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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.


Here I Raise My Ebenezer
Music tells the stories in this wee family of mine. There is always a song, a singer, a note that accompanies the moments we treasure.

A recurring hymn woven in our tale - sung at weddings, funerals, countless church services, and even a few bedtimes - is “Come Thou Fount,” written in the 18th century by Robert Robinson.

 

If you are unfamiliar with the lyrics, let me highlight a few key phrases.

 

“Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise ...”

“Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come ... “


There’s more -I encourage you to listen to the whole song.  But for now ... have you ever thought about who or what Ebenezer is?

It comes from I Samuel 7, after the Israelites had been delivered from the Philistines. Samuel interceded for the Israelites as they cried out to the Lord. And the Lord answered, confusing the Philistines with a mighty thundering.

Then, “Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (I Samuel 7:12, NKJV).

Ebenezer is, literally, “a stone of help.”

 

Friends, I am here to tell you, it is only with a multitude of grace and a veritable mountain of Ebenezers that I can write to you with joy of His mercy and goodness in my life.

 

In eight plus years of marriage, we’ve lived through four deployments (with a fifth looming), six moves, five pregnancies, three babes, and the combat loss of my best friend. And He never fails to help. Scripture pours out of me when I think of each moment I cried out in my desperation.

There are too many to list them all.

 

So beloved, hear this.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13, NKJV).


I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord because I have. Again and again. In darkness, and in light. In grief, and in joy. In loss, and in new life.

The Almighty, the Namer and Counter of Stars - He carries me, His precious lamb, in the crook of His arm (Isaiah 40:11). And He promises, promises, to never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).

So here, here I raise my Ebenezer, my stones of help. Rocks made of the Word of life, poured out on parchment, cried out in desperation, sung from prisons, spoken from a bloody brow on a rough hewn cross, and whispered in the echoes of an empty tomb.

Hither by thy help, I come.


Reflection

Friends, what are your stones of help?

How has God shown you His goodness in the midst of despair?

If you can’t think of any, I challenge you to dig deep in His word ... find the promises so richly provided.

Prayer

God, thank You for being my Rock, and my refuge. I praise You because You give true hope in the midst of desperate circumstances. I lift up my cry to You today and ask You to meet my heart with joy. Fill me up with Your love. Help me to remember that You are always in control.  Help me to see Your goodness today, and to trust You always.



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.


When I Grow Up

Have you ever asked a young child what they want to be when they grow up? Often they will tell you their dreams of being a fire fighter, a veterinarian or a ballet dancer but not before changing their mind several times.

I’m afraid that’s how I am in my service to the Lord. In my adult life, I have been so many things: a die-hard nursery director, VBS director, 3-year-olds teacher, Christian Life ministry leader, women’s and military wives’ Bible study leader, prison ministry participant, cheerleading coach, coupon queen, international missionary, blogger and more. I’ve written manuals for nurseries, letters to inmates, curriculum for children and devotionals for military wives, yet I’m still looking for my niche. Sometimes I find myself asking God, “What do you want me to be when I grow up?”  I look at women who have been serving in their field of ministry for decades and wonder if that will ever be me.

I have come to realize that in every season of my service and ministry, God has taught me invaluable lessons and introduced me to those He needed me to minister to. My resume of ministry may not impress in any single department, but if I have served the Lord and shared His love, then I have fulfilled my calling. I’m okay with being well-rounded. In fact, I embrace it! And until God calls me to taper my skills and abilities to a specific calling, I’m going to continue enjoying the broad adventure He has led me to. After all, God made me this way. He created me with my many interests, varied passions, and a heart for all people. I may never go back to Africa, or to prison, or to cheer camp, but I know God has big plans for my future as long as I remain willing to go where He sends.

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”- Luke 4:18



Reflection
What season of ministry are you in right now?


Are you serving where you are most comfortable or where God wants you?


Are you willing to go where God leads you?


What is one way you can step out and serve this week?


Prayer
Father God, thank You for using us in ways we could have never imagined. Find our hearts willing and ready to go wherever You may lead us. Develop in us the talents and abilities You need for us to complete the work You are calling us to do. May we never compare our ministry to the ministry of others around us, but always keep our eyes focused on You and Your will for our lives. Thank You, LORD, for loving us and using us to share Your love with others. 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.


