Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Women of Independence: Brooke's Story

As promised, I have an incredible series for you guys! With Independence Day right around the corner, I wanted to share some stories that are pretty near and dear to me.

Around June and July is when all the wonderful red, white and blue decor come out and adorn our entire country. It's a time that we reflect on our freedoms and those who allow us to have those freedoms.

I grew up in a military family. My dad, step-dad, and grandfather all served in the army. I got to move all around the world and experience things that most kids only dream of. It was a very exciting life to have! BUT, there is a sacrifice to be made when one decides to take on a role as soldier. Of course we know of obvious ones such as putting their lives on the line, but what about their families? Most only know half of the story and most easily make judgement calls.

The recent uproar in social media due to a Facebook group called, "Soldiers are Not Heroes" makes me sick to my stomach. If they aren't heroes, then who is? The media plasters stories about dishonorable men and women, yet don't lift up those that have amazing stories to tell.

This is exactly why I have asked a few of my friends to share their stories as being apart of a military family. I know without a doubt that the public NEEDS to hear their voices. 

So today's Woman of Freedom is my lovely friend Brooke. We have known each other for YEARS, so I was beyond excited when she agreed to do this segment for me. 

So listen up. :)

After Dominique invited me to share a little bit about what it is like to be a military wife, many stories, sayings, and thoughts assailed my mind. Honestly, the task of paring down the many things that I wanted to share was quite difficult. I am not one who is known for being at a loss for words, rather, on the contrary, I can usually conjure up enough things to say that sometimes I think I’m guilty of eating up other people’s word count. Oh, the joys of being an oldest child who has plenty to say!
            Nevertheless, after much internal deliberation and self-imposed pressure, I was able to narrow down my guest blog post (I don’t want to wear out my welcome after only one contribution, right?). What you are about to read is a result of this careful pruning process. It has been thoughtfully considered and weighed for quality of content:
As I type this, I am at our central North Carolina home, sitting at my kitchen table, our densely wooded backyard just beyond the sliding doors, a living room with two young girls intently watching “Jem and the Holograms” (remember that ‘80’s cartoon?!), and a six-year-old boy playing the Wii in my bedroom. Yes, it is a quiet Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, it is a little quieter than we would all like, and that is because a key part of our family is gone. Not just gone, as in “gone” to the grocery store, or “gone” on a fishing trip with the guys. No, “gone” as in halfway around the world.  Yep, for the last six months (with another six months ahead of us), my husband has been in Afghanistan. I cannot begin to tell you how immensely I miss him. It actually took me a few weeks before I could talk about him to others without my eyes welling up with tears. Thankfully, I can now say his name without turning on the waterworks, but every night, after the kids have gone to bed and I am sitting alone on the couch, clipping coupons with no one to talk to, or on the weekends when we hang out with other families at a party or church service, I feel the weight of his absence push down on my heart. I know my children sense it, too, although they are such good little troopers, and have handled it so beautifully. 
            I am not sharing this personal pain with you all, because I wish to elicit personal sympathy for me. Truly, I have been so very blessed! I have felt the love and compassion of many during this time of separation from my husband. Rather, I am providing a small glimpse into my life, because I know that there are other women who would like to understand what being a military wife entails, and this is one of the details that the position demands. On that note, let me just further sum up the requirements of a military spouse in a few words: patience, understanding, commitment, and a firm resolve to support your husband. Wait . . . now that I think about it, that it what it takes to be any sort of wife, not simply a military one!  The reason is because no matter what our husband does for a living, we each have a choice in what sort of woman we will be. Please know that I am in no way diminishing the unique sacrifice that military wives make. Believe me, my dad is a twenty-seven year veteran, and my husband has served for thirteen years, thus far. The challenges we face are different, and most of us long for others with whom we can identify. Yet, ultimately, we’re not all that different.
            Some of you are married to men who have touch and go jobs. You’re not really certain when and how much your next paycheck will be. Some of your husbands may be currently unemployed, while others have spouses with a steady, dependable job. Yet, whatever our current life situation is, our patience, understanding, commitment, and resolve are necessary! 
            So, now that we have found some common ground, I would just leave you with a small request. The next time that you meet a military wife, please take the step to make her feel welcome and befriend her. She will oftentimes approach you first (most of us are known for our “go-getter” attitude), but it is very refreshing to find others who are willing to pursue friendship with us, even though they know we may not be living close to them for more than a couple of years! Yet, most of us are good at keeping in touch. Even though we may not be able to have our kids grow up in the same church or school, we value the steps you take to connect with us, despite our relatively short time in your neck of the woods.  Also, remember that whoever you are and whatever your husband does, you are a jewel, a treasure, and you are called to show other ladies how to thrive in whatever situation they find themselves in! 

Thanks so much Brooke! It means a lot for you to take the time out to get a bit personal with us!

I hope you guys enjoyed this story! There is gonna be a new Woman of Independence featured every day this week!! Please pass these stories on-they are immensely valuable.  


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