What I’d Like For You To Know: The Wife of a Deployed Soldier

WhatidlikeToday is part two of the What I’d Like For You To Know series–you can read more about the idea behind it here.

I’m so eager for you to meet today’s contributor. Ashleigh is the mother of two young sons, and she blogs at Heart and Home.  She’s also the wife of a Marine Gunnery Sargeant deployed to Iraq. 

Here is her story.

I well remember the day I learned my husband–my Marine–would soon be heading to Iraq.

For the first three years of our marriage, he’d been in a unit doing a job that kept him from being deployed, so while we knew that as a Marine he’d most likely be heading to that sandy spot at some point, it remained something we thought of as "sometime in the future." I remember the quick catch in my breath the moment I realized that "the future" had caught up with "the now."

Shortly after our second son was born, we embarked on this, our first deployment. As I watched the buses pull away early that morning, tears streaming down my cheeks as I helped our then twenty-month-old son find Daddy amidst a sea of waving hands, I caught my breath again. What was ahead? What should I even expect? How on earth would we get through these months and months without him?

I spent the first few days feeling a bit numb. I was unsure what to do with myself, even in the near-chaos of having two very little children. I soon found that going to bed early, hoping to sleep away some of the evening time loneliness, only brought hours of tossing and turning. I began sleeping diagonally across our bed to take up empty space. I searched through my recipe box for meals that could be pared down to feed only me and a toddler. Still, fish sticks, macaroni and cheese, and burritos filled our dinner plates far too often those first few weeks. Though typically outgoing, I found I was suddenly unsure of myself in groups of friends. When I headed to church for the first time alone, I had to laugh all the way from the car to the building-I made quite the spectacle trying to juggle an infant seat, two diaper bags, my purse, my Bible, a plate of muffins, all while holding my toddler’s hand through the parking lot. A few minutes later I was ferociously blinking back tears as I looked for a single seat in the auditorium–a fresh reminder I was on my own now.

It didn’t take long to realize I’d harbored a whole slew of misconceptions regarding deployment over the past several years.

I’d assumed that while the first month or two was so hard, the loneliness would subside a bit as we all got used to being apart. A friend whose husband was also deployed told me not to expect it to get any better. She was right.

It’s been a little over six months now since that day my husband headed to the other side of the globe. I miss him more now than I did the day after he left. Yes, I’ve stopped expecting to hear the door open in the evening and I’m used to cutting recipe ingredients in half, but the loneliness isn’t one bit less intense.

Thankfully, staying in contact at this point isn’t nearly as complicated as it was when the war started. We’re able to hear from my husband frequently on the phone and we’ve even seen him via video feed twice. The boys color him pictures and he sends them "Daddy movies."

I think most military wives would agree that the evenings are the hardest. Once the little ones are asleep, and the busyness of the day has come to a close, there are still several hours to fill. Silence–when it’s the only choice there is–doesn’t always make the best company.

That first day my husband learned he’d be heading into the war zone, I felt my heart sink. The emotions I experienced were raw and intense, and I looked ahead, anticipating what I imagined I’d feel when he really did leave. By the time we actually reached his departure, I had a myriad of ideas and expectations for what was ahead.

And then it happened. He left. And it was nothing like I’d imagined.

In my mind’s eye I’d seen ahead to the nights when both children would be awake at the same time and there is only one parent here to get both back to sleep. I’d known both boys would have a hard time without a daddy home. I knew I would too.

And yet, when I’d looked ahead, I hadn’t seen Jesus there waiting for me. I wasn’t experiencing His grace while just imagining what was to come. When our two-year-old cries in the night for his daddy and my heart is breaking, I feel my Lord’s arms wrap around both of us, holding us close. When I wake up in the morning, unsure how to face another day and the loneliness is eating away at me, God gives grace like I’d never imagined. When my husband calls and listens over the phone to the boys playing, I know we’ve been given a blessing simply through technology. When I watch the news–which is purposely not often–and hear of a bombing in Iraq, the way God’s peace replaces the initial fear is nothing short of miraculous.

He’s also shown me His love through the wonderful people around me. People who have told me they were praying for me–and they really do. The friends and family who called and kept us busy while we made the initial transition. People who still take time to ask how we’re doing, call, email or send notes of encouragement.

