"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let's Talk About Sex ... Pacts

I'm going to warn you, I'm a bit fired-up. Like hands-shaking-fired-up. And when I'm like this my thoughts are a bit jumbled and my words don't always come out right. But I have learned that I write the most openly when that flame starts so I am going to go with it.

Forgive me if the message is frazzled.

A month or two ago a friend of mine and a newer spouse asked me a question that to be honest caught me a bit off guard. 

She asked if cheating in a military marriage was "normal" because so many spouses at her duty station said she just had to accept it and push through.

Umm .... in shock at that explanation I very firmly said, "NO. That is NOT the norm and a hell-to-the-no is it acceptable."

I have not said a word about what has been coming out about (ex-)senior leaders of our military. I won't talk about that. My husband served multiple times beside one of these men over the last deployment. To say that I am disappointed and confused and ... 

Well, I'm not going to talk about that.

A fellow military spouse came to me today about an article published recently about "Military Sex Pacts." I am not going to share the article. I debated back and forth but if you go searching for it, trust me, you'll find it. At no point in the article does the author say that she approves of these apparent "sex-pacts" but she put in one line that has me so fired-up. It isn't a quote from someone else. It isn't something that she heard from somewhere else. She wrote it and she is taking hits left and right for it. 

Most civilian women would not defend their husband’s infidelity.  But for the military wife, cheating practically comes with the territory. And rather than ignore the lusty elephant in the room, some military couples have created their own defense against infidelity: the so-called deployment sex pact.  

I am not going to sit here and act like infidelity doesn't exist in the military. I'm neither naive nor obtuse. I have seen marriages that on the surface looked incredible to only be ruined by cheating. I have had friends struggle with it in their own marriages. I can't count how many divorces C has had to be in the middle of because for whatever reason it is part of his job. He has pulled cheating spouses out of the barracks. 

Spouses. Soldiers. Deployed. Stateside. 

It happens. 

But do not - do NOT - tell me that it "comes with the territory". Do NOT tell a new spouse that that is her "normal" and to "deal with it".

I am going to say something that may make some people upset but to my core it is what I believe. The difficulty of a deployment does not give a pass to break the vows. The struggle of being "alone" does not justify dishonoring the sanctity of marriage. 

I don't care that it's hard. I don't care that being alone sucks because I get it! When you say the vows you don't say "except when you are training," or "except during times of war." The soldier doesn't say, "unless I am bored in Afghanistan."

Come on.

Do not ... Do not, do not, do not tell the public that this is our normal. Do NOT tell the public that this is "acceptable" or "a given" or "part of it." 

It isn't.

I don't care what you decide in your marriage. I don't care if you cheat. It isn't mine to judge. But do not say that the vast majority of our military that is here to serve, who believes in the sacrifice, can't control their behavior, can't own their behavior, can't understand what a marriage is. 

Do not belittle the deepest respect I have for C, for the sacrament of our marriage, for our children. Do not lump my soldier into a lump of others who say a "sex pact" allows them to take care of their "urges".

That makes me physically ill.

Putting that into the minds of new spouses is toxic. Putting that out to the world is the very reason strangers find it acceptable to ask me: Are you worried he will cheat on you?

I believe in my marriage, in my husband, in the seriousness of the vows, in the respect, in the love. Marriage like that still exists. Respect and understanding of the vows still exists. 

Don't belittle me. Don't belittle C. Don't belittle every military couple that fights through, that builds a strong foundation of trust and respect. I will wait every single time he leaves me. Every time.

He is my everything and I have never questioned that I am his.

Have some respect for the thousands upon thousands upon thousands who believe in the vows.


What do you think of the statement shared from the article?  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What You Do Not Know

There was a comment left on Promises yesterday that has been going over and over again in my mind.   This person asked "How" ... how do you let them go. The final part of it is what sticks with me. This person asked:

How do you know if you will see them again ... 

The words have stuck with me throughout the day because the response is so very simple, and so very, very hard.

You don't.

When someone you love leaves for the battlefield you just don't know.

Every time C has walked away from me ... I knew that that could be the last time I saw his smile, his eyes, his broad shoulders. Every time it took everything in me to not let that break me. Every time I saw this man kiss his children goodbye, I begged God to let them always have a father. 


His boots walked the streets of Baghdad. He has kept those same boots because somehow - somehow - his men and himself survived every IED, every attack, every suicide bomber, all with those dirt covered boots on the ground. With the stats of that deployment, that very well shouldn't have happened. But it did. He survived. His men survived. They made it home.

There were moments my chest felt like it would burst, like my heart could feel the danger, knew the possibility that this day was the last day he could be standing. There were times when it took everything in me to push through, to keep breathing, to keep praying and believing and "knowing" that he was coming home to me - because there isn't room for anything else.

I know what C wants at his funeral. I have sat beside him, held his hand, and listened to every detail, every directive, every request. It isn't normal in any other life to know that at my age, for my spouse at his age. There isn't a funeral I sing where the families have selected the same readings, the same songs that I have to put the familiarity of those selections to the back of my mind. There isn't a single time that I do not have to fight back tears.

There isn't a moment I see a flag draped coffin that I don't have to remind myself to breathe.

I have fallen to my knees in throat-burning sobs because I needed to know that he was coming back. That there was more to this journey. That this was not our end.

I have seen the fear of leaving his family in C's face. I have seen the same fear in C's eyes. I know he fears it. I know it is his greatest struggle - the idea of leaving his children without a father. 

We don't talk about it. We don't have to.

I know my soldier. He knows his wife. 

That fear never goes away.

But how we live in every way, every single day must be in spite of that fear, in spite of the possibility. We live everyday with the mindset that they are coming home. They will come home.

