Part 3: ONE OF H1S PROVISION STORIES
ONE OF H1S PROVISION STORIES
One of H1S is a 10-week series telling the Sage Harvest story of how two became ten ... and a jerky store.
We had been parents for three entire months, and we, the 20-somethings who knew nothing yet about parenting or life, were smitten.
Deacon was this ball of hope and light, and although he required constant reassurance, loving him was just so easy.
So when we found out three months after we returned home from Vietnam that we were pregnant with our second child, we were thrilled.
We moved from North Carolina to Kentucky with a 5-year-old in our hands and a baby in my belly, ready to start a new Army adventure and grow our fledgling family.
But the transition was hard for Deacon, who had already left everything he knew. As we poured ourselves into easing this transition for this little boy we loved so much, D.C. prepared for deployment, and in January, when I was seven months pregnant and not yet connected in this brand new community, he departed for what was supposed to be an eight-month deployment.
I felt so isolated. I had a fragile 5-year-old at home, a husband in the Middle East and a baby on the way.
As my due date approached, we were unsure if D.C. would be able to return for our baby’s birth, but two days before our baby’s due date, D.C.’s commander allowed him to fly home for two weeks. I picked him up in Nashville and drove him nearly straight to my doctor’s appointment, where the doctor discovered I had almost no amniotic fluid and wouldn’t let me leave.
As they began inducing me in this hospital in this state I hadn’t even lived for a year, D.C. rushed home to situate Deacon with the only person we really had in our Kentucky tribe at the time. In a move only God could orchestrate, we had connected with a sweet woman who knew the beauty and brokenness of adoption firsthand … because she had been adopted from Vietnam herself.
When he arrived back at the hospital, that weary man of mine promptly removed his shoe and placed it beside me on the bed.
“If anything happens,” he said, “throw this at me.”
After spending two entire days traveling home on uncomfortable airplanes and facing a 12-hour time change in the middle of weeks at war, I had given my brave soldier not a nap on his way home from the airport but an induction. It was all the poor man could do to keep one eye open.
Twenty-one hours of labor and some shoe-throwing later, and the nurses placed the most beautiful 5-pound and 7-ounce baby girl into our arms — Salem Grace. She was the most perfect and beautiful addition to our growing family.
Because D.C. had such a short time with his new baby girl, he insisted on doing everything.
He changed every diaper.
He took every colicky baby-bouncing walk.
He even took her to her two-day appointment so that I could walk Deacon, who adored his new baby sister but needed some extra mama time in this new land of sharing her, to school.
When he mentioned to the doctor our nursing struggles, he then took it upon himself to march down the hall to the lactation consultant (without the items that indeed lactated present). He returned to the house two hours later with a medical grade pump, detailed instructions and the breastfeeding skills of a drill sergeant.
“We can do better than 2 ounces!” he would declare hilariously like an Army lactation consultant. “Keep pumping!”
Shortly before he returned to his deployment, the baby needed a diaper change, and for the very first time since we’d become parents of two, he asked if I could please help.
When I opened the diaper, there inside it was a diamond tennis bracelet.
“Thank you so much for giving me this little firecracker,” D.C. said as he leaned over and kissed me.
That man of mine was totally worth waiting for … and it's a good thing he was, because we were preparing for one of our hardest goodbyes.
Salem was born on March 20.
On April 1, D.C. held her in his arms for the last time before boarding a plane back to the Middle East.
We were just crushed.
We had a colicky baby who couldn’t nurse, a broken little boy and no community. I felt so alone in Kentucky, and I had no idea how I was going to survive the remainder of the deployment.
It was my introduction to “hard,” and it pushed me beyond the limits of what I knew I could do.
I was at the end of myself, and I knew I needed something more.
I needed God, and I needed His people.
And that’s when He provided.
First, through my own mom, who, even though she was in the weeds of caring for aging parents and her other children, dropped everything to fly to Kentucky and be with me after D.C. returned to deployment.
Her tenderness with Deacon and her encouragement through my collicky baby struggles and couch-side lactation sessions kept me going those first hard weeks of single parenting.
And secondly, through the woman we would grow to call “Oma.”
Oma was Deacon’s kindergarten teacher at Fort Campbell. Although we’d planned to homeschool Deacon upon our arrival to give him more consistency and one-on-one care, we knew our social creature needed some interaction outside our home. So we took him to the on-post school for what was supposed to be one hour of socialization.
When I returned after Deacon’s one hour in Mrs. Moore’s kindergarten class, he looked up at me and said, “Deacon Yun good, Deacon Yun stay longer.”
Deacon Yun and Mrs. Moore — they became an instant pair.
One thousand dollars into kindergarten homeschool supplies, and God made it clear that in her classroom was actually where Deacon was supposed to be.
Not just for him, it turned out, but for our entire family.
While Oma, which means “grandma,” poured endless hours of education and instruction and love into our fragile little boy who was missing the only daddy he had ever known and the life of being an only child, she also poured into me.
When we boarded a plane for California to spend the summer and remainder of the deployment, it wasn’t a neighbor or friend who drove us to the airport.
It was Oma.
She not only drove us to the airport but insisted on carrying babies and luggage and walking with us every step. As I backed up the security line with baby bottles and gear and a little man who hadn’t been on a plane since he returned from Vietnam, hers was the soft, reassuring voice beside me letting me know that I had all the time I needed and these people indeed could wait.
As I single parented one fragile child who had been home for one year and one angry child who had been on this planet for two months, her wisdom was great and her love was even bigger.
She never said, “This is crazy,” “You took on too much” or “What on earth were you thinking?”
Only, “How can I possibly help?”
Hers was the pure, authentic, lavish love of Christ.
We finished out that deployment in California with family, and D.C. returned by August.
Sweet Salem, who barely remembered the man who had changed every diaper and cradled her in strong, daddy arms, screamed every moment.
Deacon just leapt back in.
For five months, our family of four enjoyed that sweet, sweet place of togetherness in Kentucky. D.C. and I were both baby fanatics, and we couldn’t get enough of our precious baby girl, even if all she did was yell at us. We were madly in love with our newest addition and loved watching her change and grow.
We took runs together and visited parks together and took shifts bouncing a collicky baby and did life the way most families enjoy every day.
But just before Salem took her first steps at nine months old, D.C. again had to take his steps out the door and deployed yet again for this time, a three-month tour.
Although Salem would grow up to be one of the most beautiful, mature, artistic and intelligent little girls I have ever known, one who now makes my everyday brighter, easier and richer with her grace and charm, at this point, she was still the most unhappy baby ever, and Deacon was reeling in the face of what felt like deep-cut loss. And I again found myself at the end of myself.
That’s when I realized that people, including D.C., could never be my savior.
With a husband so loving and attentive and eager and able to provide, it would have been easy for me to count on this man who fixes everything to constantly “fix” my life.
God had to take D.C. to another continent for me to realize that I actually needed a capital-S Savior — the kind who could provide what I couldn’t muster up on my own.
The stamina to do this life.
The way my Savior chose to provide?
Through the hands and feet of far-away family.
And through the hands and feet of Oma.
By sending not a neighbor or a fellow military spouse or even some distant friend as we faced the challenges of adoption and military life but a kindergarten teacher from a school on a military post to love and serve and encourage and invest in my entire family, long after the child who was her student graduated from her class.
By sending One of H1S to love on One of H1S so that a lonely girl single parenting in Kentucky could know that she was indeed One of H1S.
Did you miss the beginning of the Sage Harvest Story? Not to worry, it's not too late to catch up on our blog!
Part 1: One of His Relentless Love Stories and
Part 2: One of H1S Rescue Stories