The most helpful thing of all has been when friends or family have simply called and informed me that they’re going to help. I don’t always know exactly what I need, and yet through many different people, God has provided what I’m not even sure of myself. People like the mother and daughter who have set aside one day a month to give me a day "off." Friends who call and say, "Hey, I’m at Starbucks. What would you like?" When we’re sick–which has been, strangely, quite often this year–I’ve been surrounded by friends and family who come to my rescue, with medicine, diapers, food, or coming to stay with us when I’ve been too sick to get off the couch. I’ve even had blogging buddies send boxes to my husband’s unit. I am unbelievably thankful for these people. God prompted them to do something… and they just did it.

Sadly, there are military spouses all over the place without a support system like the one I’ve been blessed with. Some are the families of reservists, some are stationed at military bases far from home. It makes me realize how many times I just assumed someone had help and didn’t offer it myself, or forgot to hug a wife whose husband just left. I’ve been guilty of being "too busy," or imagining that a phone call wouldn’t mean much. Of course nothing can take the place of a deployed spouse, but reminding the family at home that they aren’t entirely alone can make all the difference in the world.

We’re now getting closer and closer to the homecoming of our Marine. It will mean a whole new transition as we get used to having him around again. I’ve become accustomed to having things be my way around here! Our two-year-old has been missing his daddy more than usual lately and will be thrilled to see him. I just have a feeling he’s not going to be as sure about the whole listening to Daddy thing. And the baby? He gets to actually find out just who this daddy-person is we keep telling him about.

To say we’re excited would be the understatement of the century.

You can read more of Ashleigh’s posts at her blog, Heart and Home.

102 thoughts on “What I’d Like For You To Know: The Wife of a Deployed Soldier

  1. Nic says:

    Wow, what a beautiful post. It helps me understand army wives so much better. Good luck hanging in there until he returns!

  2. eve says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and you’re a great writer. I felt the tears come as I began to read it. I am glad your husband is coming home soon and appreciate what he does for us and our Great Nation. Thank you for pointing out that it is sometimes the little things that make a difference and I know we can each do something to lessen the burden of others.

  3. Denise says:

    Hi,
    I just wanted to say thank you for the beautiful post. You were able to put into words many things that I’ve always wanted to but could never get it quite right. I’m so glad to hear that your Marine is coming home soon! We still have 7 months to go before our soldier comes home, but hearing the come home stories of others, helps in a different, pain filled envious but so happy for them way. I don’t know if that sentence even made sense, but hopefully the meaning came out.
    God bless you and your family!

  4. Kristenkj says:

    I guess I’m guilty, too, of thinking a phone call wouldn’t mean much.
    It is very difficult for us non-military wives to understand what you go through. I hope you know that you have a family out here that appreciates you and honors you. You give us the freedom to do what we want, and we haven’t forgotten that, even though some others have. You make huge sacrifices so that we can live in freedom.
    I wish you well, and would you thank your soldier for us?!

  5. Shelley V. says:

    I read your post and cried! Thanks for your honesty and sharing a bit of your life with us. I so admire your courage and strength. I wish you many, many happy years together! Love Shelley

  6. Lana@ right here right now says:

    Thank you so much. I find it hard to find words. I am grateful for your husband’s service, but I am humbled by you. The sacrifice you and your boys make for us. With a heavy heart and eyes full of tears…thank you.
    I will be praying for you, your boys and your Marine. May Our God keep him safe till you hold him in your arms again.

  7. Sandyone says:

    I’m an Army wife and have not had to go through a long deployment. For our first extended one, which was four months long, I remember putting away the coffee maker. He’s the only one who drinks it, so I took it off the counter and put it in a cabinet. It sort of felt as if he’d died. Same thing about putting away the last load of laundry that he’d worn.
    Month long training deployments were a piece of cake. A few moments of lonliness, but a month goes by quite quickly. These long deployments? No thanks!
    Thank you for posting this…there are a couple of wives in my life to whom I owe a phone call!

  8. tracie says:

    our God is an awesome God! bless you and your family for sharing with us and helping us remember the sacrifices that are being made all over this nation.
    do you have any information on how we could contact other military spouses/families and what their needs might be?

