Fourteen hours and thirty-six minutes. That’s how long it takes to get back to The States. This gives me plenty of time to think about what I’m going to do. What normally would seem like a long plane ride home, I have a feeling it’s going to be a quick one. I can’t believe the Army let Sebastian out of prison early. He was supposed to serve 7 years in federal prison for what he did. I doubt he was on good behavior. Lord, what am I going to do? Should I move to a new house? Build up more security around the house I have now? Lord, I know I wanted to be released from the military, but I didn’t want trouble following me … especially from my ex-husband, Sebastian. Knots formed in my stomach just thinking about this. I needed a break...
As my weary eyes slowly traced the cold metal frame of my window on the plane, the voice of the Holy Spirit was clearly audible. He said, Ruth, have no fear, I AM with you. You are a soldier in My Army and I will protect you and your family.
When the Word came through the Holy Spirit, an overwhelming peace drifted over me. For the first time in years, I could finally embrace the Lord’s peace and not be bombarded with the negative thoughts and scenarios that flooded my mind. Immediately, I remembered what Pastor Leonard Smith had said in one of his sermons, that one should seek and pursue God’s peace. Confess His Word in every circumstance and He will confirm His Word. That’s the truth, and it’s about time I spoke God’s Word into my life.
When the pilot made an announcement over the intercom that we would soon be leaving the terminal, I blinked from my thoughts and watched as Mary sat next to me. The glimmer in her eyes and nostalgic glow on her face revealed that she was just as excited to see her kids as I was to see mine. As her 5 foot 10 inch frame settled into the seat next to me, I observed as she smoothed her hair that was always pulled back in a tight bun. It was a look that matched her demeanor, the type of woman who didn’t take any mess from anyone on or off the battlefield. Comparing her height to my 5 foot 4 inch petite frame, I’m glad we became friends. Very few people saw her soft side and I was one of those chosen few who she now considered a friend.
Mary and I met in basic training six years ago when I joined the military. I wasn’t looking to make close friends or any kind of associates for that matter. I didn’t want to do much of anything except focus on my duties, but as usual God had more in store than I could ever expect or dream of. Mary grew to be like a sister to me and it was a blessing to depend on her in times like these; times that found me somewhere pressed between happy and stressed.
I glanced at my friend as she stared at a small picture of her two children. The photo was carefully gripped between the fingers of one of her hands, as if she was actually holding them. Reminding me of my own children, images of those innocent faces brought tears to my eyes. It’s been two long years since I’ve seen my babies and at times the longing to see them seemed greater than I could bear.
As we taxied onto the runway and prepared for take-off, I looked away through the window again and stared into the sky. It wouldn’t be too much longer before they’d finally have their mother back.
“Perfect timing, huh?” I discreetly blinked back rapidly the tears that began to well up in my eyes before looking in Mary’s direction again.
“Yeah.” Mary nodded and lowered the wallet-sized photo onto her knee. “It is perfect timing. It’s been so long.” She sighed, and then added, “I can only imagine what my kids are feeling when I’m not around.”
“I know what you mean.” The pain of being apart from my babies was fresh in my heart. “I miss my three kids more than anyone could ever know. I know it’s my calling from God to honor and serve in the world’s greatest Army, but I never knew I would have had to choose between what God wants for me and my desire to be home with my children.”
“Yes, but six years later, here we are finally having the chance to fulfill our heart’s desire full-time. God does give us the desires of our hearts too.” She excitedly grabbed my pale, scarred hand and proclaimed, “We made it, sister! There’s no more re-enlistment for us!”
Looking into her joyful eyes, I smiled back and agreed, “Finally, we get to enjoy what civilians do. Worry about the latest trends and eat ice cream.”
We shared an amusing laugh as Mary carefully tucked the picture of her kids in her jacket pocket. Moments later, the plane escalated in speed and soared at a steep incline into the air. We were on our way. Even though I was about to face my greatest fear, I was also on the verge of living the life I had been praying for this whole time; the freedom to be with my kids. But I, of all people, know that freedom comes at a cost. Somewhere deep inside I knew my real battles were just about to begin.
After the plane leveled off in the air, Mary turned to me with a look of concern. She folded her arms across her chest and boldly asked, “So, what are you going to do about Sebastian?”
That was the question of the hour. What was I going to do about my abusive, conniving, snake in the grass ex-husband? What could I do about a cowardly man who put his hands on me? The same man who once said that he loved me to the moon and back and vowed before God and our family that he’d be there for better or worse. I guess he may not have lied about that one, I just didn’t know that he’d be the cause for the worse.
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