Sometimes life is hard.
My daughter was born at Darnell Army Hospital in Ft. Hood, TX in 2002. My husband, on a month-long temporary assignment, came home the day before she was born. Thankfully she was born on her due date.
We basked in the excitement of our first child and settled into parenthood.
Beginning a family in the wake of 9/11 while your husband is active duty is risky. Just three months after our first child entered the world, my husband deployed to the Middle East to enforce the no-fly zone. As a new mother in the middle of Texas with little close family, I decided to join a bible study at our church.
I needed to meet people and talk with other adults.
Our bible study group, comprised of military families, met each Wednesday. We started off with brunch and then broke off into small study sessions. I loved going each week for the fellowship but quickly learned that it was the faith that kept me coming. Each week the Study leader would announce another military unit scheduled to deploy and offer prayers and support.
Over several weeks, I saw more and more of my new friends join me in waiting for our husbands to return.
By January of 2003, most of our husbands were on a deployed status. Then, in March of 2003, the US Forces invaded Iraq. Every channel on the TV showed footage of the ensuing battle 24 hours a day. My new reality was unescapable. To make matters worse, I no longer had any communication with my husband (email was suspended and there was no Facebook, Facetime, etc.)
Thankfully, our Pastor had a plan.
He provided a crash course in the rosary for our bible group as well as other new members. In one session he provided a lesson that I still carry with me today in times of suffering:
Look to both Jesus and Mary at the cross. Jesus represents your husband. He did not want to be on the cross. He went there out of obedience and trusted in the Lord’s plan. Powerlessly hanging from a tree, Jesus looked down at His mother and did not want to see her in anguish. You are walking in the shoes of Mary as she looked up at Jesus. She longed to help and alleviate His pain but was powerless to do so. You have no control over his situation and must endure the suffering alongside your spouse. The cross, though painful, united Jesus and Mary. It will do the same for you. Cling to the cross in times of hardship.
2 Corinthians 1:7
Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.