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Welcome to the CMWF Blog! We hope you'll find some encouragement and comfort here through stories of military life and truth from God's Word.


Hope
Hope

by Molly Huggins




Here’s a little known fact about me: I am horribly indecisive. Inevitably, the season I find myself living in is my very most favorite! And after weeks of snow and ice have blanketed the South, spring is here! My very most favorite season. Spring, the days when what seems dead comes alive, when daffodils cover the bleak- looking fields, a harbinger of the explosion of green coming. A season of birth, and life, and hope. 

A season echoed in the book of Romans, a glorious retelling of our death, our rebirth, and our life through the story of Abraham and Sarah. 

“Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, 'I have made you a father of many nations' in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, 'So shall your descendants be.' And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” 

Friends, there have been more moments than I care to remember where all the circumstances in our Army life have been contrary to hope. Miscarriages, the loss of friends, countless moves, wrenching goodbyes, and so. much. fear. We are in the midst of one now, another move, and little ones who are old enough to understand the heartache of goodbye but not old enough to comprehend the whys of it. 

And yet, and yet, there is hope in which I believe. Hope for the new year, hope for new places, hope for a new life (we are pregnant with our 6th child, the 4th living one), hope in glory, and above all, hope and faith in the gospel. 

I just finished writing my testimony and I will tell you like I tell the world, 

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him’” (Lamentations 3:21-24, ESV). 

As you watch the world come to life around you, in what are you placing your hope?

And sisters? If you are in a place contrary to hope, a place that feels like death, I am praying desperately that you will see and be comforted by the steadfast love of the Lord, that you will receive grace, and above all, hope. 



All my love. 

Molly Huggins is an Army bride, one-time helicopter pilot, compulsive writer, friend seeker, and lover of color and all things textile. Her current occupation is ringmaster of the Huggins family circus (party of five). She has a B.A. in English from Covenant College and a passion for meeting other women right in the middle of their own messy stories. Pull up a chair at her virtual beat-up kitchen table, listen to her stories, and maybe even tell her yours.



 


Butterly Patience
Butterly Patience


by MaryLee Heller


When I was in elementary school my dad was still serving in the US Navy. We were stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which was still a hub for fleet training.

One of the more powerful memories that came out of GTMO was a day when I quietly wandered off, at school recess. I've always loved nature and there was plenty of wonder to be found there. On this day I found a butterfly's cocoon that was clear and I could see the butterfly moving inside. It was hatching. I couldn't tear myself away. Soon, friends found me. Most wandered off, bored. A very few stayed.

When recess ended, the teacher found us. In an elegance that I would not understand until much later, we were allowed to remain outside and finish watching the emergence. “But,” she warned, “do not touch or try to help it. It must struggle to become strong enough to live.” The butterfly fought, struggled, and wriggled. Soon it stood, allowing its wings to dry, to open, to expand, to strengthen. It went from a simple, dark, fuzzy creature with hints of wing structure, to a regal monarch butterfly. All too suddenly it flew off.

It seems to me that we all have times in life where people around us are like butterflies fighting their way out of cocoons. My grown sons went through it between the ages of 16 and 18 before they suddenly needed to fly away. My husband is retiring from the Navy now. Pregnant friends wait for babies. Sick friends wait for health. Embattled marriages and other relationships often have one in struggle and another waiting and watching. 

We cannot help them as they struggle to exit their confines. We cannot hurry them as they dry and strengthen their wings. We must do something equally hard: we must be patient.

In the King James Version of the Bible, patience is often translated as "long-suffering." It doesn't say "short inconvenience" or "brief interruption of frustration." It is suffering alongside someone as they struggle or as they perch in a wait. It is witnessing their change, in true awe. It is knowing that we are doing nothing, but much is happening that is beyond our control. Something is happening, even though we are frustrated at our own lack of influence or activity. There is really nothing that we can do to help the butterflies in our life—except watch and wait and celebrate when they begin to soar into life again.

