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CMWF Blog

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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.


A Sacrifice of Praise

By Molly Huggins



On a recent Sunday, between training a reluctant first grader to sit still in church and keeping the new babe quiet, I managed to hear our pastor preach on Romans 12:1. This is a miracle. I rarely hear more than brief phrases in the chaos of our Sundays. I heard these words:


 

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

These words are no stranger to me, but as I was gazing down at my study Bible, the following explanation seized my heart.

Paul is teaching both the Jews and the Gentiles--one church, together, as the people of God for whom the blood sacrifice has been made. The sacrifice that remains is that of thankful response. {Paraphrased from the New Geneva Study Bible}.

These days are hard days for us. We are knee deep in screaming toddlers and dramatic six year olds and newborn needs. Not to mention weeks away from a fourth deployment. And right down here in the trenches, I am constantly reminded to give thanks.

Give thanks, you say? Most days I can barely hold back the tears.

 

But--and pay attention here, this is big--we are set free by the mercies of a just God. And every thought, word, and deed we have in this lifetime is a response, sacrificial or selfish, to the grace we’ve been given.
 

 


Sisters ... I can’t lie. It is a sacrifice. My heart on the hard days is not usually one of thanksgiving. It is a deliberate, intentional sacrifice to bend over, look my screaming son in the eye, parent him with some semblance of grace, and offer a quiet thanks for the healthy set of lungs assaulting my ear drums. Because what I really want to do is stuff some gauze in my ears, give him whatever he wants, then curl up in the fetal position and take a nap.

Let me weave for you the thread that prevents my unraveling.

We serve a loving God. In His wisdom and sovereignty, He knows my hard heart on the hard days. And so, His mercy is evident even in this. My desire for His righteousness, my gratitude for His grace, flows from Him to me. I am delivered, and I am grateful.

Sisters, there is mercy for you in the dark days. And even in the moments that seem to break us, gratitude flows with grace, a living sacrifice to the Father who freed us.

 


Reflection
Stop today, and practice giving thanks. Meditate for a moment on the blessings God has given you. Jot down a few. What can you thank Him for today, regardless of circumstances?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank You for being a giver of good gifts. Even in brokenness, and tiredness, and stress- You are good, and what You do is good. Today I choose to set aside my thoughts of self and to praise You with an open, joyful heart. Fill me up with the knowledge of Your grace and truth today. Open my eyes to the gifts all around me, so that I might live with a posture of gratitude toward You. Amen.


Molly Huggins (All The Grace Between) 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.




Forgiven

By Mary Parker

 

Have you ever made a mistake? Inevitably, we have all been wrong in one way or another. What’s often worse than actually being wrong is the humiliation of admitting you were wrong. Although God desires for us to choose the wisest decisions, He also understands we are human. He knows that we will make mistakes before we make them, however, we can rest in His promise that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).


 

I am so thankful that our perfect Father in Heaven never says, “I told you so,” or asks, “Why did you do that? Didn’t you know any better?” He does, however, expect us to confess and repent of our sins (1 John 1:9). In turn, He promises to show us how to make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:6). Confessing our sins and admitting our faults becomes easier when we understand the depths of God’s forgiveness towards us and His love for us.

 

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zepheniah 3:17Zephaniah 3:17 tells us, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” How encouraging and comforting! Not only does our Father forgive us for the mistakes we make, but he protects us and rejoices over us in love. God’s love is so enveloping and unconditional that it can be difficult for the finite, human mind to comprehend and accept.

 

As we grow in our faith, we will grow more thankful for the spirit of conviction versus condemnation. In our thanksgiving, we invite God’s presence into our hearts and lives, creating a constant connection, where we can rest assured that He will hear our requests. As we enter into a season of giving, it’s important to reflect on all that we have been given, in prayer and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). God is always with us, a loving guide ready to lead us back to His path.



Reflection
What is the difference between condemnation and conviction? Why does it matter?
What is God convicting you of today? How can you be obedient?
How does God’s gift of conviction teach us to deal with other people in our lives?

Prayer
Father, thank you for being so gentle and patient with me, even when I make mistakes I should have learned from. Thank you for providing the perfect example of Jesus to show me how I may be a Godly person on this earth. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me so that I may be set free from the bondage of condemnation for my sins, so that I may live a life praising you. Show me how to live for you each and every day of my life. In Jesus’ name, 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.


