Last Thursday, we in the U.S.A. celebrated Independence Day. The word “Independence” comes from the roots meaning “not/the opposite of” and “to rely on another”. This is the day we celebrate the moment that our fine country became “the opposite of reliant on another”. I received a Sappy Love Story* recently from a woman married to a Navy SEAL, and it got me to thinking about how independence relates to weddings and marriages. It’s the time when you become dependent on another, you file your taxes together, you pool your money together, you share food…but for this bride, it also means becoming fully reliant on God to hold things together in trying times. Her years of marriage to a Navy SEAL that have taught her a lot about Independence and the worth of fighting for it, but marriage itself has shown her an additional way to look at the word:
My husband and I have been married just shy of four years. About 50% of our marriage has been long distance.
In late 2007, I told the Lord that I was sick of dating and asked Him if I could have my husband now. Immediately after writing those words in my journal, I opened my Daily Light devotional and read the title for that day — Psalm 89:19, “I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have exalted a young man from among the people.” I embraced it as a promise from God and resolved to pray to marry a warrior.
Never in all my prayers for a warrior did I think it was literal; I thought it would be a man who fights for what he believes. But in January 2009, the Lord dropped a Navy SEAL into my life who loved Jesus.
We fell in love quickly, but I didn’t tell him about my prayer for a warrior. You can imagine my utter shock when I received a letter from him one day sharing his favorite psalm with the statement, “I see myself as a warrior for the Lord and I rely on God for strength in life and in battle.” I knew at that moment he was God’s answer to my prayer. If he proposed, I would say yes.
And he did propose! Then he deployed 36 hours later for Afghanistan. He came home two months later for a month and we had a beautiful wedding in the middle of that month. Then he deployed again for seven months…
When he finally returned we rejoiced and thanked God for all He had done for us. I thought, “I can do this military life thing.” Then we found out he would be sent on a year long deployment and I broke. Fear, anxiety, and anger underscored those upcoming months as I wrestled with God over this disappointment. I thought God was out to get me. I wrestled and wrestled until I finally let go of my husband’s life and our time together into His hands (though it was never in mine!). I told God I would trust Him.
During this time, we heard we might be able to see each other two times during the year and I asked God to make it real. When an older godly man heard of our circumstances and my prayer he said, “You were told you would see your husband twice. You’re not really asking for much.” He was right. In my fear of being disappointed, I held back my true desires from God. As I repented of this, I asked Him, “In Jesus’ Name, I pray that I would be able to see my husband as much as possible on this deployment, even if it means going overseas, that we could get pregnant, and that he could be home by Christmas.”
Three weeks after he deployed, he called me and said, “Hey girl, wanna come see me?” I was speechless. Two days later I was on a plane to the Middle East where I was allowed to stay for three weeks! My gratefulness and hope in the Lord grew.
A couple weeks after returning to the States, over a Skype call in the public women’s room of my corporation’s headquarters, we found out I was pregnant! Another answer to prayer and more hope in the Lord.
Two weeks later, I received another call from my husband, “Hey girl, wanna come see me again?” This time with morning sickness, I flew out again, for five days.
Two months later, he came home for his scheduled “break” which miraculously lasted 5 weeks!
He deployed again and a couple months later over Thanksgiving weekend, at 33 weeks pregnant, I went into the hospital with pregnancy complications. When I was able to get in touch with my husband to tell him I was in the hospital he told me, “Honey, I’m already on my way home. Because of budget cuts they are sending me home. My deployment is over.”
Two days later, my husband and I were reunited in the hospital. Six weeks later, our son was born. God answered every crazy prayer that I prayed in the previous nine months. He taught me once again to trust Him.
The more I study prayer in the Bible, the more I don’t understand. But I am learning that:
1. Nothing is too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:17)
2. He wants us to pour out our hearts to Him (Psalm 62:8)
3. He wants us to ask Him for things (John 15:7, 16)
4. His painful ‘no’s’ and delightful ‘yes’s’ come from His unchanging and all-loving heart toward us (John 15:13, Jeremiah 29:11)
5. This world will not be the place for the satisfaction of our deepest desires. But the time will come when all will be made right, whole, and satisfied in heaven with Christ (Revelation 21:1-5)
“Difficulty is actually the atmosphere surrounding a miracle, or a miracle in its initial stage. Yet if it is to be a great miracle, the surrounding condition will be not simply a difficulty but an utter impossibility. And it is the clinging hand of His child that makes a desperate situation a delight to God.”
-Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman, October 14th
*This couple has requested to remain anonymous, therefore names and photos are excluded.