As I have been out on this deployment I have received a lot of letters and notes thanking me for my service. The letters usually go something like this, "I just want you to know that I am so appreciative of what you are doing for our country. I know that it must be hard, but I am glad that you are making the sacrifice in order to minister to our sailors."
Now these letters/notes are great and they help me so much during these days away from family and loved ones, but I wanted to take a little time to post about who I think the real hero is during this deployment; it's my wife Annie.
My wife and I will have been married 7 years in about 3 weeks on Aug. 8th. I won't be there! This will make 3 out of the last 4 anniversaries that I have missed, the last two due to the Navy. When we first go married God had not called us into the Navy, so imagine my wife's shock when we had the conversation about 3 years into our marriage. You see Annie grew up in Oceanside CA, right next to Camp Pendleton (A Marine base), and she promised herself two things 1) she would never marry a minister, and 2) she would never marry someone in the military. Well she is 0 for 2.
You would think that her reaction would be to protest and scream and let loose some variation of "over my dead body," but Annie has never had that attitude. She has been completely supportive (it has been a difficult road though, many nights alone and many tears), but Annie's response has always been "if the Lord is leading you, I will follow and support."
My wife is the hero because she has to be separated from me while I "do" my ministry, she only gets to experience it through me.
My wife is my hero because even though this is not the life she thought she would have she has embraced it and found joy in it.
My wife is my hero because for the past two months and for the next five to come she has become a single mother.
My wife is my hero because she has never resented me for making her be that. She has only told me how much she loves me, and how proud of me she is.
My wife is my hero because she is flying back and forth across the country during this deployment with a 21 month old. Bella does not make that easy.
Honey I know what this ministry has cost you and I am so thankful for your love and for your support.