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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.


On Being Thankful
On Being Thankful


by Brandis Trionfo



Thanksgiving this year will be very different for our family. My husband's parents have a huge Thanksgiving celebration every year, as my mother-in-law is a nurse and usually works Christmas, so that others with smaller children can have the holiday with their families.

Last year in March, my sister-in-law was killed in a tragic bus accident as her Lacrosse team was headed to a game. She was seven months pregnant with my nephew and it shook our whole family very deeply.

My mother-in-law is very rooted in her faith and it hasn't wavered since the accident. I've questioned God a few times since the incident and I can always look to her to see not only how strong she is but also how God has worked in her and through her from the time I've met her until now.

Last year they didn't do their big Thanksgiving celebration in light of what happened. This year they will have it again, and fortunately for us, my husband will be able to take leave so we can be with our family in Baltimore.

I think it takes on a whole new meaning to be thankful, even when times are tough. God says in the Bible, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). We know that we're going to have trouble. We never understand what God is doing or how He's working, but I know this: If you are thankful for what He's given you, you'll continue to see how He works for you. I know that the day Kristie was killed, her entire team was spared. The only people He called home were the bus driver, my sister-in-law, and her unborn son. And every single one of those girls will go on to do amazing things; I believe it without a doubt.

Being thankful is about the little things and the big things. We're called in the Bible to be thankful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT) says: 

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  


In a time where Thanksgiving is more about Black Friday than gathering with loved ones, I hope (in my family at least) we'll pause to remember that no matter what troubles we face, He is with us. He is for us, and we should always be thankful.  

If I doubt it, I'll just look to my amazing mother-in-law, who knows beyond a shadow of a doubt where her daughter is, and where she'll be someday.  

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.


Questions for Reflection:

How can we pause to be thankful even during times of trouble?

What or who can we look to when we feel doubt?


Prayer:

Lord, I thank you that we're able to gather in this season to give thanks. I thank you that you're mighty and so much stronger than I, and I pray that you will help me to remember, day in and day out, to be thankful for what you've given me. I pray that you will reach out to me and help me to give you the attention you deserve and to be aware of your presence, especially during these holiday seasons. Help me to praise you in all I do. In your name I pray, Amen.


The New Face of the Alarm Clock
The New Face of the Alarm Clock

by Mary Parker




We’re all busy, right? Sometimes in our culture, we wear our time management like a badge of honor. And I’ve been known to keep up with the best of them – between life as an Air Force spouse, working full-time and teaching part-time, staying fit, fostering relationships with friends and family in Alaska and back home on the East Coast, I’d say I qualify. I sometimes struggle with this as a pride issue, but I enjoy juggling multiple commitments. 

 
Being busy isn’t a bad thing, and when we’re pursuing the things God wants us to, we can find untapped happiness and fulfillment. But when God gets left out of the picture, problems can really start to infringe on our time, and every other aspect of our lives.

 
This has happened in my life more than once. Deadlines pile up, and amidst pressures (many of which are self-inflicted) to follow-up on emails, make dinner from scratch, craft Christmas decorations, and walk the dog, God gets left out. Then I wind up on the kitchen floor, exhausted and delirious because I’ve stashed the milk in the pantry…again. After all God has done and continues to do for me, it is easy for me to forget that He is with me always.

 
When my husband is TDY, I seek God eagerly and fiercely because I consciously put Him first, as I should every day. Seeking God actively, reading His word, and listening for His voice in my life, for just 10 minutes at the start of the day provides immense peace and blessing over all the minutes of the rest of my day. So I’ve resolved to spend time with God every day in this manner, giving Him the first minutes of each day He blesses me with.

 
Jesus, knowing the hardships of humanity, beckons us to spend time with Him: 

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-29).

 
I find I have a steadier head throughout the day when I consciously remember God is with me. I am quicker to see other people through God’s eyes, and offer grace. I am slower to frustration and anger when I accept that this is a “light and momentary trouble,” and I am more apt to love others fully when I meditate on God’s love for me, and His commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself."

 
I encourage you to look at your alarm clock as a daily date with God – a time to spend in His love and comfort, and allow Him to prepare you fully for the day ahead!

