by Cathy Cho
Galatians 5:22-23 - 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, GOODNESS, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
When I look back at the different chapters of my life, especially as a military wife, I am reminded of God's GOODNESS and grace throughout. Many of you know my husband Dave serves in the Navy. To be honest, never in a million years, did I ever think that I’d marry someone in the military, nor did I want to. I always thought I would live in Southern CA forever; get married and raise a family in LA. Moving to San Diego from LA after we got married was devastating to me. I know the cities are only 2 hours away from each other, but my family and friends; my whole life was in LA. But God was good to me by first easing me into a move that was only two hours away, then further to Rhode Island, and then eventually half way around the world to Okinawa, Japan. Obviously, God had other plans for me. Romans 8: 28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." This was the start of my deeper relationship and dependence with God, and how I experienced his goodness and grace more and more.
After living in San Diego for a couple of years, we moved to Rhode Island. There, the twins were born, and when they were 3 months, we moved back to San Diego. Shortly after, Dave deployed on a ship for 4 months. And then he was redeployed when the twins were one years old. At the time, the thought of raising twin infants alone was unimaginable to me, but God was gracious. He orchestrated it so that we could move back to CA, which meant that I had family and friends nearby to help me while Dave was deployed. I was even able to find a live-in nanny to help me . If we had to stay in Rhode Island, I would not have known anyone, and I literally would have been a single mom with no one to support me. God provided so many people during this time to help me; many single friends stayed with me over the weekends, so I could have personal time. During this time, I was struggling spiritually and was barely holding myself together as a single parent, but God was good. I can’t say it was easy, but I managed, and God did not desert me or forsake me even when I was at my spiritual lowest.
Even after experiencing God’s goodness in CA, I again forgot about it when we moved to Okinawa, Japan. I was like the Israelites, complaining in the wilderness. How easily we forget when our circumstances get tough and when the comforts of life is taken away from us. As soon as we arrived in Okinawa, Dave was off to another country for an assignment within a week. So I was ALL alone with 3 year old twins in a foreign country, trying to buy a car, learning how to drive on the opposite of side of the road, and moving into our new home all by myself. But, God proved to me there that ALL I needed was to trust in Him. To rely on Him. Not my family, not my friends and not even my husband but only God. Again, He was good to me by bringing navy spouses that I never met to help me with the boys so I could get my driver's license; brought me groceries and helped me while Dave was gone every 2- 3 weeks out of the month. God even provided a navy spouse who was Australian that spoke fluent Japanese to help me enroll the boys into a Japanese preschool because all the base schools and preschools were full. This allowed me to get all my errands done, and even go to Bible Study to be spiritually fed while Dave was gone most of the time in Okinawa. God brought so many good people in our lives even when I didn’t want to bother getting to know them because we were just going to leave after a few years. God continued to prove to be good and gracious to us. He provided for my needs physically and spiritually even when I doubted him.
In every duty station we have been in whether it was San Diego, Okinawa, Korea, or Virginia, God has shown His goodness to me and my family. He showed his goodness through the people he brought into our lives just when we needed them, the many experiences we had, or even the people we were able to minister to. There was a purpose as to why we were in these specific duty stations. In the beginning of each move, I kept wanting to just go home to CA; just counting the days to leave for CA, and not really making each day count. But somewhere along the way, God showed me that it’s not about us missing CA and trying to return to CA, but to make the time count wherever we were at. It became more about how can we serve God and be a light wherever we were stationed at. We weren't there just for Dave’s job, but also an opportunity to minister to those around us. And honestly, there were many times I didn’t want to put in the effort to make new friends because I knew we were going to be leaving soon. But, this was ALL the more easier as I remember God’s goodness to us over the years wherever we went. Psalm 116:12 “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? “ It’s about God and not about us. To point people to Christ and to use my gifts and talents to minister to people for God no matter how short our stay would be in a given place.
Being in the military, we never really know where we will be or for how long. We can plan all we want, but it’s the Lord that directs our path. Dave has tried to retire twice now to stay in VA until the boys finished high school, but the Lord has other plans for our family. It happened a bit quickly, but we will be moving this June. Once we get official orders we will let you know where so stay tuned. Though we are sad to leave VA since it's the longest we've ever lived anywhere and have made many great friends but we are also excited for the next chapter in our lives. If you could pray for us as we prepare to move and take care of all the logistics during this remaining time here in VA, it would be much appreciated. Thank you for allowing us to call ABC “a church to call home”. To us it was “home”.