Updated: Dec 15, 2022
Today, Rebekah from Hargraves Home and Hearth is guest posting! She shares her struggles and questions surrounding her husband's seven-month-long deployment, and how God's Word strengthened her dependence on Him during a very unpredictable time. You will be encouraged as she shares how she found joy that surpassed her circumstances. Be sure to go check out Rebekah’s blog after reading this post!
If you had told me ten years ago when my then-boyfriend joined the Air
Force that one day we would endure a deployment that I would actually be
thankful for, I would have said you were crazy. As my now-husband was
prayerfully contemplating joining the military, I was prayerfully fighting
against it. I desperately came up with other career options for him, options I
was just convinced were a better fit (and far safer!).
Even once he had enlisted, gone through basic training, and we were
married, I would still get physically sick when word would come of an
impending deployment. I would cry, get angry, and fight it with everything in
me. A series of events led to Owen not deploying for the first nearly 10
years of his military career (something I attribute to the sheer kindness and
tenderness of God - I would have been a real mess if he had deployed
years earlier!). But the time finally did come when he deployed for the first
time on July 11, 2021.
Joy in Difficult Times
I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t cry my eyes out in the airport once
he went through security, and I couldn’t see him anymore. I’d be lying if I
said the enemy didn’t come at me with lies convincing me he wouldn’t
come home. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t scary, nausea-inducing times
when I feared for his safety (due to a place he was originally going to be
sent) or that I wasn’t shaken deeply over what my fellow military wives
endured in August as a result of the events in Kabul, Afghanistan.
But, even in the midst of all that, I can honestly tell you that I’m grateful for
the deployment. Sure, that would be easy to say now that my husband is
safely back home. But what is miraculous is that I was able to say that
while still in the middle of the deployment, when I still wasn’t sure if I would
see my husband again in person. I remember specifically taking to
Instagram one day still months before he returned home, sharing publicly
that I was thankful for the deployment, because I wanted people to see the
miraculous, supernatural joy that I was able to have by God’s grace in the
midst of a very difficult time.
Exceedingly Abundantly Above
In the months leading up to Owen’s departure, one of my dearest friends
claimed Ephesians 3:20 for us as our deployment verse. It says, “Now to
him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according
to the power that works in us…”. Above and beyond all that we ask or
think…this is precisely what I saw God show up and do during my
husband’s deployment, and this is precisely why I was able to have the joy
I had in the midst of such a trying time.
While the deployment certainly brought various hardships for me, my
husband also faced one of the hardest trials he has been through. Without
going into too much detail, suffice it to say that he was verbally harassed
and abused by someone in leadership over him. It was devastatingly hard.
There were FaceTime calls when he would be in tears over what he was
going through, desperate to find a way out but feeling powerless to do so. I
prayed and prayed that this person would stop how they were
inappropriately treating him - and this was all I felt like I could hope for.
Well, God had other plans and decided to bring Ephesians 3:20 to life for
us in real time when He had the military do something the military does not
do. Instead of having Owen remain under the leadership of this difficult
person placed over him, He had this higher up be shipped off to a different
country on the east coast of the continent where they were deployed to,
and Owen was able to remain where he was and begin work with a
completely different team altogether.
God did exceedingly abundantly above anything I could have asked or thought!
And when you see your God show up in miraculous, supernatural ways like
that, it brings you joy in the difficult times.
The Refining Fire of Difficulty
None of us like to experience hardship or pain. But, friend, believe me
when I say that my husband and I are both grateful for what we endured
through that seven month deployment, because we know our God better
now than we did before. We know His tenderness, His love, His care, His
attentiveness, and His trustworthiness, and that is a gift! That is a blessing.
I’m reminded of Jeremiah 48:11 - “Moab has been left quiet since his youth,
settled like wine on its dregs. He hasn’t been poured from one container to
another or gone into exile. So his taste has remained the same, and his
aroma hasn’t changed.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want this to be said of me. I don’t want to
be so spared from difficulty that I am left unchanged. Hardship is painful,
yes, but when we realize the good God brings from it, when we realize how
we are sharpened, grown, sanctified, matured, and our faith deepened as a
result of it, it becomes a blessing in disguise - a blessing that I want to be
open to in my life, knowing that it has been allowed by a good and kind
Friend, I don’t know what you are going through in your life right now as
you read these words. But my prayer for you is that you would see God
show up in the midst of your pain, that you would see Him do above and
beyond anything you could ask or think, and that He would bring you joy
and comfort in the midst of your difficulty, building your faith in Him every
step of the way.
Because I know He can!
Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, blogger, podcaster, and author of two books, Lies Moms Believe and a Companion Study Guide to Lies Moms Believe. Her passion is to edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood, particularly with an emphasis on the gospel and its implications for everyday life.