My good friend, Heather Hatton, has graciously agreed to guest post for us and share her experience and insight about faithfully and dutifully following her husband wherever he has led her and their family. She is one of my greatest friends and our friendship has seen more (geographical) separation than togetherness, but it’s a relationship that has never waned-even when state lines, the international date line, and now the equator separate us. She is one rockin’ wife and momma, and hello, #momcrush alert! ~Keli
Where you lead, I will follow…Did anyone else get a hankering to watch Gilmore Girls?
This is pretty much what I said to my husband (then boyfriend) when he informed me that after he got out of the Navy he was going to East Texas and I was welcome to come. That was eight years, 5 moves, and 3 kids ago. Now, here I am, a girl from beautiful, historic, coastal Charleston, SC in the Pineywoods of East Texas.
I know I’m not the only one. Many of us have been called to this Ruth kind of loyalty. We have fallen in love with a man and no matter where he takes us, we’re going. If I had thought about or even visited East Texas first, I might have taken a pause before answering “yes!” There’s nothing obvious to attract anyone here. The weather isn’t desirable. It’s humid most of the year with mild winters and blistering summers. There are tons of pine trees and pollen to aggravate allergies. There are no major attractions, sights to see or even putt-putt golf. Notice my own husband referred to his homeland by region, not city. But it IS a quaint place to raise a family and earn an honest living. I have managed to make it home with minimal longing for the Palmetto State. It’s my aim to share a few physical ways we can make a home away from family and a little bit about what that probably means to our husbands.
There are obvious things you can do such as Skype with family and friends, send letters (like real ones with a stamp), troll Facebook to keep up and, of course, talk often. But I’d like to share a few that may not be AS obvious:
- Find Make a good church home. Honestly, this could be a post within itself. We have lived in some places where I wasn’t totally connected to the congregation and it made things harder. In retrospect I now know it wasn’t the people, but Satan working his schemes. Ephesians 6:12 clearly states “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood.” If you find yourself away from family and unable to connect to your church family, consider where the negative feelings are coming from–chances are, the father of lies (John 8:44). Once you figure that out, pray fervently about it. You can make a good home for yourself with the Lord’s people with the Lord’s help.
- Get involved in at least one organization outside of church. In order to deal with being away from home you must immerse yourself in your new home. There are opportunities everywhere. Pick up your local paper, (What’s that? Its black and white and may not be on a screen.) and see what’s going on. I’ve joined my local MOPS (Mothers Of PreSchoolers) group here and have benefitted immensely from it. It gives me something local with which to identify. Don’t have kids? There are book clubs, help centers, soup kitchens, environmental groups, museums…find a opportunity and volunteer for it.
- Surround yourself with mementos from home. I’m an interior designer by training and believe the walls that surround us affect our well-being. Use photos of loved ones (Your phone and Facebook really won’t cut it–hang them up!). Also use pictures of famous places from home or even the house you grew up in. I have a large print of houses in Downtown Charleston, a print of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge and a set of coasters with an old map of Charleston on them. These don’t make me homesick, but warm my heart and bring up good memories.
- Plan a visit. Even if it’s years away, having something to look forward to will calm your restless soul. I know it did mine. I haven’t been to South Carolina for a good visit in years. Once I determined to drag my kids on the 14+ hour car trip this summer, I found peace once again with my East Texas placement.
- Other ideas:
- Get a family pen pal. This is great for kids and you can live vicariously through their joy of receiving letters from your homeland.
- Get out your old t-shirts from events or places at home and wear them.
- Tell your kids a story from your childhood and include pictures.
- Seek out the local delicacies. Food can bring you together with new friends and give you something to share with family when they come to visit.
Now to get into what settling into your new place can mean to your husband.
We can’t talk about this without getting into our roles as husband and wife. From Gen. 2:18 we know that woman was made to be a helper for man. What does that mean? A helper is defined as: a person or thing that helps or gives assistance, support, etc. We were created to be his support. If he sees fit to take us out of our homeland to go to his, or anywhere else for that matter, we support him out of love. Remember, loving him is a choice we make every day. If we don’t support him, then we are effectively against him. Proverbs 21:9 tells us, “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” We don’t want to be that lady. Unless we get behind our husbands and put down roots where we are, Satan will use those desires for home to drive a wedge between us and our husbands. Don’t give the devil a foothold.
Another point to this: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Chances are if you’ve followed your husband anywhere, it’s at least partially for a job situation. If he’s working hard and providing for you and your family, show him support and care for him. Please don’t complain and compare living situations so he feels inadequate. He is valuable to you. Make sure he knows it.
Finally, avoid the “IF.” Don’t get roped into saying, “If I were home, I would have XYZ…” You’ll only make yourself miserable and give Satan yet another way to steal your joy. Use your best line of protection: prayer. If you look back at Ephesians, Paul outlines the whole Armor of God, then he says to “[pray] at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Pray over this. God will help you in your struggle to stop comparing and wishing for what you don’t have.
So, when you’ve been wooed by love far away from your homeland and find yourself in an unlikely place, know you can flourish wherever God has put you.
Heather lives in Lufkin, TX with her engineer husband, Justin, and their three children. Heather met her husband in Charleston, SC when she was set up with him by her mom. 🙂 She’s a homemaker and a homeschooler, but when she has a few leisure moments she enjoys crafting, interior design, and finding a great deal at the thrift store.