Loving Out Loud: When Hope is Hard

I'm exhausted.

And when I say that, I don't mean that I haven't gotten enough sleep. I mean that I am beyond physically and emotionally tired. I have the kind of exhaustion that only the Lord and (and maybe some Starbucks) can fix.

This is not the kind of exhaustion you get from running around ,or the daily grind, but rather from your mind racing and your heart aching.

I feel like an overfilled balloon. My skin is tight, trying to hold in all of the things that are keeping me up at night with worry. The only thing holding me to the ground is a fragile string. If I take one more hit from life, it will be the final sharp tack that leaves me undone. I will be air in the wind. This feeling has not left my side for over three months.

The pressures of keeping up all of the household chores, the beckoning of the monthly bills, the responsibilities of parenthood- including the voluntary insomnia as a mom of a newborn baby, and all the rest weighs me down. Have you ever been in a gym and looked at the neatly stacked weights? It is times like these that I feel like I’m buried underneath them. One heavy weight, on top of the other, crushes down on top of my head.

This all began because of a turn and burn deployment. My husband was sent overseas and I was left to handle the home front...while 32 weeks pregnant. While it was a short term deployment, the hardship was unfathomable.

My husband moved out to put “boots on the ground,” and just like clockwork, “Murphy” moved in. After a couple of fun E.R. visits, countless appliance deaths, moldy ceilings, and back labor, I decided that I was done “hanging in there.”

I bravely delivered my son, with the help of a handy neighbor and my mom, while my husband scrambled to get connected on a video call. Let’s just say this, while I’m grateful for modern technology, it was most certainly not the same.

The typical postpartum parade began, with a highlight of sore nipples, weird food cravings, and a less than tolerable mood.

Fast Forward two months, and my husband and I were reunited.

Now maybe it's because I'm still a bit of an amateur in the world of milspousing (that's totally a verb, right?), but I had high hopes that things would ease up.

Having only lived this for three short years, I may be slightly naive. But, I truly believed that, upon my husband’s return from deployment, that I would be due for a break. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

Maybe for a minute, the whole world seemed right again. But, as expected, the honeymoon phase dissipated and reality came crashing down.

Before my husband returned, I made a homecoming sign. It read “Welcome home, Daddy. I have been waiting my whole life to meet you.” Little did I know just how hard the reality behind that sentiment would be.

Our new baby boy, who is now just getting to know his daddy, is resisting any attempts that my husband is making to help care for him. Then, there is usually a gut wrenching question that usually follows my little man’s protests. My husband will ask “Why doesn’t he like me?” Fighting the tears, and forcing an empathetic smile, I try to reassure him.

In addition, our five-year-old has developed an attitude that would make a modern day VSCO girl blush- seemingly overnight.

Now, if that wasn't an "all you can eat seafood buffet" size portion of nonsense on my plate already, our almost two-year-old has a hernia that landed us right back into the hospital. This hospital was the same place we had to travel to for the same surgery she had when she was 2 months old.

It's like bad Deja Vu, and let me tell you, I am not a fan!

Tonight I sat and watched my baby girl, with tubes and cords everywhere. Knowing that there is nothing you can do to fix it is the most detestable feeling.

Questions ran through my mind. “Are my cuddles good enough? Does she know that I don’t want this for her?”

The hardest question that crashed into the forefront of my mind (with a pang of guilt) was "Does God even hear my prayers right now?"

Thankfully, I came prepared for battle. With my semi-new understanding of prayer and the knowledge of the unwavering love of Christ, I was ready to stand against the harshness of this thought. My amazing support system of spouses are also on stand by, ready to help like they always are. (And of course coffee, which has never once let me down.)

Right now, this is my life. And it is uncomfortable, really uncomfortable! But I know If I just lean in, remain steadfast, and ask for help when I need it, I can not only make it through this trying time, but come out stronger and wiser (hopefully a little less exhausted).

In the meantime, there is a movement of women whose sole desire is to stand up for and next to women just like us. The She Loves Out Loud organization is hosting its first ever interactive live stream on February 15th, 2020.

Over 1 million women will be coming together to lift their voices in prayer, to ask the Lord to hear their hearts. As a military spouse, I am beyond moved that our civilian counterparts have treated us less like an afterthought- and more like a cornerstone.

On this day, Megan Brown will be leading prayer over our community- over the military spouses that are having a hard time hoping. I want to encourage you to join the movement and to watch the live event. This is how we "love out loud" when hope is hard. We pray.

Here’s how you can get plugged in.

Register to join the prayer movement. Sign up through this link to host a FREE viewing in your home-with a small group of friends, your local Bible study, in your chapel, or church home. Link arms to pray together over all of the things that are impacting women today, specifically the unique challenges that we face as military spouses.

Share the news! Help us get the word out by sharing this article. Or, head over to www.shelovesoutloud.org for more information.

Amber is a fun-loving new military spouse. You can find her strolling through Target or the breakable section of Hobby Lobby while exclaiming “Ope, lemmie just squeeze right past you here.” Hailing from the Midwest, Amber is passionate about giving encouragement with a few laughs. Watch for her new blog, releasing this fall!

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