Have you ever stopped to really ponder God’s amazing providence in your life? I’m not talking about recognizing and counting the gifts (though I would highly recommend doing that, as well) God has placed in our every day lives, but the true working out of the details that He orchestrates on so many occasions – and that many of us take for granted. You certainly don’t have to have had an “easy” life or have had things run smoothly to be able to sit back and truly reflect on His providence in your life.
I have a story I’d like to tell you. A story of truly recognizing God’s providence and faithfulness in my life and of having an awakening to the sense of true love and attentiveness He has for me (and YOU). Also, I don’t tell short stories, I just don’t know how! My apologies in advance, but it’s worth the read if you have time.
Michael was originally scheduled to deploy this past Thanksgiving weekend. As the middle of October approached, we had come to the place where we were “ready”. Our hearts were ready, our lives were ready, the children were prepared. However, around October 15, Michael received notification that his deployment tasking had been given to someone else (for reasons that only make sense to military personnel) and he was left with no tasked job. I was a bit upset at this news due to being ready to get it started so that it could be over sooner. I was not upset about the fact he no longer had to be in Afghanistan! However, none of that meant he was in the clear, what it meant was that another tasking would most assuredly come sometime before his deployment window ended in May. There was just no way to know when or where until he actually received the notification. So we were back to waiting while he continued in his regular duties in his squadron here.
On October 22, just a few days after the cancellation of the deployment, I received a message from my most dear girlfriend (seriously, we’ve been besties since kindergarten – that’s 25 years) that her brother, Thomas, who was living in Australia at the time, had been killed in a diving accident earlier that day. This unexpected tragedy broke my heart for my dear friend and her family. You see, they weren’t just her family, they were like a second family to me. Our two families had been friends for many years, her parents treated me like an extension of their own family. Thomas cared for and treated me as another sister (I could tell countless stories of the “brotherly love” he showered upon us both!). There was almost no choice, I absolutely had to pack up the children and head to Florida to be with my “other family.” So, with Michael’s blessing, 2 days later that is what I did.
I tell you this story not to sadden you, but to point you to the realization I had on my long drive to Florida.
You see, Michael wasn’t only scheduled to deploy around Thanksgiving, he was also scheduled for a 12 day mandatory pre-deployment training in New Jersey. That would have had him leaving around November 8 and not returning home until the 20th and then leaving again on the 26th. Had that deployment not been cancelled I might not have been able to make that trip to Florida (which, looking back on, was absolutely necessary) because the memorials ended up not taking place until November 4 & 5th. So, in essence, we would have missed an additional 4-5 weeks with Michael and only have had 5 days with him between the end October and the end of November, before he went to Afghanistan.
Do you see how God worked out those details so perfectly?? Yes, I was upset about the deployment having been cancelled, but it took me hardly any time to figure out why it worked out that way once I received the news of my friend’s passing.
* Of note: I don’t think it’s any coincidence that we home educate our children and that home education is portable and flexible.
* Another note: If you’re familiar with other branches of the military, I’m sure you know that in most cases they deploy as large units (and there is a lot of secrecy as to the details of the traveling/tasking [we call that OPSEC - Operational Security]). All traveling together to and from the deployment location and mostly remaining together during their tour. Though this does happen in the Air Force, it isn’t as common. In the two vastly different career fields Michael has held during his service, deployments are individually tasked. Meaning, he flies alone on a commercial flight until he reaches the east coast, at which time he joins the hundreds of others waiting for a military charter flight to the same general area. This also means we are allowed to see him off at the gate for his flight and this is where we say our official goodbye.
I also have another story to share, but I’ll wait until another day. It’s just as awesome, happened incredibly recently and has several seemingly tiny and insignificant events that transpired to make one major event doable for us.
Have you taken the time to savor the details of life that God orchestrates on our behalf? I would love to hear about how you’re recognizing God’s hand in your life.
This post is linked to Finer Things Friday.