I'm so proud of you, and so grateful to you. My husband is Air Force, which he calls the country club of the military, so we are not sacrificing and working nearly as much as many of you. He has deployed overseas for a few months at a time throughout our marriage. It's tough. We just want our daddy.
Mindset is your first weapon in the battle of the wifely deployment department. You, dear military wife, are fighting a battle while your husband fights his. If your husband is like mine, he is highly trained for his job. It blows me away how highly trained our military personnel are. My husband is forever getting qualified and re-qualified for low-level flying or night vision goggles. I mean these guys are ready for war.
Have we wives trained ourselves and prepared ourselves for the spiritual, emotional battle of holding down the fort while our men are off at war? I would say in the past I have not. I simply react, and not very well. We wives have to take charge, be deliberate about the deployments, and take seriously the Bible's advice to put on the full armor of God (from Ephesians). My husband has often said that when he is deployed at war, his wife has the harder job staying behind.
You are among the elite group of women like those in the Bible who stayed home while their men repeatedly went off to war. Feel honored that you share in this strength of character and sacrifice. We are a different breed. The deployments make you strong. Open almost any page in the Old Testament and realize that someone, some sweet little wife was staying home without her man while all those battles were going on. And those ladies did not have e-mail. Or even snail mail. Much less a telephone. They didn't even know if their husbands were all right.
I believe our military should call those dreadful 15-minute "morale calls" something entirely different. The Department of Defense has not asked for my input on this issue, strangely enough, but if they ever do, I have several suggestions such as "lack of morale calls" or "stop toying with my emotions" calls. Sometimes the morale call comes right when your toddler begins to have a hissy fit and your other children begin asking you pressing math questions. After 15 minutes of talking to your husband, the phone cuts off. Now I don't know about y'all, but at the 15 minute mark, I'm just getting warmed up. That's just enough time for bullet points. We haven't even scratched the surface of the complex parenting trials and emotional peril that have gone down over the last 24 hours. The last time my husband was deployed to Afghanistan, we were very grateful that the internet signal was strong enough to be able to Skype for the first time over the computer. In the past, the signal was never strong enough. It made a huge difference to be able to see him face to face and talk. It really brightened his day too, to see me. He's the one roughing it while I'm at at home where it is safe and comfortable. I remember when we first met 20 years ago and he was deployed, there was no e-mail yet. We'd write each other letters and I'd get nothing for two weeks and then eight letters in the mailbox from him on the same day. Once he sent me a fax at my job. So we can be thankful for technology.
Wives, be grateful. Purpose every day to have a grateful heart. God's word tells us not to compare ourselves to other people, or else we will be puffed up or frustrated. Just be grateful for your man, and for your family. And yes be grateful that you got to hear his voice that day for those precious minutes. This does not come naturally. It has to be the cry of your heart as you rise each morning, "Lord, give me a grateful heart." We've tried self-pity, so what do we have to lose with trying gratitude? I dare you, and see how it goes. Watch it spill over into your children's hearts. Those little eyes are watching you when you least expect it. Read your Bible each day and talk to the Lord about whatever is on your heart. Gratitude during life's greatest trials could be one of the most important lessons you ever teach your children, and yourself.