21 March 2014

last day

So many BIG feelings, y'all.

These last 8.5 years have been the best, hardest thing for our marriage.  Brad signed up at the prompting of our great God and we followed.  We had no idea what to expect.  We let go of extended-family traditions and plans to raise our kids close to grandparents.  We said good-bye to one another for longer periods of time than we ever imagined we could agree to.  

I watched God grow the man in my husband.  The leader of our family emerged with confidence to follow anywhere during these 8+ years.  Brad endured hard days of belittling in the beginning, which eventually developed a leadership skill set in him that held tightly to doing the right thing, the right way, every time.  His integrity has emerged stronger and the foundation of His faith has proven solid.  If the only thing our family had gained from these 8 years was the spiritual growth Brad reaped by following God here, it would have been worth it.  

But God, in His goodness, gave us heaps more along the way.

I have these friendships with women around the globe.  Friends that I might have never known otherwise.  Women that have loved me on my hard days, held my hand through some incredibly-ugly-crys.  Women that have shared the sorrow of being away from their husband + also being away from their parents, siblings, family. I have found there is no time for shallow friendships with my mil-friends.  I've made friends that have become family for my children.  This is no small thing.  I'll be forever convinced that God, in His goodness, has allowed my path to cross with the finest of the finest in regard to military wives.  My friends are just that good. I know many of these friendships will continue past this season of our lives.  

Quite a few of these friendships were forged at PWOC.  I will always be grateful for this organization and the way God has grown me through it.  I was blessed to be in leadership with some fabulously amazing and humble women.  I was given words of encouragement by women that mentored me and I will always carry those words in my heart.   I learned the beauty of working with a team for a season -- the beauty of sharing goals and compromising plans.  I learned about how God builds a team that might look unlikely and then He mashes the talents together to create brilliance that gives Him all the glory.  I'm so grateful that PWOC will welcome me even when I am no longer an active-duty spouse.

God held our family together even when an ocean + time separated us.  He showed me I had strength that only He could give, and He gave our young boys strikingly resilient hearts.  God showed us all how to love one another in the absence of physical touch and nonverbal communication.  The bond my guys have is undeniable.  God knits families together. {Who would've guessed the deployments would pave the way for knitting our family together through adoption, too? Only God.}

God also grew us as a couple during this time. In more ways than I could ever list here. One of the greatest gifts He gave us during Brad's time in service was our church families.  At both duty stations, God granted us friendships with people from our Sunday School classes.  One group carried us through that 15 month deployment, the other carried us through the adoption process.  Both groups loved us through our socially-awkward phase -- this, too, is no small thing.

God has been preparing us for this change over the last year. . .truthfully, He's been preparing us all along.   We wouldn't have guessed that a medical retirement after 8.5 years would be how this journey ended, but God always knew.  I know He is moving us to better places for our family for this time.  He has made that clear.  Its time to let go and we are mostly ready.

Sometimes you leave something great for something great.

I have loved this time.  It has been a great honor being an Army wife.  It is something special to have that title.  It is not lost on me that I am privileged to know that today is the last day Brad will wear his uniform.  Some wives do not know that until they get a knock on their door.   I am humbled to have known these women; women that have given their hearts to these men; men that have signed up to give their lives for our country.  Every mil-spouse has bravely volunteered to sacrifice as well.  So when Brad comes down stairs in his uniform and when I snap pictures of him today. . . I'll be thinking of the ones that didn't know it was their husbands' last day in uniform.

And my gratitude will spill from my eyes.
And I will thank God for this gift. 
And I will thank Him for men like Josh and women like Alyssa.
And I will promise to never forget and to always remember.

I can't sum up these last 8+ years into a tidy sentence.  But this verse seems fitting all over again. 

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."  Psalm 126:3


  1. You are really such a talented writer Amanda. Love your family and your outlook. Excited to hear what's next for you all. ♥

  2. As always beautifully put and, as always, you made me cry. You are entering a big transition phase. I didn't realize how big a part of my life the military was until I was no long involved in it. I loved being an Army Wife and am forever grateful for the friends and experiences that were a result. The Lutz family will continue to do amazing things, to grow, to touch others lives and to create incredible communities. I look forward to your upcoming adventures :)