What do you think of when you hear the word “journey”? Do you think of great times? New adventures? The band (LOVE them!)? Maybe you think about taking risks or the unknown? Or, it could simply bring feelings of trying to find your path? Journeys are all of these things and more. Some journeys are downright hard, though, and we feel like those journeys will never end (and the exciting ones end far sooner than we’d like). We often find ourselves on the emotional roller coaster of journeys. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. There are valuable lessons to be learned from every journey we walk through, whether or not they are pleasant.
In order to see these lessons, though, we have to be willing to seek God and His will for us. We must be open to what He is trying to teach us through our journeys and trust that He knows best. In addition to being open and trusting, we need to have faith. Even if it’s as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), faith is a huge factor in overcoming our difficult journeys. And, as we see God work through them with us, our faith grows. When we approach each journey this way, we are surrounded by blessings, even through the trying times. Easier said than done, believe me, I know. I have not perfected this by any means. I will forever be on my faith journey, as imperfect as it is.
Journeys, without a doubt, can be very difficult. Even the exciting journeys aren’t always easy if they involve significant changes in our lives (like what our family has gone through). I, for one, don’t do well with change, good or bad. Yet, if we can view all journeys as a way to grow closer to God, how much better would that be? Wouldn’t we be more at peace, and happier? It’s all about perspective, really. I think we need to change the way we look at journeys. Yes, they are hard. Some are very hard and we wonder if we will make it through. While others we hope never end. Life is a series of never-ending journeys. Why not try and learn from them?
I was once a young mom, chasing kids. That is not my role anymore. Well, my 10-year-old daughter does still need to be reigned in, sometimes! Ha! But, it is definitely different than when I had toddlers. I smile as I think about one of my sons constantly following me around with both of his arms raised high, saying “up, up!” and looking at me with his big, brown eyes. Later, this son nearly gave me a heart attack every time he stepped out onto the football field. Another son would just laugh and laugh as he ran back and forth on our couch as a toddler! He also decided he was going to ride a scooter at two years old and would just go and go without a worry. Meanwhile, I was panicking and desperately wanting him to slow down or even stop riding (that would have been ideal). Instead, he decided to tear his cheek off his face with the scooter handlebar! Did I mention I don’t handle blood or stressful situations all that well? No? It’s true. Just ask my family. They will tell you!
And then there was my youngest son who escaped more times than I care to remember. Yes, those days were difficult (oh, and my husband was deployed during a lot of this time!) It was a journey that I thought would never end. I so hoped “those days” would pass quickly.
Now? Now, I miss those days terribly. Sure, they were incredibly physically demanding and I was on my own often (when family and friends were able to help, I was always so grateful). I was constantly chasing, fixing boo-boo’s, changing diapers, cleaning walls (LONG story), bathing, dressing, and everything else in between. BUT, the journey from little kids to teens/young adults is no cake walk, either. I think I’ll take the toddler days back (well, maybe not; they can do the dishes now. ) You see, now I am in a much more difficult, emotionally draining journey. However, it does have its’ perks, too. I can hold a conversation with my kids and I’m watching them grow up into whom God has called them to be. I try to speak wisdom into their lives like never before; I’m becoming more their guide than the one simply trying to keep them alive!!
So, you see? Lessons to be learned. I should not have tried rushing those younger years. The blessings were plentiful and, really, my burden was light. I can see that NOW. Now, that I have another type of “burden”, that of being a mom to older kids and trying to find the balance of always telling them what to do/ not do vs. letting them figure life out on their own. As they get older, I try to give more guidance instead of saying, “No. You absolutely can not do that and must do this instead!” And, let me tell you, it is not easy one bit. I have to remind myself that I am not the one in control and I need to trust the One that is. He loves my kids more than I can even begin to imagine. I know He’s got their back. I need to have faith and trust the journey.
My journey as a mom will never end, no matter how old my kids are, so stay tuned as I share more.
Another journey is that of the military life. Long separations and exhilarating homecomings. Emotional roller coasters when days would go by before I’d hear from my husband again. Three (and then four) young kids at home, not completely understanding where their dad is or when he will be home. Add homeschooling to the mix and then just everyday life (cleaning, laundry, appointments, sports, illnesses, etc etc etc) and I’d call that another difficult journey. But, hey, lessons were most definitely learned. Lots of lessons in patience, that is for sure. Perseverance. Humility. . to name a few. The below pictures, though, made it all worth it. My husband (Brandon) retired from the Navy as a Chief Petty Officer after 24 years!!!
Want to hear something funny, though? While our military life is over, deployments are not. Yep. Brandon’s new job will require him to go overseas and I have mixed emotions about it. I couldn’t wait for him to retire because that meant no more deployments. Well, God threw us a curve ball and we will be facing a deployment later this year. How will I choose to look at it?
Stay tuned to hear more about our journeys and how we are facing them.
Keep the faith,
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Hi! My name is Tamra. I’m married to an amazing man. I have five kids (21-10), and 1 grandson. I’m a very blessed woman!! My husband recently retired from the Navy, after 24 years, and moved us to Oklahoma to begin his next career (I’ve lived in California my whole life!) I will be sharing our journeys on my blog. I hope you will join me and you will be encouraged.