This piece is Part 3 of a 4 Part Deployment Series covering my 4 deployment taskings in my Air Force Career.
Incase you haven't read the 2 previous posts, here is a quick recap.
I had been tasked to deploy two different times without actually deploying. I was removed from my first deployment because the commanding officer wanted someone higher ranking. No big deal. Then, after moving to another country, finding out we are pregnant and then miscarrying, a second deployment tasking drops (remember, this one was a dream job).
I went on a short notice TDY (training) and on the very last day of training I found out I was pregnant. No more deployment.
We had our precious Natalie and life was good, then two months shy of her first birthday I was notified that a third deployment had dropped... This time, I would leave 1 week after her first birthday.
Thankfully, current Air Force Policy meant I was safe from deployments or trainings for a year after birth, but i never imagined they would task me right after my daughter turned 1.
Words can not express the feelings I had about this deployment. No longer was the job a dream job, nor the location a “vacation” spot. To top it off, I would be missing 5 months of my baby girls life.
Life Is Not Fair
Why would God wait until she turns 1 to pull me away? Why didn't he let me go on the last tasking, rather than allowing me to get pregnant just to leave her behind?
It didn't seem fair at all. Not to me and most definitely not to her. And my husband just returned from deployment a few months prior! But duty calls and I volunteered to wear the uniform, at least that’s what I keep reminding myself.
In my moment of desperation, I got to my knees and started praying. Regardless of my questions, I needed to accept the fact that God had called me away from my family.
I eventually accepted the mission I was being sent on, and then it happened...
A text message from my commander that read - Your deployment’s been canceled, thought you would want to know… Happy Holidays!
This was the last message I was expecting to receive and I can't say that I was happy with the news.
How did I get out of not 1, nor 2, but 3 deployments? All of which I feel like I had no control over. This roller coaster of emotions goes right through me. Everyone starts celebrating that I don’t have to deploy and the only thing I can think about is how God had prepared my heart to leave.
He gave me a sign. I was meant to deploy.
He ignited the flame inside me to get excited about this deployment, all for it to just get canceled.
I wasn’t happy about leaving my husband or infant daughter. The thought of everything I would be missing just made my heart ache. My eyes would tear up thinking about how she would crawl around the house calling for mum-mum and never find me. Or how she would cling to her caregivers at the CDC (child development center aka daycare) to get the comfort that she can't get from her mommy.
No mom wants to be replaced. But on the other hand, I felt this strong sense that God was sending me on a mission and that mission was now canceled.
The day I found out about deployment #3, God gave me the verse “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, ESV).
This was very much what I classify as a #Godmoment.
I took this as a sign that God would be with me on my journey away from home, for the 5 months, completing whatever it was that he needed me to complete. So why would He give me this verse, just to yet again, remove this deployment opportunity?
When this last deployment was canceled, I was still aware of the possibly of getting tasked again, but I didn’t really believe another tasking would drop - until another one did.
There were only a few weeks between deployment tasking #3 and #4. I knew that God had a mission for me, I just didn't know what that mission nor why I felt like I was being jerked around on this road called life. Nevertheless, I was ready for whatever would come my way.
Deployment Tasking #4 (okay, maybe like Deployment #3 take 2).