"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant," says 1 Corinthians 13:4. It seems to me that it's not about whether or not we have times of wait—all love has times of wait, according to this verse. It seems to me that it's more about how we wait.

 

Prayer for the wait: 

Father God, please help me to endure the suffering alongside this person who I care so deeply for. Please help me to trust you and what you are doing as I just witness, in faith, what you will do to work this for the good of us who love you. And, help me, please, to wait in the spirit of kindness. Thank you. Amen.

 



MaryLee is a grown Navy "brat," veteran of the US Navy, and wife to a recent Navy retiree. She home educates two of the four children she shares with her husband of more than twenty years while authoring novels and serving as Director of Christian Military Wives Fellowship. In her copious amounts of free time she pursues her creative, Bible study, and Bible teaching passions.


Renewal
Renewal



By Brandis Trionfo



​If I’m being honest I can say, without a doubt, that I’m overwhelmed. I’m in school full-time. I have three precious kiddos that are go, go, GO all the time. I have three dogs, and as most of you deal with the same, a husband who's not around much. It certainly isn’t his fault--he’s off keeping our country free and safe and I’m so very proud of him.  

My house is a shell of what it used to be--cleanliness has taken a backseat. I also am a Navy Reservist, which you’d think only takes two days a month, but it’s much more involved than that. I lead a team at my church, which takes time. If I had an extra few hours in the day, I wouldn’t complain.


So spring is (supposedly) upon us. Spring is considered a time for renewal and a time for new beginnings. At some point, the flowers will start to bloom, the grass will become green again, and we will all be thankful for the sunshine.


I’d be lying if I said I would experience joy then. I’ve spent many years just thinking, “Well, if this happens, I’d be happy. If this changes, I’d be happy.”  It’s a lie that I’ve led myself to believe when rushing from one thing to the next. I’m overwhelmed, friends.


I need to experience renewal in a bad way. Any guesses on where I can find that renewal? Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 (NLT), 

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” 


Can I get an Amen?


Jesus provides us the rest we need. I remember when I had just two babies at home and I was sleep-deprived and I thought I’d never get the rest I needed.  Somewhere I heard someone say that God gives us the rest we need. I took it to heart and have prayed over that thought ever since. If I’m at this point now, then God is guiding me all along. He’s giving me the rest I need and the strength I need to get through it. It may not always feel that way, but He is.


On the days that I wake up early, get into the Word, and prepare myself for what lies ahead, I feel that strength and resolve. On the days I don’t, I’m crabby, frustrated, and easily irritated over the smallest things. 
I’ve found the best way to experience renewal through Christ is to simply read His Word. 


This is just a season that I’m in. In a few years, I’ll be done with school, my kids will be older and therefore better behaved (I can hope), my husband will be retired, and it’ll be another season. Just like the weather changing, we roll with the seasons of life. When we put on the armor of God and go after Him, we can readily accept what comes our way. It’s all a season. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT) says, 

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”


God knows what season you’re in. Just like mine, you may be overwhelmed and stressed and just plain tired. You may be in a season of great joy or a season of great pain. But if you follow through with the Word of God, you will see the flowers blooming in due time.


Hopefully the weather will improve, too.


Father, I thank you for your continued guidance. I pray that you’ll see me through the season of life that I’m in and know that you are with me every step, even on days I can’t see you. I pray that you’ll give me strength and renewal for this time and that I’ll come out of it seeing your hand in all I did. I pray in your name, Amen.


Questions for reflection:

What season of life are you in? How can you use that season to give God glory?
Where in your life do you need renewal? Are you digging deep to know Him to get you there?




Brandis is a former Sailor turned Air Force wife, a stay at home mom to 3 kids, and a lover of rustic country decor. She misses the Navy almost daily but is so very thankful for the time she gets with her family, dogs, & friends living near the beach.


Perspective
Perspective
by Molly Huggins

​My husband and I, we are both helicopter pilots. 

