Out of the past 117 days my hubby has spent only 21 with our family.
When we said for better or worse I can assure you, this was never on my timeline! If you told me Chris and I would spend 96 days apart I would have explained you have the wrong marriage. In fact, for those who truly know me, they know I am a MUCH better person when Chris is around. Anyone questioning this stop no further than our children and they will tell you–mom is just better with dad.
From this experience (the single-mom life in Uganda) I have gained such a deep appreciation for single moms and military wives. You all are inspiring. You are heroic and my heart felt prayers go out to you and I applaud you–as your life, day in and day out, is NOT easy.
Five things I learned while Chris was away:
I am far braver than I realized. I have become the resident bug killer, mouse chaser, gecko getter, and even have dealt with some security issues that normally would have left me paralyzed and in a puddle. (Of course God has reminded me that He is my protector and defender…but sometimes you just have to kill a ginormous roach because there is no one else around who will do it.)
God has GOT to be my everything. I cannot look for ANY human being to fill the place of my Heavenly Father. My utter daily reliance has (more than EVER in my lifetime) been on God. He has been my protector, provider, best friend, counselor, rock, healer, and sustainer in the midst of some dark days. Normally I could easily run to Chris. Even though face time is nice–you might not have internet or electricity or he might be sleeping when you feel like talking. At the end of the day–I learned on my solo flight that the ONLY one who will meet your every need is Jesus.
Girlfriends ROCK. I joke that I took a UG wife while here–but I had a precious friend/neighbor/confidante that I daily did life with. She taught me to cry–she explained tears are beautiful–and that God bottles them and they are not wasted. She also was not afraid to call me on my stuff–and hold me accountable to the faith I professed. We discussed hardship and pain in this place as it is like nothing I have ever encountered–and having someone to attempt to process the pain is HUGE and necessary. In Chris’ absence this girl taught me a lot about life.
I need to be a good listener. In Uganda there are times when I really believe God is far more simple to listen to–not because he is louder but because there are less distractions. I sensed God giving me the green light to begin intentionally investing in the staff here at the compound–and it has been some of the sweetest relationships that I have encountered in my lifetime. If I had been distracted or not listening I would have missed out on truly some of the most amazing friendships I have ever known.
There is nothing like DAD… My kids need to laugh…I am NOT funny. I am funny to a few close friends who get me…but Chris is funny to most all of the adults that he meets and to every small child he encounters. (Thusly!) My kids need someone to wrestle, tickle, and climb on. I am not very touchy, so this does not bode well for me to be responsible for those types of activities. That said, I know they fill my kids physical touch cups…all 5 of those little cups…so daddy’s absence has been felt. Chris’ leadership too is void and though I consider myself a strong leader…my well is a tad bit dry. We had the most wonderful sessions with Chris when he came to visit, including African drums and dancing each day for worship…now a CD must suffice. There is something about dad that scratches an itch I am unable to quite get at…
The lessons I learned were hard. If I were completely honest I would share that I would have preferred NOT to learn those lessons on my own but with my partner by my side. That said, they were likely lessons I needed to learn solo…and for that I am grateful.
In 9 hours Chris rejoins our family on this part of the planet to embark on a new uncharted adventure. The adventure that awaits will certainly be nothing less than life-altering. Grateful for the lessons learned alone and the ones we will now encounter together!
Here is to life starting tomorrow with the UNITED 7 C’s.