Iraq Journey

Losing It Contest

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

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My Heart Will Travel

February 15, 2010

I forgot.

We were busy with Christmas, then packing, then moving, then trip-taking… and I forgot about it.

My beloved, my Marine, is leaving.

For a year.

A year.

Over a year, if we want to be technical. Which we don’t.

I can’t escape it anymore. Not when it’s only a few (very short) weeks away.


I planned for it, talked about it, answered questions about it. But I didn’t let myself anticipate it.

He was playing his guitar yesterday. A song he’d play at church. I listened with my eyes closed, hoping for sleep to invade.

But instead, it crept up on me… the feeling. The encompassing dread. I pushed it down, down.

It was relentless and my pillow caught the tears.

He stopped playing.

Laid down and wrapped his arms around me.

I tightened my eyelids, willing myself to burn the feeling of his strong arms into my memory. My shoulders trembled.

I can’t forget. Need to save this moment. For the lonely times.

I know this, now, from experience. I’m not sure whether that makes it easier… or more unbearable.

He held me until I fell asleep.


I knew what I was signing up for when my heart began to fall for him, this Marine of mine. But I didn’t know then how much I’d love him. 

Or that I would miss him so much before he even left.


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  1. April says:


    February 15th, 2010 at 10:16 pm

  2. Amy says:

    Words will hardly do my comment justice.

    But I have been thinking of you so much as this separation comes closer.

    And will be standing with you (from my little corner of the world) in prayer as you embark on what is also your own personal tour of duty.


    February 16th, 2010 at 12:10 am

  3. Megan says:

    Sending lots of love your way!

    We are at the very beginning of a similar journey. On March 9th, My husband will appear before the board in Dc and get final clearance to be a Navy chaplain. It’s all very exciting….and scary.

    Too soon ….. my posts will be similar. Praying for you!

    February 16th, 2010 at 3:16 am

  4. Christian @ Modobject at Home says:

    Ashleigh, you’ve made me cry on this Tuesday morning. Thank you {and John} for *your* sacrifices on the behalf of so many. I know it isn’t easy; just as before, I will pray.

    February 16th, 2010 at 5:58 am

  5. LeAnna says:

    {hugs} Lots of prayers and love from Oklahoma. You are one of the strongest women that I know. Even though it hurts, and you cry, even though it’s far from easy and there are days when I’m sure you just want to throw up your hands & beat your head against the wall – you serve as such a beacon of what true courage is all about. An example of what trusting and resting in the Father is all about. May grace, peace and strength brace the secret places of your heart. Love ya, girl.

    February 16th, 2010 at 6:27 am

  6. Leah says:

    … oh Ashleigh… ::hugs::

    February 16th, 2010 at 7:28 am

  7. To Think Is To Create says:

    Oh ugh. Socked in the gut. I’m so sorry this world requires this from families, that they have to cope with long separations like this. My heart aches for you. I’m here for you. xoxo

    February 16th, 2010 at 8:01 am

  8. kaira says:

    This breaks my heart for all of you. It’s so easy to feel for you – but how hard must it be for him??? I’m guessing it’s got to be even more lonely when all the ones you love are so far away. I’ll be intentional to pray for each of you as the days count down. I hate this with you.

    Thank you so much for your sacrifice. It is known & appreciated!

    February 16th, 2010 at 8:02 am

  9. Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae says:

    You’re killing me. Love to you both. Hugs.

    February 16th, 2010 at 8:06 am

  10. Alicia says:

    I’m a military spouse too and wrote just today about loving my husband when he’s away from me. It’s not an easy thing, but God’s grace is sufficient. I always try to remember that I’d rather spend months apart from my man, than to have 100% of time to spend with anyone else.

    February 16th, 2010 at 8:10 am

  11. Sidnie says:

    I know the feeling.
    With all my heart.

    And waiting, and savoring-
    our time will come soon too.

    February 16th, 2010 at 8:29 am

  12. Sarah Markley says:



    and I wish i could hug you. =)

    love you friend.

    February 16th, 2010 at 9:11 am

  13. Samantha R says:

    This brought tears to my eyes and breaks my heart.
    I wiped my eyes dry and then I saw the photo and it all started over again. *sigh*
    I’m praying for you and hoping that maybe somehow the year will fly by and be done with before you know it.

    February 16th, 2010 at 10:47 am

  14. Darcy says:

    I’m praying for you Ashleigh. I can’t imagine having to have done this once, let along twice in such a short time as it’s been.

    Sending Hugs from So. California….

    Darcy :)

    February 16th, 2010 at 10:47 am

  15. Kaycee says:

    My heart hurts for you. I cannot imagine.

    That picture of the two of you is just as gorgeous as the image you painted in this post with your words.

    February 16th, 2010 at 10:49 am

  16. Jaclynn says:

    There will be no dry eyes after reading that…*tight squeeze*. You know I will be praying for you and yours during that deployment. And hoping the time will zoom by and it won’t be long before you are back in his arms again.
    P.S. What a cute pic of you too! ;o)

    February 16th, 2010 at 10:58 am

  17. Chantel says:

    Love you bunches…

    February 16th, 2010 at 11:41 am

  18. Chantel says:

    You make me cry. Love you bunches…

    February 16th, 2010 at 11:42 am

  19. Ginger says:

    My heart hurts for you. I had been thinking of you last night,thinking how much has been on your plate but you still are so strong. I learn so much from you!
    I’m praying for you are your beautiful family!

    February 16th, 2010 at 11:59 am

  20. Hillary @ The Other Mama says:

    I heart you and am super duper praying for you.
    Praying for your peace.
    Praying for your hubs.
    Praying for his safety and quick return.
    Wish I could hug you from here. Wanna meet for a burrito and some hugs soon?