 

Questions for Reflection:

*How much time do I spend seeking God every day? 

*Are there activities on my to-do list that I put before God? 

*How can spending time with God affect my mind, body and

spirit throughout the day?





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.


Why I Don't Feel I Have to Do it All
Why I Don't Feel I Have to Do it All


​by Chantal Graupmann



When I first became a military wife I expected that I would automatically become the well-known stereotype of the “military spouse.” 


This is the spouse who volunteers on a weekly basis for squadron AND base events, the spouse who has the uniforms crisply ironed, the spouse who stands strong and keeps the home without fear or discouragement in the face of deployment or temporary duty, and the list goes on. 


I moved to our first duty station with the image of the ideal military spouse in mind, and then once I got there I slowly started to realize such a woman does not exist! And how could she?! I laugh now, knowing it was silly of me to think so. Yes, each and every one of us may embody one or two of the items on the list of “ideal” spouse but none of us alone can possibly do ALL those things. 

As my perspective on the life of a typical military family changed, I began to understand in more depth the passage of Romans 12:6-8: 

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (NIV)

How refreshing to hear that I do not have to do everything, or be the “ideal” military spouse, but instead can act upon the gifts that God has already bestowed on me. I can have joy, peace, and confidence to fulfill my role as military spouse and I do not have to become a different person or put on different hats to fill all the roles I hold in this life. 


There is balance in knowing I am not expected to do everything! I love that I can come back to this verse in Romans and be reminded of this when I am feeling overwhelmed and overcommitted because I have forgotten God’s truth.




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.


How My Perspective on Military Wives Has Changed
How My Perspective on Military Wives Has Changed


by Brandis Trionfo


One of the biggest changes in perspective I've had has been changing the way I thought of military spouses. I'll be honest--when I got out of the military and became a military spouse, I didn't have the highest respect for spouses. The only real interaction I'd had with them was when they came through the gate to show me their IDs, and often, it wasn't a pleasant experience.


I learned pretty quick after I got out that it was probably MY attitude that was making the experience bad and that military wives are a pretty strong bunch. We handle deployments, PCS moves, TDY's, smelly laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. etc, all without batting an eye and usually with only one hand. Oftentimes there's a baby on the hip taking up the other hand!


God poked and prodded me a lot to change my opinion. 


Once I found Him, I found comfort in a few spouses who truly had so much to offer I think I learned more about military life through them than I did in my ten years of active duty service! 


If it hadn't been for one of them, I may not be where I am today. If it hadn't been for another, I'm not sure I'd have worked through the issues my marriage faced. And if not for another, I'd have never learned how important and lasting our friendships really are.

  
As a military spouse, I've formed unlikely friendships that will stand the test of time.  


I've become friends with people I wouldn't have ever thought to be friends with before, and it's so rewarding to know, at the end of the day, that not only is friendship vital, it's biblical. God lays something on our heart when he gives us a friend--and we military spouses are lucky to have each other--because there will come a time when we'll really need one another.  


Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us: 

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up."  


See, once God gives us these friends, it's important that we're there for them!

 
Friendships are so very important. I'm thankful to have found friends who mean so much to me, and even more thankful to know that God has given them to me.  


My perspective of military spouses has changed so much in the last few years because I've seen firsthand how hard it can be, but also how rewarding it is. With this, I urge you to reach out to another military spouse! Maybe there's someone in your husband's squadron or unit who seems like she might need a friend? Or maybe she's like me, and she might not seem too friendly or too keen on the idea of being friends with other spouses? Chances are she's afraid and she doesn't know how to approach other spouses. Maybe you keep seeing that mom at the playground but you don't want to step out of your comfort zone to say hello? Give it a chance! We all need friends.


Father, I thank you for friendship. I thank you that sometimes the friends we make truly become our family and in times where we aren't near family, we're able to stick by those who have walked our path with us. I thank you that you choose the people we need in our lives and give us what we need exactly when we need it. I pray that we're able to forge new friendships with even the most unlikely of people in an effort to draw closer to you. In your name I pray, Amen.

