November 1990, Okinawa Japan. Back then, I was a young Army wife and mother of 2 little boys. The service-members and families stationed on the small subtropical island in the Pacific were on edge, anxious about what we were being told might come. No, this time it wouldn’t be another tropical storm or typhoon (the name for a hurricane in the Pacific) that we’d spend days preparing for and weathering through. This time it would be saying goodbye to our guys – our husbands, our fathers. We had followed the news of the buildup for months, daily watching the departure of more and more troops from the peace and tranquility of life as we knew in the Far East. And with the steady buildup of American and allied troops in the Middle East, we wondered if we were ultimately saying our final goodbyes. The end of the world, or so it seemed at the time.
My soldier, the father of my sweet boys, when presented with the question of volunteering his advanced training in communications to serve in Saudi Arabia, bravely and dutifully answered with a Yes. A man of character and honor. A staff sergeant, known for his strong leadership, commitment to God, his country, and his family and to serving them well. He would pack up and travel to the other side of the world just weeks before Christmas, where he’d join with other honorable service-members in the desert sands of Saudi Arabia, a country and culture as far removed from our island life as could be.
I was left alone. Left alone with my fears and the uncertainty of what Desert Shield would mean for our family. Left alone with the task of comforting a 3 year old who cried every day for weeks for his daddy. Left alone with a 5 year old who was adjusting to his first year of attending school in a Kindergarten class at Zukeran Elementary. Left alone to find a way to adjust to the responsibility of running a household with just the 3 of us. For how long? Only God knew.
The buildup to The Storm continued, until mid-January 1991, when combat operations officially began. Would it lead to Armageddon, to World War III, as news reporters implied? Those questions did not go unnoticed by young military wives whose husbands were right smack in the middle of it all. I’m sure the anxiety was felt by our family members back in the states as well.
Yet, was I alone? Was I reaalllyyyy alone? God had provided me with a wonderful church family, good neighbors, and a support group of “left behind” wives of other branches of the military. Then there was God. The One, the only One who broke through to calm my fears and who spoke to me so audibly it was as if the words were uttered directly from His mouth. Words that referred to my soldier, the guy who by way of military travel through the U.S., was over 14,000 miles away….
My Hope Nugget from God:
“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you…No man shall be able to stand before you…I will be with you…Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (portions of Joshua 1: 3, 5, 9)