Most mornings, I wake up with a start. I look around my room and remember where I am. And then I tell myself, “everything’s okay.” I know this isn’t normal. And I am undergoing treatment for my anxiety and nightmares. But it’s my reality after …
Tag: military life
This is the final devotional in our Diva Christmas Series 2018, “The Best Christmas Ever!” I can’t believe it either, but Christmas is one week away! Here is my contribution to the series, which I truly hope provided some enjoyment and intimacy with God this …
Back in my June Editor’s Note (here), I kind of talked about surprises that change all your plans. There was a lot going on for me that time of the year, and I wasn’t prepared to share all of it then.
As I wrote in that post, I went back to Iowa with my toddler in May after a nice deployment visit with my husband in Croatia. At that time, he was in the middle of a 6-month deployment.
Two days after we arrived in Iowa, my grandma suddenly died the day before Mother’s Day. It turned out to be a very melancholy Mother’s Day, especially for my dad. I was also putting things together for little O’s 3rd birthday party. I missed my husband, and everything just felt crazy. And it was about to get even crazier.
You might have already figured out the “big news” by now.
On O’s third birthday, I went to the doctor for a check-up. And there, I found out we had another baby on the way. Certainly, after the loss of my grandma, this was a bright spot.
We are so happy and feel so blessed. But, as with O, I’ve had a bit of a difficult pregnancy. I would not be able to get through without our families! I am so, so grateful.
I have had to cut back on what I am doing in all areas of my life (even now that I’m back in Italy) and take care of myself. My mother-in-law is here helping me out too while Brandon is away again (again, thank God for
That’s why this post will be the last until our Christmas series begins. And after Christmas, Devotional Diva will be on hiatus until sometime in the spring.
Because in addition to a new baby girl in January, we’re moving back to the US in February!
I’m going to re-insert the scripture I included in that June Editor’s Note here. It’s the motto for my life right now!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
Longing for Loneliness
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Ann Grace. Boy, this devotional hit me hard. Ann is a remarried widow and military wife and mom of five with just an amazing story. Her heart inspires me. Look out for more devotionals from her because she’s got a lot more to her story, and a lot more to say. This devotional in particular is about “longing for loneliness.”]
I thought I knew what loneliness was, and I avoided it at all costs. Before my husband
died, there were many times I felt lonely and ran from it. I filled my schedule with errands, my days with household chores, and it seemed to help.
Life of this wife and mother of five was endless hours of cleaning and chauffeuring children to and from their schools. Don’t even get me started with helping with homework while holding a newborn and trying to cook a healthy dinner to be warm when my husband came home from work. Life was busy. It was chaotic. There was always something needing to be done. The laundry seemed like it had a vendetta against me, and orphaned socks were constantly screaming at me to find their pair!
I grew used to filling my lonely heart with the busyness of this life. I read my daily 5 minute devotionals, said my prayers before meals and went to countless Bible studies. My husband loved the Lord as much as I did, and we did our weekly ritual of attending church. We both strived to live for Christ as best as we knew how.
For years, the presence of my husband and kids seemed to be all I needed in life. Or at least that’s what I thought should be enough. I never admitted feeling lonely to anyone, myself included, unless I was ready to be judged. And I wasn’t ready. Where I grew up, being lonely was almost shameful, like you were ungrateful for your life, family, etc… It was kind of like there was something wrong with the person, you know?
The night my husband died, I asked him if he was in any pain, and he whispered ever so softly that he wasn’t. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. That would be the last time I spoke with him as he had a heart attack in his sleep. I remember thinking as I was by his side in all this, “Lord, how am I going to face being alone? Why won’t you heal him?”
I desperately feared being alone.
And in that moment of heartbreak and disbelief, loneliness once again showed up to greet me. Within minutes of his passing, friends and family arrived to comfort me. But no one knew just what to say or could understand how lonely I was feeling. And honestly, all I wanted was to be left alone.
Then the Lord allowed me into a season of loneliness.
He allowed a season of loneliness in my life to create a deeper longing for Him. Husband or no husband, my heart was crying out all these years to go deeper with my Savior. To be alone with Him. To hear His voice. I needed now more than ever to know who I was in Christ.
What was my calling? To be a wife? Mother? Widow?
My life was now being redefined in the midst of this loneliness.
My identity was so wrapped up in preventing a void of loneliness that I forgot to know my King. I let the fear of loneliness drive my life into a pit of even more loneliness. In the end, the Lord allowed heartbreak to reveal a need for Him alone. He saved me. He called me deeper. He called me to love harder. He called me to a season of widowhood so that He could save me from the pit of loneliness I’d crawled into.
In the years following his passing, the Lord has shown me many things, but maybe none more profound than the gift of loneliness. And you know what was most comforting, knowing that Jesus needed to be alone too. If Jesus needed to be alone many times in order to spend quality time with God, then why would I think a busy life, husband or quick devotion would be enough?
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV
Dear Lord, help our lonely hearts long for a deeper need of You. Comfort us in our times of pain and heartache. Let us bask in our season of loneliness knowing You are with us. Take our broken hearts and fill them once more with your unconditional love. Amen.
Ann Grace married her first husband, a Marine and Firefighter in 2002 and they were blessed with five beautiful children. She was widowed in 2015 and re-married in 2017. She had a stillbirth in 2017 and now seeks to share her passion of how Christ rescued her with other grieving women and children.
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The way we treat woman in the military and society in general keeps them stuck and often silenced about the wrongdoing that occurs aboard ships, during deployments and in the world environment. It is much like when you leave home and realize the way you were raised was not exactly conducive for the reality of the outside world.
Due to a deployment, my husband was separated from me and my son for four months. We just recently reunited in the States (where my son and I were). To be honest, becoming a family unit once again is an adjustment. We just traveled back to Europe, too, and are whooped (a full day of flying + 11 hours of driving to get to our final destination).