One afternoon about 10 years ago when Matthew, now 25, was a teenager, he was eating a bag of sour patch kids. I asked him for one and then another. After the second one, I looked at him and said, “You know what I like best about these are they are sweet and sour all at the same time. “
It wouldn’t be until a few years later that my “sweet and sour all at the same time” would transcend into a much different meaning.
Let me explain. In June of 2010, Matthew joined the US Navy and in August of 2010, Ryan also joined the US Navy. Within a period of nine weeks our family of six quickly became a family of four.
It took a bit of adjustment but Alex and Amy were keeping us, especially me, hopping.
My other solace was knowing that both boys would be spending at least 18 months in Charleston at the Naval Weapons Station for their nuclear training program. They would be close by and in one of my favorite places.
As time marched on, both boys were picked up or chosen to further their training, which meant another six months in Charleston.
At the end of ELT school, Matthew was picked up to be a staff instructor, another two years. Oh, happy day!
However, at the end of Ryan’s ELT school, his orders would send him to the USS Pittsburgh in Groton, Connecticut.
In late July of 2013, Ryan packed his belongings and headed to Connecticut. That’s when my “sweet and sour” changed. No longer did I like that fact that everything was sweet and sour all at the same time. I didn’t like it at all. While I could feel excitement and joy because Matthew would be in Charleston. I felt sadness because Ryan was leaving and had no idea how long it would be before I would see him again. The family dynamics were completely changing. I didn’t like it.
Then in November of 2014, Matthew’s orders sent him to Hawaii. He would be attached to the USS Columbus.
Within a few days of Matthew’s departure, Ryan’s boat left for a six month deployment.
Matthew’s boat wasn’t very active at first. His work load was crazy but the boat stayed in port. Then one day, Matthew called tell me he was going on a 3 month deployment and 45 minutes later Ryan called to say he was back. This has been the story ever since, and at times both gone at the same time. Sweet and sour all at the same time.
One thing I’ve learned is that my emotions can be all over the place but my emotions do not have to control me. They do not keep me from moving forward and continuing to live. I have a choice. I can either allow my emotions to control me or I can cry out to the Lord and ask Him to help and deliver me from my emotional roller coaster.
I’ve had countless people say, “I don’t know how you do it.” I simply say, “I don’t. God does.” What I’ve learned through all of this is that when I admit I can’t and ask for His help; He can.
His word tells me that there is “nothing that is too hard for Him.” Jeremiah 32:17
And my favorite go to verse is Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things and in him all things hold together.” If the entire universe is held together by Him, the. He can certainly hold me together.