Mil-spouse life is about transition. It was my biggest misgiving before marrying a soldier.
I don’t warm up quickly. New places, new people . . . they take me awhile.
And once I’m attached, it’s hard to let go.
I could clearly imagine it: me, just barely settled in when the moving trucks arrived to pack us out. I feared a life that felt like a series of long vacations, never settled, never letting myself connect.
But I love my husband, so I determined to tackle this problem head-on. It hasn’t always been easy. I haven’t always succeeded. But I’ve adopted a life motto for myself: Be Where You Are.
Sure, I wish my daughter was closer to her grandparents. I’ve longed for familiar restaurants and favorite stores. I miss friends I’ve made along the way. But I’ve witnessed the damage caused when a heart longs so hard for Somewhere Else; it can’t see the joy and blessing of Right Here Right Now.
Here are some of my best tips for Being Where You Are:
Embrace your location for what it is. Avoid chain restaurants and look for local holes-in-the-wall. Learn about and enjoy the local sights and history.
Try to avoid comparing where you are with where you’ve been. I get it, it’s a natural tendency. But if you hold yourself apart from the new place for too long, you remain in emotional limbo, erecting a wall around yourself which others can sense.
Find a church. You might need to try a few, giving each a couple weeks’ attendance, before you agree on one. Once you’ve decided, get involved. Join the choir. Volunteer to teach Sunday School. Find a place you can contribute.
Be friendly. Whether it’s in a new church or a new FRG, don’t wait for others to reach out and include you. Show up looking for possible connections. Smile. Invite someone over. Proverbs 18:24 is true.
Limit your time on social media. It’s a great tool for staying connected with friends and family around the world, but if you’re mentally back home or at the last duty station, you won’t be happy where you are.
Avoid Negative Nancy. You’ve met her. Everything about her current situation is terrible. She hates the base housing. The last commissary was better. She’s counting down the days until orders arrive. She’ll rub off on you if you aren’t careful. Why would you want to join in her misery?
Most importantly, be the same You everywhere you go. Stay connected to Jesus, Who is the same whether you’re in a high-rise apartment in Korea or a single-story ranch in Alabama.
Remember, you might get orders from Uncle Sam, but God ultimately directs your steps. If He allowed you to come to this place, He has a plan and purpose for you here. Get after finding it.
Set your determination: if this is where I’m going to be, I’m going to BE here with all my heart.
Written by: Jessica Tanderup. She is an Army wife to Dave, mother to Abby Grace, and member of Calvary UPC in Lemon Springs, North Carolina. She loves coffee, podcasts, peaceful walks in autumn leaves, and good books. Since 2005 she has lived in six states: Oklahoma, Arkansas, New York, Alabama, Hawaii, and North Carolina. She works as an American Sign Language interpreter and blogs weekly at www.theindecisivemama.com