Grow in Patience, Not Impatience

It is amazing how much God loves us and nourishes our growth each and every day. God formed us “in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). While some good works start outwardly and have an impact on the heart, others begin with heart change reflected in our actions.

God has called me to be more patient. For some people this may not take a lot of work, but that certainly doesn’t describe me, and never really has. The more quiet time I spend with God, the more confident I am that God wants me to focus on enhancing the fruit of the spirit in my life that is most challenging: patience (Galatians 5:22-23).

This morning God challenged me to grow by extending grace to a stranger. I was strolling along down the dairy aisle when a woman in front of me made a sudden, wide U-turn, forcing me to cling to the rack of shredded cheese for dear life. Moments later we encountered one another in the 10 items or less self-checkout lane. As I quickly scanned my three produce items, I could hear her behind me sighing and saying some pretty hurtful things about me. Satan was on my left shoulder telling me to be offended and urging me to confront her in anger.

Instead, I chose to focus my thoughts on Jesus. He challenged me not to judge others because others can’t see God in my actions when I act impatiently. I was convicted to pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139: 23-24). So I scanned quickly, smiled, and wished her a good day.

When we set our eyes on Jesus, we can find the strength to extend patience and gentleness to others under any circumstance. Although a smile in the checkout lane is a small thing, it was given with the patient intention to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”
(2 Corinthians 1:4).

We live by God’s grace each day, and by extending grace towards others, we can do a good work in the lives of others as well as our own hearts.



Reflection

What situations tempt me to be impatient?

How can I better please God in situations when I choose not to judge others?

What opportunities do I have to pray for others each day?

Prayer
Father, thank you for always being patient with me, especially when I make mistakes. Thank you for not throwing my mistakes in my face or creating obstacles for me because of them, but welcoming me into your comforting, loving arms so that I might learn. Help me to be more patient with myself, others and my surroundings each and every day so that I may nurture the fruits of the spirit and become closer to you. Help me to be a more godly woman so that others can see your great works and love in my actions. Thank you God for loving me. I love you and worship only you. 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 on her blog, Mary's Mischief. 


It's Not a Masquerade: A Call to Come Together
Sometimes, life as a military spouse is like being smack dab in the middle of a masquerade ball. You know, the dance where everyone gently places a mask on and twirls around perfectly?  Being a military spouse isn’t comfortable. We have a hard time planting roots as we jump into a new community, church, job, or group of friends. Deep down, most of us are pretty lonely a lot of the time, but we’re pretending it’s all good.  We put on a mask. And it’s not helping anyone.

 

Our arms are full of babies, bottles, laundry; paper work spills onto the counters and kitchen table. We buy into the lie that everything will fall apart if we admit we’re not perfect so we don’t ask for help as we chug along with our mask in place.  It’s in the quiet moments that we discover we’re not doing well. And in those moments, how desperately we need to be reminded of the need for transparency with one another.

Proverbs 27:17 describes the kind of friendship God desires for us:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

God has created us to sharpen each other, to help us each become more like Christ, through authentic friendships. You and I need each other. We need to reach across the table and grab hands, to be told that it’s normal to cry when our husbands leave, and normal when we’re exhausted after juggling a full day of being mom, and that it’s okay to slip up! We can come together to encourage and lift each other up but only by slipping off our masks and showing flaws, and revealing just how much we depend on our great God.

We bless our sisters when we help them carry the load through authentic relationships. We have a rare and beautiful sisterhood that is unexplainable to those outside the military world. It’s our military sisters that pick up the kids, drop off a meal, call to make sure we’re alive, and give us that reassuring look when things are falling apart.

Drop the mask today. Keep loving and reaching out, because we truly need one another.

Reflection

How has a military spouse blessed you recently?

What is holding you back from being authentic with others?

Who are a few military spouses you can bless through friendship and prayer?

Prayer
Lord, thank You for loving me unconditionally, even in my failures and shortcomings. Your Word says that Your power is made perfect in my weaknesses. Help me to trust You for that. Thank You for the friendships You have given me as I walk through all seasons of life. Give me strength and courage to be vulnerable with others. I pray that you will make me a blessing to others as I walk with You, living authentically, relying on Your grace and not myself. 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 Embracing This Life.