Hi! Welcome back to another installment of Sea Stories. I’m going to start at the beginning of our Navy journey. Tanner, my active-duty husband, has always been extremely bright, granted I am a little biased, but most anyone who has met him will admit he’s quite intelligent. He loves to learn. I catch him listening to different informational videos or reading anything he can to gain knowledge, especially science.
Tanner and I started college in the fall of 2018. I chose Pellissippi State Community College while he attended The University of Tennessee. Ever since I can remember, Tanner had his heart set on being an astrophysicist. He loved anything to do with the universe, and I could listen to him talk for hours on the subject. The first two semesters of college went well, but unfortunately, the cost of college was too overwhelming and he had to look for other options.
Tanner brought up the idea of enlisting in the Navy during one of our many dates at Cracker Barrel. He had been contacted by a recruiter some months earlier, and they offered him an education in exchange for his service. My heart sank. I wouldn’t say I liked the thought of him enlisting, at first I hated everything about the idea. I had so many fears and questions; it was all too overwhelming for me at that moment.
I remember driving home with tears streaming down my face asking God, why? Why couldn’t God work something out with the college? Why does he have to go? Why him? I felt like I wasn’t getting the answers I wanted from God, and I remember selfishly praying for a miracle to keep him home with me. Looking back, I looked for all the answers I wanted, not the answer God had given me.
The next day Tanner sent me a text asking to meet him for lunch at a little Asian restaurant we frequented. I dreaded going. I knew we would talk about our new situation, but I wasn’t ready to let him go. On my drive to meet Tanner, I and started pleading with God. I begged Him to give me a clear sign that the Navy was what He wanted for our lives.
As we walked into the restaurant, I felt like I couldn’t speak without getting choked up. Tanner broke the silence, asking what was on my mind. I replied – I was scared for him, and a big and selfish part of me didn’t want him to leave. I explained that I needed a definitive answer from God that the Navy was the plan He had for us.
While we ate lunch, we discussed the different types of jobs and places we could be stationed at while in the Navy. Although some parts of the military life were appealing, there were just as many unknowns that seemed overwhelming and too big to even fathom.
As lunch came to an end, our waitress brought the check along with two fortune cookies. I’m not a big fan of fortune cookies and usually give the cookie part to Tanner while keeping the fortune for myself. We typically open them together and take turns reading our fortunes. I unwrapped mine and read the three words written on the little slip of paper, “Go For It.” I laughed and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Tanner, obviously confused, asked what was wrong. “Nothing, but God gave me a clear answer.”
Tanner officially enlisted in the United States Navy on July 10, 2019, and during the eight months before shipping to boot camp, we spent as much time together as we could. He proposed to me on Christmas Eve and promised me that we’d be together again one day, very soon. Knowing everything I know now, I would still do it all over again – for him.
Fortune cookies aren’t the answers to life’s questions, but I believe at that moment, God knew I needed confirmation in writing. God speaks to us in a variety of ways, and I don’t doubt that if God wanted to, He could have opened the Heavens and hollered, “Lynsey, it’s going to be okay. Just trust Me on this one.” He could have.
When God spoke to me through my little fortune cookie, I knew Tanner and I would be okay. In my moment of doubt, he reminded me that He is the One who wove together time and space. That, HE LISTENS. The One who arranged all the heavenly bodies in perfect order, LISTENS. The One who knows my heart the best LISTENS. God used the pain of Tanner’s enlistment to amplify His own voice and make Himself known.
I will never understand the mystery of how God communicates with me. Nor comprehend how much my Heavenly Father loves and cares for me. But I know He listens. No matter how difficult it is for me to hear Him, He always hears my prayers. God silenced my pain of letting go and amplified His love so I could clearly hear His voice.