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by Tami Otterstatter
Opportunity to Bloom
Three months have come and gone since I knelt beside my sons and waved goodbye to Daddy. Three months have passed since I stood among dozens of military families and waved goodbye to my husband. Three months have gone by since I joined with a community of proud Americans and waved goodbye to my best friend. Three months doesn’t seem like a long time, but let me put it into mommy perspective…that’s 4 colds, 6 bad dreams, 14 games of Candyland, 18 spilled milks, 33 rolls of toilet paper, 89 loads of laundry, 91 bedtime prayers, 124 stories, 302 tears, 573 giggles, and 928 questions beginning with why.
At first, many of those whys were coming from me. Why did this have to happen? Why does the Army need this unit? Why doesn’t Uncle Sam realize we need this man more than he does? Why do my sons always have to use the bathroom 5 minutes after we get on the road? Why? Why? Why? And that was just the drive home from the armory.
I spent most of that first week in survival mode. All I wanted to do was make it from my morning coffee back to my pillow with the least amount of tears in-between.
To occupy my mind, I started making lists. First I made a list of everything I needed to get done around the house. When that list got too long, I made a list of everything around the house I didn’t know how to do. When that list got too overwhelming, I cried for a while, then I started making a list of everything in my life I could put on hold until this year was finally over. Then I cried some more and went to the mailbox for a breath of fresh air.
What I found in the mail did not stop my tears, but it changed them. (Why didn’t I buy stock in Kleenex?)
I got an unexpected card that day. It wasn’t my birthday or an early Christmas greeting, but someone just wanted to let me know she was praying for me.
After reading her card, I threw away my lists and started a new list. One by one I wrote down the names of each person who had offered to help or told me we were in their prayers. As the list grew, so did the peace in my heart. That is the only list I keep now, and it has given me a different outlook on this year I was so anxious to put behind me.
I once heard a wise mom say that instead of waiting for better circumstances, we need to bloom where we are planted.
I am a soldier’s wife; this is where God has planted me. Though at times it may seem like a burden, it is also an incredible gift. In these three months, I have learned that my family and friends are willing to stick by me, even on my really bad days.
I have witnessed communities rising to the occasion in support of their troops. I have seen newspapers shining with patriotism, churches uniting in prayer, and schools reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with pride while encouraging the kids whose parents are in uniform. I have had people stop me on the streets and in the grocery store to offer their thanks and prayers.
In today’s world filled with turmoil, God has used every one of you to bring peace to this military family.
There will come a day when we will look back on this year and see that we survived. But I know we can do so much more than just survive, we can grow.
To those who have been praying for our country, our leaders, our troops and the families they left behind…thank you, and please continue to pray.
And to all military families facing separation…by the grace of God, bloom.
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