  9. Sandra says:

    My daughter is dating an outstanding young man in the military – I am almost afriad to forward this to her (sometimes it is better to just not know what might be ahead and have faith).
    Thank you for your honesty — and thank you for also serving our county by rasing your sons to know Jesus.

  10. Stacey Sickmiller says:

    You brought tears to my eyes! Though my circumstances are different from yours, I know exactly what you are talking about with how just a simple phone call would have meant the world to me while going through extended times of alone-ness. It is a reminder that I could do little things that would make a difference. Thanks.

  11. April says:

    Thank you for posting your thoughts for us. Thank you for letting us into your life. It really made my day to hear about yours. I will be praying for your family.

  12. Georgia Mom says:

    That was beautiful Ashleigh. I loved the picture of the Lord being a “Father” during those late night with your boys. The Lord is faithful. My BIL was in Iraq for 16 months. It’s hard to believe he’s been back for almost a year! And like you, my SIL had a great support system. It’s a good reminder to us all to look out for our military wives/families and take care of them, while their loved ones are overseas taking care of us! I pray for your husbands safe return and thank you for what you’re doing for our country!

  13. Kelly says:

    Thank you for sharing, Ashleigh. I’m’ so glad that you’ve felt the Lord meet you in the times when you need His grace.
    I’m so glad your husband is coming home soon!
    Shannon, thank you for initiating this series. It’s very helpful already. Looking forward to more.

  14. Lisa@blessedwithgrace says:

    My sister emailed me, first thing this morning, and said I had to come and read this post. I am glad I did. How touching. We need to read this and remember all the spouses and family members of our soldiers. Thanks for sharing with us.

  15. Louise says:

    Thank you so much for this reminder. The last of my acquaintances who was overseas just returned a few months ago, and ever since I haven’t had a personal connection over there, I have slacked off in praying for the soldiers. I needed this as a wake-up call that this is so much bigger than just my friends and family! I also find it easy to forget to pray for the families–I think more of the soldiers themselves, and forget that the ones waiting for them need just as much help and comfort.
    So thank you, once again, so very much for this very-needed reminder!

  16. AmyDe says:

    Thank you for sharing. I know what you mean about not knowing how you need help. I remember when my mom died two years ago a friend (my very best friend) called me back after I had given her the news and said “don’t leave your house – I’m coming over and I’m bringing you food.” It hadn’t even occurred to me that life must go on and everyone around here needed to eat – MY world had stopped for a while.
    My family is thankful to you and yours EVERY SINGLE DAY and we are praying for all the families, men, women, and children, making such sacrifices as you.
    Thank you – truly

  17. jen says:

    Ahsleigh thank you SO very much for sharing your thoughts! I am a military wife; my husband has never been deployed, but he probably will in the next couple of years. Plus we have a neighbor whose husband is about to leave for 18 whole months; we want to be Jesus’ hands and feet to her but are a little unsure how to do that. Thanks for the ideas!

  18. Angela says:

    Just beautifully said… so heartfelt, I could feel it. I pray for your family and the many others who are fighting for our freedoms, and their families.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thanks and God’s blessings to you and your husband as the two of you serve our country together…..Pam, south Bend

  20. sweethomealagirl says:

    Thank you for writing this. My husband is a recruiter with the National Guard, and when he took this job, we assured everyone that the chances of him being deployed were highly unlikely. Yet, now it seems “highly unlikely” may be nearer in our future than we would like. I find myself fearful of that possibility, yet I know God will take care of us. Thank you Ashleigh, and thank you to your sweet husband.

  21. Runningamuck says:

    Ashleigh, thank you so much for sharing all that your family has been and is going through. You’ve made me think of all the military families in our large church, who I don’t know personally (and have used that excuse not to do anything for them), who I could be helping.
    Thank you for all you and your husband are doing for our country. The sacrifices you are making are not being taken for granted in our home.
    From a wife of a “former” Marine

  22. Suzie Eller says:

    I spoke at a military base in Germany, and had the privilege of hanging out with several military spouses. They banded together, but still battled everything you shared on this post. It’s good to be aware of what these spouses are facing so that we can know what to do — and perhaps, what not to do. I love this series of “What I’d like for you to know”. It’s good. Really good.