  
Questions for reflection:

1.  Is there someone I can reach out to today?

2.  What is God laying on my heart in regards to friendship? Is there someone I need to call? Someone I need to forgive?




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. She occasionally blogs but mostly forgets at Anchored in the Air Force Life.


From the Editor's Heart
From the Editor's Heart
Christian Military Wives Fellowship exists to encourage, support, and strengthen you who are in the trenches of military spousedom. This blog is just one of the ways through which we hope that takes place. 

For the past year, we have had a wonderful blog editor in Kristi, and I am so thankful for her heart and her leadership. Her life, recently, has become a little fuller and busier and she has had to let go of the position of editor for CMWF. Please join me in thanking her for all her hard work over these last many months. 

I wanted to just take a few moments today and introduce myself as the new blog editor and share where we are headed this month on the blog.

My name is Lisa Walters and my husband is a Chaplain in the Army. We are currently stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. We have two teen daughters who keep us on our toes and who I have the privilege of homeschooling. I also own an online editing/proofreading business. I am excited to be a part of this ministry and I look forward to serving you by bringing content to the blog that is helpful and inspiring.

This month, our writers will be talking about PERSPECTIVE.

Do you remember the Sesame Street song, "That's about the size, where you put your eyes, that's about the size of it"? It's a song all about perspective based on what our eyes are focused on. It's a great teaching tool for little ones, and it can be a reminder to us big ones as well!


Our perspective is based on where we put our focus. If we are focused on the One who loves us and has a unique and exciting plan for each of us, our perspective will be a good one. If we are focused on our circumstances, our perspective tends to be clouded by discouragement and a sense of being overwhelmed.


My prayer is that this space will be where you will find strength and encouragement to place your focus where it ought to be. May God bless you as you seek and follow him.



Change is the Constant
Change is the Constant


by Molly Huggins


​Change is the one constant in this Army life of ours.

We are on our fifth home in nine years. We’ve spent four and a half of those nine years apart. Our little family has expanded by three. And always a steady flow of orders issued and changed at the eleventh hour.


I know I am singing a familiar refrain to you all. 

Currently we are rejoicing at the return of my husband safely from Afghanistan, his fourth deployment complete. It brings me so much joy to rearrange the spaces in our home to include him. What bedtime looks like with daddy. What breakfast looks like with daddy. What Saturdays look like with daddy. {A whole lot of donuts!} 

There are boots on the floor, dirty uniforms draped over the chair, empty Diet Coke cans NEXT to the trash bin, and I couldn’t be happier. The Husband is home.

But with return comes reintegration, and with reintegration comes more change. I am equal parts giddy and panicked.

That is just a small snapshot of us. Your pictures may look wildly different - your moments anchored by circumstances nothing like mine. But the change? The change is constant. 


And friends, it’s far too easy to be afraid in the face of change. To curl up, overwhelmed at the immensity of each thing. So for this season, for all your seasons of change, may I offer this reminder from the heart-cries of Jeremiah: 

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.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

(Lamentations 3:21-25).

 
In the midst of hard, constant change, His steadfast love never ceases.

Every morning, every morning, I am refreshed by compassions made new. And in every season of change in our life, the threads of grace and mercy shine bright, written by a loving, faithful Father.

Great is His faithfulness.





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.



Changing What "It Is"
Changing What

by Mary Parker


If there’s a phrase that has always peeved me when others say it, “It is what it is” takes the cake! The writer in me hates the undefined antecedent. All of me is disturbed by the concept that although something is not right, not good, or in some other way displeasing, we must accept it without trying to change it.

Something I’ve learned through a core value in my home church and my walk with Jesus is that growing people do, in fact, change.

Change can be hard, but necessary. 

Although my wedding day is filled with beautiful memories, I’m happy that my marriage continuously changes for the better, rooted in discipline and intentional improvement. On our wedding day, our marriage wasn’t where it needed to be – Will and I were intrinsically selfish people not yet sure how to navigate the world as a dynamic duo.

We could’ve simply thrown our hands in the air during our first marital conflict and muttered, “It is what it is,” but we decided to fight for one another, not against one another. To fight for the vows we made to God and one another in front of our family and friends. To fight for a love we believe in, and want to learn more about.

