Tuesday, April 19, 2016

When the Army Gives you a Choice

Late fall/early winter was a busy, chaotic season for us. We found out DH came out on the MAJ list – Yay! Praise the Lord! - then we found out he came out on the list for resident ILE. Here we were, all set and ready to move to Ft. Gordon when this little twist cropped up. Not to mention the fact that we were just about to celebrate the holidays with both sets of families on opposite coasts, and our move was just 2 months away. Now, I'm very familiar with orders being changed at the last minute so this wasn't what shook me. What shook me was that we had a choice. DH could turn this down, and we could still go to Gordon. Wait, what? The Army was giving us a choice? Whoever heard of such a thing!

This was definitely a time to pray for wisdom! So that's exactly what we did. In all our prayer times together as a couple, as a family, we prayed that God would make it clear what we should do. We consulted our parents, DH's respected superiors, and we asked our extended family and friends to pray, as well. It seemed like this was one of those decisions where neither one was particularly right or wrong, at least in God's eyes. Leavenworth was a nice compliment to DH – showing him that he is well-respected (not everyone gets to go, especially as a Functional Area). So we began to wonder if turning it down would be really bad for his career. As Christians in the military, it can be difficult to weigh if God wants the service member to pursue his career to such excellence so as to be put in a high position to influence others for Christ, or whether to show with one's decisions (the few we get in the military), that he prioritizes family over career.

In talking with some of DH's fellow functional area superiors, he found that going to resident ILE was not a make or break issue as far as his career was concerned. If he wanted to be a General, then yes, he should pursue it. If not, then satellite ILE would be sufficient.

In my heart, I was nervous that we might have to move to Leavenworth. Ft. Gordon was safe to me. We'd been there before, we still knew people there, we'd be within driving distance of my parents. It seemed like a no-brainer to me! But then again, I will always choose what is comfortable and safe.

Yet, even for me, as I started to think about it and pray about it, I realized this could be an adventure and exactly what God wanted us to do! It could be fun to go to KS, to be with some of DH's classmates from college and their wives who I hadn't seen in 9 years. I wanted to communicate to DH that we could do this! I did not want to be the one influencing his decision and putting pressure on him to take Ft. Gordon because it would make me happy. I've watched far too many Army wives make that move and later regret it. I did not want to make the same mistake, and I knew I was in danger of making it.

I'm not sure if I handled it correctly, but I told him that if he wanted to go to resident ILE, we could do it! I would be in full support, and we'd make an adventure out of driving cross-country again with our now 3 year old. It would be fun to be in a school environment, especially with so many friends we had known years before. Reconnecting with old Army buddies is one of the best parts about moving around! Plus, it would be a longer school term as opposed to just the few short months of satellite ILE, which means more family time. There were a lot of positives to this decision...which again made it so difficult.

I think DH appreciated my support, though he could probably tell what my real heart's desire was (um, guess I still need to work on that!). I'm not sure hearing my verbal support helped him by making the decision any easier. We were both seeing the good and the bad of this and almost wanted someone – anyone – to tell us what to do! Decisions that are not cut and dry are so much harder to make!

As Christians, we are taught to read the Bible, pray, and seek godly counsel when faced with a decision. Some are easier to make than others. And this one did not fall into that category. Again, we were thinking, why can't the Army just tell us what to do, like they do with almost every other part of our lives. Nevertheless, we read the Bible, we prayed, and we sought godly counsel. Ultimately, the decision was in DH's hands, and I began to fervently pray for him. This was a big weight on his shoulders, and I felt helpless. Aren't wives supposed to help and support their husbands?! I felt very inadequate. I do not know what I would do if I couldn't pray. That was the only way I knew how to help. That and to keep my opinions to myself and just give DH space and time to think.

When it was crunch time and a decision had to be made, DH chose to decline resident ILE and accept satellite. We were both relieved. I think. Maybe I was more relieved than he was. Either way, God had given us peace. We at least knew where we were going, and I breathed a big sigh of relief that it wouldn't be a hard move...or so I thought. Funny how we think one thing and then something completely different happens!

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