It all started with a question.
Abby, the wife of a RECON Marine, asked, “Sherry, do you know how to sew?”
Abby explained that her husband, Cody, had just been selected to attend sniper school and he needed to make a Ghillie suit. You may have seen camouflage suits like this in military-based movies. They are designed to conceal a Marine as he approaches his target. In order to be adaptable to a variety of environments, Cody’s suit has netting all over it allowing him to add local vegetation for better camouflage.
Since this suit could save Cody’s life by concealing his location, Sherry made it extra special by adding pockets and other devices to hold his binoculars and other gear exactly where he wanted it. She had even added extra vents in the old camouflage uniform to make it cooler. He will insert the local grass and vegetation into the netting for the final test which requires him to crawl several hundred yards through brush and over terrain. He has to reach a point where he can take the required two shots at a target without being seen by the instructors. (Discover Channel story)
Cody is not only a Marine warrior but he and Abby are becoming marriage warriors for the Lord. We have had the privilege of seeing God come into their marriage and revolutionize it and their lives. After his return from his last deployment, we started meeting with them on a regular basis. While we are working on his Ghillie suit, we are sharing ways they can grow in their faith and in understanding of how God can use them to reach out to their fellow Marines, especially those who are experiencing marriage problems.
After talking with Cody and Abby about how to use the Art of Marriage small group materials from Family Life, we started their first small group at their home. A couple from their neighborhood on base came to watch the six DVD’s and discuss the applications. We were ‘modeling’ how to lead the study, helping them see how easy it is to do on their own.
Cody and Abby’s Story
Cody and Abby’s marriage was seriously on the rocks prior to his last deployment. We and Jim and Juanita Wyatt had an intervention with them just days prior to his deployment. We urged them to talk with each other. We prayed for them and gave them books to read while apart. Abby moved back to Iowa to stay with her family and had great support back there from the church she attended. Cody made smart decisions while out to sea and came home ready to work on his marriage.
Cody has been in the Marine Corps for 6 years and 6 months. He’s been on three deployments each lasting 6-8 months. Additionally, there were 4 months of work-ups* prior to each deployment. He and Abby have been married for 3 years, 5 months. If you do the math, Cody and Abby have been married 41 months and Cody has been either in work-ups or deployed for 20-22 of those months. This is a fairly common experience for young Marine couples.
They invited Christ into their lives through the testimony of our friends, Jim and Juanita Wyatt. Since then they have had their ups and downs, but now believe that Christ has fully taken the wheel of their marriage and is leading them down His path. God has transformed their hearts, minds, and souls and now their purposes and interests are so different than they were before. God has become their focus and that has made such a difference in their marriage.
They explain the biggest challenges they faced from Cody’s deployments.
Cody: “Two deployments were before I asked Christ into my life and one after that decision. I didn’t really have any challenges after the first two deployments, but after the third deployment the biggest challenge was working on my marriage and learning to communicate efficiently with my wife.”
Abby: “I think the biggest challenge was learning how we could make God our focus and how we could let Him transform us and our marriage.”
God is working greatly in their marriage and in themselves individually. He is leading them to minister to other couples and help other marriages in trouble. As a Marine warrior, Cody needs his Ghillie suit to provide the necessary camouflage to do his job. But in their marriage, Cody and Abby are not concealing their love for God and each other, as they share their testimony of His love, forgiveness and power to other Marine couples.
*Work-ups – a period of preparation prior to departure that requires the Marine to be gone to the field most of the time.