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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.

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. 

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