I have loved going to Big Bear here…a beautiful mountain town for a mountain girl to go to to soak in the beauty…the beauty I grew up with and LOVE. I love the smell of the woods, the smell of fires, the beauty of the mountains and lake, the serenity of it all, the freshness of the air, and the lovely log cabins!!! I love the beautiful quaint shops (even though I am not much of a shopper), and I really, really love the coffee shops and yummy treat shops 🙂 The air was just right…not too cold, not hot. Fresh, cool, breezy air. It was wonderful to take it all in. We felt very refreshed.
As we drove up the windy road into Big Bear, I was reminded of a beautiful windy road to my grandma’s house in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. What precious memories lie in my heart of that home and that area. We saw trees and LIFE! The leaves on the trees were turning colors–beautiful, RICH colors. I am so happy we were able to see those colors and that the children didn’t miss out on wonderful fall weather and colors and smells 🙂 The aspen trees were turning golden-yellow…they were delights to our eyes.
Brian and I were able to take it all in this time…the kids were so obedient and full of JOY! We were able to process things that God is doing in our lives…with rejoicing…and awe. God is transforming our hearts. He is particularly transforming the mommy and daddy in us and uniting us more than ever before in parenting. We feel like a united team. Perhaps it is our little rebel rousers that are uniting us. They have been SO tough to parent lately! We have had to put it into high gear and be on the same page…or our little munchkins will find the loop holes and dive in…together, as a little dynamic duo team. God has taken us out of our comfort zones and shown us how to hold the line…all the time…but also how to balance the love, grace, patience, discipline, etc. It is wonderful when we are able to parent with that balance. It is wonderful to see the fruit of our hard work. But, it is going to take a lot more work and consistency, because we have two wonderful, brilliant, energetic, strong-willed children. As Brian’s mom sweetly put it a year or so ago…”Dawn, I’m afraid, I don’t think you two are going to have any easy children.” It was then that I soberly realized I needed to be a strong mommy!
God is showing us the power of prayer in parenting. There is so much we don’t know how to do…so much reliance needed on the Spirit to get us through…but we are learning the STRENGTH that comes from relying on the Lord all throughout each day. It is incredible. It brings much peace in the midst of chaos.
Fort Irwin has been a tough place for me. It has been a continued place of separation for our family, which was the last thing for which I had hoped. When I was in the Army, 3 1/2 years ago, Brian and I were separated frequently, for almost 3 1/2 years off an on, with deployments, schools, etc. We had a 5 month period in between all of that and that is when we got married 🙂 Two days after our wedding, Brian headed off to another school. The separations continued until I was able to get out. Camp Carroll, Korea was our first duty station together as a family. Brian was in command, though, and traveled often because his command and headquarters were scattered all throughout S. Korea. And then we prayed for a warm place where the kids could go outside and play for much of the year (Korea was a bit cold)…and the Lord so graciously ( 😉 ) sent us to the desert. (We really can play outside for much of the year here though!) But, quickly I realized, through the first rotation, while our colicky baby screamed and our toddler (Lewis) was attached to to my leg…with boxes all around me and my husband sent into the field…THIS is not the place where we would be TOGETHER. Each rotation was a struggle. We were sick all the time that first year. I learned to trust the Lord as everything to me during this time. I learned to not burden my husband when he returned. I learned so, so many things. But, most of all, I learned that I cannot live without my husband!!! After 18 months here, I cried a desparate prayer….I prayed God would keep us attached by the hip forever more. Brian laughed a bit when I told him this…but would you believe that we have been together more than ever these last 6 months? He has been there every time I’ve needed him. God has answered that prayer more powerfully than I could have ever imagined…and even while we were still here.
I had learned to trust the Lord much more than ever before…but I had also learned how MUCH I needed my man…I have had the opportunity to witness what a wonderful husband and daddy he is….he is mighty to save…he gives so much of himself to us…and always wants to be where we are..he reminds me of Jesus oftentimes…my mighty and strong, but gentle and patient warrior…he is truly amazing.
We have learned how to be a united team here….a family completely dependent on our Lord and Saviour…wanting so much to follow HIS call for our family. He is uniting our dreams…we don’t know how it will all come together right now…but we feel Him working so deeply in our lives and our hearts and we look forward to seeing how He will use each gift, each passion, united in ministry for Him.