We have another deployment on the horizon. Each day I am painfully aware of the impending goodbye. I am about to live through another "...weight of time."
Do I have what it takes to do this well? Am I prepared? If so, why does it feel so hard? Why do I still get overwhelmed?... We can try to prepare - the practical things, cars, house, financial readiness - but my heart is what needs to be most prepared. I am reminded of my own words, the "hardness" shows attachment. The temptation is to start detaching when it gets close. To stop sharing deep feelings because soon he will not be there to hold me. But we push to stay present. He works to stay engaged (which is quite hard for him too). He is also mentally preparing for a completely different reality.
Numbness seems easier, but if we allow ourselves to get numb, we will miss out on the good and the bad all at once. So I choose to feel. I choose to face my fears. I choose to cry instead of stuffing it down. I choose to say, "I am not okay." I choose to text and ask for prayer when I feel weak. The cloud of sadness was raining on me yesterday morning. I was deeply sad. In the past (and sometimes still) when I know our time is short, this sadness would have driven me to try to make each moment together count! I would have wanted everything to be amazing...but that thinking is flawed. The pressure itself is crushing. Each misstep or disappointment, no matter how small, is magnified. So instead, this time, I choose to admit, "I am extra sad this morning." This confession made room for extra hugs and space to be sad next to him. I am thankful that over time we have made room for the sadness, not trying to instantly cure it, like it is a disease. There are times that I am not as honest, and it does build up... And that never turns out well. When I deny this current state, I can't receive the help I need from God or others.
I could not make this journey without my faith. Many have commented on my strength, but I feel like now is the right time to tell you that it is my personal relationship with Jesus that gets me through. When I say personal- I mean personal. I wrestle with Him when I don't like the circumstances. I cry and breakdown through my prayers to Him. I thank Him and rejoice with Him because I really believe "He has the whole world in His hands." The Bible is not just the guide I live by, but His words and promises nourish me. He is the reason I have never FULLY quit. I have been ready to give up. I get fed up with the mission and the sacrifices our family has to make, and then EVENTUALLY I am reminded that I live this life for more than myself.
This is the perspective I have needed as I have processed through ArtPrize. I did not get selected by the jurors. I did not get voted into round two. That sad cloud came and visited me again. Was I a fool to hope that I even had a chance?! I have been avoiding this announcement. I would like to tell you that the sun is shining and there is no more rain in the forecast, but this was a big deal to me! It was my first public piece. My first time putting my story out there. My first time letting people into this process- thank you for following along. My first time since getting married and having kids that I thought just maybe I would get noticed AND I DID! But expectations are tricky....I saw it going differently. I hoped that the news story would bring enough votes, but I am learning to celebrate the individual victories!!!!! I was noticed, I GOT A NEWS STORY! My husband got to come see it! I had the largest amount of people see my work, EVER! Success doesn't always look like we think it will. I call this a success because I HOPED! I opened up my heart, fully knowing I could be disappointed. The odds were not in my favor, but I HOPED. This gutsy hope is what it took to go out in the studio and press through when it felt too hard. It was this hope that helped me to tell my story on video despite not loving seeing and hearing myself in that way. This hope said, "This hard thing in front of you is worth it." It seems like this piece not only tells about deployment but now that I am reflecting, I see it was the deployments that God used to forge the perseverance I needed to finish well.
I like tangible results, they feel good and make it easier to see that my hard work has paid off. I was hoping for that large sum of money to donate to RHF. I was hoping that getting in meant getting noticed, but I have come to terms with the reality that my ultimate goal is not to be popular (even though that seems nice....REALLY nice. HA.) My ultimate goal is to be true to who God has made me to be. To tell the story that only I can tell, because it is my story. To not look around trying to see if I measure up, but to look up and see my Maker who continues to show me....what only I can do.