Last night the ministry we’ve been a part of here at Fort Benning had a party, and Brett and I were given 10 minutes of the event to share what God has done in our lives while we’ve lived here, as a ‘goodbye’ of sorts….well, as anyone who’s known me long can attest, 10 minutes was HARD to stick to…especially since between Brett and I, it was really just 5…but, it was good to have to condense all that time into something compact that can be seen easily from somewhere other than space. It helped me to see just what has been done in my heart, in our families….so, here’s a little bit of an “extended” version of what I said last night:
We have lived at Fort Benning since November 2009. That’s over 3 years. When I prayed that we’d get to live somewhere for longer than a year, I wasn’t expecting this. I wasn’t expecting south west Georgia, on the Alabama border. I wasn’t expecting living at a super transient Army post where most people come for only months at a time….and well, before I have to put ” I wasn’t expecting” at the beginning of every sentence of this post, basically the last three years are some of the hardest most challenging years I’ve ever faced. Looking back nothing was was I expected, but this is what I got:
Some of the most diverse bunch of ladies, to walk along side -some for just a short while and some, thankfully, for longer but some of the women who have impacted me the MOST are; Rolinda ( the only one who was here when we arrived and who is still here…THAT’S how temporary this place can be for most people!), Marie, Keri, Deb, Bonnie, Jessie, Chris, Michelle, Susan, Melissa, Katie, Adelaide, Miranda, Robin, Britton, Lindsay and Shannon…. And many more! And that’s not counting Sarah or Jane or Cindy who were part of my time in Texas this last year but who also impacted me greatly.
We also had some guys live with us over the past three years, Nate, JJ, and Gordon hardly counted but they taught me some things about having single guys in my home that I’m glad I learned. But then there was Jaymon and Hayden who lived with us for much longer and whom I was really so blessed to share our lives with.
In the three years here, we ran a “typical” navigator bible study at Airborne chapel, but with the added twist of having those attending usually only being with us for three weeks ( the length of airborne school)…. This meant that we’d have to make relationships quickly and ask ourselves what is really important when you’re sharing Christ with someone. It also meant we could never get comfortable and stop asking people to come to Bible study, if we didn’t invite new people in a month the place would be dead! I learned a lot about rejection and cutting to the chase.
Then we went to pave a new study at Kelley Hill where Brett was working, and we had the funniest bunch of dudes! There I learned that I don’t always get to choose who I’m suppose to love. See Thanksgiving 2011. Strippers were definitely talked about at my dining room table. Ahem.
During the last three years we’ve seen the gamut of ministry styles which has meant just as much an adjustment for our social side of things as our spiritual- We went from having large Barbecues hosted at our house almost every week, weekly standing dinners at the on post Mexican Restaurant with lots and lots of people, to hardly seeing anyone at ALL for months on end, to having home churches spread out across Fort Benning where we’d see a small group of people …. This happened when we started the Great Commission Experiment ( which was, just that, an Experiment based on following the Great Commission, focusing on the “go”) and that was when I saw hardly anyone at all for weeks on end because everyone was “going” and I was a stay at home mom…focusing on the staying…. anyway, the experiment lead to simplified small groups where simple storytelling and some basic questions were the focus and by this time Brett was in Command at work and we moved from “leadership” to “helper”-stepping back to support our friends the Fones and the group they were having in their home. Being a part of that group and also meeting with two couples on Sundays for “church” was both challenging and encouraging.
These small groups then morphed in to another small group type set up, but I can’t say much about that because this is when my own journey took me to Texas for 5 long months…. Which brings me to the personal part of my time here at Fort Benning.
To account all the personal lessons I’ve learned would be impossible ( some I’ve probably forgotten, and I’ll sadly have to learn them again) but some I feel like have changed me and been written on my heart in a way I know I will never forget.
Living in the Wood’s house for 5 months. Working for Chuck and the Army leadership team. Becoming a Mother, Brett making it through Ranger School-starting 10 days after Ransom was born. Recovery from having a baby-FYI doesn’t take just 6 weeks. Surviving a colicky baby and learning the many joys and trails of being someones Mommy ( this, I think is different from ‘becoming a mother’. )Brett’s company command and the 24/7 work that entailed. Brett telling me we were going to follow the Woods, and finding out that meant going to San Antonio. Dealing with some personal criticism. Finding out I was pregnant with twins. Dealing with the increasingly scary prospects of that pregnancy. Bed rest and having to rely on others for EVERYTHING. The loss of Priscilla. The miracle of Tabitha. The life of extended hospital stays and the Ronald McDonald house…..All these things together equal a very different Abigail than the one who started. And isn’t that the promise? There is a great work being done in my life, and hopefully it isn’t even remotely finished….
I arrived at Fort Benning on my 26th Birthday, excited about getting to spend time with my husband after a year long deployment. I’d spent that year immersed in women’s ministry at Fort Lewis and I thought I was up for whatever was going to be thrown my way…
I will leave Fort Benning the mother of two, with my husband with whom I’ve celebrated life with, and grieved over death, and I know for a FACT that I am actually not up for whatever is thrown my way, but that God definitely is….