This is Part 2 of a 3-part feature story about veteran and Army spouse Christina Jackson-Davis. Read Part 1 and Part 2 of Christina’s story.
A Bachelor’s Degree & A Second Deployment
While her husband deployed for to Iraq for the second time, Christina recovered from an emergency Caesarian section she’d had just 30 days earlier. She also started working full-time on her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
A Perfect Storm
While single-momming it with four kids, including an infant, Christina found flowers on her doorstep:
I saw flowers on my doorstep when I got home. I thought “How nice!” Like anyone else you wonder who they are from because there was no occasion to expect anything. But when I read the card…”condolences…sorry about your husband…” What?! I began to panic!
Although the flowers were misdirected (a neighbor’s husband had been killed in a helicopter crash), Christina felt the grief and guilt that so many of us have felt when soldiers in our spouse’s units have been killed in action.
I cried for that woman’s husband like if he were mine. I cried uncontrollably for what was – what could’ve been my reality.”
Christina was forced to move with their four kids into new quarters at about the same time, and just days before their move, their family dog died unexpectedly, devastating Christina and her kids.
The pressures were adding up for Christina, and also for her husband. She decided to quit her job to focus on family and school, and her husband struggled again (as on the first deployment) with spending problems.
I went to the pastor at my church, and they were great and supportive and prayerful with me through the whole thing. I am telling you without God and my spiritual family, I do not know what would have become of me during this time.”
A Happy Ending
Christina graduated later that year with her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration — the same week that her daughter graduated high school.
I’m telling you, this woman is impressive: Not only did she finish her Bachelor’s while raising four kids and handling a spouse’s deployment, she earned a 3.6 GPA and volunteered with her church.
She took a job with Washington State Veterans Affairs (WDVA), and her daughter won a full scholarship to college. While in her job with the WDVA, Christina was appointed as a veteran’s justice liaison to the Superior Court when the state started the third Veterans Drug Court in the nation, and she had started working towards her Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership.
One Last PCS
Christina’s husband was PCSed to Fort Steward, Georgia just a things were really taking off for her professionally in Washington state.
It just doesn’t seem fair to always have to pick up and start all over with no guarantees. But I hear some people say, “There are no guarantees in life”. That may be true, but I felt my life was going just fine, and we were finally getting ahead, and achieving some level of success, and now this. One thing is guaranteed with the military – change – and lots of it.”
In June 2011, Christina PCSed with her husband three of their four kids (their eldest stayed in Washington to finish college) only to find that the only jobs she could find were well below the level of work (and pay) that she’d done in Washington.
To keep herself busy and challenged, Christina once again volunteered in her church, the library and her kids’ classrooms. a Leadership Program through Step-Up Savannah, a local non-profit who develops programs to alleviate poverty in Savannah and its surrounding areas, and she enrolled in the completing the Savannah-Chatham Police Department Citizens’ Academy.
In May 2013, Christina was able to complete her master’s degree, and in September, it was “her turn to PCS” when she headed to the Judicial Administration Fellowship Program in Sacramento, CA.
My turn. What does that feel like? I’m nervous, excited, anxious, all balled up into to one. But you know what? I’m also very ready. I’m ready to get outside the box, and go for mine. I’m ready to take on this brand new adventure, thanks to my supportive husband and these great children (who are my cheerleaders). I know this is going to lead to something great for me! I am looking forward to make the connections necessary to advance my career so life can be set when my husband is ready to retire, because then it’ll be his turn.”
Christina Jackson-Davis: Inspired Spouse
There are so many parts of Christina’s story that inspire me, but the two things that stand out the most to me are her perseverance and her sheer determination to succeed.
I hope that reading about how hard Christina worked for her three degrees and how hard she’s worked to find jobs in her field at each stage of her career and her husband’s Army career has left you encouraged.