Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Post I've Been Putting Off

God works in mysterious ways. Really, freakin' weirdly mysterious. 3 months ago, Ben and I had a solid plan in mind: leave the Army in October, move back to family, buy a home, go to school, find a job, start a piano studio in our beloved Virginia, and finish raising our family.

Then we heard word that Ben was to be stop-lossed, keeping us in the Army for another year and couple months. We were still headed out of the Army as quickly as possible, however. I wanted to be in a new home in VA during the deployment, and ready to begin our new life as civillians as soon as his boots hit the ground in the U.S. next year.

God began whispering to us about a week ago, leading our hearts to question our choices. Before we knew it, we were discussing reenlistment. I look back over the week we had to discuss it and pray over it, and can't think how it happened except to say that the Lord led us to this, and.....there it is. We reenlisted for 3 more years. A complete about-face in less than 3 months. Freakin', weirdly mysterious.

I'm going to try putting it into words, because I know some of you are having trouble seeing the value of such a life-choice. Ben's in authority over a number of young men. Now, he's a really good leader for his unit. If he leaves them, some other sinful, selfish E-6 (like he had when he was a Private) will take his place and make these guys' lives miserable. I didn't really understand this until I arrived at the reenlistment ceremony Friday morning.

Eight of his guys (ages 19-20-ish: boys, really) stood at attention outside the door, waiting to be told what to do for the day. I stood behind the Spc. who led the formation in Ben's place, and watched their faces.....upturned, watchful, and instantly responsive to his words. "Go line up against the wall and wait til you're called." and they *flew* into position.

Now, I've been married to the Army for 4 years, but I never got to see it from that position. I was usually waiting in the car for my Private to be released from his tyrannical SGT for the day, tapping my fingers and trying to have a cheerful heart for my miserable Ben when he got in the car, humiliated and indignant. (This wasn't 100% of the time, as he would want me to point out, but it did have a serious dampening effect on his enthusiasm for Army Stuff)

To have this kind of power over men's a very, very unique thing. To so lightly give over these souls to another man (not as good a man as my husband, for sure) and his perverse and immature guidance is no easy decision. Frankly, I wish there had been a man as great a leader as my husband in his place when he was a Private, so that our early experiences in the military hadn't been so heinous.

Ben addressed his "troops" after he was sworn in again. "This was a tough decision, guys....but I want you to know, it''s all about you. That's the truth of it."

He's known as the True Quiet Professional amongst his co-workers. His CPT really honored him with some words addressed to the unit that morning, appreciative of our sacrificing dreams of home and family for the continuing dedication to his men and the "Mission." He also extended a personal thanks to me, for supporting Ben in his decision to stay Army.

I walked away from that ceremony with a softened heart, seeing a tiny glimpse of the reasons behind God's nudging us to reenlist.

Not for us, mind you, it was for them.


Jenny said...

I'm crying reading this because I know how hard it was to make that decision and I'm very proud of you both that you were able to let go of what you believed YOU wanted in favor of what you feel GOD wants of you. Our God has a perspective so different from ours -- in size and time. Our perspective of "ripple effect" is nothing compared to His. The mission field that He's called you to is not one that most might call a mission field. But, the young men of this country have so many things against them (the spiritual war within men is much more important than the physical war they fight wherever they're sent!) that having a man like Ben to lead them will be a HUGE ripple effect. How many people and families will be affected by your ripple! God puts us where He wants to use us. And He gives us the strength and provides the necessary protection, comfort, etc that we need to do the job He's given us.
I pray you'll find His peace in knowing you're where He's placed you -- and I don't say that cliche'd:)

Denise said...

Wow, Susi, I never even considered this aspect of it. I am humbled and in awe that a man as *good* as Ben would lay down his very life for these guys. This is Christ's message being lived out. Ben is loving these guys in a self-sacrificing way. I am very moved and even more motivated to lift you guys up, mentioning his work particularly. I often forget that and just pray for your family.

I know you guys seek God with your hearts and desire His will. And He promises wisdom to this who ask. So I believe that in a situation like this one, He has lead and you have obeyed. Especially when it's so very opposite of all your desires, hopes, and dreams the past 4+ years have been built on.

Know I really respect you guys!!!