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
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?
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.
I have a confession to make. Seven years and four deployments into this Army life, I still wrestle with fear. We all do. I tell my fellow Army wives that battling fear is a daily struggle. There is no magic pill, special prayer, specific activity, or pithy quote that instantly unfreezes you. That keeps you calm when he hasn’t called and he's on a mission and you are spiraling into crazy, imagining all that's gone wrong. You fight every day and towards the end, you sleep a little easier, you breathe more. You surrender every day to a loving, merciful Savior with a Master Plan and irresistible Grace.
But fear still lurks.
What fears have taken root in my heart recently?
What steps do I need to take to surrender those fears to God?
What other things do I try to lean on- instead of God- when I am afraid? How can I make an effort to trust Him above all else?
Lord Jesus, thank You for your unending love and grace. I'm so thankful for the hope I have in knowing You- that You will never leave me, that You have control over all that goes on around me, and that You are for me. Help me to trust You and believe truth about You, even when fear surrounds me. Give me the strength to trust You in all things. Amen.
Molly Huggins (www.allthegracebetween.com) 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.
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.
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?
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.
“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”
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.
Of course! Silly me to think all this time that I was alone. See, in my fear of branching out I forgot to call on the one who is my refuge. I forgot to call on the one who gives me strength.
Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.” (NLT)
How can you allow God to meet you in your lonely times?
What would it look like for you to fully trust God with the season of life you’re in?
Father, thank you for showing me that your ways are always right and that you are my fortress. Help me to not be scared. Help me to know that you are with me no matter where my fears take me. Help me to see where you would have me go and to know that you lead the way. I ask that you give me “family” to help comfort me along with your word. I pray in your name, God. Amen.
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.
by Chantal Graupmann
Editor's Note: This month we are welcoming two new members to our blogging team here at CMWF. Today's post is Chantal's first one with us. Welcome, Chantal! We're so glad to have you sharing your story with us!
As followers of Christ we all have defining moments in our faith where God asks us to follow Him.
Choosing to let Him guide our family as we joined the military was one of those moments for me.
When my husband and I got married, the military was not a thought in my mind. We planned to stay in our home state of Minnesota, where almost all our family resides, and raise our future children. We never discussed other options. But two years into our marriage the economy took a downhill turn, and what I thought would never affect us, did. My new husband lost his job, and we were faced with the same difficult situation of unemployment that many Americans were facing. Young and newly married, we were completely unprepared for the difficulties that lay ahead.
During the following year and a half, finding work was tough. I was earning my Bachelors degree and working part time, while my husband painstakingly searched for suitable work to keep us afloat. With little hope in sight, we turned our ears all the more to Jesus in desperation. Jesus, what do you have in store for us?
Never before had we been so open to listening to the Lord.
God began to deal with my lingering fears as my husband left for basic training. He led me to the first chapter in Joshua, specifically verse 9:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Those words spoke so strongly to my heart during the time my husband was away. They were a source of great comfort. He was encouraging me to trust in His plan like never before and I knew He would form our family into what it should be.
A little over three years have passed since I was encouraged with that passage in Joshua. As I look back, I can see how God has used the military to shape our extended and immediate family. He has kept His promises to me, and no matter where we are, He has provided us with support in the form of family and great friends. Our family is stronger and healthier than it was before the military because distance has forced us to communicate better. God has placed others in our lives at each duty station to fill a specific role where family would traditionally serve, which has created lasting friendships.
This passage of scripture continues to encourage me on the days I feel like military life is an impossible feat. It reminds me that He has chosen our family for this task, and no matter where the military may take us or how it will separate our family, He will be there to provide for our needs and to strengthen us.
What fears are lingering in your heart today?
Where are you struggling to trust in God’s provision?
Who is one person you can come alongside of today to encourage with the message of God’s faithfulness?
Lord, thank you for your constant presence in my life. Thank you for your promise to be with me wherever I may go. Your plan for my family is perfect and as you continue to lead me, I hold onto your promises for the difficult and sometimes lonely days that military life holds. I pray that you continue to go with us all our days.
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.
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.
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.