When I first started dating my husband, I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was getting into as a military spouse.
I had heard about and even fabricated in my mind the difficulties that come with the terrain. I even had seen first hand my own parents navigate my mother serving in the U.S. Navy Reserves for eight years.
But honestly, nothing could have ever prepared me for all the nights I have to go to bed alone.
Or for the times where I don’t get to talk to my husband while he is sleeping on a rock in the middle of the woods.
Or for all the “Da-Das” said and while fighting back tears,”He’s not here, baby,” responded.
Nothing could ever, ever have prepared me for the emotional toll, stress, anxiety, and fear that comes with being a military spouse.
While my husband and I were dating, we had talked about what a life together may look like. I even thought to myself this would be a breeze; I’m a strong, independent woman. Piece. Of. Cake.
But then while Christian was secluded in the woods for two and a half months, I found out I was pregnant. Without even being sure he would see it, I sent him a picture of the faint blue cross showing on the tiny screen.
Luckily, his friend had a hot spot on his cell.
Without Christian home, I had to endure all the nausea, fatigue, body changes, and anxieties of the first trimester alone. It’s hard enough dealing with the stress of an unplanned pregnancy, but alone, I was almost paralyzed with constant worry and stress about finances and our soon-to-be family’s future.
Now with our beautiful boy being older, these separations feel longer and have taken a greater toll on all of us.
I never imagined it would be like this.
But really, how could I ever have known?
No recruiter is selling the high divorce rates between military members and civilians to possible recruits at high school Veteran’s Day assemblies (and for good reason).
But despite everything, I wouldn’t change any of it. I wouldn’t change the time apart, the lonely nights, uncounted tears, or relentless stress and worry.
I would do it over and over again, because in every part of this journey, the lessons I have learned in a matter of months (and am still learning) take others a lifetime to learn, if ever.
There is no amount of time, money, or success that could ever replace that.
But the greatest lesson I have learned and am still learning in this season of navigating life as a military spouse is the art of contentment: having joy no matter what happens or what doesn’t.
Regardless of my external circumstances, I choose joy.
In Philippians Chapter 4 verses 11-13 (NIV), Paul the apostle writes from in prison for preaching the Gospel,
” I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
The most popular translation of verse 13 is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But what Paul is talking about in this scripture is not some macho power statement. What he is really saying is that mastering contentment is learned and only possible when the Lord is enough.
For military spouses, this contentment can be so hard to learn, because everything is constantly changing. You may even be thinking how the heck am I suppose to be happy when my husband is away?
Happiness is an emotion, which is triggered by an external event, such as the arrival of a new baby, graduating college, or getting married. But joy is a fruit of the spirit, sparking internally and then radiating outwards.
“But joy is a fruit of the spirit, sparking internally and then radiating outwards”Sarah Mozingo
Happiness is fleeting, because life is always changing. But joy is forever.
As a military spouse, your spouse may be home for a few months after returning home from a year-long deployment.
Or your family may be active-duty and having to move across the sea to London.
Or your whole life can change after a devastating phone call, but joy can remain.
In every season, we stand with arms wide and palms open in acceptance of each moment and say, “I am grateful for everything. For in everything, there is a lesson to be learned. I choose joy over each and every circumstance. I trust You. Thank You.”
Thanks for reading!
To learn more about our family’s journey, head to the “About” page.
What is God speaking to you in this season? Have you been struggling with contentment?
Let me know in the comments below!
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