“Have you told them yet?”

Brandon looks up at me from across the table and shakes his head.

“I’ve started talking with Hope. Just a little bit,” he says.

Every night, honestly every night, when Hope prays she says: ‘Thank you God that we’re all together.’ I don’t know what she knows. I don’t know what she senses. But she seems to understand  – better than me sometimes – that our family is God’s grace-gift to each of us, our togetherness is a blessing.

Brandon is leaving again.

Less than six months after returning home from a 14-month deployment, the Army is sending him away for training. He leaves in a few days and will be gone four months… until late August. He’ll miss another summer at home.

“At least it’s not Iraq,” I’ve been told. “At least he’ll be in the same country, same time zone.” It’s true.

But he will not be here. He will not be here for afternoons in the sun, hours of splashing at the mushroom pool, days at the park, trips to New Hampshire, summer evenings on the back deck of the new home. He will not be here for Rhema’s middle-of-the-night antics and doctor’s appointments in Boston and meetings and birthdays and end-of-year school programs.

In practical terms, we’re just about ready. Got neighbors on the look-out, got special locks on the doors and windows, the 6-foot tall fence is installed so Rhema can’t get out. My work schedule is set and summer programs for the girls are in place. We’re concerned about Rhema – she needs constant, one-on-one support, and she’s going through a med withdrawal and some difficult behaviors have cropped up. But we’re working on getting respite care, hoping the funding will come through.

And still, of course, we’re not ready. Not ready to tell Hope her Daddy is going away again. She has basked and glowed in his attention these past months, delighted to awake every morning and find him still here. (When he first got back from Iraq she cried if he just left to go to the store.) And Rhema… I can’t pretend to know what she thinks or understands. But I know she feels his absences deeply, and I know she is more sure of herself, more settled, when he is near.

No matter how many times he leaves, it hurts his heart to miss so much time with his family. And as for me, I will do this. But I kind of don’t know how I’m going to do this. Again. I’d finally just found my way, found my rhythm with my mate. God’s been teaching us something about what it really means to treasure one another. My husband. I have enjoyed him, I have enjoyed me with him, so much.

And this feels like a very impolite interruption.

So many friends – some of whom I’ve never even seen face to face – have prayed for us. Thank you. I’m asking, would you pray for us again? Four months should seem like a breeze compared to the year-long deployments we’ve endured. But truly, for many reasons, this separation is the hardest.

It’s funny (not really), but last year’s long and lonely summer was bearable only because I was counting on the fact that this summer would be different. Now I wonder if perhaps there are lessons I need to learn again in the heat of day and on dark, quiet nights… that I can trust the Lord to fill the voids in my life, to indeed be my joy and strength, my enough. I would do well to review lessons in humility and contentment and thankfulness and how to ask for help.

And maybe, most of all in this school of some hard knocks, I need to know absolutely that He is here, wherever we are, and all that we need.  

Again and again.


“I am with you always…” Matt. 28:20

30 thoughts on “Again

  1. 😦 I know how much harder it is for me and the kids on the very short trips their Daddy took to Afghanistan, we’ve been so lucky that we haven’t had to do a separated tour yet. I just don’t how you’ve done this, and to do it again is too much. So sorry.

  2. I don’t even know what to say. I’m sorry that you have to go through this again, especially when you thought things would be different. Here if you need me. Always.

  3. Dear friend, I always missed Mike in the summers when he was gone. He missed so much of our time together when the kids were out of school. I understand. So understand. You are in my prayers. Praying the months will fly. love you!

  4. 😦 Your strength and faith amaze me yet again. I’m so sorry for all of you that you have to do this yet again. Thank-you, all of you, for the sacrifices you make to protect our country…my family. Praying for you.

  5. Oh J, I didn’t know he was leaving again so soon. I am thinking of you and your girls, Brandon too. My heart clenched thinking of him having to leave again. Hugs and love.

  6. Sorry to hear it will be another summer away. HUGS to you as you prep for this. I WILL get it together soon- and find a way to have time to visit. HUGS & safe travels to Brandon.

  7. I am praying for an Army Miracle and that the training is canceled!!!! Ugh!! I thought that there was a new reg that stated they have a year at home before TDY. You and and your lovely family are in our prayers!!! In Him all things are possible.

  8. My husband traveled for 10 years, out on Monday and back each Thursday. It was extremely difficult at times for it was my darkest time of grief over Dani’s Autism, but at least he was home each weekend. I lived for the weekends and can’t imagine going months on end alone caring for the special needs. I am so glad I discovered our blog and are able to join in on the prayers. Stay strong by keeping your focus on God. He will sustain you as He has in the past. That’s just plain truth.


  9. Oh, Mahi Mahi. Whether down the street or across the world – apart IS apart – and it means your hearts will ache for one another yet again.

    I feel your hurt for your children’s longing for their Daddy. I recognize your desire to soak in your newly rediscovered relationship with your spouse. Those summer nights do get quiet and lonely.

    But He does fill you up with the strength and peace you need to see it through, and He will reward you with the brilliance of autumn’s colors wrapped around your family whole again.

    Just as we shall wrap you tightly in our prayers each night until.


  10. I’m thinking that must feel like a stab in your heart each night at prayer. I’m so sorry….so sorry that they will feel the emptiness of his leaving. However, truly, at least he’s not directly in harms way this time!

  11. Seriously? I’m so sorry that all you have to go through this again so soon. May each of you be carried through this time apart from each other.

  12. Your family sacrifices so much for our country. Thank you so very much for this. Lots of love and hugs to you and the girls during this time.

  13. Oh Jeneil, if there is anything I can do to help out just let me know. If you need a Canadian vacation I am here and the whole property (front yard too) is already fenced in. It breaks my heart for you, Brandon, Rhema and Hope, and yet at the same time fills my heart with pride to know there are families out there standing up, sacrificing and fighting for the rest of us.

  14. Pingback: I’ll Be There For You « Try Defying Gravity

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