I truly believe that God prepares us for our journey in ways that we may never know. Looking back over my life, I can see God’s hand at work, even when I wasn’t “allowing” God in my life. (Seriously…like He needs our permission!)
Being a trucker’s wife is not something that I had planned. I didn’t come into this marriage knowing that this would be my life. I was supposed to be a farmer’s wife (which, to be honest, isn’t a whole lot better when you are looking at the time spent working vs. being home!). Life threw us some curve balls and we had to adapt.
Eight years ago, I had just graduated with my Bachelor’s degree and my husband and I had an almost three-year-old and an eighteen-month-old. We were suddenly put in a position where we did not have a steady income. I had a summer teaching job, which was a life-saver but my husband was still looking for something that would comfortably pay the bills. By the end of the summer, we had decided that our only option was trucking.
My husband left in September for training. He was gone 8 weeks and missed our daughter’s third birthday. Those first few years were the hardest. He was gone a lot, usually 6-8 weeks at a time, and missed a lot. He would be home for a few days and then go right back out on the road. A few years ago, he was able to switch companies and we are thankful that he is now able to be home every weekend.
Being a trucker’s wife, especially when my husband was gone for extended periods of time, has been one of the most difficult things that I have had to do.
I’ve learned to be independent. I had to be comfortable enough to do things on my own. During that first 8 weeks, I packed up my babies, cloth diapers and all, and drove to Detroit (about 3 hours from home) by myself. We stayed in a
not-so-nice scary motel just so we could see Daddy for one day. I learned how to mow, change a tire, put chains on the tractor tires, and fix things around the house. We do our best to stay busy and live our lives during the week but we look forward to the weekends because the truth is, our family isn’t complete until he is with us.
Don’t be afraid to create a life for yourself while your husband is gone. It can sometimes feel like life gets put on hold but finding things for you and your kids to do when he is gone, can be so beneficial. I feel it’s vital, though, to remember there needs to be a balance. I don’t want to be so independent that my husband doesn’t feel needed when he comes home.
I’ve learned to ask for help. I learned how to lean on other people when I needed them. I learned to get over feeling like a burden to others. We have been blessed by friends and family that are always there when we need them. They support us, love us, cry with us, laugh with us. They’ve helped us put a roof on our shop, dig a hole around our foundation, cut down trees, watched our kids, and prayed with and for us.
Find a good support system. If you don’t have a lot of family, develop friendships that you can count on. When you are building your support system, look for women that have the same values that you do and that will encourage you rather than tear you down.
I’ve learned to appreciate the little things. There is so much that I could complain about. I have done a lot of work on my own. I struggled through times of loneliness and depression because of the stress. But I choose to see the good. I cherish every minute that we can spend as a family because I know they don’t happen nearly as often as I would like. This isn’t something that always comes easily; I still have my moments that I get frustrated because my husband can’t make it home. Making that conscious choice to enjoy the times that we are together and ignoring the things that can wait, has really helped to take some of the stress off of us both.
It may be hard to find the good in things when you are exhausted, lonely, and dealing with kids all day. Start each day looking for the good. Make a list of things that you are grateful for and read through it often. When we choose to focus on the positive, life becomes more enjoyable.
I’ve learned to rely on God. My faith has been a struggle for me. As someone who didn’t grow up in the church, I have had to find my own way. I have had a lot of support but it has not always been easy for me. I could not do this without putting my faith in God. I just don’t have the strength on my own to succeed and thrive in this stressful life. I have learned to fully lean on God. Most of the time this comes naturally, but I still struggle sometimes to make God my first stop instead of my last.
Reach out to God when you need Him. He loves you and wants to be a part of your life. This crazy life is something I could not do well without my faith in God.
I’ve learned that I will have bad days. It is what it is. I am so imperfect and while I strive to always find the good, to always have a good attitude, to always love unconditionally, some days I fail. I’m thankful for a husband and children that love me anyways and show me grace, even when I fall short.
Show yourself grace. When we recognize that we are imperfect, it frees us to do the best we can in the moment. When you have those bad days, acknowledge them, apologize, and do better next time. Life is too short to dwell on all the “should haves” and “could have beens”.
This isn’t the path that we would have chosen but God has led us to this place. I don’t believe that this is where we are meant to be forever, but until God opens another door I will embrace it and give it everything I’ve got.