  23. Suzie Eller says:

    I spoke at a military base in Germany, and had the privilege of hanging out with several military spouses. They banded together, but still battled everything you shared on this post. It’s good to be aware of what these spouses are facing so that we can know what to do — and perhaps, what not to do. I love this series of “What I’d like for you to know”. It’s good. Really good.

  24. Tabitha says:

    Thank you for this informative post. I don’t have a military husband but he has had to be gone for six months before for work. It was me and our three children…not fun but yet I could tell Jesus was there because I was able to get through it in ways I never thought imaginable.
    This post helps me understand my friend whose husband won’t be back until June 2009. Although she is in town surrounded by her friends and family, I’m sure she is having most of the same feelings.
    Again, thank you.

  25. Octamom says:

    Wonderful post~many heart-felt thanks for the sacrifices you as a family have made for mine. May the Lord bless you and redeem this time of your husband being away.

  26. genny says:

    Thank you for the beautiful post. And thank you Ashleigh and your husband (and ALL the others who serve our country) for your huge sacrafice. It is appreciated beyond words!

  27. Rhonda says:

    Ashleigh,
    Thank you for this post. It gives us a glimpse into your life. I know I don’t always think about the family of the deployed. I usually think only about those in the “sandy spot.” Thank you for your sacrifice as well as your husband’s.
    And to those reading who are also military families – A BIG THANK YOU!
    I am the wife of a former Army Ranger. I am the daughter of a former Navy man. I appreciate each person that is willing to join any branch of our military and fight for our freedom here in America. THANK YOU – it doesn’t get said enough! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I love America!

  28. jaime says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I was the daughter of a deployed Marine, and I remember the hard times my mother had as Dad was in Korea and Japan in the ’80s. I can only imagine the feelings now, if my husband were to go.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and the other spouses.

  29. Katy Lin says:

    wow! thank you so much for sharing this with us! i am so thankful for the thousands of families like yours who are sacrificing so much for the safety and betterment of our country!

  30. Cathy says:

    I’m an Army wife too and four months into our fourth separation (two one-year Korea tours and on the second deployment). My husband left when our 4th child was 2 months old, the others were 18 months, 3 and 7. You put the struggles into words so eloquently. And I have to say, you have GREAT friends! It’s a good reminder to know that there are others out there facing the same challenges we are.

  31. janet says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t even imagine being in your position. Thank you for the sacrafice you and your family make for my freedom. God Bless you

  32. Mozi Esme's Mommy says:

    Wonderful post! My husband’s just been gone a week (coming back tonight) and I can’t imagine it being longer than that. Everything with a baby is so much harder to do without that extra set of hands, let alone all the other issues.

  33. Mindi says:

    I’m right there with ya.
    Unfortunately, I do not have the support system in place. DH is in the reserves and this is his first deployment. We have a (as of yesterday!) 6 year old, 4 year old, and a 19 month old. Four dogs (one diabetic), and a horse. Plus I have a full time job.
    No, it does not get easier. And I so wish for the people there to help.
    I’ll keep praying, but really, I only have five more months . . .

  34. Laurie says:

    Dear Ashleigh, thank you for sharing your life with us. I am so grateful for your husband and all the soldiers who are willing to leave for a foreign land with only our national security and freedom in mind. “Thank you” just doesn’t seem like adequate words. Thank you for the sacrifice you make everyday by loaning your husband to “us.” I am truly grateful.

  35. MamaHenClucks says:

    Your post has me sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. Thank you, thank you for the sacrifice that YOU are making so that my family is safe. When I get up in the night to comfort my child, I will be thinking of you, and praying that God sends your husband home safe, and that you will continue to know He is holding on to you, especially during this time.

  36. Crystalh says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, Ashleigh. I’m sure this must have been difficult to write but thank you for making it real to me. And thanks for giving some little ideas of how I can help someone in a similar position. I pray that you will all be safe and together again soon. Take care!