Thanksgiving, Together

 Editor's Note: On this Veterans Day, we'd like to express our sincere gratitude for all those who have served in our country's military. Thank you all for your tremendous sacrifice and bravery, and for serving our country in such a big way.

 

***

  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6


The table is set with Grandmother’s China. The kitchen is filled with the delectable smells of turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and baked apples. The men are watching football and the ladies are chasing kids out of the kitchen. Sound familiar? This is the Thanksgiving I’ve always known, until last year. Our family spent Thanksgiving standing in long lines at Disney World making magical memories for our children that none of us will ever forget. I felt beyond blessed to be there but it just didn’t ‘feel’ like Thanksgiving. A phone call was all it took to put things into perspective.

 

For my husband, every holiday is an occasion to celebrate ‘Thanksgiving.’ Whenever friends and family call to wish him a ‘Happy Birthday, Father’s Day, Veteran’s Day and ‘Merry Christmas,’ his response is always the same, “It’s great to be CONUS!” A reality check every time I hear him say those words, it still warms my heart that he is thankful for the things we often overlook. In his thankfulness of being “CONUS,” I’m reminded that we have so much to be thankful for; he’s state-side, with family at home!

 

Never mind my grandmother’s China or the pumpkin pie, my husband reminds me of what is most important- our love for each other and the quality time spent with our children. This Thanksgiving I am not only going to be thankful that he is home, but I am going to be thankful that HE IS thankful to be home. I am thankful to be loved by a hero, and to be on his list of things that he is thankful for. I am thankful for the opportunity to love a warrior and to be loved by a warrior.


Reflection
What are you most thankful for?
Are there any people in your life that help you keep an attitude of ‘thankfulness’ despite your circumstances?
What is one thing you can thank God for today?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of my husband. Thank You for filling his heart with so much love for me and our children. Thank You for the special times we spend together. Bless and protect us when we are apart. Open my eyes to see the blessings all around me, and the ones I take for granted too often. Amen.


Heather Tabers is the wife of a wounded warrior and the mother of five children. She is also currently a full time student, a specialty cake baker, and a volunteer with the VA Public Relations office. She writes about her life and her faith to encourage other women on her blog, Wives of War


Choosing to See


Written by Laura Moore



There are certainly times in our lives we forget all that God has given us and we need to be reminded.
At least that’s true for me. It’s easy to forget the gifts while we are concentrating on the many things that seem to be going wrong. Sadly, we’ll find there are always things wrong in this world and in our lives.

As military spouses we are placed in situations that can be hard to thank God for. How do we give thanks when a spouse misses another birthday, when our best friend down the road moves across the country, and we feel utterly alone?

I’m not saying it’s not going to be easy. But I want you to know that peace does come to the woman who kneels before God and starts thanking Him and acknowledging His hand over her life.

Throughout scripture we’re instructed to give thanks. Thankfulness should be the language a Christian speaks best, for we have so much to be grateful for! Our attitude matters in this choice to give thanks or keep on talking about everything going wrong. I’m kind of an expert at pointing out problems, but it reflects after awhile and I get tired of my own complaining! We are always given a choice, and lately I’ve been trying hard to see where God has shown His love. It makes me a much happier person to focus on Christ rather than my circumstances.

Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)
…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Our God not only calls us into a relationship but He also pours out blessings through the simple things all around us. Whether it’s the sun peeking through the curtains, a view of golden and red leaves spread across the trees, or even a warm hug from a friend- these are blessings God pours out for us, His children.

Here is my challenge for you during this season where everyone is encouraging us to give thanks: Grab a pen and paper and jot down some of the little things you see where God is working in your heart, or showing how much He cares for you. Begin to open your eyes today to the small gifts around you, and thank God for them.

I will start by letting you know how grateful I am for you--that you have landed on this article and that we get to walk through this military spouse role together as we both figure it out.


Reflection


In what areas of my life do I struggle to give thanks?


What holds me back from living a life of thanksgiving?


What are three blessings I can thank God for this morning?

Prayer
Lord, thank You for all of Your blessings in my life. Even when I can’t see them- or choose not to- Your steady hand continues to provide for me. I pray that You would change my heart today toward a posture of thanks. Open my eyes to see the beauty You’ve placed all around me, so that I might give thanks to You. Amen.

 

Laura is a Christ-follower, Navy wife, mother to one toddler, writer, and coffee drinker. She writes about Faith, Military Life, and Motherhood at her blog, Embracing This Life.