Last May, my best friend Matt made the decision to join the Air Force and attend a military academy in Marion, Alabama. We had been friends for almost three and a half years at that point, and it was such a shock to me when I found out about this, especially since he was planning to go to CU Boulder (which is where I am), and I would get to continue to spend time with him as we had been doing for years. Needless to say, I was not very happy with God at this point in my life.
So, lovely ladies, I want to share this experience with you because I know a lot of us have people we care about decide to join the military (friends, family, etc.), and it’s usually really hard to deal with at first. Hopefully, if any of you are experiencing this, or will experience it in the future, my story will help you learn how to handle it without ever losing your faith.
My biggest problem at first was that I couldn’t understand how he (or God) could do this to me, because, quite honestly, I was really beginning to fall for him. But as time went on, and as we talked about it day in and day out, I realized that this was a somewhat selfish notion. Nobody was out to get me, and God has his own plan for Matt that has nothing to do with trying to ruin my life or taking my best friend away from me. And quite honestly, the distance has made us better friends than ever as we continue to stay in touch and share stories of our now very different lifestyles. It took a little while to get used to not talking every day, but the time constraint just made every conversation all the more special.
Distance doesn’t have to mean that you’re never allowed to see your loved ones again. Remember that no matter how much you miss somebody, God will get you through it. It may hinder your relationship at first, but in the long run, if you choose to stay in touch, it will bring you closer, because you both will have to make an effort to reach out to each other. Skype, email, phone calls and even letters are amazing communication tools for those far away from you. God’s plan for your loved one to join the military won’t be easy for either one of you, and can be a real test of faith (it sure was for me!).
Now, I have grown closer to Matt, and closer to God, because through struggle, He has allowed our friendship to grow. I’ve moved away from a lot of best friends (and vice versa), but this one was special, and I still miss him daily, even though we’ve been apart since August. Ladies, allow God to work in your lives even in hard times, because these are the times that he grows us the most. Of course this applies to any long-distance friendship or relationship, but the military ones are always the hardest because you have to entrust their safety to God and no one else.
My biggest piece of advice is to pick something to focus on. For me, it was school and work. I am a freshman at CU Boulder and had a brand-new job at Cabela’s that I loved (and still do), and that focus really helped me through the first couple of months. Besides that, pray (a lot!), read your Bible, join a youth group and don’t be afraid to admit how you feel. Talking to people can go a long way toward cheering you up! Making new friends doesn’t mean you have to replace your old ones, but it can help fill the gap. And then just try to stay in touch as much as you can. Matt and I made a deal to try to talk on the phone about once a week, and we also occasionally exchange texts and emails when time allows.
To end on a happy note, I will get to see him over Christmas break, and I am SO excited! It will be hard in January when he leaves again, and I know I won’t get to see him for a few months, but now I know that my true inner strength comes from God, and that with Him, I can handle anything, and so can you!
Written by PI Girl Kelley
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