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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.


Molly's Story

By Molly Huggins

 


I love stories and storytelling. I love seeing the threads the Master Planner stitches into our lives and the ways they change us. But in all honesty, here's the truth about the weaving: I didn't design my tapestry this way. And the push and pull of the needle as it pricks my heart - well, sometimes the weaving hurts. There's a particular thread that, for the longest time, I wanted to wish away. I prayed, begged, and pleaded for the Lord to cut it short. To change my story to fit what I wanted.

I’ve been staring at my computer for days trying to figure out how to fit all the emotions onto one screen, into one story.

How do I tell you that they called me when my daughter was five months old and told me I would be deploying in the fall?

{I was an Army National Guard helicopter pilot at the time}.

How do I tell you that we already knew Husband, an active duty helicopter pilot, would also be deploying in the fall?
Is it possible for you to feel the way I felt, bewildered and still surprised, when I climbed on a plane headed overseas?

I truly believed God would take this away. I thought this would go away if I said all the right things about God’s plan and His will and trust and sacrifice and all the other Christian buzzwords that sound great and echo hollow in our reeling hearts.

I was like Abraham, waiting for the lamb while I offered up my child. And when none came, when I waded through a long summer of preparation and emotion, oh, I was so angry.

I didn’t want to leave her. And I said all the right things about duty, and my job, and what I signed up for, but I’ll be honest with you- I never, for one second, thought it would happen to me. That’s another story for another day, but I really thought I would just sail through this Army life and have all the fun flying and none of the sacrifice. I was selfish, so selfish.

My sister and her husband took our daughter for a year. She was one and a half. I cried salty, unceasing tears through all the airports with the memory of her chubby arms squeezed around my neck in our last goodnights.

We got her back when she was two and a half. There will never be enough words to tell you how that felt. I tried, {and there are pictures of our reunion here}. I am still trying, even now, to tell that piece of the story.

It took me two years to stop being angry, and I still grieve the loss of time with my child. It took me two years and then some to understand, and be grateful for the stories He is writing for me and my family.

That’s the end thread of this story, and I am grateful. For the humbling of my selfish heart. For the dismantling of my pride. Even for the two and a half year spread between children that resulted in the gift of our first son.

The stories we fear become our Story and the hard parts change us, they carve into our souls and make new shapes. And maybe the mystery is that I am grateful for the shape I'm in, but I'm just honest enough to admit that most days, I wouldn't have chosen His method of carving.

I can grieve, and be grateful.

Friends - how has the Lord shaped you? What hard stories is He using to draw you closer to Him? I would love to hear them, and to pray for you.

 


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.


Heather's Story:

By Heather Tabers

 

I have often been envious of Christians who have amazing stories of how God rescued them from a life of drugs, alcohol, abuse, or poverty. To be brought out of a life of despair and into a life of hope is a beautiful testimony of God’s saving grace. My story is nothing like that and, to be perfectly honest, for a while I felt like my story had less value. Growing up in the church and in a Christian home, I was saved at the age of 9 on a Sunday evening. Sure, I had felt convicted of my sins- but at that point in my life, the worst thing I had ever done was stealing a sticker out of my best friend’s sticker book. That didn’t feel like much to need to be rescued from. As I got older and heard countless Christians tell of their dramatic salvation and rescue stories, I was disappointed that I would never have such a powerful story to share. I could not have been more wrong.

 

While I grew up loving Jesus, my faith was not tested much as a child. I always knew that Jesus was there but I didn’t feel like I needed him very often. That all changed when I was 21 years old. Having been diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease during my senior year of high school, my doctors told me when I got married at the tender age of 20 that if I wanted to have a baby I should start trying early as they were not certain that my body would be able to bare children. After our first year of marriage we decided to try and within three months I was pregnant. When I called my rheumatologist to tell her the good news, she had devastating news to share with me. The results of my routine pulmonary labs had come back showing that I had pulmonary hypertension and that I was most likely going to die.

 

The worst news I have ever received became the defining moment in my faith. My rheumatologist immediately sent me to one of the best perinatologists in the country who immediately urged me to abort my unborn child. She showed me case studies and read me the statistics- I only had a 50% chance of surviving the pregnancy, if I aborted the baby. If I refused, they did not expect me or the baby to survive. Against my doctor’s wishes, I chose to keep my baby. My doctor continued to pressure me with horror stories of how I would die hooked up to a ventilator in the hospital, suffocating to death, leaving my husband a widower to possibly have to raise our potentially premature, sickly baby alone. My faith was tested but it did not waiver. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the same God who rescued alcoholics, prostitutes, and drug abusers from a life of pain and shame was big enough to rescue me. I trusted His sovereignty and His will for my life and I placed both my life and my baby’s into His capable, loving hands.

 

The story of my pregnancy is long but it is a testimony of the power of prayer. Because so many believers came to the throne on our behalf, my daughter, Miracle Denene, is now a beautiful red-headed thirteen year old who loves Jesus. I learned to never compare my story to someone else’s. God paints beautiful pictures on the canvases of our lives. No two pictures look the same but each comes with the surrender of ourselves to His capable hands. Some pictures may be bold and very detailed while others are soft and subdued but they are all beautiful masterpieces of our God.

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.



Mary's Story

By Mary Parker

On August 29, 2010, things were a little hectic in my life. I had just started graduate school, and was a full-time student working about 20 hours a week. I lived with my future husband, and we were scheduled to be married in just a little over a month. School work, planning the last details of the wedding, and feeling imminent pressure from a number of sources left me drained, sad and alone.