We must live each day as a day worthy of our time, our energy, of the sacrifice. We must live each day worthy of our children's joy. What image have we given them? How do we want them to live? In fear? Or with joy and strength and determination? They mimic what they see.

We cannot know. As much as I hate that, we cannot know. But we must hope and believe and embrace the battle ahead. It's how you thrive - how you at the very least survive.

The last thing I have always said to C is "Come home to me."

 Every time. He always nods, slight, simple, just a nod but it is what I need. 

I hold onto that. He's coming home. Coming home to me. 

Because there isn't room for any other thought. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I don't think I can do this. You said you believe those in this life are called to it. What if I'm not called? What if I CAN'T do it. What if I'm not strong enough?

I listened. Then battled with what to say in response - trying to think if I had ever thought those same things.

As the conversation went on we got onto the subject of faith. Our beliefs are different - not really different, but how we approach things isn't quite the same. The fundamentals are similar but where you go from there ... well, they aren't. 

It may just come down to how I was raised - what I have grown to learn through grace. 

Never in even the darkest moments have I truly thought I wasn't able to live this life. 


Not once.

Have I found myself questioning it? Absolutely. Have I cried until there was nothing left? Again and again and again. Have I hated the separation and the fear and the uncertainty? Hate doesn't seem harsh enough. Yes, to my bones I have hated those things.

I went deep into my memories, dug up the hardest, hardest days, but never, not even in the darkest moments, have I honestly believed I couldn't do this - that I wasn't meant to. Not even when I didn't want to take part in the military life. Not even when I tried to separate myself from the very type of person I am now. Even then, I never thought I wouldn't be able.

Maybe something is wrong with how my brain works. Maybe it seems too simple. 

To me it is simple.

I was given this life because I will be made strong enough to live it. I was put here because here is where I can do the most good. 

I don't question the purpose - or even just the knowledge that there is a purpose. I don't question whether I can "do this" because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13). It really is that simple in my eyes.

Is it hard? Beyond hard. Is it scary? Terrifying. Is it lonely? At times but I do not feel alone. I do not feel abandoned. I do not feel that C isn't worth what this life brings. 

I know that I can love enough. I know that I can give more. I know that there is grace upon grace given to those who fall at the feet, who work for good, who serve those in need. 

I do not question if I am strong enough because I know the Source of my strength. I do not question if I can love enough because I will always honor my vows. I chose C. I chose this life. 

I committed my whole self, my whole heart. I promised to love enough. Every day. To love enough. 

I choose faith. I choose to know that whatever barrier, we will overcome. Whatever unknowns, we will work through. Whatever war, whatever separation, whatever fear, whatever struggle, I am in this every step of the way.

I do believe we are called. I do believe we are placed where we are meant to be. I do believe we have purpose.

There isn't a question of if I am able. There isn't worry that I am not chosen. There isn't any other option but to be.

Not for me. 

Not ever.


Friday, November 9, 2012


I hate taking out the trash. 

I really, really hate emptying the trash can. I will shove trash down until the bag is about to burst. I just hate it and I really hate that I have to do it when C is gone. 


I really hate that there have been break-ins on this post this past week. 

I hate that right when I got the boys back on a night-time routine I find myself picking them up and moving them to my bed so that I can lock them in my room with me at night just in case someone tries to break in. I hate lying awake thinking every noise is something to fear. 

I hate that he can't be here to check it out.

I hate that Eli started head-banging in anger again. I hate that C can't be here to balance out the lack of sleep with me. I hate that Logan and Eli got into their first real fight last night when I was already late for an event. I hate that Logan for the first time hurt his little brother out of frustration. I hate that C wasn't here to help me through it. I hate that I had to make it through that myself.

I hate that I haven't learned how to drive C's jeep like I planned to while he was away. I hate that I know that will continue to be put on the back burner when I really need to learn. I hate that I don't have enough time.

I hate that there aren't enough hours in the day. I hate that I am so tired.

I hate that I have to do it all.

I hate that I can't. 

I don't do well with failure. I don't think many people do but I fear it. Very often for me it just isn't an option. 

This life is humbling - not just because to serve is to be humbled before others, before God - but because there will be days where we feel that we have failed, that we couldn't do it, that we weren't good enough. We have to learn - sometimes repeatedly - that we cannot do it all. That the strongest among us will be weak.

Logan climbed into my lap today, kissed me, and told me I was a good mommy. In the last 24 hours, since Eli and Logan fought last night, I have not felt like a "good mommy."

I am grateful for this precious child. I am grateful for the littlest child clinging to my arm while he sleeps beside me, who still calls every soldier "daddy," who has been searching their faces for the one that belongs to him.

I am grateful for the friend and neighbor who took C's jeep around the neighborhood because it has been sitting too long. I am still thankful that she is the very first person that welcomed me to this village. She has been a blessing.

I am thankful that I have grown so close to people here that a handful know when my face is hiding sadness or defeat and they know to just give a hug because tomorrow will be better, tomorrow I will do better. I am grateful that they don't think less of me when I am weak.

I am grateful for this community - this intimately-knit community - filled with women willing to bend over backwards for one another. I am grateful for those who have been there, done that, get it. I am thankful that people are placed beside us for a purpose, that goodness and kindness always come at the most needed time (Thanks, D), that harder days provide for greater blessings.

I am thankful that I have been given a love worthy of such intense longing. I am thankful that I have been given a partner that I will fight for and thrive for and survive through this for. I am thankful that we are made worthy for the life we are given - that we are made strong for the journey we face. How incredible to be able to be given a love, to fight for a love, that makes the difficulties and the struggles worthy of the battle, worthy of the victory.

How humbling the Grace we are given. How worthy the victory won.