I am so grateful today to have a contribution from fellow author and military wife, Hope N. Griffin. Her words are so encouraging for military spouses everywhere. Thank you, Hope, for sharing a little of your journey with us!
I always had this crazy idea I could map out the course of my life, that I could color code my schedule for every hour and direct the outcome through enough study and discipline. Life never turns out as we expect. I was on course for my dreams. Undergrad completed, an MABS from Dallas Theological on the wall and I was hitting the pavement looking for the perfect ministry job while starting our small family. There was no hurry up and wait. There was only make it happen.
I had the perfect plan: seminary, start a family, write, and work full time in ministry. I wanted to change the world. I had dreams of missions over seas and working alongside an organization like Women of Faith. Life didn’t work out quite as I expected.
At 6 months old our daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Retinoblastoma. We were introduced into a new life, a new fear, and a network of loving nurses and doctors at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. You can read more of our cancer story here.
Soon after my husband came home and told me he was enlisting. I had plans. My plans involved traveling, sharing Christ, and helping others. My husband had a calling, to serve his country. So I begrudgingly packed my bags and followed with baby three on the way. We’ve been at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, TX ever since. You can read more of our journey at Ft. Bliss here.
Cancer and military life were not on my life map. Both detours disorientated me and left me feeling lost. But I wasn’t. There was a purpose and plan for my life as well and those detours were just part of the journey in finding them. Military life definitely has it’s peaks and valleys. It is difficult to live with the constant goodbyes of friends as well as those with our soldier. The struggles of loneliness and fear are very real. But there are so many benefits. There are the instantaneous connections with the neighbor whose husband is also deployed, the glance in a busy grocery store over fussy toddlers and the immediate feeling of commradship with a fellow spouse. Faith and community are two big components in surviving this lifestyle.
Military marriages are challenging but they are not hopeless. My desire in writing Finding Joy: The Year Apart That Made Me A Better Wife is to walk alongside other spouses who feel alone. I want them to know that they are not. Purpose and passion is attainable. Using the stories of those who have gone before us in Scripture and in History my goal is to bring encouragement and hope to everyone who picks up this book.
I would love to hear your stories, to know where you are in your journey and what detours have brought you to where you are today. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding Joy is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and MilitaryFamilyBooks.com in paperback and ebook.
About the Author:
As Fort Bliss Military Spouse of the Year 2015, Hope N. Griffin writes about her experience as a military spouse. Hope has an MABS from Dallas Theological Seminary. She writes for various online magazines and blogs, both fiction and nonfiction. Currently, Hope serves as the Director of Family Ministries at First Presbyterian in El Paso, TX. Her free time is spent loving on her children, volunteering, and drinking coffee on the back porch with her soldier.