By Jennifer Wier
Brave Women Series - Jennifer's Story
My feet stood on the familiar shores of Lake Superior, but my heart was on unsteady ground. It was the second time in a year that I had packed up my family and our home to move across the world. Once again, I found myself facing the unknown.
As a military spouse, I’ve grown used to relocating every couple of years, but this time I had been expecting to move closer to family at last. Instead, when my husband received orders to North Pole, Alaska, we did what military families do— we put on a brave face. We packed up the place we had only briefly called home, telling our kids, and ourselves, that this was going to be a great adventure. It was time to put our faith into action, trusting in the God who guides our steps and goes before us— even into negative forty-degree temperatures.
"It was time to put our faith into action, trusting in the God who guides our steps and goes before us— even into negative forty-degree temperatures."
We started out on the four-thousand-mile drive from Washington, D.C. to Alaska, stopping to camp for a few days along the shores of Lake Superior. It was a place that held fond memories for us, made even more special when my husband’s brother decided to drive up with his kids to spend a few days with us there. It was a sweet time full of cousin play, hikes through the pine forests, and bedtime stories on the shore.
Unfortunately, it was also a time of tension. My husband and I argued, the pent-up stress of the past year coming out towards each other and beginning to rub off on the kids. We had left a home behind once again, and we were headed somewhere strange and full of unknowns. We were tired, disoriented, and unsure where we would live, whom we would meet, or how we would fare in this new frozen wilderness.
The military moving process typically takes several months from start to finish, and we were in the long, tiring middle, suspended between two seasons of our lives. I didn’t know how we would get through the impossibly long drive that lay ahead of us or what we would find at the end of it, especially now that we were feeling distant even from each other. It felt as though no one in the entire world knew what I was experiencing in this strange time and place.
But God did.
"It felt as though no one in the entire world knew what I was experiencing in this strange time and place. But God did."
In the middle of the last night before we headed out, I unzipped my tent and looked up to discover a sky full of shimmering stars, the Milky Way galaxy running like a river overhead. Only God could have known what a special gift this would be to me. Ten years earlier, he had done the same thing for me in the same place during another time of major life transition. Once again, he was giving me the gift of his presence, reminding me that he holds the whole universe in his hand, directing its path and sustaining it by his mighty power. Even if I too felt suspended in space, he was holding me still.
"He was giving me the gift of his presence, reminding me that he holds the whole universe in his hand, directing its path and sustaining it by his mighty power. Even if I too felt suspended in space, he was holding me still."
The Lord was pouring out his encouragement upon my heart, and it didn’t stop there. As we prepared to set out the next day, my brother-in-law kindly covered us in prayer. Before I climbed into the car, he gave me a big hug and spoke two small words that brought me to tears. “You’re brave.” he said.
Though I had traveled the world, birthed four children, and moved more times than I could count, I had never thought of myself as brave. But as I took in these unexpected words of encouragement, I realized they were true, and I could sense that they were coming straight from God to strengthen my weary heart. He was with me, even here.
I drove the long road through the Canadian wilderness with those words echoing in my heart. I wore them like a badge of courage. The trip I had dreaded became a sweet time of intimacy with God. Songs and Scripture played in my ears as my eyes took in incredible views in secret corners of the world. Towering blue mountains, fields of brightest yellow, turquoise lakes, and purple and white wildflowers along the edge of the road made it feel as though God were rolling out the red carpet just for me. The landscape grew more fierce as we neared our destination, but because I knew without a doubt that God was with me, I could drive straight into the unknown with confidence. He had made me brave.
"The landscape grew more fierce as we neared our destination, but because I knew without a doubt that God was with me, I could drive straight into the unknown with confidence. He had made me brave."
I don’t know what difficult transition you might be facing right now or what feelings you’re experiencing that you think no one in the world can understand, but I do know this: God is with us when we’re facing the unknown.
If your heart is hovering between what you’ve known and what lies ahead, why not look up and remember how very big he is? Look around and notice all the ways he loves you, his brave daughter. The future that is unknown to you is known to him, and it is secure in his hands.
"If your heart is hovering between what you’ve known and what lies ahead, why not look up and remember how very big he is?... The future that is unknown to you is known to him, and it is secure in his hands."
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...
You are Brave!
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Jennifer Wier is a writer, counselor, military wife, and mom of four currently living in the wilds of Alaska. A Chicago native, Jennifer has lived in England, Japan, Minneapolis, OKC, Washington, D.C., and various places in between. This transient lifestyle has grown her awareness of the things that are unshakeable versus the things that will end up broken, rusty, or lost at sea, igniting within her a passion to chase after what Jesus says will last forever. Jennifer earned her MA in counseling from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and currently serves as the VP of Spiritual Life for the Chapel Women’s Ministry at Eielson Air Force Base.
You can connect with her on her website jenniferwier.com, where she encourages her readers to keep their eyes on eternity. Sign up for her newsletter HERE to get all the latest, and follow her more on Instagram.