In November 2010, my husband came home with the news that he was being sent on a yearlong deployment. In my shock, I was sure I couldn’t handle a year apart from him. Those 365 days stretched before me, his homecoming seeming just as obscenely distant as Christmas did during childhood.
And now, 52 Mondays later, I can’t believe it’s been a whole year! It’s the thing everyone tells you, and it turns out it’s true: it’s over before you know it.
In the weeks leading up to my honey’s return, everyone kept asking, “Are you so excited??” It was a little weird, because of course I was excited, but at the same time, the glee on the faces of those asking about his return seemed greater than my own. When I saw him walking through the doors at the airport, it wasn’t excitement I was feeling; it was total relief and comfort. It was peace.In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon writes, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecc 3:1-8, NIV). I really believe that this year of separation was the time for God to grow us each in significant ways. While we were apart, we drew closer to the Lord through periods of frustration, exhaustion, and rejoicing. We learned how to maintain and develop intimacy with few words and no physical contact. Our prayers deepened, and our understanding of one another grew. We were reminded of whom God made us as individuals, and who God is making us as a unit. And most importantly, during this year apart, we turned first to the Lord and then to each other.
I don’t know if I could even pinpoint the specific moments during the deployment that I felt God refining me in these ways. I can only say that now, on this end of a 365, we are both stronger in our faith and ready to embark on the next journey. We know that God causes all things to work to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), and that He completes the work He begins in His children (Philippians 1:6). I don’t know where the time went, but I know it was not wasted. God is good, all the time!