Saturday, May 20, 2017

Engagement & Expectations

The Lord has done so much during our engagement season so far, and I don't want to miss what He is teaching me or forget the small details of how He has worked in my heart. I wrote about how I will be moving to New Mexico next month to join Alex when I first wrote about our story. He has been there since January while I have been in Florida finishing my second school year. We are just about three weeks away from kissing this whole long distance thing goodbye for a while! We will continue to live separately even once I'm in New Mexico until we are married on July 29th, so I'm excitedly counting down the days (70 days!) until we can officially start experiencing everyday life together as husband and wife.

One of the biggest things that the Lord has been teaching me is that our marriage is a total gift, BUT I can't be holding onto my expectations for it so tightly that I miss how He wants to work. When I'm relying on my expectations to bring me joy, I'm always going to be disappointed and let down. Alex called me a couple of weeks ago after I got home from school, and started the conversation off by saying, "so I have some news that I want to share with you...I got a spot to go to SOTAC school, and I'll leave mid August."

My first reaction was total surprise because this was a different team than what he was supposed to be assigned to. My second reaction was disappointment because thinking about my new husband leaving was less than desirable. I'm not proud of my initial reactions, but I want to be honest with how I felt and share my thoughts.

"Lord, this isn't fair! Other new wives get to keep their husbands home with them."
"But, why does he have to go then?? I never imagined my husband of  two weeks having to leave."
"I know being separated is part of the military, but the timing of this just sucks."

Writing some of those thoughts out makes me want to cringe for how limited my perspective was. Instead of celebrating an incredible opportunity for Alex, I let my disappointment of unmet expectations take over. I was really struggling with thinking about already being a part so much this year, and then having him leave our home once we're finally able to start our lives together. It may not seem like a big deal to more seasoned military wives, but the thought just made me ache.

Alex was very gracious with me as I worked through my emotions, and the Lord is using this to teach me about laying my expectations at His feet. Outside of my salvation, Alex is the best gift I’ve been given, and yes, our soon to be marriage is a total gift too. However, Alex and our marriage ultimately belong to the Lord. Our marriage is meant to glorify God and it’s an opportunity for us to model God’s grace and redemption to others. It isn’t something that is there to fulfill all of my needs and meet my expectations. If that’s how I enter our marriage, then I am always going to be let down.

God has a purpose for choosing to send him off for training at that particular time. What I initially see as sucky timing, the Lord sees as the BEST timing. It is an opportunity for us to grow our dependence on Him. It is an opportunity for me to learn more about how to be my new husband’s helpmate. It is an opportunity for us strengthen our communication skills and to grow our spiritual intimacy. It is as an opportunity for me to develop relationships with other girls in my new community.

It reminds me of Psalm 84:11, and a quote that I wrote in my journal years back…“I realized that because the Lord God is my provider (the sun) and my protector (a shield) and because He knows best as my Father – if something is good and right for me to have today, He would give it to me. He does not withhold any good thing. And therefore, I can trust Him.”

Even though I will never like being separated from my soon to be husband, I can trust that God’s timing for sending him off is GOOD.

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