There have been times since then where it could have just been easier to quit rather than adapt, too. TDYs, last minute changes in plans, challenges in seeing family and feeling stranded in the Arctic wilderness (strictly hypothetical, obviously), for example.

But we adapt and seek God’s will in all circumstances, aware that His will won’t always match our plans.

Paul writes in his letter to the church in Rome, 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Change can be hard, but beneficial.

The world tells us to be mad when others hurt us. To react when we’re angered. To show hostility toward our enemies. Learning from Jesus’ examples in life has helped me shift from bitterness toward others to forgiveness, from frustration to acceptance, and sometimes even joy and peace over things that were once aggravating (loud chewing for instance). 

These heart changes, however small, create shifts in our thoughts, which result in behavior modification, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45b).

It’s a daily commitment, but I’m learning to rely on God’s strength to make changes in my life so I can ultimately be more pleasing to Him and, honestly, be a more pleasant person to be around.

As for challenges in marriage, often posed by the military, seek God’s will as husband and wife, open to change, and work toward a daily-renewed union.

 

Father, thank you for the blessings you have shown me in this life. I pray you will supply the strength to help me make changes in my thoughts toward others – help me to be more pleasing to you and love others more fully. Show me your will so I may obey any changes in my life and marriage you are asking of me. Help me to live for you today and every day. Amen.


Questions for Reflection: 

*What changes can I make to improve my attitude today?

*How can committing my perspective to be more pleasing to God
affect my thoughts, behavior, and relationships?


 


 

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.


Calm in the Midst of Change
Calm in the Midst of Change

​ 

by Chantal Graupmann

The butter dish.


It's a simple yet useful tool every kitchen should have, and we have never owned one. This little fact drives me crazy. I cannot count the number of times I have noted that I need to buy one, but for some reason or another, a butter dish is never purchased. Instead, our butter gets placed in a bowl, on a plate, or sometimes even stays on the counter in its wrapper. This seemingly small annoyance irks me in a big way, as I constantly waste time and energy as I move the butter around the kitchen because the container is too large, takes up an awkward amount of space, or it makes a mess. 

 
Yet, isn't that a picture of how our lives can be? We sit, day after day, knowing that a small change can make a big difference in our lives. Yet we move this or that, avoiding the real problem.


James 4:8 states:  "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." 


Our family is about to experience our very first deployment in a matter of just a couple short weeks. Not only that, but my husband and I have been making some decisions about the way we want our life to look, the way it should look, as followers of Christ. Talk about big changes.


These things, these important things, have been in the back of our minds for some time now. However, just like the butter in our kitchen, we have failed to address the small change that can make such a huge impact in our lives.


The simplicity and usefulness of James 4:8 bores into my heart: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” 


All we must do is draw near!


My countless hours of worry, of looking for answers, of outright avoidance have all been a waste of precious time. If I simply seek God, he will be my source of all comfort and he will guide me in the right direction with his constant presence and conviction.


This truth helps me stay calm in the midst of all the change happening in our lives. I have found that taking even 5 minutes in the morning to seek God makes a huge impact on my attitude and my perspective throughout the day. 



Questions for Reflection:

*Are you willing to make a small change in your life and draw near to God?

*What are some practical ways to "draw near" to Him?




​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.


The Biggest Change
The Biggest Change


by Brandis Trionfo


Our biggest change as a military family came about when my husband received orders to Cheyenne, Wyoming. At the time, I was still active duty Navy. Wyoming isn’t exactly a hotbed of Naval activity, so we were at a crossroads in our marriage--merely 6 months into it. I was newly pregnant with our first child, and already had almost 10 years in the Navy. We had some big decisions to make.

This was before I was a true Christ-follower. I can say I was always a believer, and looking back now I can see how He had a hand in every step we took.

I made the decision to get out of the Navy. I knew if I stayed in we’d be separated for months at a time. I knew I’d be on a ship, nowhere near my husband or our son.

Boy, talk about a BIG change. I went from being a full-time Military Police Officer to a military spouse, and a first-time stay-at-home mom on top of it. We moved to Wyoming in April, and the following February, I met Christ. I was so very lonely--I didn’t know how to reach out to other people and I didn’t have many friends. My husband was gone for 4 days at a time and I’d reached my breaking point. Our marriage was not doing well.