I say are, although it’s been five long years since I sat in the driver’s seat of my favorite machine. Are, because the love and longing never quite go away, and I hang onto my husband’s every word as he tells me about his days, his months, his missions for all the time he was away from me. 


(We have a strict “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy when it comes to the danger he faces on deployment. I wait until he comes home and then I binge on the stories. A result of his first deployment where fear was a battle I almost lost.)


And then he tells me about one VERY close call, and my throat closes up a little, and my stomach turns, and I have to stop listening for a little while. Because, sisters of mine, I am momentarily stunned anew by the gifts we’ve been given, smack in the middle of this chaotic Army life. 


I am one stray bullet from being a widow. I am a one dollar test away from a child with special needs, ravaged by the effects of unchecked jaundice. (Go here to read my friend’s story). I'm white in a world where my brothers and sisters of color still routinely suffer violence and oppression. I’m rich by the world’s standards and I have three healthy children that I know can be lost in a moment. 


And the perspective, it sure doesn’t make me hurt less on days that are hard and achy, but it never fails to make me thank Him more, praise Him more. 


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. ~ James 1:17


We are moving to a new (big) city in three months, and I’ll be a belly-swollen, bone-tired toddler mama desperate for roots and community and weeks away from giving birth. But still, I’ll be on my knees, all gratitude for the gifts, and the steadfastness of a Father who shows no shadow of turning from me. 


Sisters, in seasons of difficulty, how can you be thankful? 





Molly Huggins is an Army bride, one-time helicopter pilot, compulsive writer, friend seeker, and lover of color and all things textile. Her current occupation is ringmaster of the Huggins family circus (party of five). She has a B.A. in English from Covenant College and a passion for meeting other women right in the middle of their own messy stories. Pull up a chair at her virtual beat-up kitchen table, listen to her stories, and maybe even tell her yours.




On New Year's Resolutions
On New Year's Resolutions


by Brandis Trionfo


Every year, I make a list of a gazillion resolutions that I swear I'm going to follow through on. I'm going to lose a ton of weight, save money, organize my house, etc.


It takes about a week before, well, life takes over.


This year I was challenged by the leader of my community group to come up with one word. Just ONE word for the entire year for us to focus on.


How hard can it be to choose one word? Harder than I expected. I consulted my Bible, my best friend, and tried to come up with something clever. I kept coming back to the word intentional. It's not a fancy word and I'm not sure it's even the right word, but I can't stop thinking about it.

  
My best friend messaged me on New Year's Day and asked me about my resolutions. I told her rather than come up with a list of things I'd never accomplish, my goal was to be more intentional at diving into God's Word. I wanted to yell less and love more with my kiddos. And in general, I wanted to be more joyful in all I do.

 
Intentional is defined as "done on purpose, deliberate." I want to DO life ON PURPOSE. I want to dive into the Word of God. I want to giggle and tickle and give my kids the mom they deserve rather than the tired, stressed one they're so used to. I want to live life for God's purpose, not mine. 


Proverbs 19:21 says, "You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail."


So my goal is to be intentional in all I do. I want to speak life into people I meet, I want to bring joy to myself and my children by living through God's Word, and ultimately I want to have a year that is lived FOR the Lord.

 
Tell me, friends, what's one word that you can use this year to bring yourself closer to God?


Questions for Reflection:

*What is one word you can use to motivate yourself for the new year?

*How can you be more intentional at being in God's Word?


Happy New Year, friends. I hope this year is wonderful for you and I hope at the end I can bring the good news of how intentional I was this year. :)




Brandis is a former Sailor turned Air Force wife, a stay at home mom to 3 kids, and a lover of rustic country decor. She misses the Navy almost daily but is so very thankful for the time she gets with her family, dogs, & friends living near the beach.


