Five deployments. We had five deployments under our belt when we made our “wish list” of assignments we wanted to take on as a family. Our goal in prioritizing the location and job assignments this time was to stay together as a family. Not an easy goal to achieve when the country is at war and deployments are inevitable. But we lifted our requests to the Lord, hoping He would hear the desires of our heart.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” We had planned our course selecting assignments that would hopefully keep our family together. What I hadn’t planned on was the climb the Lord was placing in front of us when we were assigned to Egypt.
Having gone through five deployments I felt like I had climbed my fair share of mountains. A military spouse must possess determination, strength and endurance in order to successfully survive a deployment. I had survived five deployments why wouldn’t I be able to survive a move half way around the world to a third culture country?
On the plane ride over I kept repeating to myself that I was on an adventure and God was with me. I took every opportunity to pray during the 24-hour trip to Egypt. It was nearing two in the morning when our plane touched down in Egypt.
The sky was dark but the lights from the city were incredible. Cairo has a population of more than 24 million people and even at the early morning hour the city was still alive. My stomach was queasy, which could have been from either anxiousness or the airline food, as we picked up our bags and headed for the car that would deliver us to our new home.
As we drove through the streets of Cairo I noticed the buildings, the dirt, the trash, and the emptiness. I remember thinking we are not in Kansas anymore. This was funny to me only because Kansas was our last duty assignment before this one. I tried to make small talk with the driver just to keep my mind occupied and my nerves at bay.
We made it to our new home and after a few instructions about the house and our plans for the next day we were left on our own. We were all extremely exhausted and wanted to get to bed so we unpacked only the necessities. I kissed the kids goodnight and as I got ready for bed I broke down sobbing.
What was I doing? Why was I here? I can’t do this. I cried these admissions to my husband. I was careful to not let the kids hear because I wanted to be brave for them. I didn’t know how I was going to do that when I felt like everything I was familiar with and known had just been stripped away from me. My husband tucked me in that night, prayed over me and reminded me that God wanted us here for a reason.