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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.


For the military spouses: When freedom costs you, too

By Molly Huggins



Dear Military Wife,

It’s July, and there is a whole lot of flag waving happening here and everywhere, and being from the south, (and in a military town), we get an extra helping of gratitude for our Soldiers and the job they do. And I am so thankful for that. But not today. I want to talk to you, about what the cost of freedom is to YOU.

Yes, you.

Camp followers. Army wives. Household 6 ... and all the other nicknames they’ve assigned us over the years ... some of them not so nice!

The 5 am coffee makers, and the ship waver-offers, and you who slog your way to the post office twice monthly to send him his favorite barbeque sauce and the extra Xbox controllers and a stack of drawings from the seven year old.

The stoic ones and the hot teary messes (THIS GIRL).

Yes, I’m talking to you, the temporary single parent, and the frazzled momma at the grocery store in her yoga pants, who may not have showered in days and just fed her children bologna straight out of the package. (DON’T JUDGE ME!)

Or worse, you who want nothing more than to be a mom but can't seem to get pregnant because it’s impossible to do even just a little bit of life together.

Or you there, who dusts off your resume and starts job hunting again, because we go where he goes, which isn't always where the jobs go ... And my Guard girls (sorry, women;) who are foreigners at home, military wives a long way from a military town.

We don't wear the rank and we didn't slog through the mud in basic training (most of us, anyways) but we sure are putting our families on the line. And you try telling me when my seven year old is sobbing for her daddy that we don't sacrifice for freedom.

And I bet a fair number of us could pack a duffel bag like a professional. We’ve been sending them off to war for a good twelve years now.

I used to demure and say we aren't brave, it's just a life, etc. And still, I won't go shouting from the roof tops, “Look at me!”

But you? That's another story.

You ARE brave, and oh, do you sacrifice. And eyes open or squeezed tight shut, you stand with your Soldier Husband.

“But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” ~ Ruth 1:16

Ruth is committing to the family of her husband in this passage, but the idea here, to be a family wherever we land ... well, it fits, it does. I mean, it’s almost like, well, you know, OUR WEDDING VOWS.

And we make a life, and a home in clapboard boxes and dilapidated base housing. We make a life in the suburbs, and in the big city. Year in, year out. And yes, most of my furniture is neutral because you never know what the walls will look like in the next place, and I scratch my decorating itch with a never ending supply of accent pillows. And at the end of the day, month, or year, we made a home ... and next year we will pack it up and do it all over again.

This life, it doesn't define us. We claim citizenship in a heavenly kingdom and hold fast to the power of the gospel and our identity as a new creation in Christ.

But there are camouflage shapes carved out of my heart and it's okay to say that the carving hurt, and we sacrificed to get them.

So you. All of you.

Ecclesiastes tells us, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

One commentary (Gill’s Bible Exposition) breaks it down for us like this ...

“If a family, community, city, or kingdom, are divided against themselves, they cannot stand; but, if united, in all probability nothing can hurt them.”

Be brave. Be proud. Bear one another up. Us camp followers need to stick together.


How can you encourage a fellow military spouse today?
Find a spouse whose soldier is deployed and seek out ways to bless them. We know better than anyone what helps!


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.


Freedom to Choose

By Heather Tabers


 


“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19

It is easy to begrudge the hand that life has dealt us.

Often times, our life’s circumstances were thrust upon us and we had little, if any, say in the matter. Our parents. Our physical features. Our talents. Our physical ability. Our socio-economic status. These things often define who we are despite our ability to control them. It seems unfair that we are called to live a life we did not choose to live. We didn’t choose the disability. We didn’t choose the illness. We didn’t choose the abusive mother, the diabetes, the bankruptcy, or the limp. We didn’t choose it.

It is easy to feel trapped by the lack of choices you may have in your life. The enemy wants nothing more than to rob your life of joy and any feelings of hope that you may have.

The problem, for him, is that you DO have a choice. And so do I.

We have the freedom to choose joy in the midst of our less-than-joyful circumstances. When we are hated, we have the freedom to choose love. When we are sick, we have the freedom to choose gratitude for life. When we are slow, we have the freedom to choose to keep going. When we are deprived, we have the freedom to choose to trust God’s provision.

We have the freedom to choose, because our infinite, mighty God holds it all in His hands.


 

Reflection
In what areas of my life am I not choosing joy and gratitude?
Am I taking the time to thank God daily?
How can I trust more deeply in God’s provision for me and my family?

Prayer
Father God, as we look at the circumstances surrounding us, may we choose to never take our eyes off of You. Give us the strength and the courage to choose life in an environment of death. Help us choose to be lights in a dark world. Help us choose to point others to you. Thank You for giving us this freedom to choose that NO ONE can take away. 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.



You Can't Put A Pricetag On Freedom

By Mary Parker

 


My life so far can easily be divided into three distinct phases: A time when it was out of control, a time when I tried to control it, and the current phase, in which I accept that God is fully in control of my life (although I often have to remind myself of it throughout hectic days).

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the more I trust God to be in charge, the more freedom I feel in my everyday life, and in the storms that occasionally arise.
Because we come from different places and diverse backgrounds, I’d like to use an illustration I believe we can all relate to: money. Unfortunately, our husbands don’t get paid a lot to serve our country and it can often be difficult for military wives to access the education or careers necessary to provide a secondary income. Money can be a huge cause of stress on the individual and family unit. At one time or another, we all could use more money.

Before my husband and I were married, my finances were out of control. I had a limited understanding of a balanced budget and I LOVED shopping. I opened several store credit cards with sky-high interest rates and kept rotating balances. Things were not good, but I couldn’t even see it.

Shortly after we married, my husband and I began to struggle financially. The transition in lifestyle from single to married affected our money in ways we had not anticipated, and when I became a full-time graduate student my income essentially went out the window. Times were hard, and we knew it. My struggle to make our life easier often resulted in conflict as I grasped for control over our lives.

After my husband and I invited Jesus into our lives, things began to change. We heard a message about tithing that illustrated why we give financially and how Jesus wants to bless our money. I was amazed to learn that God actually challenges us to follow Him financially:

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it.” (Malachi 3:10)

God promises that when we are obedient to him financially by giving back the first fruits of what He has blessed us with, He will reward us with more than we can count. What an incentive!

We began to pursue Jesus by managing our money responsibly, always putting Him first. Although it wasn’t much to begin with, we gave with faith that those who can be trusted with little can be trusted with much (Luke 16:10). As we became more obedient with our purse strings, our lifestyle shifted a lot. Things that once seemed so important no longer were, and even though we were making less money and giving the first 10% back to God, we had more expendable income.
When my husband entered the Air Force, we applied these financial principles to our lives. We have been able to save, plan vacations, and live well. Recently, I’ve started working full-time, which has definitely helped, too. But, rather than splurging and living above our means, we have learned to first praise God for what He has given us--our jobs and ability to earn--then apply discipline to the rest of our spending so that we strive to please God.

Freedom means different things to different people. Maybe money isn’t a burden God has put on your heart, but I encourage you to trust him with anything you’re currently holding back and trying to handle on your own.
I can honestly tell you I feel free from the burdens of monetary stress and trust God fully with our family’s finances. And you can’t put a price tag on that!

Reflection

Do you have areas in which you struggle to give up control?

How do you think giving that control over to God might bring you freedom?

 

Prayer
Lord, thank You for being in control over all things in my life. Thank You for the freedom You give when I trust You with everything. Help me to let go of the things I am trying to control. 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.