I have been a bit emotional lately. When I feel down I can always count on one person for support, my best friend Lynne. She is a source of strength and encouragement to me and I can always count on her to listen and give me the honest feedback I need. I can call her anytime, day or night, and say anything knowing I am safe confiding in her. She never judges or interrupts, she just listens. She has seen me at my best and at my worst, and still loves me unconditionally.
Thinking about these wonderful truths makes me so thankful to have such a friend. I know I am blessed to have even one person I can count as a true friend. But it saddens me that I can't have the same confidence and trust in our Lord. That I don't consider HIM my first source of comfort and that I don't go to him first with my doubts. I long to be someone who has limitless faith, someone who always knows everything will be fine. I wish I never had anxiety about anything because I know He is in charge of everything. But the truth is...I do feel anxious, about many things. I do worry, and wonder, and question His plan for my life.
When Lynne and I met I could never have imagined our friendship would be what it is now. Our husbands decided we would all sit together at a Marine Corps Ball. I was quite hesitant about being forced to socialize all night with a woman I had never met before. In fact, I had a terrible attitude about it and told Ben something along the lines of "what if I don't like her at all, what if we have nothing in common?" Ben assured me her husband was a good guy and he was sure we would at least get along. Not only did we get along, we spend the entire night gabbing like sisters and, as my husband describes, "ignoring the guys." :) I found an instant friend in her and even if we only had the Marine Corps in common, that was enough, it was an understanding, a way of life. And this way of life was something not even my closest friends from home could understand.
Little did we know all we would go through together during the next 4 years. When the guys left for Iraq the first time I called Lynne the next day to ask what she was doing. I had just moved there and didn't know a soul. She was going to church and offered to pick me up on the way there. I accepted, relieved not to be alone. When she arrived to pick me up she was a vision of strength. She had obviously been crying, but she was a woman of faith, she knew it was God's plan and that her husband would be home soon. That deployment was full of ups and downs, as anyone could expect. But there was a tight bond formed by a small group of wives whose husband were all overseas. We cried a lot, but looking back, we laughed quite a bit as well. We had sleepovers, went on trips, scrapbooked into the early morning, cried on each others shoulders when we missed our husbands phone calls, celebrated every letter received in the mail and counted each day past as one closer to our men.
The bond formed in those months is difficult to describe. Part of it was out of necessity, survival. Just to have someone who knew how you were feeling without having to say one word. Someone to offer a shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen or a cup of hot tea to comfort. Someone who reminded you that you are not alone. We even named our "club" with a name and story too silly and secret to say. None of us had children yet and I count this as my "college experience." These were my sorority sisters, my bosom friends. (as Anne of Green Gables would say) Not only were we wonderful friends, but we were all Christians. And although we were all in very different places in our walk, we were all walking.
My husband's second deployment to Iraq would be the biggest test of my faith by far. He left on the day of our first wedding anniversary and after being there for ten weeks he was seriously injured, and the only survivor of that accident. After two days of feeling helpless and lost I suddenly knew what I had to do. I got on a plane and flew to Germany to get my husband. We arrived in the United States together and began his healing process at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. Lynne was in New York visiting her mother at the time and drove 8 hours one way on icy roads with a 5 month old to see us, have dinner, and drive back. I don't think she said two words that night. She was just there, there for support, there to listen to me pour my heart out. When Ben and I arrived home a few weeks later I arrived to a spotless house, cleaned by my friends and a few women from church. This was a miracle! Everything was bright, fresh and cheery. My fridge and cupboards were full of food and the love put into making this as special a homecoming as possible was evident throughout our home.
As the months and years passed, our lives began to change. Some of us had children, some were restationed to other countries, some decided against the military world and became civilians once again. These women will always be an example of faith and love for me. They are still, and will always be my kindred spirits, no matter how many miles or months are between us. So to all my special friends out there (you know who you are) thank you for being my sisters and my family. You are special beyond measure and I cannot deny the Lord's faithfulness in allowing our paths to cross. But my true prayer today is to fully trust our Lord to be the first one I run to when I am feeling lost or discouraged. To be as faithful to Him as I pray He will continue to be in my life. To allow my friends to be the blessing that they are, and allow our Lord to have his rightful place in my heart.