The Story of How I Became a Military Wife: Three Percent

This is part 3 in the story of “How I became a Military Wife”
Click here for Part 1: The Day I stopped Crushing my husband’s dreams
Click here for Part 2: You don’t know until you try

The Navy dream died and so did my husband’s dream of going into the Military…or so I thought.

In December 2015, about a week before Christmas, he came home for lunch and once again uttered those tell-tale words:

“So, I’ve been thinking…”
I good-naturedly braced myself. “Yeah?”
“What about looking into the Air Force?”

It had been a year since the Navy door had shut, a year in which my husband had tried, unsuccessfully to switch careers in order to use his mathematics degrees.

Every option was a no, or a non-starter, for a myriad of complicated reasons.

We were stuck.
When your husband’s unhappy, you feel it as a wife.
I was feeling it, more and more as the months slipped by and the job possibilities slipped through our fingers.

We talked a lot about contentment, the gift of work, how blessed we were to have good insurance, and whether we wanted to make our current hometown our permanent hometown.

They were good, growing conversations, for me and especially for him.

But the military door wasn’t fully closed yet.
There was still the Air Force…

…or as my Navy Officer brother likes to say, The “Chair” Force.

My husband laughed at the joke. The Air Force wasn’t his first choice.
But sometimes your second choice is still an amazing opportunity.

So, during that lunch break, a week before Christmas 2015, I said, “Why not? Do it.”

All the other doors were closed. This could be his last, best chance at a new career, a career with amazing benefits, a good salary, opportunities for promotion, and a solid way to support a family of six from Day 1.

The recruiter got back to him immediately and everything seemed to move very fast for a few weeks. On January 5 2016 he traveled two hours to take the AFOQT test, which is comparable to the GMAT.
He then had to secure an interview with a General, which occurred on January 18.
Next he had to fill out the application “package,” an overwhelming 50 pages of information, including choosing his top three job choices.
He turned in all his paper work, interview results (an excellent recommendation!) and test scores (declared “impressive!” by his recruiter) by the first week of February.
We were supposed to hear a “yes” or “no” by mid-March. Six weeks. We could do this.

So in the meantime, we waited patiently, and Aaron did research: What were the odds of a 32 year old, with a wife and 4 kids, with no prior military service being chosen to be an officer candidate in his top three job choices?

The answer? 3%.

Yep, three percent.

The odds were not in our favor.

But they can’t tell you “no” unless you try, right?
We tried.
Now we just had to wait.

And wait.

Aaron’s file was switched to a new recruiter at the beginning of March, who told us that the March deadline had been pushed until April 15.
Another MONTH!

We tried not to freak out.

All we could do was wait.
So we waited.
We talked.
We prayed.
We waited.

April 15 came…

…and went. No phone call. No email. Nothing.

We had moments of frenzy and worry. We memorized every what-if and every possible scenario.
The 3% was mocking us.

“It’s not going to happen,” my husband shrugged. “I mean, really. It’s just not.”

And then he’d go to work and chose contentment day after day, telling himself that you can’t be disappointed if you don’t get your hopes up.

Through all this waiting though, despite our moments of pit-of-your-stomach apprehension, we experienced great peace. The lesson was Patience and we were learning it by heart—it sunk down deep and grew roots, giving us strength through this time of uncertainty.
MilitaryWife3We were in the Waiting Place (Did you wonder what this April 28 post was about? THIS…when we were still waiting for a “yes” or “no.”)

Our whole life was on hold: should I teach in the Fall? Should we try a new school for the boys? Can we make travel plans for Thanksgiving or Christmas?
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.

April 15th was a joke; three more weeks passed by, agonizingly slow.

My husband jumped at every phone call, wondering if “this” could be “it.”

And finally, finally, the phone call came, like a well-mannered, though horribly late, guest, at 5:03pm as Aaron walked home from work on Monday May 9, 2016.

He came into the living room, the now quiet phone in his hand.
I was sitting on the couch folding clothes.

“I’m in.”
“The recruiter just called. I’m in.”
“Are you serious???” I laughed, everything that led to this moment bubbling up and over.
“And I got my first job choice. This is it.”

Our little three percent had God’s fingerprints all over it.

To be continued…
Part four: True Love Bends

Did you pursue an impossible dream? How did it come true? How did you see God’s hand moving in your life as you pursued your dream?
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