Patience and Price
Patience and Price


by Mary Parker



Have you ever waited on something with bated breath? A call to ensure a family member arrived home safely. An answer to the job you held out for for months. The orders that held the fate of your next duty station. The call from the doctor letting you know how the test results turned out. 

Often, we don’t actually like to wait very much, and part of living in the 21st century is becoming acclimated to instant, automatic responses via email, phone, and text, often making patience a more difficult virtue to build upon.

Can you imagine how the Israelites felt before the birth of Jesus? Sure, they may not have had the distractions of our technology and accessibility, but there’s no doubt some of the firmest believers struggled with the ability to trust God’s plans and promises when He had been silent for so long. They may even have been desperate in the same ways that we often feel desperate and alone in the face of trying and unforeseen circumstances.

Then, something amazing happened. A miraculous savior, promised to the Israelites hundreds of years prior, came in the form of a tiny baby (Matthew 1). Have you ever reflected on how important it is that Jesus was born to human parents in a dirty cave with barnyard animals? Jesus was sent in the midst of imperfect surroundings to provide perfect salvation for anyone who wanted to follow Him.

This Advent season, as you prepare for Christmas, I encourage you to wait patiently. As much as you possibly can, focus on the person of Jesus and his timely entrance into this world to save us and provide communion with God. Whether your circumstances seem merry and bright, or dim and dark, we all have unrest in our lives, which we occasionally try to solve by our own devices. I encourage you to remember the price for our sins has already been paid, but we sometimes need to wait on God to move through us. 

As you seek God fully this Christmas, remember that Jesus is the most precious gift ever given – the only payment in full for a meaningful relationship with God on which to build the foundation for a better life.

As Jesus illustrates to His disciples in John 14:6-7, 
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him." 

Prayer: 

Father, thank you for sending Jesus as a baby who would turn into a perfect man so that He could know my struggles and yet still pay for my sins. Thank you for loving me and forgiving me despite my sins. Grant me the patience to wait for your guidance in all circumstances in my life and help me not go astray. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Questions for Reflection:

1)    Are there areas of my life where I need to wait patiently for God’s instructions? How can I make active steps to pursue Him?

2)    What does it mean that Jesus is “the” way to God instead of just “a” way? 




Mary Parker is an Air Force wife who works as a public relations writer. A South Carolina girl at heart, she and her husband have recently relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska. Mary spends her spare time honing exercise and cooking skills, and is a self-proclaimed DIY addict. You can read about how faith and hope shape military family life, and check out Mary's latest projects at Mary's Mischief.


Finding Moments of Reflection
Finding Moments of Reflection


by Chantal Graupmann




Sometimes I wonder about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Who was she? How did she worship, parent, love? What thoughts went through her mind during key events of her life? I often wonder about Mary during this time of year. She did, after all, give birth to our Savior, the whole reason behind the celebration of Christmas.

As I started reading through the birth of Jesus in my Bible, a verse caught my attention, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” Luke 2:19. I am still in awe when I read that verse. 

Can you picture this? Strangers are coming from afar to see and prophesy over baby Jesus. Mary is a new mother. Rather than reacting with the fierceness of a mother, she simply listens and ponders. How many of us would react the way Mary did? I know I would not. I would be asking questions, and probably be trying to shield my new baby from this crazy world! 

We can’t know exactly what Mary knew about her son, but I think I am safe in saying she had no idea the impact this little baby’s birth made on the world.

I continued to think on this verse and I wondered, as we get ready to celebrate Christmas, do we do as Mary did? Do we treasure and ponder the birth of our Savior? Most often we do not. We whiz through the many events leading up to Christmas without a moment of true, deep reflection on Christ’s birth and what it meant. 

As I strive to live for Christ, this realization got me thinking how this holiday season should be different for my family. Maybe some activities need to be let go or new ones need to be included. The process of purposefully pondering Christ in our holiday season will likely never be complete, but one thing I know I can always come back to as we add or subtract from our holiday to-do list is this: treasure is not found everywhere, it is carefully kept and often concealed.

