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Welcome to the CMWF Blog! We hope you'll find some encouragement and comfort here through stories of military life and truth from God's Word.


He Isn't Mine To Give

By Molly Huggins

 


“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 118:1, NKJV).



I hate the word “well.”

As in, (August of 2010), “Well, I might have to go to Pakistan.” He did, two weeks later, while I was pregnant, after we had sold our house in preparation for moving to Germany. But that is another story for another day.

So he came home around the beginning of September (of 2012) and said, in THAT voice, “Well, I got an email today…” I almost threw up in the dishwater.
They needed one man. ONE MAN to go to Afghanistan--in two weeks--and he just might be that man.

I preach and preach about being content with God’s will for our lives. I say that my life means nothing without Christ, that so much of what I value is wheat and chaff, that I surrender my plans, confident in His loving kindness and mercy.
And then He tests me.

Husband came home and said, “Well … “ and I choked down sobs at the prospect of more goodbyes. And more tears pooled on my cheeks because my womb was empty, and now there would be more months of not being pregnant. But, I breathed in slowly and looked hard at my handsome man, and I knew, I know still, that the Master Planner will give us the grace we need in the moment we are desperate for it.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t angry that he had to leave. Debating the politics of the situation in the moment is a luxury we forgo when we choose this life. Logistically, I have leaving down to a science, and we are perpetually prepared. This is his job and he’s willing to do it.

Additionally, there was a not-small part of my heart that was grieving at the thought of another family living out this same abysmal waiting. If we didn’t go, there would be another pregnant “well …” being spilled out in someone’s kitchen. Is that weird? It’s who I am.

I felt completely divorced from the civilian world.

This one is hard to admit. I felt immense guilt over not being angry at the situation, of looking him in the eye and loving him more for the man that he was in that moment, of being proud of the choices he makes. I felt like I should put up a fight, I should rage and scream and cry because he’s leaving us again.

The world tells me that romantic love feels good and I should be happy and how could he do this to us? And I love him fierce and hard and true, and yet this, this did not feel good. Do I not love him enough because I was not mad at him? But oh, I do, I love this man.

Something about this reeked of sanctification.

This one is even harder to admit because in my fear, I lost sight of real, hard, truth.
This would have been deployment number four. And after the first year, I cannot shake the feeling that every time he walks away - after every goodbye - the odds markedly decrease that he returns whole, or at all. I cried hot tears at the thought of losing him. It wasn’t rational, but it was real.

He was never mine to give, but in my fear I clung desperately to the falsehood that he was mine to keep. This is how I felt … but what did I do? What did I do two weeks later when yes was an ugly, heavy word and we planned our goodbyes? {We had a reprieve, he wasn’t supposed to leave until mid-October}. How did I calm the storm, the wind and waves boisterous around my sinking feet?

The circumstances in which they chose my husband aren’t necessary to relate here. Suffice it to say I was proud of this husband of mine. He is an honorable man and I loved him even more, if possible, throughout these events.

So this is what I did. I wiped away the tears. I bought him some new underwear at Wal-Mart. I bought him some fancy headphones to keep the music piping in, the loneliness at bay. We updated the will. I winked at him a little more from across the room and I held his hand a little tighter in church.

And I surrendered him.

But, they fought for our family, his bosses, they fought for us. If he had gone, our home life would have been predominately daddy-free for 21 months … six months deployed, two months of training post-deployment, four months home, and nine more months gone. I am weary just writing it down. It wasn’t terribly unusual for us, these staccato bursts of time … together, apart, together, apart … but it. is. so. hard.

And so, there were more weeks of not knowing, of surrender and fear and worry, of uncertainty. And who could I tell? It’s unfair to get people worked up about maybe, even a maybe of this magnitude. I whispered it in asides to a few dear friends in the beginning. I was more careless as the time dragged on and on, fatigue loosening my tongue. I was consumed by this. I was a reluctant, recalcitrant child of God, shaking my fist at a Heavenly Father who, even still, works His plans for good.

And, well - after all that - he didn’t have to go.

I was eternally grateful for his command team. And for an Architect who designs us to live right where He would have us. Which sometimes is in uncertainty. But right then, was still in Tennessee. Together.

