Waking up with my husband at my side this New Year is a gift from God I am extremely grateful for. My husband, a military officer was posted out the North-East after spending about 2 years in the frontlines in the fight against the dreaded terrorist group. The entire period he was at his post was a challenging experience which seemed to have no end for me.
When his posting to the North-East was released, I was worried, but it was something we knew was going to happen sooner or later. I was also upset because you see, I have not lived with him for a full year at a stretch since we got married due to the nature of his work and with the kids coming it was important, we maintain some kind of stability to be in one place because of their school. Therefore, with this posting, regular visits to his location and vice-versa during holidays which had become an important norm for our family would be near impossible if not impossible.
I shared this news with some of my closest family and friends and almost everyone went into panic mode due to bad news coming from those parts. There were different offers for me to pray and fast for his safety with different people at different times during the period, but I declined all except with my mum. This is because I saw it as something that was being driven by fear and I could not afford to live my life in fear at the time. Also, if I had accepted, I probably would not have eaten at all throughout. I would have just been jumping from one prayer to another. I just told them to pray individually whenever they could.
It was important I maintained some form of normalcy and sanity. My perspective at the time was, it is not the end of the world. Many have gone and come back to their families, why did I have to approach it from a place of defeat. It was time to be strong. Time for a mental switch in order to help me cope with whatever was to come.
Initially, I was unusually calm in spite of all the news getting to me from all directions. I contemplated blocking all news sources on social media but insisted that I would not let this situation alter my life. I had to behave as if everything was normal.
Every other person seemed to be more afraid than I was until I received a phone call from a military wife who called to encourage me because she heard my husband’s location had been attacked. Unknown to her, I was unaware and was just being informed as a result of her phone call. I didn’t let her know though, and just feigned knowledge saying amen to all her prayers.
From the moment I dropped the call, I literally broke down. I cried, my thoughts were all over the place, I called and sent messages asking for prayers. I thought I knew what fear was until now; I felt it, it was a spirit that now possessed me, it was written all over me, I was shaken. I could not reach hubby and thought the worst had happened.
I eventually communicated with hubby and thought I could just go on as usual but no, my strength failed me. In my spirit, I could hear a voice saying, ‘take it easy, be careful, the rate at which you are going your blood pressure could be at risk’. All I could do was read the word, trust and pray. My strength and encouragement came from these times. I eventually blocked all news sources, so I could focus on what I believed God for. I could not afford to feed on things that chipped away at my faith bit by bit. Little did I know that it was one out of several attacks, the stories I heard from hubby later were like scenes from a bestseller war movie.
This was a period that could threaten any marriage. Communication was a big challenge with the lack of regular mobile telecoms network. I had to make a lot of decisions on my own and informed hubby afterwards by sending a whatsapp message. I was tired and overwhelmed dealing with artisans alone without having your partner call to set them straight.
At a point, hubby told me he didn’t think he would come out of it alive and without my knowledge, had called some people to pass on certain important information to me if the worst did happen. This was the brutal fact we had to confront everyday while we remained hopeful.
I know this is a reality many women face daily and there is nothing they can do they about it. I pray for them. May you find your place of strength and hold on to it. May you find a support system that is resilient and loyal to the end even when you feel like you can’t go on. You are loved even when it seems otherwise. To the rest of us, please say a word of prayer for the widows and the women who aren’t widows but are stressed up because of the pressures of life. Love them in word and in deed, it’s the least you can do.
I have been told by those who have traveled this path before me that the prayers still need to continue for reasons I choose to keep personal, but for now, I feel like I have been given another chance to appreciate and treasure the love I have and I do not take what I have for granted. I am grateful; extremely grateful.