  37. julie says:

    As an Army wife, I want to thank you for highlighting this topic in a most practical way. I’ve been through several months of training separations with one just a couple weeks away. Although I have yet to do a year-long deployment, one is inevitable and likely to happen quite soon. I sat here and cried as I read this post, because even though my husband & I don’t have children yet, I can relate to Ashleigh’s feelings that she so simply shared. (I usually sleep in the middle of our bed and surround myself with pillows!!) Thankfully, I have the same Comforter who will never leave or forsake. I consider it an honor to be married to a hero–My Soldier!!

  38. Janessa says:

    I am also a military wife with a Marine abroad for 14 months. He left 9 days ago. Thank you for such a beautiful and touching post.

  39. Charlotte says:

    Thanks to you and your husband for your service to our country!
    I belong to a card-making club, and several times a year we send handmade cards to soldiers for them to send a special letter to their families. We all love to help, but sometimes we need to remember to offer help to the people right where we live. In my city, the National Guard unit has been deployed to Iraq for the second time and there are a lot of families that need the support of our community. Thanks for that reminder.
    God bless you and your family, and I will keep you in my prayers.

  40. Christa @ No End in Site says:

    Your thoughtful words made me cry. My kids (five of them, five and under) LOVE their Daddy. He’s a police officer and a helicopter pilot. I often worry that, with such dangerous jobs, he won’t make it home one night. When he leaves for work, I always say, “Be careful. Come home to us. I love you.” And he always “promises” he will. Your words of God’s faithfulness remind me that He’s in charge. Sometime that’s hard to remember when I depend on my husband so much. I hope your husband comes home soon. May God guide you even then. Thanks for the reminder.

  41. Andrea says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I wish our world was peaceful so families like yours wouldn’t have to go through this. Please thank your husband for me for being so brave–I truly wish his service wasn’t necessary. Your story reminded me to reach out to the people in my community going through similar challenges. Keep holding on–he’ll be home soon!
    ~Andrea

  42. Colleen says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart, and thank you for the sacrifices you, your husband and children are making for our country. God Bless You!

  43. Jane Anne Owen says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us this morning. I know the pain and the heartache you are enduring. My husband went to Iraq when I had a 6 month old, a 2 year old, and a 4 year old. I imagine it was theraputic to put your words out on the blog but I can also imagine the emotion it evoked as you wrote. Please know that I said a prayer for you this morning. I prayed for the rest of the deployemnt- safety for your husband and strength for you. I am also praying for your transition when he comes home. It is the most joyous moment when the soldiers return. There is also a transition period and many times it is shock to have to readjust (because you have longed to be together for so long). Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  44. Lara says:

    A lovely post, Ashleigh! Well done! You are a gifted writer who gets to the heart of things.
    An Army Reservist’s Wife

  45. Marianne says:

    Thank you for sharing; my husband was a US Navy officer for five years and we spent two and a half of those years apart due to deployments and schools.
    I’d watch the young families from his ships (we didn’t have children during those years) and just stand in awe of all the moms had to do on their own.
    God bless you and your family and may your Marine stay safe from harm.

  46. mishel says:

    My Baby Girl…
    I’m sitting her crying as I read your post. Obviously I’ve lived through much of this with you, but only now, in reading your words, can I truly see God’s sufficient grace during these past months. I am humbled by His answer to many a prayer lifted up on your little family’s behalf. I remember being so concerned about how you were going to make it through with John gone and two little ones–and yet, here you are! : ) God is so good and Dad and I are very thankful for His watchful care over all of you.
    We are proud of you Ash(and John too!).
    Love,
    Mom

  47. CMartin21 says:

    I couldn’t help but let the tears roll down my face as I read your wonderful testimony of how God in His grace is meeting your needs. May He continue to be with you in this difficult time and keep you, your husband, and your boys safe until you are reunited. Many thanks to you and your husband for the sacrifice you are making to ensure that the rest of us continue to enjoy the freedom and blessings of living in this great country.

  48. Candace (Mama Mia) says:

    I am loving this series. It’s been eye opening to see how other families live.
    This post was beautiful. It makes me so thankful to have a husband that his home – something I take for granted. It also makes me want to reach out to those moms who are going it alone right now. Ashleigh has inspired me!