I won’t lie, it was hard to be grateful for this process. And I was weary on the other side, more weary in this Army life than I’ve ever been. Weary of the toll this life takes on our family, on our marriage, and on this husband o’ mine. But God is good and He promises us rest. And so, I kept winking at the husband from across the room and holding his hand a little tighter in church.

He isn’t mine to give … and so, I am grateful for every gift of a moment with this man I love so fierce and hard and true.

And, even in the midst of this exhausting Army life, I am flat on my face, grateful to the Lord for drawing us closer together, for strengthening our marriage in the face of uncertainty. He did the first year, and the third, and the fifth, and September 2012, and even now.
His mercy endures forever.

(And friends? The sad truth is that not every story has a happy ending. Please know that it is by God’s grace that our marriage survives--we are wholly unqualified to make it on our own! If that was not the case for you, it does not mean that His grace and mercy have abandoned you. My heart aches for you and your loved ones, and I pray you will know peace and comfort from our Heavenly Father.)




Molly Huggins (All The Grace Between) is an Army bride, one-time helicopter pilot, compulsive writer, friend seeker, and lover of color and all things textile. Her current occupation is ringmaster of the Huggins family circus (party of five). She has a B.A. in English from Covenant College and a passion for meeting other women right in the middle of their own messy stories. Pull up a chair at her virtual beat-up kitchen table, listen to her stories, and maybe even tell her yours.







Molly's Story

By Molly Huggins

 


I love stories and storytelling. I love seeing the threads the Master Planner stitches into our lives and the ways they change us. But in all honesty, here's the truth about the weaving: I didn't design my tapestry this way. And the push and pull of the needle as it pricks my heart - well, sometimes the weaving hurts. There's a particular thread that, for the longest time, I wanted to wish away. I prayed, begged, and pleaded for the Lord to cut it short. To change my story to fit what I wanted.

I’ve been staring at my computer for days trying to figure out how to fit all the emotions onto one screen, into one story.

How do I tell you that they called me when my daughter was five months old and told me I would be deploying in the fall?

{I was an Army National Guard helicopter pilot at the time}.

How do I tell you that we already knew Husband, an active duty helicopter pilot, would also be deploying in the fall?
Is it possible for you to feel the way I felt, bewildered and still surprised, when I climbed on a plane headed overseas?

I truly believed God would take this away. I thought this would go away if I said all the right things about God’s plan and His will and trust and sacrifice and all the other Christian buzzwords that sound great and echo hollow in our reeling hearts.

I was like Abraham, waiting for the lamb while I offered up my child. And when none came, when I waded through a long summer of preparation and emotion, oh, I was so angry.

I didn’t want to leave her. And I said all the right things about duty, and my job, and what I signed up for, but I’ll be honest with you- I never, for one second, thought it would happen to me. That’s another story for another day, but I really thought I would just sail through this Army life and have all the fun flying and none of the sacrifice. I was selfish, so selfish.

My sister and her husband took our daughter for a year. She was one and a half. I cried salty, unceasing tears through all the airports with the memory of her chubby arms squeezed around my neck in our last goodnights.

We got her back when she was two and a half. There will never be enough words to tell you how that felt. I tried, {and there are pictures of our reunion here}. I am still trying, even now, to tell that piece of the story.

It took me two years to stop being angry, and I still grieve the loss of time with my child. It took me two years and then some to understand, and be grateful for the stories He is writing for me and my family.

That’s the end thread of this story, and I am grateful. For the humbling of my selfish heart. For the dismantling of my pride. Even for the two and a half year spread between children that resulted in the gift of our first son.

The stories we fear become our Story and the hard parts change us, they carve into our souls and make new shapes. And maybe the mystery is that I am grateful for the shape I'm in, but I'm just honest enough to admit that most days, I wouldn't have chosen His method of carving.

I can grieve, and be grateful.

Friends - how has the Lord shaped you? What hard stories is He using to draw you closer to Him? I would love to hear them, and to pray for you.

 


Molly Huggins (All The Grace Between) is an Army bride, one-time helicopter pilot, compulsive writer, friend seeker, and lover of color and all things textile. Her current occupation is ringmaster of the Huggins family circus (party of five). She has a B.A. in English from Covenant College and a passion for meeting other women right in the middle of their own messy stories. Pull up a chair at her virtual beat-up kitchen table, listen to her stories, and maybe even tell her yours.