He opened my eyes this morning about why I have been struggling...I have tried to make it too 'NTense'! I have been trying to account for every detail, every leading circumstance...my perfectionism was taking over rather than the simplicity of God being God and doing what He does!
My focus had been on good 'stories', looking back over the stories I have completed so far, there are so many 'God-incidences' in there, I am so amazed! So, although I will use the story below as the introduction, I am going to focus more on the 'incidences' themselves and not the whole story in order to give all our readers the encouragement for their time of need. This is a first step in our journey of sharing our stories with others!
If you have a 'God-incidence' you would like to be considered for the book, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will look them over and let you know if your's is selected! It doesn't have to be a chapter (like the intro below!) A paragraph will be fine! The more submitted the better to reveal how our God moves in our lives!! Please forgive me for grammar,spelling, wording etc mistakes,..it hasn't been proofed yet!
My Journey Home
I enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1996, met my husband at my first duty station (Scott Air Force Base, IL) and got married in 1997. My initial job in the Air Force was an Air Traffic Controller. This career field required a strict medical status, even over the counter medications were monitored, and I had allergies. After a deployment to Taszár Air Base, Hungary, I came back to the states using a prescribed allergy medicine not yet approved by the flight surgeon and was subsequently disqualified from Air Traffic Control in 1999. My initial 4-year enlistment was over in July of 2000, so I had two options; ride out the rest of my time doing office work or cross-train into another career field.I hope and pray you enjoyed the intro, I would love to receive your feedback and your stories!
While dating, Shane and I often discussed our mutual desires to have a Christian marriage and be ‘good, upstanding Christ-followers’, however; neither of us pursued Him. We did not go to church, read our Bible, pray together, and much less pray as individuals. That is a scary place to be…a sinner, saved by grace, yet blind and deaf to the One who has saved you because of your own unwillingness to walk with Him. This place is also a breeding ground for Satan to attack…and attack he did.
Since asking God what the best choice for me to make was not a priority in my life at the time, I took it upon myself to make the decision. In my wisdom and understanding of our then current life situation, I thought it best to ride out most of the time in my time then cross-train so I could re-enlist when my 4-year enlistment came to an end. This decision has proven to be one I regretted for years.
By early 2001, I had been trained for a new job, and headed back to Scott AFB. I found out shortly after two bits of great news! I had made the next pay grade…and we were expecting our first baby!!! She was due to be born November 25th, and we were ecstatic! My husband and I had an epiphany…our family was beginning and it was time to get our lives where they were meant to be, serving our Lord. So, we began attending church. And being promoted to the next pay grade meant I had to attend a supervisory course. While there…and newly pregnant, I was nauseated…a lot!
I will never forget sitting through those classes, trying to focus on what the instructor was saying, yet being completely distracted by those feelings that crept up from the pit of my stomach to the edge of my throat…and then wouldn’t go anywhere else! It was during those times I would hear my Lord so softly whisper, “I don’t want you here going through this class, I want you to be home preparing to be the mamma I have called you to be.” Even though my husband and I had begun attending church, I was still pretty sure that I knew how to run my life…so I blew those sweet whispers off and went on about my plan.
Midway through 2001, I re-enlisted in the Air Force for 6 more years. Since I had cross-trained into a career field that needed more people, I received a large monetary bonus for re-enlisting. My plan was moving ahead wonderfully….then September 11, 2001 came…
I had since graduated from my supervisory course and had begun my new job. Being pregnant, I was unable to do a whole lot of that job in the field, so I became good at the paperwork side. While sitting in the office in a secured building, someone came into the office proclaiming, did you hear that some bozo flew his aircraft into the World Trade Center? Just a few days before someone in our area had crashed their small Cessna aircraft into a house, and I came from the air traffic control field, so that was not real exciting news to me at first. However, when the same guy came back a little while later telling everyone to be ready because a second aircraft had hit, and it no longer appeared to be an accident.
I went home for lunch that day, pondering what had just happened. My husband was home and we talked a little bit about it, and then I heard that whisper again, “I want you to be home, raising your children, supporting your husband.” Again, I brushed that voice off.
For the next few weeks at work, one of the girls I worked with continually tried to talk me into getting out of the military. Even though I had just re-enlisted, I was still pregnant, and could get an honorable discharge. It is not the desire for the United States Military to have families completely separated, but because of the women’s movement, they can no longer force women out of the military when they are pregnant. But of course, the military receives all the blame when families are torn apart all over the world. I continually debated with her, assuring her that everything was going to work out fine. I had already made my plan, and it was playing out just right. There were timelines in the military when it comes to deployments and moving to different duty stations after you are reassigned, change jobs and have a baby. I was ‘safe’ for at least 2-3 years. That would see me through one-half of this re-enlistment, and, surely by then we would be having our second child, so everything would work out right according to my plan.
November 30, 2001, came and our beautiful baby girl came into this world. She was bright-eyed and ready to conquer the little world around her. We were so proud, and then I took an extra couple weeks off work so that I could be with her for her first two months. Being still a lot more, resting and caring for such a precious gift from the Lord gave me a lot of time to reflect. I began hearing God’s soft whispers more often now, and my heart began to feel much burden. It was a feeling I used to get as a child when I had disobeyed my parents and I knew the consequences were on the horizon. However, I didn’t think I had been disobedient, and didn’t see any consequences coming, so I chalked those feelings up to hormones…I had just had a baby!