  49. Mary says:

    oh, how I can relate. I was stuck overseas when my husband deployed. I felt utterly alone and did not have a support system. The people who I thought would be there for me were not, and I was so depressed. I have much sympathy for all of those spouses who have husbands deployed.
    I have come across a new book coming in October called Stepping into Sunlight by Sharon Hinck. She is a favorite author of mine, and I think it will be an encouragement to many women whose spouses are deployed. It’s available at Amazon. Here is a description: Penny Sullivan is ready to face the challenge of a cross-country move and caring for her energetic seven-year-old son while her husband leaves on his first deployment as a Navy chaplain. But after she witnesses a shocking crime, her world tips sideways.
    Hiding in her closet isn’t an option when her husband and son depend on her, so she fights to recover. But even simple tasks such as filling her car with gas, buying groceries, and returning phone calls are suddenly more than she can handle.
    Help comes in funny packages–a temperamental DVD, a man who hoards gum wrappers, a meddlesome neighbor, and a small yellow notebook in which Penny scribbles down her recovery plan: Do one kind thing for another person every day. The results are sometimes beautiful, sometimes heartbreaking, and often lead to more than she ever could have imagined . . .
    A story for every woman who has wondered where God is when life hurts.

  50. Pam says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, and thank your husband for serving for our country. Me and my family and indebted to you. Blessings!

  51. Pam says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, and thank your husband for serving our country. Me and my family are indebted to you. Blessings!

  52. Shalee says:

    Ashleigh, my dad was in the Navy for 22 years, and he often went on deployment. I don’t think I ever thought of what it meant to my mom and her being a single parent multiple times over those years.
    Thank you for your brave heart and your even braver husband. I, as well as every other American, am greatly in your family’s debt for the sacrifice you ALL have made for our country.
    Thank you for your sweet reminder that it doesn’t matter what you do to help someone on their own, but rather that we find ways to help period.
    May God continue to bless you and your husband as you’re counting down the days for him to come home.

  53. Monica says:

    This is beautiful and so very articulate! Thank you for writing to honestly about the life you live as a military wife.
    My husband left just about three months ago, so we have about a year left. My girls still cry for their Daddy often and I can’t wait to reintroduce him to our baby. It breaks my heart when one of my three year olds asks him on the phone, “Daddy, do you want to come home.”
    Thank you for the support you are giving your husband. I am so glad that you have people in your life helping you through this time.

  54. Kate says:

    My dad just got home from Kuwait on tuesday. he’s been gone a year, but was able to come back twice. he is a colonel in the USAF. The last time he was deployed was in the first gulf war when I was 10. Now, at 27, I actually think this was harder. When I was a kid I don’t ever really remember worrying about him. He was superman and nothing bad ever happens to superman. But as a grown up I know that he isn’t superman ( well, maybe he is… i still find it hard to admit that maybe he isn’t ) and bad things really do happen to people. I am also a wife and a mom and I feel more of my mom’s desperation and loss when he’s gone. What you are doing is just as important as what your husband is doing. You guys are a team. I know he gets a lot of recognition for his service ( and deserves it! ) but any good military man will tell you that he could not do what he does without the support of his loving wife. You are an inspiration. Thank you both for your service.

  55. Angela says:

    Thanks for sharing this. My husband is a former Marine, and my oldest son is now a Marine, due to deploy in January. I know God will give us grace for every day, but it is still hard to imagine.
    Blessings,
    Angela

  56. Sonshine says:

    As a wife of a navy reservist, thank you for the beautiful post! I cried! I *know* what it is like to have your spouse deployed. Thankfully he is not right now.
    I will be praying for you! I am glad to hear that your time apart is getting shorter. (((Ashleigh)))

  57. Laura V. says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful post. You have said exactly what I wish so many people understood about deployments. They’re not easy, but God is so gracious and wonderful and guides us daily when we face these situations. We have #3 due in 9 weeks and hubby will be deploying again in December and our oldest will be almost 5.
    Thank you again for this post.
    And thank you Shannon for hosting this, you have no idea how many people you are helping be understood and how many eyes you are opening to others’ situations.

  58. TongguMomma says:

    As a former Marine brat, I want to thank you so much for your post. You put to words so many things that my momma thought, felt and experienced during my childhood. Deployment is difficult for everyone, most especially the spouses. God’s blessings as you await your Marine’s homecoming and as you continue to serve our country.

