Into His Hands

cast all your anxiety
Not going to lie to you guys…Thursday night was ugly. We found out that the date we had for Kyle’s departure was a week off. In the blink of an eye, the days we have left together dropped by seven. I know it sounds silly. What’s one week in the grand scheme of things? After all, it means he’ll be back that much sooner, right? All I could think about was that one less weekend together and the seven nights I would be going to bed without him. I panicked. I cried so hard and for so long that I gave myself a headache that lasted into the next morning.

On Good Friday, I woke up and saw Kyle off. Knowing he would be back shortly after PT, I started breakfast. We had a company-wide family day to attend at 11, followed by my driving test at 2. I was so anxious about going to the DMV, I was able to momentarily put deployment anxiety on the back burner. Family day was a nice distraction. We met Kyle’s sergeant’s wife for the first time and talked with friends for a few hours. Soon enough, it was time to go take the dreaded test. In the end, I did really well! The instructor only docked me on four minor things (like going 27mph in a 25mph zone). She was very kind and so understanding throughout the entire process. I told her I was nervous, so she talked to me about random things the whole time. It helped that California doesn’t require parallel parking, too! After almost five years of having a learner’s permit, I am finally a licensed driver!

That night, we decided to have some friends over for dinner. After dessert, we watched the Passion of the Christ. Watching that movie never fails to leave me in a blubbering emotional puddle. Whatever I’m dealing with in my own life pales in comparison to Christ’s sacrifice. It’s hard to feel sorry for myself while watching Roman soldiers scourge the son of God. It’s hard to question why we lost our baby when Mary raised Jesus from birth only to watch him die on the cross. Before he took his last breath, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” In the Bible, we read in 1 Peter 5:6-8, “humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Jesus trusted in God, even while bearing his cross, bloodied and beaten, all the way to Calvary. Mary trusted in God, even while listening to Pontius Pilate sentence her only son to death. Followers of Christ listened to the crowds shout for Barabbas to be freed, and still they trusted in God. Surely if they could witness such horrors and still believe in God’s grace, we, too, can trust in Him. Every time I catch myself worrying about the deployment, lamenting our struggle to have a baby, or stressing about life in general, I need to make a more conscious effort to offer up my worries to God. My trials and tribulations seem small when compared to His sacrifices for us.

So, into His hands will I commend my anxieties. I refuse to be consumed by them. After all, the Easter season has just begun! We should be rejoicing! Jesus is risen! God is among us. He sees our suffering and our sin and loves us still. Despite our flaws and imperfections, He has not abandoned us or forsaken us. Isn’t that something to smile about?


C’est Bon

Hello readers! I know it’s been a while since I’ve written and for that I apologize. The last couple of months, we’ve been soaking up as much time as possible with family and friends. We even drove – yes, drove twenty-four hours – to Louisiana to spend predeployment leave in Kyle’s hometown. The more time we spend there, the more I’m looking forward to the day we can finally call Louisiana home. Being away for months at a time between visits leaves me missing some things more than others.

The sound of rain on a tin roof. Is there anything more soothing than listening to that calming, constant drumming? Maybe it’s the months of bone-dry desert-living, but I’ve missed the rain terribly. The quiet roar of a springtime downpour is music to my ears.

The food. Obviously. Do I even need to spell this one out? Homemade blueberry muffins, warm doughnuts from a local bakery, flakey biscuits, boiled crawfish, fried catfish, creamy crawfish étouffée, rice dressing, honey sausage, seafood gumbo, carrot cake from scratch, shrimp po’boys, and spicy chicken and sausage jambalaya. The list goes on. Growing up in an Italian family, most of the dishes served down south are fairly new to me. I eat a lot more seafood now. I’ve come to favor andouille sausage over Italian sausage – just don’t tell my grandparents that. I’ve considered resorting to bribery to get my hands on a certain jambalaya recipe. Acadiana, your Cajun ways are quite contagious.

The warmth of the people. From the very first day, I have always felt welcome. I’m always greeted with a hug and a sincere, ‘how have you been?’. Everyone wants to know what’s been going on in your life, even if it’s not always bright and shiny and perfect. When we had our miscarriage last summer, word got out to a few families while we were visiting. They prayed not only for us, but for the little soul that we lost. They hugged us and knew exactly what to say. They made us smile and helped us enjoy our visit, while respecting that we were still grieving.

The strength of their faith. The people I’ve met in Louisiana are unapologetically devout, which is kind of refreshing. Where I’m from, we’re told to say ‘happy holidays’ so as not to offend non-Christians with a ‘merry Christmas’.  Typically, we don’t talk about our faith with friends. However, catholicism is an integral part of life in Acadiana. When someone is having a hard time, you let them know you are praying for them. Going to chapel regularly is the norm, even for teens. Mass on Sundays and every holy day of obligation is a given. Children are taught to be still and attentive during services. They know how to pray a rosary. More importantly I think, the children and young people not only go through the motions, but they understand why. I think that deep understanding at a young age is beautiful.

The children. Until we were married, Kyle’s younger nieces and nephews called me ‘Miss Amanda’. They almost always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. They are fairly quick with a ‘yes ma’am/sir’ when an elder addresses them. They are extremely affectionate – I don’t know if I’ve ever been hugged so many times upon entering a home. They climb up into your lap and fall asleep on your shoulder. They send little notes in the mail telling you they miss you. They sew you little felt wallets for Christmas. That’s not to say they never misbehave. They have tantrums. They are rude from time to time. But they are all genuinely good, sweet, loving kids. I’m glad our future children will have so many wonderful cousins.

The one thing I do not think I will ever enjoy? The humidity. Especially after being in the dry California desert for so long. I’ve resigned myself to a lifetime of bad hair days. I think it’s a fair trade, all things considered.

I don’t want you to think I don’t miss Pennsylvania, because I do. I miss my home and my family so badly it hurts. However, Kyle and I have decided that upon the end of his contract with the Marine Corps, Louisiana will be our new home. There are more job opportunities for him. When we do have children, there will be more readily-available helpers. School will be less expensive for me. Someday, maybe we’ll make it to Pennsylvania. For now, our future bébés will be raised cajun. C’est bon. No, c’est magnifique!