Tony convinced me to go to a spouse’s function on base one day and I met up with a woman whose husband worked with Tony. She invited me to her church and the Spirit moved me, y’all. I met up with her the following Sunday and walked into a new life. The church was doing a sermon series titled, “Desperate Households,” about marriage. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Christ was what was missing from my life. He met me right where I was at. He always does, doesn’t He? I sat in my chair, tears pouring down my face, and I KNEW that I’d been pretending for far too long. 


Meeting my Savior that day was the biggest change I’d seen, military or no.


See, the day I surrendered to Christ was the day that my life began to make sense. All the things I’d done up to that day were just preparing me to open my heart to Him. Most of us know the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Don’t you just feel hope when you worship the Lord? When you accept Christ into your life you begin to see changes that you can’t even describe. You suddenly know that He’s got plans for you!

Talk about a change for the better! Once I began to regularly attend church and follow Christ, my marriage improved. I’m not saying it’s perfect (we’re pretty big on NOT being perfect, haha!), but we love each other. Once we made Christ the center of our home, we learned quite a few lessons. And six years, three kids, and two duty stations later, we’re still going strong.

Where do you need our Heavenly Father to meet you at today? I can tell you this for sure: He’s there. He’s waiting for you, calling to you, with arms wide open. He loves you more than you can ever imagine and He has plans for you! You are called by Him. He has written your name.

Father, I thank you for your unending grace. I thank you that you are always willing to meet me where I am and give me the strength to go forward. Lord I pray that you would give me the ability to accept the inevitability of change and to know that you are sovereign. I ask that you remind me who I am in you, and to remember that all changes in my life are according to your plans for good. In your name, Amen.


Questions for reflection:

*What changes in your life have showed you your need for God and His grace?

*Where has the Lord met you in your life at the weakest moments?





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. She occasionally blogs but mostly forgets at Anchored in the Air Force Life.


Marriage: The Pathway to Maturity
Marriage: The Pathway to Maturity


by Mary Parker



When Will and I decided to embark on our Air Force adventure, we barely knew what it would mean to be a military family. We felt confident our values matched with the service and looked forward, unsure what the future would hold.

Almost two years into our journey, we call Fairbanks, Alaska home; it’s a mere 4,000 miles from our starting point in South Carolina. Being so far away from everything familiar – family, friends, homes, college football games, and winding country roads – can be challenging, but we embrace the ride!

Whenever we begin to feel distant or miss our family, we reflect on the idea that we are never alone, and God is leading our family with and for a purpose.

We also believe God designed us, as two people, to come together and form a family, as foretold in the Biblical introduction to marriage through the story of Adam and Eve:

“A man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

Faith in God’s plan helps fortify us as a team, when it seems difficult to be so far away, or when it stings a bit to be just a team of two on a military installation where it can feel like every couple should have two kids minimum. 


Although facing life together continues to become easier as we nestle into marriage and learn more about one another, there are times when being a military family can provide additional challenges: last minute TDYs, late nights on standby duty, missed dates and appointments.

Overall, we have it pretty lucky due to the nature of my husband’s job. Still, sometimes it can be extremely frustrating when it seems like the Air Force has total control of our circumstances. It can be downright discouraging!

But the truth is encouraging – God is in charge, and His word prepares us throughout the entire Bible, especially the New Testament, for circumstances that can rock our lives and families:  

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

 
As I strive to persevere and develop spiritual fruit to offset the challenges that come along with the joys of being a military family, I grow in patience and my marriage blossoms. Obviously, this is not a complete picture of marriage, but it is a component. Faith that God has control of the situation and is guiding us with and for a purpose carries us through and helps us as we walk, as straight as possible, the narrow road on the pathway to maturity.

 
My consummate mantra as a wife, and as we face challenges, is to possess these qualities of the infamous Proverbs 31 wife:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25).

I encourage you to laugh in faith today! 

 

Questions for Reflection:

*Am I trusting the military, or God, with my family’s future?
*What practical steps can I take to develop perseverance in my life? How can that impact my family as a whole?



 

 

 

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.