 

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for your grand plan and the birth of your son. We confess that we often neglect to ponder the true meaning of the season. As we celebrate Jesus’ birth, help us to treasure and ponder the events that have taken place for us. Strengthen us to be open to any convictions the Holy Spirit may place on our hearts regarding this busy season, and help us to seek Christ in a new way. 





Chantal Graupmann is an Air Force wife and mother to two children. She is striving to serve women in the midst of motherhood and military life, and is passionate about building community. She loves finding time for DIY projects, experimental cooking, and travel.


Taking Time to Focus on Christ
Taking Time to Focus on Christ


by Brandis Trionfo



My 4-year-old has recently started singing "Away in a Manger" around the house. I'm fairly certain it's because his preschool is starting to rehearse for their Christmas program. It's so precious to hear and I love how my kids learn about Christ at school.


The song touches me. In modern times, none of us can fathom what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph in that space. Giving birth on hay? Where were the epidurals and sterile blankets? What a miracle to know that Christ did that FOR US.


In these times, it can be so difficult to find even a moment to be still. To step away from our iPhones and technology and television. To find just a moment to breathe. To focus on our maker.

 
During Christmas, especially if you have little ones, at least for most of us, it's all about Santa. What he's going to bring.

 
Last year (thanks to Pinterest--there goes that technology again!) I learned A LOT about biblical Christmas themes. Things like how candy canes are shaped the way they are after the staffs of the shepherds who visited Christ. I've taken these little nuggets of knowledge and made it so I speak them to my kids AS we're celebrating the other stuff. I found a pin about 25 verses to read up until Christmas, to prepare yourself and your family to celebrate Him. This list could go on, but you get the idea.


I find that the little things like that will help us to slow down and focus on what Christmas is REALLY about. It's so hard to wrap our heads around the fact that Christ came for us, knowing already what would happen to him, so that we could be set free.


Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)- "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."


Just think about that for a moment. The words that pop out: Wonderful. Mighty. Everlasting. Peace.


In these times, it's good to have that on your side. Take a moment this holiday season to meditate on the word of our Father. Take a moment to focus on Him and how He is preparing your way. Through the season and the snow and the gifts and the hot chocolate, remember Him. He came so that we might have LIFE. And live it to the FULL.


Enjoy your Christmas. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

 

Prayer:

Lord, I thank you for this season. I thank you that we're able to take a day to celebrate you. I thank you for your grace in knowing that we should be celebrating you every day but sometimes we fall short. I pray Lord that during this time we're able to focus on you and all that you've done for us. I pray that we use whatever tips and tricks we can find to remember what this holiday is all about. I ask these things in your name, Amen.


Questions for Reflection:

*What are some ways I can find to incorporate more biblical truth in my holiday routine?

*How can I slow down and focus on the Word?  

*Do I need to carve out more time for Him?




Brandis is a former Sailor turned Air Force wife, a stay at home mom to 3 kids, and a lover of rustic country decor. She misses the Navy almost daily but is so very thankful for the time she gets with her family, dogs, & friends living near the beach.


Praise and Thanksgiving
Praise and Thanksgiving


by Mary Parker



Lately, on Sunday nights, I’ve had trouble getting to sleep. Thoughts of Monday morning “what-ifs” and “to-dos” keep my brain riveted in cyclical momentum. This has resulted in several crabby (to put it mildly) Mondays, after a great day devoted to God just 24 hours before.

The same restlessness plagues my brain as we plan a cross-country trip during the holidays to see our family for the first time in two years. A time that should be full of joy and relaxation is haunted by worry and anxiety. The harder I try to plan and fix, the messier everything seems to get.

In the situations of holiday planning and late night restlessness, I often find that the comfort I’m seeking only comes when I surrender my tired body and brain to
Jesus.

