God really dealt with me about 2 weeks ago. He convicted me and changed my heart. He grew me. The story goes something like this:
A few months back, my husband told me that instead of reenlisting like we had been planning for the past 3 years, he wanted to get out of the Marine Corps. He's been in now for 8 years. This is what we know, what we're comfortable with, what he's good at, what would give us retirement after only 20 years, what pays us enough money to live 6 blocks from the beach, what provides pretty good medical insurance and lots of other privileges. Yet, he told me he thinks it's time to leave.
We've had conversations like these over the past 8 years. In fact, he did get out of the Marines after the first 4 years. But we decided that getting back in and staying the full 20 years was the best thing for us and for a family. It's a frustrating job. It's a love-hate thing. Any Marine will tell you that. So, at times, he wants to get out.
That's why at first I didn't take him that seriously.
But this time is different. This time he feels like the Lord is clearly calling him out of the military. And at first I wasn't so willing to accept that. At first I just wanted to believe it was a phase and he would get over it. But the truth is, I know that God is leading us out of military life. And that's where He had to deal with my heart.
I guess I'm just comfortable with this life. I know, that sounds crazy to civilians considering we've gone through 5 deployments and considering my husband is an infantry Marine. But the truth is, this is what I know. I like having the privileges of military life. I like the steady paycheck. I like being a military wife.
I was telling all of this to God one night in my quiet time and that's when He said to me, "You are holding on to this lifestyle like an earthly possession. None of it will matter in eternity, but trusting Me and following Me will. Trust and follow your husband's lead."
Dang.. that hit me like a ton of bricks. I hadn't even realized that I was holding onto this so tightly. And I had never thought of it like it was an earthly possession, an earthly desire. But He was so right. And it is time for me to let go, because in the end what is really going to matter, what will really have eternal impact is my obedience to Him.
Now of course there are hundreds of questions that come along with this decision; where do we go? what will we do? why are we leaving? why now?? And we have some of that figured out, some of it in the works and some of it we may not know for a very long time. I feel a bit like Abram must have felt when the Lord told him, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you" (Genesis 12:1).
As for the "why" I have a theory, although it's just that: a theory. I can tell you that deep, meaningful spiritual growth is hard to come by within a military lifestyle. Schedules are insane, deployments are often, many of us move frequently, and the list goes on and on. And both of us are thirsty for that growth, especially together as a married couple. I know that outside of the Marine Corps, there will be so much more time and opportunity for us to grow closer to God and for Him to use us in His kingdom.
And as for the "where", like that verse from Genesis, I am confident that the Lord will show us. For now, we just plan to seek Him and be obedient to His call.