    February 16th, 2010 at 12:08 pm

  21. Sarah@EmergingMummy says:

    Oh, Ashleigh! This is heartbreaking! I am praying for you and your brave Marine here in Vancouver. We have lots of our soldiers over in Afghanistan right now too. Many blessings on you both. Grace and peace for you!

    February 16th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

  22. Muthering Heights says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that he will be away so long! :(

    February 16th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

  23. Nicole says:

    You’re making me cry! You two make such a beautiful couple; and you guys look so happy in that picture (love the snow in the background!!!).

    I’m with ya: I never expected to love Jason more than I did the day I married him. I didn’t realize that love would grow and change and redefine us. But I’m so glad it did.

    Praying for you guys for this next deployment. Love you!!

    February 16th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

  24. Bernadine says:

    Delurking again just to say this post brought tears to my eyes.
    I’ll be praying for God to strengthen you and your marine until he returns him safely to your loving arms.

    February 16th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

  25. bessie.viola says:

    Oh Ashleigh… hugs, love and prayers to your family. Thank you so much for all you’re doing for our country. My sister serves, and it is hard, but I can’t imagine it being my husband. You’re wrapped in prayer from Michigan.

    February 16th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

  26. Morgan says:

    LOVE the picture!!

    ::HUG:: and prayers

    February 16th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

  27. Aubrey says:

    Oh, friend. My heart aches for you. Many prayers of peace and lots of long distance hugs.

    February 16th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

  28. Cameron says:

    Oh my goodness, do I remember this, the tears, the ache, the missing-before-he’s-even-gone, the memorizing what it felt like to hug him, how our arms and shoulders fit together… Oh, I remember so well that reading this post made me cry just thinking about it! I so wish I would have been blogging then, for that support network, and just getting my feelings out there. Sending hugs and prayers to you and him!!

    February 16th, 2010 at 3:20 pm

  29. Becca - Our Crazy Boys says:

    Thinking of you :)

    February 16th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

  30. Jen says:


    February 16th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

  31. Shealynn Benner says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. If you’re ever lonely… though I don’t know you… Tweet me. :) Hugs from me in Arizona!

    February 16th, 2010 at 8:56 pm

  32. AnnieBlogs says:

    Annnddd…. I’m crying. Heart you.

    February 16th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

  33. lisa leonard says:

    being apart totally sucks. come visit me in california! hugs hugs hugs!

    February 16th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

  34. Heart & Home » Some Reality in the Best For Clickin’ says:

    [...] My Heart Will Travel [...]

    February 17th, 2010 at 12:17 am

  35. Bethany says:

    Wow! Made me want to cry.
    Cute picture of you two. :)

    February 17th, 2010 at 4:23 am

  36. Darcie - Such The Spot says:

    Such poetic words. You’re a strong woman indeed.

    I’m sitting here trying to think of words of comfort, but having been where you are now, I know it’s silly to even try. Just know that you {and your Marine} will remain in the prayers of many. Hugs.

    February 17th, 2010 at 6:30 am

  37. mandie says:

    Wow! My hubby and I dated very long distance for 4 years before we got married and I moved from MI to NM, and your words sound so familiar- missing him before he’s even gone. I will pray for you and your family. SO sorry that you have a hard year ahead of you. So grateful for families like yours who protect our country.

    February 17th, 2010 at 6:45 am

  38. Christine says:

    Praying for your family. For you. For your Marine. For your boys. Hope these last few weeks together are filled with wonderful memories to hold you through till he comes home again!

    ADORABLE picture!

    February 17th, 2010 at 8:01 am

  39. Katie says:

    Oh Ashleigh…

    This really hits home as my hubby is in the Air Force. Deployments are so hard. The longest my hubby has been deployed at one time is 4 months and that seemed like an eternity…I can’t imagine a whole year!! I will be praying for your dear hubby’s safety and for your whole sweet family!! I wish I could say something to make it easier, but I know no words I could say could possible help. I pray that the Lord will be your strength, comfort, protection, and the *glue* that will hold you and your hubby together across all those miles… Thank you to your family for your service for our country!


    February 17th, 2010 at 10:43 am

  40. kelli says:

    Ashleigh, I pray that God’s grace is sufficient for you. No matter how hard my struggle seems, I know John is here iwth me to help.

    I can’t imagine what you are going to be feeling in this upcoming year. But know I am here paying, and hoping I can find a tangible way to be of help to you.

    Thank you for your service to our country. There are no words to express that enough.

    February 17th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

  41. Elizabeth in Alaska says:

    My man hasn’t even been gone a week, and we look forward to his return in a few short days… if I could multiply what I’ve felt by one hundred, perhaps that is what you are feeling. :(

    ::hugs and tears::

    February 17th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

  42. Jennifer says:

    Bless you both. Very brave. On both fronts.

    February 17th, 2010 at 4:57 pm

  43. Kalyn Griffin says:

    As I read this post, tears are streaming down my face…. memories I remember too well. My husband returned from a 13th month deployment to Iraq just over a year ago. It was the most difficult trial I have yet to endure…and still the most precious time with my Lord. It was He who held my hand through the long days and held me in his arms throughout each lonely night. I will keep you and your marine in my prayers. I know the emotions and ache your heart goes through with each day…

    From one military wife to another- God Bless You and your soldier.

    February 17th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

  44. Tricia (@amelie522) says:

    I’m so sorry. I’m sending you my prayers and my hugs. Look at all these comments…you’ve got so much love coming your way. And the most comfort, love, and peace from the man upstairs. I pray that he’s home safely and quickly, and if you ever need anything, we’re all here for you!

    February 19th, 2010 at 12:17 am

  45. Hannah C. is now Hannah O. says:

    Sending many prayers and hugs your way…both for this post and the one after it.

    February 19th, 2010 at 9:43 am

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