As with any child of a parent in the military, life was structured and predictable. Ann’s dad was Air Force and they basically relocated every two years. In high school, in Lakenheath, England, she lived in a boarding school during the week, coming home only on weekends. After liturgical church influence in her youth, her first notice of something spiritually different was seeing folks exiting the base chapel excited, upbeat and talking about Jesus.
Ann, out of curiosity, picked up some of the tracts geared to different faiths outside of the chapel and began to glean from them. Something began to stir deep within her. She also, during this time, took note of a friend down the hall in the boarding school beginning her day by reading the Bible. A longing was growing for something she could not yet identify.
During high school, while still in England, Ann attended a Christian concert laden with music and stories about Jesus Christ. At the end of the concert, the attendees were invited to come forward to learn more and pray with someone. Torn, she held back although she was now confident that Jesus was who she needed.
Two years later in college, Ann was involved in a work-study program and a coworker/fellow student asked her, “Do you know if you’re going to Heaven?” It was abrupt but point on and exactly what Ann had been asking herself. She admitted that no, she was not at all sure and her friend explained it to her and led her in the “sinner’s prayer”, a prayer in which a person who is convicted of sin in their own lives, and has the desire to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, prays. It is a prayer of repentance. It is the prayer of salvation.
Ann was born again.
Seven months in as a Christian and in the middle of her sophomore year of college, Ann met and fell in love with her soon-to-be husband Scott. The fact that he was also in the Air Force and, more importantly, a born-again Christian, confirmed for her that the relationship was right. Military life was not uncommon for Ann although being a Christian wife presented challenges as she had no role models. The moving every two years continued and Ann was blessed to always meet up with other wives who became mentors and role models to her.
As with all of us, life presented challenges: Ann finished college as a married woman; Scott went through 128 days of bed rest culminating in back surgery; and the most critical: Ann’s mom committed suicide. Other health issues continued for both Scott and Ann; two children were born; they were made homeless from the aftermath of a hurricane. All were major stressors of some sort. All took a toll.
Scott continued in his military life, with several deployments, leaving Ann as a single mom, bringing along with it, its own set of difficulties. Some days, through her own stressful tears, she would hear the prompting of Jesus that “children were a blessing from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3) and she was encouraged to press on.
After Scott’s retirement from the Air Force, job losses and health issues continued, as they strived to seek to become established in civilian life and raise their two children.
Ann’s faith grew and indeed was the cement in her life, the grounding she so needed. She knew that each of the events in her life was used by God to shape and mold her to be more like Him. Chaplains and mentors along the way continued to hearten and reassure her.
Now, years later, fully established in civilian life and a Gospel-preaching church, Ann enters a new phase. With one child married and the other in college, Ann and Scott are taking an active role in the care of Scott’s parents.
As she did during military days with a deployed spouse and young children in tow, she continues to rely on Jesus and goes to her Bible for guidance with everyday life.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. . .” Proverbs 3:5