January 2002, came very quickly. I had taken our new baby girl to visit my mom and dad when my husband called me from back home. “Hey honey, your boss called today…you got orders.” He said.
“You mean we have orders, right? Where are we going?” I replied.
“No, Jenn. You have orders…to Korea…alone.” He said solemnly.
“Well, there must be some mistake, I am still on maternity leave, and just recently changed jobs…there is some type of mistake. I will take care of it.” I hung up the phone, left Mom and Dad a note, packed up our stuff and headed back home. I was determined there was a mistake somewhere along the way, and it was my duty to go set someone straight!
My first call upon leaving Mom and Dad’s was to Linda, my new mentor from church and our babysitter when my maternity leave was up. I was so frustrated, yet determined to fix this situation, but I knew in my heart of hearts that I needed good godly counsel. When I spoke to her, she listened sweetly, and was full of compassion and understanding as I explained what was going on at that moment. I assured her I had no intention of going anywhere without my baby and my husband! And she assured me of only one thing, she would be faithful to pray, and she encouraged me to do the same.
I began a stretch of appointments and meetings with various personnel management people, and was sent from person to person, whether in an office or over the phone. Some were perplexed that I had orders, and others were very indifferent. It was during this time that I heard two memorable broadcasts on the radio. John MacArthur on his show “Grace to You”, and Jill Savage of “Hearts at Home” was on “Focus on the Family”.
John MacArthur, while speaking that day, was talking about discipleship. He urged newly growing Christians to begin reading their Bible, but not in the typical manner always heard. He recommended sitting down and reading the entire book of 1 John at one time. Then, he said to do it again, consecutively, for 30 days. This sounded like a challenge to me, so I took him up on it. I began to read 1 John, in its entirety, every day. Something amazing began to happen after about day 10. Although I was still having meetings and discussions with personnel offices about not going to Korea, I began to have an unspeakable peace in my heart. The ‘mommy guilt’ was diminishing, and something new was being placed there. It was not a desire to go to Korea without my baby and husband; it became a desire to do whatever God was calling me to do, and to do it well, without complaining or hesitation.
Then when I heard “Focus on the Family” and their interview with Jill Savage regarding her book, Professionalizing Motherhood, I knew without a doubt the Lord was speaking directly to me! I ordered the book and that interview that day. That material was going to Korea with me. The Lord showed me that day that His perfect will had to be altered and delayed, because I ignored Him. He didn’t want me to have to spend a year away from my baby and my husband, but now that had to come first. I was very hard-headed, and He had to get my attention off myself and onto Him. He assured me that He could take much better care of my baby than I could. He then gave me a revelation, was I willing to sacrifice a year of my life with my husband and baby for Him, or would I always try to put them first, before my Lord?
May of 2002 came very quickly, everything was packed, and off I flew across the pond to Osan Air Base, South Korea – my home for a year. And oh, how He grew me. It was a year I dreaded, yet a year I would never trade anything for. He showed me Who He was that year, how much He loved me, and how much He wanted me to be home with my family as the woman He desired me to be. Through that year I read my Bible, did Bible studies, attended the Hospitality House by Cadence International, and read and re-read Professionalizing Motherhood. I was determined to be the Mom He desired me to be.
I had no doubt the Lord still desired for me to be a stay-at-home Mom, but I could not see how this was going to work. While I was in Korea, my husband was recalled to Active Duty and sent to Spain for a couple months then back to Illinois. His recall was up a couple of months before I was scheduled to get home, then he would not have a job. I had re-enlisted for 6 years in 2001, therefore upon returning home from Korea, which would leave me with roughly 4 years left. None of this added up in my mind, so I assumed my Lord was intending for me to become a supermom in 2007 when my enlistment ended, and surely by then my husband would have a great job able to support us all. Wrong again!
I came home to visit around Christmas for a month, and returned to Korea pregnant with our second baby. Believe it or not, this did not come as a shock to me. The Lord worked a little cycle mojo in December that I took note of because I am usually very regular! As soon as I got home, I said to my husband, I am going to be pregnant before I go back, and there you go!
When I returned to Korea, most of the friends I had made were beginning to leave. This was bitter-sweet, and gave me even more time to study God’s Word and listen to Him speak. I kept hearing Him tell me the time had come to get out. Oh, how I argued! Financially and logistically, this simply did not make sense – yet I had no choice by to obey. I disobeyed before and look where it got me! My husband thought I was losing it a little, but he was in agreement with me, no job and all.
I returned home in May 2003, and my baby who was 5 months old when I left remembered me at 17 months old! That was confirmation from God that He was the one who causes all things to happen, and He would be beside us every step of our obedience. My first day back to work I returned to the personnel office and put in my paperwork to get out early since I was pregnant, and my husband still didn’t have a steady job. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous, but I knew way back in my heart that God would see us through.
June 30, 2003, my husband started a great job as a civil service member for the Federal Government, and my last day of work was August 18, 2003. Exactly one month later, we had our second child, a wonderfully happy baby boy!
I wish I could say I haven’t had to learn anything else the hard way, but that would just be a lie! I am still very stubborn, but am learning to hear and respond much quicker than I did back then. To this day, when I feel as though I am in a valley my mind returns to 1 John and the principles I studied within Professionalizing Motherhood. Those times in our lives when He speaks in such a clear manner remain with us for years to come, and anchor to look back on and hold to. That is how His Word and His people are for me, and I am so thankful for each one.
Have a blessed day!