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Letting Joy Defeat Dread

During her son’s last weeks of deployment, an anxious military mom learns to let her faith take charge.

A military mom's faith overcomes doubt.

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, NIV)

I awoke to another beautiful spring day. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. But all I felt was dread when I should have been filled with anticipation. In a few short weeks our son would come home from his first deployment. The wait was almost over. Yet I couldn’t shake the feeling of impending doom.

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The seemingly perfect day continued as I went through the motions. The heaviness in my soul was compounded by the condemnation I heaped on my head. Why was I so set upon believing that tragedy would strike now? Why couldn’t I believe that he was truly going to make it home? Why didn’t I believe I was going to see my son soon? 

What I didn’t know then was that my feelings were normal. For military families, it’s not unusual for dread to overshadow joy during the last few weeks of deployment. Unfortunately, the stories of a soldier injured, or worse, right before coming home can haunt military families.

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Refusing to let ourselves rejoice is a type of self-protection. I would argue that it’s not a healthy one. I had faced an ongoing battle of faith against fear during our son’s deployment. God had used this situation to strengthen my belief, but now, in the last few weeks, I had turned from Him. Old habits of trying to control everything took over.

On that sunny day, I took back the ground I’d lost.

By mid-afternoon, even I was sick of my mopey self. I grabbed my Bible and my journal and retreated to my bedroom. I began to read, filling my mind with truth instead of what-ifs. That was when I reread this story in Mark. In it, I saw the answer to my own dilemma. As I read that verse aloud, the clouds in my soul parted and the sun shone.

Belief was a choice, not a feeling. 

I would live in anticipation and belief that our son was coming home. When the doubt reared its ugly head, I would call out for help. Our son did return home—from this deployment and from his next. I never forgot the lesson God showed me, and it has stood me in good stead through many challenges since.

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All God's Creatures 2023 Devotional

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A Daily Devotions for Animal Lovers. This inspiring devotional brings you 365 touching stories of animals who appear at just the right moment providing comfort and bringing us closer to our faith.

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