  59. Brandi says:

    Ashleigh…
    Your post made me cry! I am from a military family myself and remember the times my step-dad went away. Those seemed like the longest weeks ever.
    My family and I appreciate all the servicemen and women who are overseas (as well as those serving here in the States)! Being away from loved ones canNOT be easy. We appreciate the fact that they would volunteer to defend freedom as well as caring for those who cannot defend themselves.
    May the Lord bless you and keep you (Num. 6:24) and may the remaining time fly by quickly!

  60. Anonymous says:

    That was beautiful! Thanks for letting us see your side. I think the wives and children of our soldiers are also the heros!
    Have an amazing reunion!

  61. The Apron Queen says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for this post. As an Army wife to my hubby & an Army Mom to our son, I love this article. Both my men are home safe at the moment, but we have seen more than our fair share of deployments for both of them. My husband is currently tasked to one of hte hardest jobs in the Army- recruiting. It is becoming very difficult to recruit in these times of war. But anyway, thank you so much to Ashleigh & her family for their sacrifices too.
    For your daily dose of vintage goodness & a bit of silliness, stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen

  62. Jennifer, Snapshot says:

    It really is a “job” that the whole family is affected by. And I put “job” in quotations, because it’s so much more than that, as you know, I’m sure.
    What a perfect post, and once again–Shannon–what a teriffic idea.

  63. Tara says:

    And Sundays are hard, too, because they’re often set aside as “family” days. If anyone wants an idea, simply invite your military family over for dinner after church. Also, mamas aren’t daddies- even 20 minutes of wrestle time with a guy would do wonders for a little boy! Ashleigh, make sure you go buy yourself a really nice welcome home outfit! A wise woman told me it was money well spent when I did that- she said it’d benefit the whole family and it most certainly did! Blessings on you from an AF wife.

  64. Lynette says:

    It’s been 4 years since my husband got out of the Army and this post makes me feel like it was yesterday that we went through all of this. Ashleigh–stay strong and remember that we are praying for you and incredibly grateful for your husband’s service and for yours. Bless you.

  65. The Glamorous WAHM says:

    Beautiful post! I have been on both sides, the soldier and the military wife. God bless you and your family. And, praise God for the peace that surpasses all understanding!

  66. Erin says:

    What a beautiful post!!! Thank you for sharing your story. I will pray for your husband’s quick return so your family can be reunited! 🙂

  67. spiritmom says:

    I’m an Air Force wife and after 13 years, still not used to the separations. Dinner is the worst for me. I ache when I look at his empty spot at the table. In a way I’m glad because I don’t want it to feel normal when he’s gone.

  68. Kari says:

    What a touching post…thank you for sharing a glimpse into your heart with us. With tears in my eyes I can only imagine the ache for your family to be whole. Thank you and thank your husband for the ultimate sacrifice and service for us and for our country! You are our heroes!!!!!

  69. Melissa says:

    That was so well written and so true! I am a former army wife who lived through the long 13 months of an Iraq deployment about 4 years ago. When he left we had a 9 month old and I was 5 1/2 months pregnant. It was awful. He is now in Iraq 9 months into a 15 month deployment and while we are no longer married ( which actually might be changing once he returns from Iraq!! Miracles happening here in our life!!) it affects me still because he is so far away from his children. The life of a military wife whose soldier is away at war is a lonely and at times isolating life. Thank you for telling your story and the the truth of the emotion behind the life you are living. May our Lord Jesus return your Marine home safe and sound very soon!!

  70. Anonymous says:

    Those of us who are not directly effected by the war going on tend to forget how many people are. I get upset when my husband is gone on business for a few days (as he is now) so I can only imagine your emotions and challenges while he is gone.
    I pray that your husband returns home safely and soon.

  71. Kathleen says:

    Beautiful post. My BIL left last week on a year billet to Iraq. My sister and her two kids moved here to be closer to family. This is a blessing in disguise because there aren’t many Navy bases near Atlanta, and it will be a while before they can live near family again. We just try to keep her busy and let the kids talk about dad anytime they want. I think the most important thing is to tell everyone! Not living in a “military” community, the war can become impersonalized. The more people remember that these men and women have families, the better. God bless you!

