Monday, May 17, 2010

Anchors Away




My sweetheart and I left our house around 0430 with Stephen's possessions in the car. His side of the bathroom sink and his nightstand were wiped clean of the usual trinkets that lay there. He tried to fit me in his duffel bag as a stowaway but decided that Chaplains probably shouldn't do that. ;) We got some Starbucks goodness on our way to drop him off at his ship. We shared laughs and jokes holding each other's hand in the car. Then the moment came to say our final "farewell" and we wept together one last time. The intense and immediate ache that was in my chest is indescribable. Knowing that the last hug and kiss I gave him will have to suffice for the next 6 months creates a lump in my throat and knots in my stomach. We dried our eyes and put on our best smiles for each other. Standing on the pier amongst parents, girlfriends, spouses, and children of the sailors on board the USS Elrod, I tried my best to hold back tears. We all watched our sailors move further and further away from us until we couldn't see them anymore. What an intensely emotional moment! I firmly believe in "blessings in the storms," though. While on the pier, God allowed me to meet a new friend and we shared laughs to encourage each other. :) When it was time to leave, I ran into another newly made friend who had stopped by knowing that Stephen would be leaving. And when I finally arrived home, my wonderful new neighbor asked if I'd like to go see a movie with her and gets some dinner with her family that night! How awesome is that? I was showered with so much comfort and encouragement that I didn't have time to go home and have a pity-party for myself. God used these people, my friends, and family to wrap HIS arms around me and remind me that I'm NEVER alone!


Since then, I've been able to keep in contact with Stephen via email. I'm enjoying a week at the beach with some of my family and loving every moment. I can sense God's extra dose of peace in my heart. It's amazing how much I get to lean on Him, trust Him, rely on Him, and find protection, peace, and rest in Him during these tougher times. I've been reading, Hope for the Homefront-Winning the Emotional and Spiritual Battles of the Military Wife, for the second time time now along with it's Bible Study book. It's been perfect! I would definitely recommend it to any of you military spouses out there. I'm looking forward to the unknown 6 months with God given encouragement and comfort. As unimaginable as it seems to me right now, I trust that all things are possible through Christ who strengths me!
I'd like to post a prayer that Stephen prayed over the Elrod's intercom for their nightly prayer:
Heavenly Father, we thank you for yet another beautiful day at sea. Thank you for preserving us and keeping us safe.

As we press forward towards our objective, I pray that you would continue to help us as we train and hone our skills. As the Psalmist wrote; “For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me.”

Lord you have equipped us and given us the tools that we need to accomplish our mission. Give us courage to meet the challenges set before us, and may we continue to trust in you, our shield, and our defender…for our true strength lies in you.

Lord, we ask that you would be with our loved ones back home, comfort them and give them peace.



Amen!