So instead of staring at the ceiling in mind-numbing thought, I thank Him for the mercy He provides for me to start each day anew, for the lessons of loving others that make my marriage, familial relationships and friendships more fulfilling, for providing more than my family could need or imagine and encouraging me to give freely to others. The list goes on, and I find myself beautifully rested and restored when I awake Monday morning.

 

When I begin praising God for all He has done and continues to do in my life, I become less concerned with what can go wrong. I can even remember the times when things have blown up at work or with family, and the times I rely on God to see me through are infinitely more successful than when I rely on my own devices.


For some of us, restlessness comes with the daunting challenges of the work week. For others, it’s during the nail biting moments of the college football game when we say things we probably shouldn’t (myself included), while prepping the prized Thanksgiving turkey, or while planning to spend holidays apart from loved ones. 


Whatever the restless moments in your life, I encourage you to praise Jesus in the midst for all that He has done, is doing, and continues to do in your life.

Ultimately, thanking God for the blessings, which surely exist in our lives, is an amazing way to renew ourselves daily, as He intends:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him'” (Lamentations 3:22-24).


Questions for Reflection:

*​If you are struggling with restlessness, is there something you need to give to the Lord?

*What are some specific blessings you can thank God for right now?

*How can you remind yourself of God's faithfulness?

 

Prayer:

Father, thank you for all the blessings you have put in my life, for loving me more than I can ever know, for pouring your mercy on me every single day, and for refreshing me daily. I seek you today and ask for help to recognize your great hand in this world. Help me to be thankful for my blessings and not take them for granted. I love you Father and am thankful for your supremacy in my life. Amen. 




Mary Parker is an Air Force wife who works as a public relations writer. A South Carolina girl at heart, she and her husband have recently relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska. Mary spends her spare time honing exercise and cooking skills, and is a self-proclaimed DIY addict. You can read about how faith and hope shape military family life, and check out Mary's latest projects at her blog, Mary's Mischief.


Fostering Thankfulness
Fostering Thankfulness

by Chantal Graupmann




Thankfulness is on my mind as the calendar month changes from October to November. As the holiday rush begins, it is easy to lack true gratitude while we go about our merry way of checking off items on our to-do list. Our lives become so cluttered and busy it can be a challenge to stop and remember God’s plan and all he has done and continues to do in our lives.


In the midst of military life, we are often dealt circumstances that (if we allow) can rob us of our thankfulness. It is not always easy to be thankful for God’s many blessings when a loved one is away for the holidays or we are in a new place without familiar comforts, family, and friends.


True feelings of gratitude stem from our deliberate perspective on thankfulness. Psalm 24:1 reminds me that I need to put God at the forefront of my thoughts: 

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” 


If my mind is not focused on God and his blessings, I will be thankless. As I look toward the busyness of the holiday season I wonder how I can foster a right perspective. 

How can I be sure to be full of thanks when it is so easy to choose otherwise?

1. Spend time with the Lord

This is always the easiest way to correct our thoughts and perspective. God has given us the gift of prayer and supplication for a reason! This tool is always available to us, yet we often do not use it as we should. Ask the Lord to help you in this area; He will show you exactly where you should be placing your focus.

2. Meditate on Scripture

There are many passages in scripture that can help us to understand gratitude on a deeper level. Psalm 24:1 is helpful for me, but another scripture may be better suited to you. A simple word search can help you find these passages.

3. Keep a journal

Write a daily list of things you are thankful for. The ability to look back and recall reasons to be thankful can be a helpful reminder on the hard days when gratitude is lacking.

 

I pray that each of us takes the time to remember the true gifts and blessings we have been given by our Creator. As the hustle and bustle of the season gets underway, take time to seek Jesus. A deliberate perspective of thankfulness will make the season all the more rich and full. 




Chantal Graupmann is an Air Force wife and mother to two children. She is striving to serve women in the midst of motherhood and military life, and is passionate about building community. She loves finding time for DIY projects, experimental cooking, and travel.