June 13, 2010

From Insurance to Infantry


Today is the 235th birthday of the Army.
In honor of today being the birthday of the Army, I'm posting the story of how we became an Army family.

SoldierMan and I both graduated college at the same time, and we got married a few months later. SoldierMan went to school for insurance. And right after graduating, he got a job as an FSR (financial services representative) selling life insurance and other things related to investing. And I have a whole blog post about life insurance I'm going to share with you one day, because people in their 20s do not take it seriously enough. But that's for another day :)

Anyway, he was working at a great office for a great agent for a great company and we were trucking along. Things seemed to be going well.

That's what my then-13-year-old brother called my "wife hair."

Just a few months after we got married, he started talking about the military. Not really seriously (or, he probably was serious, but the conversations weren't - yet). SoldierMan grew up in love with planes and flying. In fact, he even took lessons in high school and soloed at 16. He loves flying. And, coincidentally, his BIL is an Air Force recruiter. So he immediately jumped all over SoldierMan's musings.

The problem, though, is that SoldierMan wears contacts for nearsightedness in one eye and astigmatism in the other. So, fulfilling his dream of being a jet fighter pilot was off the table. As a result, SoldierMan crossed the Air Force off the list. After all, he didn't want to join the Air Force to watch other people fly. And no other job in the Air Force appealed to him.

I should say, this all happened in a matter of days. In the meantime, I went into nervous collapse any time he talked about joining the military. At this point, he was talking about Guard or Reserves, not Active. After all, he had a great job that he went to school for and was doing very well at it. But I was NOT ready to have that conversation.

We had a plan. It fluctuated between a 5 and 10 year plan, but we had a plan. Graduate college, get jobs, get married, eventually have kids. The military was NOT in the plan. He tried talking to me about it, about how important it was to him, but I couldn't do it. The topic sent me into near hysterics, I was so afraid.

The funny thing was, I wasn't afraid of the fact that joining would mean his being sent to a war zone. Mostly I was afraid of being left alone for all the training that would be leading up to that. We hadn't spent more than a few days apart - two weeks at most - in about 10 years. And NEVER been completely without communication. Anyway, my fear was enough to shut down the conversation at that point.

But I could still sense his desire to join. And so one night I asked my Bible Study group to pray that either his heart would change or my heart would change.

And time went by, about a year. By that time, SoldierMan was #1 in the state in life insurance sales. He was very good at his job. And was on the fast track for getting his own agency. A big deal at his age.

But by then, things had changed. My prayers had been answered. SoldierMan had discovered that he didn't want to be an agent, at least not at this point in his life. He didn't want to do insurance. He wanted to join, not Guard, not Reserves, but Active Duty Army. And my heart had changed. As much as it scared me, a lot had happened in that last year. I saw that this wasn't some kind of quarter-life crisis phase. I saw that he was not being fulfilled working in insurance, even though he was very successful at it. And, I had lost my job. Well, I didn't lose my job. I was a self-employed contract worker to a local oil and gas company. My contract had run out and not been re-upped. So we were already getting used to living on one income and me staying at home.

All of this, it's easy to see now, was preparing us (me) for the Army. Now, no matter how scared I get, or how lonely I get, or how frustrated I get...I can look back and see my husband working at a job that left him unsatisfied, I can look back and see God open and close opportunities for us that led to this place, I can look back and see how God worked on me and my heart to bring me here.

And I can look and see my husband doing something he truly loves. Nothing compares. Not being near (5 living generations) of family, not owning a house, not having more disposable income, not being able to randomly head to Disney whenever we want. Nothing.

So began our new life in July 2009. We didn't take the traditional way of getting here, for sure. But here we are, exactly where we are supposed to be.

Hooah!

14 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday to the Army! And also, Happy Anniversary to my husband & me! I think it might be Flag Day too? Anyway, we had no idea of this when we got married, but it's pretty fun actually! He's an Officer in the Army.

    Great to find your blog! Too cute! I'll definitely follow ya!

    * http://donandamanda.blogspot.com *

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  2. I love this post. Things definitely turn out exactly how they are supposed to be! Happy Birthday, Army! Hooah!!

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  3. Happy Birthday to the army and that was a touching story. My husband joined the army because he wanted to go to medical school and didnt want to pay for it using loans. They paid for his college loans and promise to pay for his medical school should he do well. So we are crossing fingers....Glad your man is doing well, you both look good together. Wishing you all the best honey -:)

    Musings of an Army Wife

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  4. It always amazes me how God works things out!

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  5. Wow, I am so glad you posted this today!! Our stories are incredibly similar that it's scary, or comforting =) My hubby always wanted to join also, but has a plate in his arm from football, so the Marines told him no right out of high school. He put it to bed but never let it rest, always feeling like his dream would never be fulfilled. One day last summer I told him if he would still consider it I would support him 100% (God had been working on my heart that I had to let him go and stop shutting down his desire because of my own selfish reasons!) I didn't really think he would jump at the opportunity right away like he did...but HE did!! We had never spent more than 2 days apart in 10 years, so BCT was a switch!! And I was scared also for the being apart time, not so much the war zone. And, he loves it!! And I am so glad to see him feel like he has a purpose and not just "working". And I am so glad that God chose now instead of when we were 18...who knows what would have happened to us then, I doubt we would have gotten married and had a family. It's amazing the way God works and the way He plans everything out perfectly!!! Thanks so much for sharing!! I so wish we lived closer, we could talk much over that frappucino machine of yours and just telling our stories ;-)

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  6. Oh I am sooo glad you posted this! I definitely teared up when you shared about praying for your heart to change. There have been so many times where I have had something happening or about to happen, and my pride would get in the way and I would be unhappy for so long before I realized I needed to get on my knees and beg for help.

    I am so happy you guys chose this life because it has allowed me to meet you!!

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  7. I enjoyed hearing your story. It is amazing the twists and turns of our lives and how everything happens in Gods timing and his plan. Have a great day!

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  8. I loved reading your story! It was very inspiring. It just goes to show that God has big plans for all of us - some that we never imagined! (I never thought that the military would be part of my life either!)

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  9. Happy birthday, Army!

    Our stories are very very similar. This has been something Trey has talked about since I've known him. I was extremely selfish and scared and luckily he loved me enough to marry me anyways, knowing he might not ever get the opportunity to do this. I sat by and watched how miserable he was at everything he tried. I prayed, he prayed. And that's the only explanation I have for the reason that one day, my heart did turn. Out of the blue, I just felt like I could handle it. He didn't waste any time at all going for it after that! Now here we are!

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  10. What a great story! And I love your pics. It's funny because my husband wasn't in the military when I married him either. He used to talk about it, but I let it go in one ear and out the other. When he really got serious about it, I was like OK because I didn't know anything about it. I was so unprepared! But I can't imagine life any other way.

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  11. Nice to hear your story. It reminds me of us a little bit. We were not going to be an army family. And when it first came up I just wasn't ready to say ok.

    Welcome to the Infantry :)

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  12. I love your story...it's a good one and it's only going to get better :)

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  13. I'm not as far along as you in the "acceptance" phase. I hope to be, soon. Him joining the Air Force was NOT in "the plan". I often feel really guilty about not being over the moon and buying all the "I love my airman" shirts. It's funny, he's the #1 phone salesman at work, but I know that's not challenging and rewarding. I have to step back and realize this is whats going to make him happy. This isn't what I had in mind, but maybe this is the best way. What do I know?

    Really inspiring story. Nice to know other women are scared. I always had this image of super tough women packing their spouses bag with no tears single The National Anthem. I just cry, cry, cry sometimes. Not as strong as I'd like to be, yet.

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