Amy and I have connected as authors on Facebook, and it has been a pleasure getting to know her. Today, I am happy to feature a guest post by Amy. I am sure you’ll be blessed reading a part of her story and thoughts on God in the midst of our lives, no matter the trials or location.
The Head of My Tent
A small-town girl from northwest Pennsylvania, I was the third of four siblings. I’m the only one in my family who traveled halfway around the world to settle and start my family. When I secretly married an Egyptian Army Captain against the regulations of his country’s military, we didn’t have an auspicious beginning to our marriage. His father locked the family into the house and forbade them to attend our civil wedding in Egypt. I couldn’t live there; if my husband’s commanding officer found out about our marriage, his father and brothers could be sent to prison. My mother couldn’t drive for a week. She feared her worry that she’d never see me again would cause an accident. She didn’t trust “those foreign countries” and, of course, had had no opportunity to meet my husband in advance.
It sounds like a novel, but it was my life.
That was just the beginning of our tests. I don’t know why my Captain and I defied our religious, cultural and even societal upbringing and our parents’ expectations. If the beginning is supposed to be the honeymoon phase of married life, what would the rest of our lives bring? Looking back, I wonder if our stubbornness was both our strength and our downfall?
Nearly five years after we married, my husband finally confessed to the crime of marrying me. Because he came from a highly-regarded military family (an uncle was a General), he was simply ousted to a remote desert patrol/post and faced a court martial, after which he was demoted and unceremoniously booted out of the military at the verge of becoming a major. Nothing happened to his family.
In May 1998, my husband joined me in the United Arab Emirates where I was living and teaching English. I had settled in Ras Al Khaimah, the northernmost emirate of the country. It touched several landscapes—the mountains, the sea and the desert. The words literally meant, “Head of the Tent.” I think it aptly described the raw terrains of our marriage.
A year later, violently and repeatedly throwing up on a four-wheel-drive excursion a few hours from our home brought more challenges. Another abrupt change to our lives. A good Egyptian wife must bear her husband many children. While we didn’t actively follow these morals, neither of us could believe our good fortune when I learned I was pregnant, and later, that it was with twins.
Chaos seemed to follow us at each stage of our marriage. At five months, I discovered one of the twins had died. Shortly afterward, I was hospitalized for pre-eclampsia, also called “toxemia.” Simply put, it’s a condition in which the fetus serves as a kind of poison to the mother.
But it was the six weeks in the Dubai Government Hospital that God taught me deep life lessons and solidified the faith I grew up with. It’s not that I ever left it. It’s that it had not been tested enough to serve as a deep anchor.
The turmoil of life and the passing of my second twin in the hospital is chronicled in my devotional, Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss, along with the eventual end of the marriage to my disbarred military husband.
But what I want to point out now is how grateful I am to that faith, which somehow grew roots in the sands of the Middle East. I learned faith is something that doesn’t leave us. It sets up camp wherever we go. It not only keeps us dry, it’s, in part, like a bedroll smoothing the hard places when we don’t even realize how hard the ground still is.
With that explanation, I’d like to announce a short, slice-of-life memoir that barely covers a day years after that interlude. God doesn’t forget our pain and grief. He still smooths the barren landscape and brings good out of tough situations for his children. My story is living proof—and I’m no exception.
Twelve years later, I’ve “set up camp” in my mother’s home after the passing of my father. I’m nearing age fifty. Life is kind of blah … until one Valentine’s Day when God uniquely and unexpectedly ministers to my soul. He has not forgotten those years or my grief. He is now The Head of My Tent.
My upcoming memoir, A Time to Dance: Finding Joy After Child Loss, is packed with the love of family and a reassuring Father who delights in pitching a tent lined with the canvas of optimism. A finely woven silk carpet touches the heels of my feet, just as it did in the Middle East. Only now it has delightful new strands and a slightly altered design.
It’s a love story and a reminder to be courageous. The Lord Thy God will never leave nor forsake us. He’ll always be pitching a tent in whatever terrain we find ourselves. He’ll always make room for us to join him.
I am releasing a print version in mid-June. But for now, you can find my memoir, A Time to Dance: Finding Joy After Child Loss on Amazon in the e-book version. The audio version is also available in my Bookshop on my website: amybovaird.com
Amy Bovaird is a freelance writer, a ghostwriter, the author of the Mobility Series and the Finding Joy After … Series. She is the recipient of the “Distinguished Merit of Literature” by Ohio Valley University for her first memoir, Mobility Matters. A former ESL instructor, world traveler, and inspirational speaker, she peppers her talks with faith, humor and culture. She also happens to be legally blind and losing her hearing. But she advocates living your best life, one rich in gratitude. Amy now lives in northwest Pennsylvania in the same house where she grew up. She strives for the upper hand with her three lively cats, and on most days, fails miserably.
Thank you so much, Amy for being a guest blogger on my blog, today. It has been a pleasure and an inspiration to read this portion of your story. I love the idea that God is perpetually the “head of our tent.” It’s such a welcoming, visual image to hold onto.
Thanks for reading!
Dear Reader, I appreciate you taking a few moments out of your busy day to read my blog. In doing so, may you always find yourself more blessed than when you started. Please, do connect with Amy. She’s an encouraging lady to journey along with.
Blessing on your day, J