This post was written to promote the Heart to Home 2015 Women’s Conference and enter a contest sponsored by Family Christian Bookstore.
I am excited to promote the Heart to Home 2015 Women’s Conference. Not only am I afforded this opportunity to promote an event by a well-respected Christian Ministry, I am also entered into an exclusive all VIP Pass contest sponsored by Family Christian! How exciting is that?! One lucky blogger will be selected to win a behind the scenes VIP Pass, the chance to meet some of the Duck Dynasty cast, hang out at Willie’s Duck Diner, meet other authors and be blessed by the worship and ministry this conference has planned!
Before I continue, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Clay. I am the sweet, caring, humorous, romantic, loving, nurturing, handsome husband of the author of this blog, Laura. Enough about this awesome guy. I have hacked into my wife’s blog and I am writing this blog for a number of reasons. Although I joke about my introduction, my wife and I aren’t ones to bring attention to ourselves, let alone enter a fantastic contest such as this. We are more of the “behind the scenes, deflect the attention, hands and feet of Jesus” people. However, Laura told me about this wonderful opportunity and I decided to enter her into this contest.
(That’s me^^^ Clay! :))
I’m supposed to write why she wants to attend the conference and what it would mean to her. That’s a little difficult for me to do because I’m not her. Instead, I will write why I want her to attend the conference and what I know it would mean to her. Allow me to begin with the events of this past year from my point of view.
This past year has been an emotional roller coaster for both of us. Well, not really both of us. Actually, it’s been an emotional roller coaster for her because I’m a Army guy who has served 20 years and learned not to be emotional. However, my heart aches for what she has been through during this past year.
It all began around February or March 2014 when I received orders sending me to another assignment overseas, another assignment away from her and the kids, another assignment causing me to miss out on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, special moments, graduations, and the list goes on. It is discouraging, to say the least, for her to know that I will miss out on these memories yet again, but it’s easy to assume that she would be used to it by now. Besides, she knew what she was getting into when she married me. She knew that she was getting the toughest job in the Army – an Army wife. No matter how much we prepare, the sting of separation never gets easier.
Experts will tell you that marriage is 50/50, but I say they are wrong. Marriage is so much more than just a mere 50/50. Marriage is 100/100. Both the husband and the wife give their 100%, 100% of the time. When a deployment is thrown into a 100/100 marriage, the aches and pains of not having a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, a soothing voice to hear, or just a hug to comfort begins to wear us down. Of course I’m speaking generally here, but I’m describing Laura. My absence has laid a heavy burden on her. No longer does she have a partner in crime to give the kids baths, set the table, prepare meals, clean the house, run errands, give HI-5’s, or share her experiences of the day. It’s difficult on her and my heart aches because through it all, she carries a smile while she bears it.
During this past year we also bought our first home. Unfortunately, I was gone and wasn’t able to share in the experience. Once again, she had to pull up her big girl pants and research every home that she was interested in while we communicated through email, messenger and FaceTime when the internet wouldn’t disappoint us. We’ll never get the “first time home buyer” experience back; however, I was lucky enough to review and sign 17,000,000,000,000,000 documents. That, my friends, was as exciting as getting my wisdom teeth pulled!
One of my many jobs as a husband and father is protector. It is a position that I take seriously. That is a job that I was unable to perform when my family was threatened, berated and assaulted while I was deployed. It was a situation that should have never escalated to that degree, but it happened. She handled the situation the best she could during my absence, but I should have been there as the protector of this family. Not a day goes by that I don’t regret not being there.
Our middle son had surgery on both of his ears. Any surgery, no matter how minor or non-evasive, worries any parent, especially Laura. This surgery was terrifying because we didn’t know if he would be deaf in both ears. All we could do was pray and ask God to steady the surgeon’s hands. The surgery was a success and his hearing has become exponentially better. All praise and glory to God! This burden of worry and the fear of the unknown was something Laura had to travel alone. Mommy is the nurturer, aka “the bandaid;” aka “here’s a hug to make you feel better;” aka “let me kiss your boo-boo.” Daddy is not so much a nurturer. Daddy is more of a “throw some dirt on it;” aka “get your game face on and let’s solve the problem;” aka “don’t cry over spilled milk.” Needless to say, but we compliment each other well.
This year also brought PTSD into our lives. We always “knew” I suffered from the symptoms, but didn’t have the official diagnosis. Much of that was because I was stubborn and turned down the care. I was handling the situation fine, or so I thought. Now that I’ve been receiving the care, it’s made our lives easier. Certain situations and circumstances continue to make our lives interesting, but I’m able to cope with many of these situations because of Laura. There is a lot we don’t talk about, but she understands and is understanding. She is my rock.
This past year has also brought our own fear of the unknown. We decided that my retirement will be in 2015. Although we look forward to life after the military and no more deployments, the next chapter is scary. This is the only life that I have known and the only life our marriage has known. Twenty years is a long time to spend in one job only to change careers in my late 30s. It’s exciting, but frightening at the same time. This next chapter will bring a lot changes and I’m sure some learning curves as my role of husband and father becomes a full-time job without the deployments, training exercises, long work nights, temporary duty assignments and all the other separations the military life brings.
Why is Laura looking forward to the 2015 Heart to Home Women’s Conference? I would be remiss if I didn’t say she was a big fan of the Robertson ladies and Duck Dynasty. She is also looking forward to this conference because it is hosted by renowned author, speaker and radio host Dr. Joneal Kirby. She is excited about the opportunity to meet the other wonderful Christian brothers and sisters attending this event, those participating in the event, and especially those who are behind the scenes who have made this event possible. This is a wonderful opportunity for her to experience God’s Love as she continues to learn and grow in His presence.
(Duck Dynasty Day at our church in Washington)
What would it mean to Laura to attend the 2015 Heart to Home Women’s Conference? I have no idea. I don’t want to know what or why a woman thinks what she thinks. I have a hard enough time with my thoughts..haha.
What would it mean to Clay if Laura was selected to attend the 2015 Heart to Home Women’s Conference? It would mean a lot to me. I don’t know where to begin. She is the strongest and most courageous woman I know. This is an amazing opportunity for her to get spiritually fed, to get uplifted, energized and refreshed. She deserves it. She deserves the opportunity to get away, leave her worries behind, and focus on God. I know that might come off as cliche, but no one should have to endure what she’s endured during our 10 years of marriage – the multiple deployments, the absences, the missed memories – but she is the only woman I know who could have endured it. I am a lucky man to call her my wife.
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