Being in, or affiliated with the military is a unique life situation. It is something that touches every single element of my day. If asked to describe myself, one of my defining characteristics is that I am a military spouse. What I absolutely adored in Anni Harry’s newJourney Through Adventis is that it celebrates military life without being exclusive about it.
Faith can be super easy, especially when things are bright and cheery. It is easy to see how God is working in your life when everything is going well – you managed to clean your house, your kids are getting along for more than 3 minutes at a time and actually remembered to say “please” and “excuse me.” You or your spouse just got a raise at work and you are planning a weekend away to celebrate. You just paid off a car. Your son just got accepted to the college of his choice plus got the scholarship necessary to get him there. Your daughter just scored the winning goal in her soccer tournament, boosting her confidence in her athletic ability. You can really feel something when you go to church and father’s homily this week was as if it was designed for you. Yes, life is good.
But sometimes life isn’t so good. Sometimes, it might feel like there is a mountain in your way, blocking out all the light so all you can see are shadows shifting in the dimly lit valley. You forgot to pay the credit card this month. Your kids are fighting constantly and one is starting to talk back with harsh, hurtful words. You or your spouse just lost a job or there is a real threat that it could happen. You did not get accepted into the position you were hoping for. The baby refuses to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time during the night and you couldn’t figure out what was wrong. You go to church but don’t feel any connection. You do the motions but your soul isn’t on fire, your heart is apathetic, your mind is elsewhere. So many things can happen that are outside of your control and you feel as if everything is spiraling down into a meaningless, disorganized, futile mess.
There is a constant hidden within both of these rather polar images. Underneath the perfection and the destruction is God. Under the organization and the chaotic whirlwind is Christ. Under the model behavior and blatant disrespect is the Holy Spirit. Whether you feel it or not, each time you receive the Eucharist you are consuming the King of the Universe, becoming intimately united with the Savior of the world and of your life.
The God who loves you, made you, and has a specific purpose for you remains with you through it all, even when it seems as if all hope is lost. When the mountain appears too hard to climb, God is there, reminding you that if you have the faith of but a mustard seed, mountains can and will crumble.
***I am dedicating this post to a dear friend of mine who in the very near future will be standing at the bottom of one of her highest mountains. Her husband is deploying for a year while she remains at home with two small children, one just barely 5 months old. This is a mountain that all too many before her have faced and more will face it yet, but this knowledge does not make it any easier to climb. If you have a moment as you read this post, please lift up my friend and her family, for the safety of her husband, and for all of our military brothers and sisters who so honorably and selflessly answer the call of our nation.