Monday, March 3, 2014

Confessions of a Trailing Spouse

I’ve moved around a lot in my life. Since being born I’ve lived in 3 countries, 3 states, and 9 different cities. Compared to some, that’s not much, but compared to most, it’s a whole heck of a lot. Most of the time, I feed off of the change of scenery, the fresh start, the sense of adventure and the excitement of meeting new faces and exploring new places. But for some reason, this particular move had me feeling negative and anxious; worried, stressed, and a tad resentful.
It had me questioning this lifestyle and whether or not it was worth it. Wouldn’t it be easier just to move back to South Louisiana? To attend LSU sporting events on the weekends? To take Forest to Mardi Gras parades? To have our parents and siblings and BFFs nearby? To raise our son in one place? To give him a sense of home? To raise him up in our own culture surrounded by people who share our heritage, history and values? The answer is yes. Yes, it would absolutely be easier, in every single sense. 

Throughout the moving process, I couldn’t let go of the disappointment that we were taking yet another assignment outside of Louisiana. I couldn’t shake the reality that our next assignment after this is unlikely to be in LA either. In fact, I had to face the fact that we might not raise Forest in Louisiana at all. And it shook me up. It broke my heart. I resisted and rebelled and closed myself off from getting even the teensiest bit excited about moving to San Ramon. 

Bless his heart, Jonathan has been so supportive. He took care of most of the logistics when I claimed I had too much going on with Forest to help out. He went house hunting by himself and had patience with me when I criticized the house he chose for us.  He researched the cars we should get and haggled with dealers while I focused on getting Forest on track and getting him over this stinkin jet lag. I griped and complained and grumbled under my breath about living out of suitcase and leaving my friends behind and living so far from my parents. 

Finally Jonathan reached his breaking point and called me out. He told me to snap out of it, accept the situation and move on. I cried and griped and grumbled some more, but in my heart I knew he was 100% right. I wasn’t being myself. I wasn’t being the woman he married, who promised to support him and trust him and follow him to the ends of the earth. I was going through the motions, sure, but I wasn’t really participating anymore. 

As a trailing spouse, it can feel that way sometimes- like you are an after thought; just along for the ride. Your wants and needs are second class citizens to his much more important career trajectory. But I signed up for this. For all of it. For raising my kids as nomads. For never having other LSU fans to watch the games with. For moving every 2 years. For investing myself in temporary homes and transient friends. For the pros AND the cons. For the excitement AND the grief. For the rewards AND the sacrifices. 

I went for a run this morning, and heard this song and it gave me so much peace. 
Especially this line:

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,
let me walk upon the waters,
wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,
that my faith would be made stronger,
in the presence of my savior."
It reminded me to trust that the Lord is opening doors for our family. That He is bringing us exactly where we need to be. That He is refining me. That He has a purpose for me.  That for such a small and quiet person, I have the opportunity to live quite a big life. And that’s a blessing AND a curse. 

But through it all, He is there with me. He’s putting people and places into my life that will help to refine me and bring me closer to Him. And hopefully, as I come in contact with people in these different cities, I can have some sort of positive impact that will spread the infectious joy of Jesus and provide encouragement for others. 
I remember, despite my excitement, how terrified I was to move to Aberdeen, and yet, He ensured that I was welcomed with open arms on the other side of the pond. I need to trust that he will take care of us in the same way here in California. I just have to be open to it.


  1. Change is difficult and I am sure all of the Mardi Gras pictures flying around FB are not helping right now either! As a fellow trailing spouse the breakdown over being an after thought usually occurs when I'm exhausted and at my own breaking point but it passes :) We know some lovely people in CA, email me if you want me to introduce you or if you need some pointers on the area. I'm sure they would be more than willing to help out!!

  2. It's a great message for everyone. We are on the journey .

  3. I didn't know Jamie and Mags were tight buds but the pictures don't lie

  4. It is hard to remember sometimes that we signed up to be nomads but the memories made on our journeys are priceless and I'm sure Forest wouldn't have it any other way:)