting a blessing. I love this verse in Luke, chapter 6, verse 38; "give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

That's what Kate has done for me. She has been one more confirmation that Bear is on the right path. It has been such a difficult, winding, often dark and scary road to get here. We always tried to remember the words of one of those Godly Chaplains in our past, "Stay the course. It may not be easy, but stay the course!" It is good to finally be on the other side of that wilderness road; to emerge from the darkness on the other side and see light, not only Light, but a Way stretching out in front of us with many wonderful symbiotic experiences--and Godly dividends.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Flying out...

I thought it would be easier to say goodbye this time. I had already held him in my arms one last time and kissed him goodbye.

He's been TDY since Jan 2nd, so I really thought that this would be just an extension of that absence.

Not so. We spoke on the phone today. He told me he was flying out to the sandbox in the next hour or so. We told each other "I love you!" and my voice cracked. I cried. I hope he didn't hear it in my voice. He thinks I'm strong. He knows I am capable of changing a tire or climbing up on the roof to check the shingles. He's seen me balance the calendars of 5 kids and be nursemaid, chef, and taxi driver.

It's just that my best friend is no longer here. He's not in this state, he's not even in our country. That makes me sad. It made me cry to think that he was going so far away.

I don't want him to think I can't do this. I can. I can if I remember Philippians 4:13 for Pete's sake!

Because I am strong. "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." As long as "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

I think I'm going to be reading the book of Philippians a lot this year.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Goals update

Well, after only a week, I have been up early 5 out of 7 days to do some sort of workout. I haven't completely fallen off the bandwagon and I'm feeling sore in places that I never knew could get sore.

I have taken back one pair of shoes and I'm searching for another. I need a good supportive shoe in which I can do my aerobics workout. Even though I do it on the floor at home, I can't do it shoeless. So the last few days I've been doing Pilate's and targeted muscle toning. It feels good, but I'm not getting the caloric burn that I'd like to accomplish.

I can't seem to stop putting calories in, however, and that is frustrating me. I'm trying to stay focused on the goal, and take baby steps. I have pretty much eliminated all the junk food in the house, but it is the quantity that I have a problem with now.

There will always be an ongoing battle between fat-girl and skinny-girl inside me. I know I can do this, I've lost weight and felt good about it before, it's just the dailiness and monotony of getting into a new habit.

It's so easy to have two pieces of toast instead of one. The toaster has two slots so why not just do another one. It's so easy to eat a whole package of trail mix, when I read on the package that there are two servings inside. I have to break out of these habits and replace with good ones.

And therein lies the problem.

How.

I'm making some motivational signs to post on the pantry doors and the fridge. That helped before.

Will update again soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Green--revisited

So, apparently this is to be the characteristic that I am to work on this year.

Jealousy. It has struck me again. I was telling a friend yesterday how I was feeling jealous because another friend's husband came home on R&R and I don't get to see Bear.

Well, I just found out that spouses and girlfriends of Bear's contemporaries are flying to see them off. We can't go and now the ugly green monster has hit me again. Argh!!

Why do I do this? I said goodbye already. Why does it bother me so when people get to do things that I can't? I must not let this get me down. This is not an attribute that God is proud of in me. I have a family to run and a household to take care of. Stop it! Stop it, right now, I say.

In case you are reading this, Bear. I love you so much and wish that I could be there with you. I'll work on my heart and you stay steadfast. We'll be together in God's time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Resolved...

I realize it is a little late for New Year's resolutions, but I wasn't in the right frame of mind then. I'm coming out of the fog now and I'm going to try and accomplish the following things this year.
1. Lose at least 30 pounds.
If I can consistently lose about 2 pounds a week, I should be able to accomplish this goal in 15 weeks, or about 4 months. I've done it before and it takes consistent portion control and calorie counting. I haven't done very good with that lately.

2. Work out at least 4 times a week. That should be Step-aerobics, or a good hard walk, either around the block or on our 3-mile walking path.

3. Read through the entire Bible in a year. If I read at least 3 chapters a day and 5 chapters on Sunday, that will get me through in one year. I have some catch up to do as I haven't been reading for 2 weeks. But it will be easy to catch up.

There are some other resolutions I'd like to work on, like finishing some UFO Quilting projects, budgeting more efficiently so we can pay off bills. I'll visit these topics later.

Today so far--did my Bible reading and my step-aerobics workout.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Green

I'm seeing jealousy rearing its ugly head. I don't like it and I'm trying to figure out how to get rid of it.

On Bear's last deployment he had a different assignment, he was the Chaplain's assistant and this time he's the Chaplain. He's doing a much different job, one that doesn't really have a start or a stop time. This job involves presence--just being there for the guys, hanging out where they hang out, conversing, getting to know them, their families and their concerns. I know this and yet, I'm sort of feeling like he doesn't want to hang out with me. You see, we are both on facebook but he never seems to be on to chat with me. I know he's doing what he needs to, and I know in my head that this is his calling, yet in my heart I can't help feeling like he doesn't want to spend more time with me.

Oh, I know the way he is--once he has his assignment he is very determined to do the best job that he can. He is very compartmentalized and puts things on the home front out of his mind so that he can focus on the task at hand.

He is a good soldier, and a good chaplain, and he is loved by his soldiers and can relate to them because he was been in their boots for 17 years. I don't mean to dis my husband on this forum, this is more about me and my jealousy than about Bear. It needs to stop. I need to get over it and seek solace from the One who will never leave me.

"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) I'm not fearful, but I am dismayed. He has commanded it, and so now I must do it.

Please pray with me in this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Update

Ok, it's about time! Time for me to update. Goodness, I had no idea I had been away that long. I do have [two] faithful readers so I'm doing them a disservice by not writing.

Bear has a job as a Chaplain in the reserves. Because this is a public forum, I won't be posting dates and places because of OPSEC, but I will say this. He will be traveling in the next few weeks and we'll be getting overseas pay soon.

God has faithfully and carefully led us to this point. I know this because it almost didn't happen, one person in authority said no, another person in authority said "yes we want you" and the second one of them got the paperwork done first and now Bear is in.

We are so thankful to be finally back in where he can minister to the good soldiers of the armed forces. He has a wonderful Christian Chaplain's Assistant and they get long well. I have chatted with Bear's assistant and he assures me he will take good care of our Chaplain. For that I am thankful.

We were able to spend a wonderful holiday season with Daddy here at home and just after New Years he left again to do training in southern US and is getting to know the soldiers with whom he will work.

On the homefront we are slowly getting caught up on bills, maintenance items and digging ourselves out of our financial pit we were in. God is faithful and has brought us through the wilderness just as He did the Israelites with our sandals intact and our clothes unworn.
 

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