The shadow

I’ll be honest, this isn’t how I thought this would be. It is so easy on social media to see the things that people post and assume things are great. You see the smiles and the filters and the “happy”. I have never tried to be one of those people that hide my truth and reality from the world. So here I am being honest and vulnerable once more. This definitely isn’t how I thought this would be, not completely anyway.

You see, at the beginning of the year I made the second best decision of my life- the first being that I made the decision to live for Christ for real and the second being to marry my husband. I knew getting married would be a massive change to every aspect of my life. I knew us getting married meant me leaving the house I had just bought, the job that I fought for and was good at, the church that I loved, and the community that was my rock. I also knew getting married meant stepping into a new role, that of the wife of a service member, which by default, I was now the shadow. Some of my friends that were military spouses told me of the difficulty that comes with the times apart- the trainings, the trips, the deployments.

Though I expected it to be a little hard, my arrogance deceived me. You see, I was single for a long time before getting married. I was independent. I figured the distance wouldn’t be that hard. Then I got married and my world changed, in the best ways but also some of the hardest. I quickly had to learn what it was like to have to say goodbye…a lot. The distance frankly sucks. To learn a routine only to have to learn another one. To take a new job followed by several months of training that I already had done before and only had to do again because I left the job I loved. I have learned how to navigate being independent again while also being married. I have learned what it’s like to long for both where I was before getting married and for life after the military while also longing for time with my husband now. Yup, this isn’t really how I thought marriage would be for me.

This past year has been among the most humbling of my life. Equally the best while also being the hardest. And the crazy thing about it all…I would do it again because I madly love my husband and this is how I serve him right now. And I firmly believe we love our spouse best when we love God most. And despite this year having a lot of difficulty and many humbling moments where my pride got kicked, where many tears fell down my face in the quiet moments by myself, and where I had many nights of little rest, I know God has purposed all of this. Without a doubt I know there is a purpose for this because God’s love for us is deep. And sometimes, in our humanity, it’s hard to see the silver lining or the hope or the joy. I believe that this time, early in our marriage, will be a help to us in later years and difficulties. I believe this time will help us grow because it isn’t easy. And it isn’t fun all the time. Marriage takes work. It takes sacrifice. It takes intentionality. And we are definitely learning these things. Every single day.

With the distance, I have learned a great many things. As a married couple, we have learned the foundations of trust, communication, creativity in showing love, and the simple joys of a quick call or text. This season has challenged me to trust God not only with my marriage now, but with our future. It has challenged me to be honest with both myself and my husband with my struggles, my failings, my weaknesses, my frustrations and more. For a while, something I said earlier, I have felt like I am the shadow of my husband. There are things I gave up because the military basically owns him. But the longer we are married, the more I realized how incorrect that truly was. My life shouldn’t be the shadow of my husband nor should he be mine. We should be in the shadow of God- where the attention goes to Him and we follow closely. Where we are like Him, but not Him. Marriage is hard but when we pursue marriage through the lens that God is the lead, the difficulties, the distance, the hardship, everything…it is all kept in perspective. In His shadow we find peace. For me, seeking God constantly and loving my husband are the answer, not just for this season, but for the rest of my life. No matter what difficulty lies ahead, with being in the shadow of God- the Creator of the world, the God who saw my sin and loved me enough to redeem me- I know everything is alright.

Friend, wherever you find yourself tonight, I pray that you find the peace that only comes from God. The peace that brings comfort when things don’t make sense. The peace that bring resolve to the difficulty. The peace that quiets your soul. God- Jesus- is that peace.

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