I confided in my fiancée and one of our best friends how I was feeling, and we decided to try a church we had heard a lot about. Although I attended church frequently as a child, I always felt the messages were condemning and didn’t really apply to my life. Once I was on my own, friends and priorities like working and partying became my life, so church wasn’t even on my radar. Neither was God. I felt like something was missing in my life, and since I had tried everything to fill the void (work, school, relationships, lifestyle), it seemed like church was worth a shot.

That night I heard the gospel in a way I never had before, laid out in a way that I could understand and even see in my own behavior: God loves me, but due to sin I am separated from God. NO amount of work that I do on my own can ever bridge the gap between us, but God is constantly pursuing me through the love of Jesus, who died so that I might live. “The only way to the Father is through the Son,” Jesus, who lived a perfect life in a horrifically imperfect world, and by acknowledging that he is the “way, the truth and the life” I can return to communion with God.

It sounds so simple now, but it rocked my world. As a child, I legitimately thought the only reason people went to church was so they wouldn’t go to hell. No one had ever told me that the reason Jesus died was because God loves me.

So that night, full of conviction, I walked to the front of the sanctuary, wrote my name on a slip of paper and nailed it to a cross. My husband and dear friend made the same demonstration of faith that night, and our lives began to change forever.

A month later my husband and I were married. Two days after our wedding we were baptized together. We began volunteering at church and in the community. Our relationships were enhanced. We learned daily lessons about following Jesus, especially in ways of patience, mercy and grace, through reading our Bibles and worshipping with fellow believers. I learned that in my past I had been too focused on church to see Jesus shining through.

Following Christ didn’t mean that all our troubles were over, however. When I was in graduate school, we struggled financially, which led to credit card debt and tension in our new marriage. Once we realized this was a “treasure” in our lives that we were coveting and prioritizing more than Jesus, we made the move to surrender our finances to Christ and began tithing. On a household income of less than $40,000, we paid off more than $11,000 in debt in under a year. If I ever needed proof that God wants what is best for me, this was it.

During this same time, it became apparent that something in our lives needed to change. My husband was unfulfilled in his work, and I was daunted by anxiety and responsibility. We prayed and studied our Bibles, but couldn’t figure out a solution. We had always hoped for worldwide travel and adventure, but we felt stuck and stagnant, as though we weren’t in the right place to flourish. That’s when the United States Air Force entered our lives, by glowing recommendation of my husband’s aunt, a retiring Lt. Colonel.

After a lot of discussion and prayer, we became an Air Force family. We had one long hot summer in the west Texas desert, and then we moved to the frozen frontier of Fairbanks, Alaska. We love our home and the adventurous lifestyle we experience everyday in the extreme climate and adventure of Alaska. We still face struggles, big and small, daily.

Though we’ve searched for months and visited several churches, we haven’t found a new church home. We miss our church in South Carolina dearly; it is the community where we received salvation, were baptized and began walking with the Lord. Nothing can replace that, but we are seeking a new community of believers locally to share life with. We’ve also been trying to grow our family for more than a year, and have reasons to believe that we may have more difficulty than the average couple.

Whatever struggles life may bring, we know and are ever thankful for the salvation that we have in Jesus Christ. Our God provides, comforts, sheds light on a narrow path, and is always right beside us every step of the 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 her blog, Mary's Mischief. 



Laura's Story

Editor’s Note: This month, the ladies of the CMWF Writing Team are sharing parts of their stories with you. These military wives come from all different backgrounds and bring unique, beautiful stories to the table. We hope you enjoy getting to know us a little bit better!

By Laura Moore



When Darren and I were first married, we were not a military family. We were a young couple trying to figure out how to love each other and live together at the same time. It was kind of ugly at times. We were both selfish and had different ideas on how to do everything- and I mean everything! It was difficult, and looking back I wonder why I didn’t see that it was more important to love Darren instead of always needing to prove my point and determining to be right.

I didn’t know how God could save a marriage that was crumbling within the first few months.


Thankfully His plans were to bring us hope, and when Darren joined the military it was a turning point in our marriage. It didn’t make everything perfect, but I know that’s when I started to appreciate him a lot more.

Having him gone for extended times with little communication revealed how much I loved that guy. I was able to step back and see how God called me to support and love him. I came face to face with what was really in my heart. I don’t mean to say we didn’t have disagreements and that our marriage was always thriving. The first few years as a married couple, we struggled. But I’m thankful for how God would teach both of us and pull us closer year after year.

Here we are, nearing our fifth year as a military family, and I look back fondly at these years. I was told many times that the stress on our marriage from the military lifestyle would make it difficult to have a good marriage. I saw a lot of marriages end these last few years, but prayed God would strengthen ours no matter the circumstances.

He has answered that prayer, and we have made a strong effort to stay connected.

There were certainly challenges. How can you have a marriage with little to no communication month after month? I chose to marry Darren and wanted to spend my life with him, not apart. When he was home, most of that time he was very exhausted with little to offer. That was our biggest challenge.

I think if I didn’t have a relationship with the Lord then our situation would probably be very different. I would have felt hopeless all those years. But when issues presented themselves, we talked through them and didn’t shut each other out. That was not always easy but it was important to let each other know what was working and also what wasn’t.

We are currently on Darren’s shore duty and it has been amazing. I am so happy that he has a chance to rest. He still has a job that he works hard at here, but we’re soaking up this time together as a family.

We face unique challenges in our military marriages, but I would love to hear one thing that you do to stay connected to your spouse. Looking forward to reading your ideas in the comments!

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