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12 Pearls of Christmas | Day 6 - Year of Adversity Brings Joy by Leslie Gould

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***
Year of Adversity Brings Joy
By Leslie Gould
I’ve been writing Amish fiction for nearly three years now—telling stories about
non-resistant people who live a simple life. It’s a nice reprieve from my own life.
When my husband, Peter, joined the Army Reserve back in the mid 1980s, I
wasn’t thrilled about it. Nor did I believe him when he said he’d probably never
see action. Sure, the Cold War was ending and—for a short time—all seemed
well in the world, but I had a degree in history. I knew better. I didn’t want to be a
controlling wife (as new to the job as I was!) and come out and say he absolutely
couldn’t do it. And it did help that he was joining a medical unit. Still I had my
reservations.
We’ve been far more fortunate than many military families, but still it’s been
quite a ride. The first exciting episode began in 1990 when Peter flew to Germany
on Christmas Eve to work in an Army hospital during Desert Storm, leaving me
behind with our two young sons. During the next twenty years, Peter went from
being a Lt. to being a Col. and commanding a unit. Countless maneuvers and a
mobilization occurred during that time, but his Army Reserve career culminated in
his deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.
My days throughout last year were an odd combination of hearing the daily news
from a war zone via Skype and then writing about the plain life of the Amish.
By last December I was working on my third Amish novel of the year while,
in contrast, Peter and his field hospital staff had cared for hundreds of NATO
soldiers and Afghan nationals, endured ten months of rocket fire, and continued to
grieve the killing of one of their own.
Surprisingly, what seemed like it might be our worst Christmas ever, even harder
than in 1990, wasn’t. Our four children (one teen and three young adults now)
rallied to help make it a memorable day. We counted our blessings—Peter was
well, we had all we needed, and God was at work in the life of our family. The
result was an underlying joy, deeper than what we’d felt during past Christmases.
In reflection, I wrote: When it started, I thought 2011 might be one of our worst
years. But it hasn’t been. Sure, it’s been one of our hardest, but a lot of good has
come from it.
That was evident on Christmas morning as we Skyped with Peter. We were so
thankful for the good connection and for all of us to be “together” that we hardly
noticed we really weren’t.
This December, Peter is back at his civilian job (as a manager for a hospital
corporation) and also commanding a nearby Army Reserve unit, which means one
weekend a month and plenty of evenings—but no rockets or causalities.
I’m working on a new Amish novel and still enjoying my “time” with those who
practice non-resistance, which doesn’t discount the appreciation I have for my
husband’s service. I’ve even grown to the place where I’m thankful he joined the
military. They’ve served each other well.
Our year of adversity resulted in a deep joy. I’m pretty sure it will carry over to
this Christmas as well.
***
Leslie Gould is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, including the #1
bestseller and Christy Award winner The Amish Midwife, co-written with Mindy
Starns Clark. Her latest release is Courting Cate, a retelling of the “Taming of
the Shrew.” Leslie lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their
four children. www.lesliegould.com

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