Ok, so, as I passed the precious children making their way to their classrooms, I saw their adorable smocked dresses, rompers, and cheerleading outfits adorned with the gamecocks logo, USC, or anything with maroon, black, and white. Hey, I didn't even know it was game day. And honestly, I didn't mind not knowing.
My lack of team spirit for our local college, made me start thinking. (Of course, what else would I do?) I am not from around these parts, nor am I ever. Or so it seems...
Here are a couple instant replays from my formative years for you:
In sixth grade, I was not in the popular girls inner circle of BFF's. I wasn't in the dorky click, or whatever word that would be politically correct now, either. I just straddled the two, known, but never verbalized groups. Without a secret coded invite, the girls that were too cool for school would only allow me to nosh on the tiny morsels of juicy gossip they learned the night before, while putting on their mud masks. Sad, I know.
In college, I was more of a socially wounded butterfly. I would investigate what fun activities the different stereotypical groups of friends were doing, and join in the laughs with those whom I thought had the brightest idea. This activity may have included viewing the "moon over Nashville," playing broom hockey with an impending trip to the ER to see if you broke your dang coxic bone (not me), or a 70's disco party at the skating rink, complete with bell bottoms, followed by a sketchy trip to Waffle House. This method is not highly recommended. I ended up having friendships inches deep and miles long. I later learned to dive in with a more core group, but I wish I would have put my stake in the ground sooner. No Bahamas cruise with uni friends for me. (No offense to those reading...just sharing life experiences!)
Being a part of a sports team involving white leather balls that you spike, was also a mixed bag of feelings for me in my college days. I knew I played an integral role as the unofficial head cheerleader, as I sat on the bench for four years, simultaneously documenting statistics. Although, it was rather unfortunate, because I had quite a lot of untapped energy that was wasted, until I cashed it in while running around a dimly lit track, at hours of the night when I should have been studying. Or sleeping.
Thankfully, such "trials," if you could say that, prepared me to become a military wife. Having your spouse in the military means many things. One of them being, that if you want to live outside of the four walls of your home, you have no choice, but to dive into the waters of uncharted territory, with little assistance. I know, it's not always the case, but it happens more times than we would like to admit.
In my own story, there have been numerous occasions where, during family gatherings, I am fighting back tears as I frantically chase my toddler who is trying to unwittingly fall down the basement stairs to his demise. At least, this is what I fear the most.
There are memories of stamping parties, when the husband is away defending our country, and so I must have the screaming baby who would really like to nurse, along for a "girls night out." Now that's what I call fun times!
I know I'm not alone in experiences of Wednesday night church gatherings, hauling a surprisingly weighty stroller in and out of a car, like She ra, princess of power, in order to make it happ'n cap'n.
My point is not to say, "Whoa is me," but to get us thinking. And there are scads of other wives who have lived through much braver feats than me, like birthing their babies alone, buying houses without their mate, going through major health crises, and the list goes on.
Through the years, I have realized that we are not made to have to fit in to every group that we come across. We can settle in to where God wants us to be and who He wants us to share our lives with, in each chapter of our lives.
As women who often have to keep the home fires burning without burning down the house, we can remember that God has placed us exactly where He wants us. He has gone before us, and has made a way for us to have the fellowship we require for our sanity as women. Often, we have access to other families who are in our boat, we just have to give them a life preserver!
Even in desolate times, when we are feeling lonely and isolated, we can cry out to God to meet our needs.
"9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
And, ultimately, though it's not always fun to hear, this world is not our home! This life is short, and in the end most of the things we worry about and obsess over, do not matter. We are told to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven, not cling to this earth.
15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God."
Whether we are military wives, single moms, moms whose husbands are away on business, or a mom who feels overwhelmed juggling it all, we have our own hurdles to jump and mountains to climb, with the strength of the Lord. The reality is that we often feel alone in the journey, and not an official VIP member of any one group. When we set our pride aside and reach out to others for help, (which military wives are TERRIBLE at, myself included) we may just find someone that can join us in our boat, before we go under. Often, we need others just as much as they need us to stay afloat!
While we stand shoulder to shoulder with the "family" that we choose, remember, that this life is but a vapor, this world is not our eternal home, and that the Lord is with us, even if it feels like we are the only ones who didn't get the memo.