When putting on my big girl panties just isn’t enough


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I am sad today. There are a lot of transitions happening all at once.

It is my children’s last day of school – they will never be a 1st and 3rd grader again. They must say goodbye to their teachers, to their school, to their friends – again.

I am sad for them. I am crying their tears and feeling their loss.

My littlest keeps asking if he will ever see his teacher again. He adores her. She has been a blessing this year, and has loved him as God created him to be – without temptation to fit him into a pre-constructed box. I will forever be grateful to her for that.

My husband graduates from the Army War College on Saturday. It means we must say goodbye to new, dear friends. It means we are moving onto our next Air Force adventure – we must uproot again and create a new home.

Plant roots deep in another location. Make new friends. Make new memories.

We are packing up our home. Saying goodbye to our neighbors. Letting go of our routines we worked so hard to establish.

I feel myself detaching from this house. I now only see four walls filled with our stuff. Our personal touches are waning as I give away my house plants and candles. {You can’t take those with you on a cross-country move.} Besides, I kind of like leaving a bit of myself behind with friends and neighbors.

I have done this before – saying goodbye, leaving a place I call home to find another.

I am not sure why, but this time I am finding it to be harder. I feel like we just arrived here. I am solidifying new friendships. I have a yoga instructor I adore, a climbing buddy who motivates me. My dog even has a playmate she will miss. My children are being invited on regular play dates. Coffee with neighborhood moms is comfortable and not forced.

Life will go on when we leave.

We serve our country. We uproot our families. We commit to supporting our military member. But, it isn’t always easy.

We do have many perks we enjoy. We do get to travel the world. We do get to spread our wings and see what we are truly capable of. But, that doesn’t mean I always like it.

I will make this transition, just as I have made every other. And, eventually, I will feel just as settled into our new location.

However, I can’t deny that today, I need to make time for myself to grieve. I need to accept the reality of my feelings and set aside time to deal with them. I must be intentional – not stuff, not run away, not deny.

There is a new saying I have learned this year from the Army wives – “Put your big girl panties on”. It is often used when husbands deploy. While it is cute, and often generates a chuckle, it is not always helpful. My current circumstances will require me to put my big girl panties at some point. Alas, I am not ready…yet.

Today, I am not satisfied with this kind of self talk. It denies my reality, my existence as a human that cries, stumbles, hurts, gets angry, and just plain doesn’t want to do this again.

My husband would recommend I watch a sad movie and cry. He is probably right. I have a few hours now until the boys get home. Watching a sad movie, and letting the tears fall, may be the very best medicine today.

There are laments in the scriptures. Laments of loss and grief. I find comfort in knowing that. It gives me permission to feel sadness and heartache – I don’t have to be perfect today.

So, I will leave my “big girl panties” in the drawer for now. And, when I am ready, I will put them on and wear them proudly. But, today I will find comfort in knowing that it is okay to mourn and be sad – Jesus made time for it, and so can I.

Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:38-39

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

I am purposed for authenticity,



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8 thoughts on “When putting on my big girl panties just isn’t enough

  1. Thanks for sharing, Jana… I am sharing your feelings as we watch the trucks pack out around us. Just “ugh.” It’s hard to leave friends, homes, and, I appreciated that you pointed out that even leaving routines that we work so hard to establish can bring some tears. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know you this year at USAWC, but hoping that our paths cross again some day so we can spend more time! May God bless you richly as you head to your family’s next assignment!

  2. It’s ok to cry without the sad movie, too. Cry, be sad, relive cherished memories from this year and those of years past. Enjoy the release of your emotions and feel God’s sweet embrace, then revel in the hopefulness that follows. Rejoice in the enlightened knowledge that big girl panties aren’t appropriate for every situation. :)

  3. Jana,
    I’m right there with you. I felt that way Tuesday, so happy to be with so many wonderful friends but so sad to say good-bye and start all over again. I remember a scripture that might help. Rejoicing is easy but we must also suffer for God, read on.
    Rejoicing comes immediately. We rejoice because we are going to be with the Lord. We have a hope for the future, a hope beyond death. That is the initial and introductory phase of Christian growth.
    Verses 3-5:
    Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)
    It is clear from this that Christians are expected to experience suffering. We don’t like that fact, but, nevertheless, it is a fact. In his letter to the Philippians, Chapter 1, Verse 29, the Apostle Paul puts it very plainly, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,” (Philippians 1:29 RSV). So those who think that becoming a Christian will remove them from suffering have been seriously misled and self-deceived, for the Scriptures themselves teach that we are to expect suffering.
    And through that suffering become closer to God.

  4. You can do this… You were made for this. Made for this man and these boys to be the constant in their lives. Your roots may be dynamic, always changing but your heart… Oh, your heart is constant in its love and devotion and, for that, your family shall be blessed. How kind of our God to move you from place to place so that so many people can be blessed to call you friend. I am.

    • Wow, Bridget, you are so sweet to say this to me. Thank you. I haven’t seen you in so long, yet I remember our times in L&D together. It would be so fun to see you again. Thank you for these words of encouragement. They are balm for my soul. Jana

I would love to hear from you!