Thursday, May 26, 2011

Visiting Stephen at Camp McCrady...

I had the opportunity to drive about 7 hours down to Camp McCrady (which is located on Fort Jackson in South Carolina) to spend one night and one day day with Stephen. It was SO worth the trip! I would fly around the world to spend just a few moments with him. I read once that when being asked about how she copes with her husband traveling so much, Ruth Graham (Billy Graham's wife), responded by simply saying, "I'd rather have a little of Bill than a lot of any other man." I can definitely resonate with that! I'd rather have a little of Stephen knowing that he is exactly where God would have him to be right now...even though it is not in my arms.

Our little "T-pot" (above) was so excited to see her daddy! We picked him up Saturday evening and had a fabulous time together. Couldn't have asked for a better visit! The hardest part, of course, was saying good bye...again. I'm learning that I may never get the hang of trying to swallow that familiar lump in my throat as tears run down my face and we kiss one last time. *Deep breath* Watching my best friend walk away knowing he will not return for months is the most difficult thing in the world. I suppose a great blessing from separation is time to reflect on just how much I love Stephen and why. While driving back to the hotel through the dark, country roads, I realized that I had a little baby asleep behind me and I needed God to be my strength, catch my tears, dry my eyes, and get me home safely. He is continuing to be my strength as often as I put down the reigns and allow Him to be. I downloaded a book by Sara Horn to my iphone called, God Strong. I totally recommend it! Sara gave an awesome illustration about this idea of being "God Strong"...she said:

"When we no longer rely on strength from within but instead rely on strength from above, it is no longer up to us to be the strong ones. Because it is no longer about us. When we place our strength with God's strength, we discover a major difference. The burdens and problems and the heartaches we carry around with our own strength don't disappear, but they do feel a little lighter. We don't have to push and pull and lug and grunt our way through. Instead, we can walk with God and rely on his muscle to do the heavy lifting. It's like carrying a heavy box up a flight of stairs. To do it by yourself is not just hard but exhausting. If you lift it with someone else who has the muscle power to carry most of the weight, it's better. It's easier. It's doable. We see a major difference, not just in actually moving the box but in our perspective. Isaiah tells us that God "gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak" (Isaiah 40:29 NIV). He reminds us that when we put our hope in God, our strength is renewed. We can ride on the backs of eagles. We can run and not get tired. We can walk and not grow faint. We can become God strong. None of this can happen, though, when we try to do it ourselves."

SO true! To be honest, the verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" has kind of felt like a cliche when I have said it in the past. Maybe because I have grown up in the Church culture and have heard lessons about it hundreds of times. I'm not sure what the reason is but I have not really embraced it and tried to truly apply it to my everyday life until recently. Adjusting to the new normal of this deployment in holding down the fort, communicating long distance with my husband, and mothering our new baby...I realize that I absolutely can not do this (fill in the blank) on my own. Or at least I will not last very long trying to do it all in my own power. But the exciting revelation for me has been that when I'm feeling discouraged or overwhelmed...I can step back for a moment rest in the truth that no matter how daunting the situation seems...I can do it and succeed because He is going to give me the strength.

Ok, back to my visit! :) Stephen and I are very fond of sushi and could probably eat it everyday so we had to hit up The Red Bowl. I don't know if it was just because we were so excited about being together but the sushi we had was probably the best we've had in a long time! Stephen got me a stand for my camera so of course I had to try right away (above). :) I love you, babe!

While on my drive back up I95, I stopped in North Carolina to have lunch with my sister. Tierzah got loved on by her Auntie Shantell. It was nice to visit together and to live within driving distance to do so.

Me and Tpot back home!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Deployment...Round #2

As you may have guessed from the title, we have just begun our second deployment. About one month after we had Tierzah, Stephen came home from work and asked me how I felt about another possible deployment. He told me what this deployment would entail and that made the lump in my throat a little harder to swallow. At that time, he had only been back from a previous deployment for three months or so. As crazy as it sounds, I knew in my heart as he was telling me about the orders that this was something we needed to do. We both cried and prayed together about it and he accepted the assignment. Now that I knew what to expect during a deployment...the "yes" carried a lot more emotional weight than before. He would deploy in 10 weeks to training at Fort Jackson, SC and then on to Kuwait/Afghanistan for the next 10 months. He is no stranger to Kuwait as he was deployed there 3 times while enlisted in the USMC. Stephen (and myself) cares deeply for those in the war zone and having this opportunity to reach out to them is one we could not pass up! I'm so proud of my hubby doing what he has a passion for and making this huge sacrifice to be there for our military men and women.

I love you, babe!

If you would like to follow him on his journey his blog information is:

SO...I am going to try to blog at least once a week to share the experiences of this deployment from the home front. This is our first time being in a deployment with a little one so prayer is definitely appreciated. :)

The pictures below show the story of Stephen's last morning here in VA. I dropped him off at base at 6:45am and from there they loaded up in the buses and headed down to SC. Ah yes, we stopped at McD's for some breakfast first. lol I know, it's not especially healthy for you but it was our "last" indulgence before the deployment as we both have been trying to eat healthier and work out since then. :) Anyways, this good bye wasn't long and drawn out like the farewell we had when he deployed on the ship and I think I actually prefer it that way. I took some pictures and then drove away. The songs on KLOVE radio that morning were all so encouraging and perfect that I cried all the way to the grocery store. I cried because I felt like God was wrapping His arms around me reassuring me that I could trust Him.

Stephen- sippin his coffee before leaving to check in

One last "car picture" on our way to base.
I miss him already!

The Griffins
I took this a few days before he left. We were trying to spend as much time together as we could.

In a couple days we will have completed week #1....39 to go. As predicted, things start to "go wrong" as soon as the hubby leaves. :) It's actually pretty comical. As soon as I got home from dropping him off, I was unloading the groceries and the power to the whole house randomly shuts off (it turned back on within the hour, thankfully), light bulbs start burning out around the house, the ants begin to invade, Tpot decided to wake up every 2 hours during the night, birds made nests in a hole in our roof and mailbox, and our dog goes on a chewing binge. :) I had to laugh. Ok, I wasn't laughing while I got up through the night with Tpot but the rest seemed to be part of my initiation to deployment #2.

The blessings definitely abound also, though! Stephen has been able to call and skype this week!, I have a sweet little girl to keep me busy :), great family and friends to keep in touch with, awesome neighbors, a church that I love to be apart of, and the opportunity to fully rely on God.

There certainly have already been tough moments that I never thought would end but I'm looking forward to seeing the growth that will come through this for our little family.

Until Next Time...