  72. Nikki Schreiner says:

    Wow, I’m almost in tears! My hubby spent time in Iraq when the war was new, but we didn’t have kids then and so I know that if he’s to go back in the future, it will much different with three little ones! What a wonderful reminder to reach out to others going through this right now.

  73. Jenny says:

    Great post, as the wife of a former soldier I can totally relate. My husband was gone for a year on each of his two deployments. The first one I was pregnant, he came home when she was 5 months old. The second she was 2. I agree that the nights are the worst BUT it helps to form a routine for yourself. Mine was to watch a show, check email, write him a letter , take a bath and read before bed. I also was the leader of his companies family readiness group which helped alot, it gave me another focus besides myself. Create new routines for yourself it really helps.

  74. Jenny says:

    Great post, as the wife of a former soldier I can totally relate. My husband was gone for a year on each of his two deployments. The first one I was pregnant, he came home when she was 5 months old. The second she was 2. I agree that the nights are the worst BUT it helps to form a routine for yourself. Mine was to watch a show, check email, write him a letter , take a bath and read before bed. I also was the leader of his companies family readiness group which helped alot, it gave me another focus besides myself. Create new routines for yourself it really helps.

  75. Erin says:

    Thanks so much for this post! It convicted me about how little I pray for military families and even how little I look beyond my own world. My husband is a doctor in the middle of his residency, so there are many days and nights I’m home by myself with two little ones. Instead of feeling frustrated and sorry for myself, I should (and will!) remember to pray for these strong women! Thanks again!

  76. myra says:

    I’m tearing up reading this. In case you haven’t heard this enough: Thank You. Thanks for the sacrifice, for dealing with the loneliness, for raising two little boys while your husband keeps us safe. I can’t “get it” like you do, but to the best of my ability, I appreciate it. I’m sending a virtual hug to you.
    Myra
    wemakethree.com

  77. momrn2 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! It couldn’t have been more timely. I have a friend whose husband just left for a year in Iraq… today! Although I knew she was going to need support, this was so helpful to hear more of all that might and probably is going on in her! Again, thanks!!!!!

  78. Dawn says:

    Great job, Ash. You always say it so well. Praying for his safe return, and your transition. Sometimes that’s the forgotten struggle. Love ya sweet girl.

  79. Cathy | Mommy Motivation says:

    this is the first bit that I’ve heard of the family at home. Thank you for sharing so deeply what it is like. I could only imagine before. and I too believed that it would just “get better”. I’m so grateful with you that you have such a great support system.
    I see these families in a new light now. THank you.

  80. Sarah says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your story with us.I Thank you for serving our country!
    God bless,
    Sarah

  81. Sarah says:

    Great post! Thank you for sharing your story with us…what a blessing that was!
    ((Hugs & prayers))
    Sarah

  82. Polina says:

    Thank you for sharing. It is very hard to imagine if you haven’t gone through it yourself, but… waiting has always been a hard thing. waiting in uncertainty is twice harder. It’s like waiting for news from a hospital when one of your beloved ones is…
    It sometimes seems to me that if Moms and Wifes were ruling the world, there would be no wars in it…

  83. Jessica says:

    Ashleigh, your post was really powerful! May God continue to be with you and give your his strenght and grace to wait for your husbands return. May He always protect him and keep him and may his Angels always be watching over Him. God is a faitfhul God and I know that He will always be with you. I will be praying for you.
    God bless.
    Jessica

  84. Evelyn Kemerling says:

    Your ability to express your dear feelings
    is very God given. I am among the senior citizens that often feel we have no one or
    that no one needs us. I live in a town that is often thought of as a party town always.
    We have had a loved one serving in Iraq but
    he was injured and returned home to be discharged. He and his wife finished their
    college education and now have jobs helping
    veterans who have needs. Prayer was the only
    thing that got our granddaughter through her
    husband’s getting readjusted and able to
    take his place serving others here in the
    USA. Our prayers are with you and yours.
    Take care and stay faithful to the God who
    comforts. In Christian Love, Evelyn

  85. Martina says:

    Yeah i know how she is feeling, my Husband left for war 3 weeks after our son was born, i know how it feels to be lonley…but i couldnt ever put it in such nice words….God bless you and hope your Husband is home soon

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