When your PCS is a Hot Mess Pandemic Express
June 25th, 2020 By: April Griffin
PCS Season. It’s a term we as military wives know well. It’s one that stirs up a variety of feelings, from excitement to dread and all the feels in between. As a military wife of 14 years, I’ve done it all.
I’ve waited with anticipation to leave a duty station that never felt right.
I’ve embraced some moves, driving out of the gate for the last time feeling free and joyful.
I’ve also lived in places that felt like a warm cozy blanket.
Places that felt like home where friendships and experiences were rich and leaving was incredibly painful.
I’ve also been the one left behind. I’ve been heartbroken to say goodbye, then excited to welcome new friends and new neighbors. This military life can be amazing and hard, and PCSing is a big part of all of that.
But I’ve never experienced anything quite like a 2020 PCS.
I sit here, in my new home. We’ve been here 3 months to the day. The boxes are unpacked. Pictures are hung on the wall and all our major move-in projects are done. I’d say we are pretty settled. But my heart is still weary from our PCS. We are still battling the aftermath of moving during a pandemic and the repercussions it continues to bring to me and my family.
To all my sweet military friends, venturing out in this process, my heart aches for you as you begin this journey. I feel the weariness as I see your requests for prayers, “Plans have changed again!” I wish I could snap my fingers and bring us back to a simpler time, when life wasn’t simple, but feels that way in comparison to where we are now.
As a military sister who has paved the way, can I offer you some advice and encouragement as you head out on your PCS 2020? Can I come alongside you for a moment, as a trusted friend to share what I’ve learned about PCSing during a pandemic?
I’ll wait a minute while you grab some coffee, or water, or maybe a glass of wine….
Lets dig in together.
1. This PCS won’t look like the others.
Throw out all your expectations now. No matter how many times you’ve PCS’d, things this time around will look different. The pack outs, the transitions, the scheduling… it won’t look like previous moves. As you’ve already experienced, it’s not just plan A, B, or C… you may get to Z. As a planner, this is the hardest part for me. However, I’m learning the power of my expectations and how they affect me. When I lower my expectations and accept that this season is unique and will involve change, it’s easier for me to find peace in this uncertain storm.
2. You will need grace. Lots of grace.
Going back to the first one. This PCS will look different and involves LOTS of moving pieces. There will be many people assisting you as you pack out, move across the country, accept new housing and get moved in. Because of all the new policies (that change daily), many of your obstacles will be beyond the power of those assisting you.
There will be mistakes and frustrations, because we are ALL human. We are all trying to navigate life in a pandemic and we all feel uncertain, frustrated and overwhelmed. It’s important that we remember that when things go south. Gentleness and love are powerful tools and are much needed in our country right now. So take a deep breath, take a minute if needed, and come back with kindness. We attract much more with honey than vinegar. Be the honey, sweet friend.
3. Stress can cause a strain on your marriage.
Stress can do incredible things in a marriage. Fear, uncertainty, heartache, loss, frustrations, can all become a perfect storm for marriage problems. Don’t forget to invest in your marriage during this season. Pause often to encourage your husband. Thank him for his role in the process. Recognize his hard work. Be intentional to love him. Have sex. Friend, these things are important. Forgive quickly when tempers flare and don’t hold grudges.
Remember this is a season that will pass. It may feel hard in the moment, but it won’t be like this forever. Continue to love when it’s hard. Choose grace. Choose love. Your marriage is worth working on, especially in this season. You will come out on the other side of this and you will find your new normal. Keep pressing forward and keep choosing love. These men of ours struggle too. Lets continue to be a place of safety and support to them.
4. Take care of you.
Okay, I’m going to go a different direction with this one. Hold on tight. Taking care of ourselves is important. SO important. Bubble baths, mommy breaks, even taking a step outside for some fresh air helps. We need those moments to pull away and care for us. Self care is important. But, in order to get through this 2020 PCS, we must take care of ourselves by being rooted in God’s Word.
We need to be (or become) women of prayer. We must be going to Jesus as our source of strength and peace. We need His gentle direction as He shows us the way and helps us navigate a season that can feel impossible. We need Jesus more than we need bubble baths, long walks through Target or vent sessions with our bestie. We need His truth to penetrate the depths of our soul. We need His peace that surpasses all understanding.
When we feel like everything is crumbling around us, we need His light to guide us back. Sweet friend, invite Jesus into this move with you. Start small with a conversation with Him. Go further with some good Christian music (K-Love is My FAVE). Dig deeper by downloading the YouVersion Bible app or opening your Bible. No shame if it’s dusty. Pull it out and open it up. God will meet you there. He will show up and provide. Taking care of ourselves begins and ends with our spiritual wellness. Trust me on this one.
5. We aren’t in control, but we can trust the One that is.
This one is haaard for me. I like to feel in control, but this 2020 PCS brought me to my knees. There were times I felt completely helpless, consumed with fear that we would be homeless in a strange city, in the middle of a pandemic.
Friends, I questioned God’s goodness on this move. I was angry, confused why God would make me walk out something so hard. God allowed us to get to the end of our rope, so we would see that HE was our ultimate provider. This duty station, this house, this season wasn’t claimed in our strength, it was a beautiful gift from our Father. We needed to see that. We needed to see His faithfulness and power. We needed to see that He could be trusted to provide and He did.
I wish I could say life is peachy now. Yes, we made it here, we have a home. We are safe and healthy, but we are still healing and adjusting and that is okay. This military life is a journey and it is what we make of it. This season may not look like anything we could have imagined, but we aren’t walking it alone. We have a Father in heaven that is paving a way for us. He’s working out the details and has no plans of abandoning us. He’s been faithful in the past, He will be faithful again. So keep holding on to Jesus, sweet friend.
You may feel alone right now, frustrated with all the moving pieces, but don’t forget. God’s got this. He’s got you. He’s got us all. He sees the hearts of us military wives and He loves us so very much.
We are never truly alone.