By Laura Moore
Where do you tend to fix your eyes? On yourself? On the approval of others? On some other desire?
What steps do you need to take to fix your eyes on Christ?
Lord, I am so thankful for Your great love for me, and that You are all-sufficient in every season of my life. I confess that I look to other things besides You- those things never bring true peace. Help me to turn my eyes on You in all situations, for all things. I trust that You are more than enough for me. 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.
A little over a year ago my husband left for two months of training. We’ve been together for years and living without him provided new challenges for me, like how to sleep in an empty bed, how to make meals for one, how to laugh and how to talk through my day. I felt an emptiness without his presence.
Within a week I was lonely. Although I was surrounded by friends and family, nothing could fill the void my husband left. I was desperate for comfort but was reminded of Psalm 139. My anxious heart found comfort as I prayed the words of the Psalm,
“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” (23-24).
This prayer is a constant reminder to stay grounded as I strive to please to God while facing the challenges of missing an absent husband. The loneliness I felt afforded me the opportunity to dig deeper into God’s word.
The Psalmist exudes love for God and praises His companionship in verses 4-6; “Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” As I missed my husband and the way we would finish each others' sentences, I learned to recognize that my Father God is always present and knows my sentences before I even think them! Although this was knowledge I already had, the Holy Spirit comforted me by bringing it to my remembrance when I needed it the most.
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.
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 Mary's Mischief.
Verse 14 tells us to wait. Speciﬁcally, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord.”
What does it mean to “wait on the Lord?” What should your attitude be while you wait?
How easy is it for you to remember God’s promises during times of heartache? Why?
What is your typical response when you don’t get the answer from God that you were hoping for? What does God want for you during those times?
Father, give me the strength to wait on You in my times of heartache and fear. Let Your Spirit remind me of Your promises. I believe that You are good, and that You love me. I trust You as my safe dwelling, my shelter, my Rock. Amen.
Do you remember the Sesame Street song, "That's about the size, where you put your eyes, that's about the size of it"? It's a song all about perspective based on what our eyes are focused on. It's a great teaching tool for little ones, and it can be a reminder to us big ones as well!
Our perspective is based on where we put our focus. If we are focused on the One who loves us and has a unique and exciting plan for each of us, our perspective will be a good one. If we are focused on our circumstances, our perspective tends to be clouded by discouragement and a sense of being overwhelmed.
My prayer is that this space will be where you will find strength and encouragement to place your focus where it ought to be. May God bless you as you seek and follow him.
by Chantal Graupmann
When I first became a military wife I expected that I would automatically become the well-known stereotype of the “military spouse.”
This is the spouse who volunteers on a weekly basis for squadron AND base events, the spouse who has the uniforms crisply ironed, the spouse who stands strong and keeps the home without fear or discouragement in the face of deployment or temporary duty, and the list goes on.
I moved to our first duty station with the image of the ideal military spouse in mind, and then once I got there I slowly started to realize such a woman does not exist! And how could she?! I laugh now, knowing it was silly of me to think so. Yes, each and every one of us may embody one or two of the items on the list of “ideal” spouse but none of us alone can possibly do ALL those things.
As my perspective on the life of a typical military family changed, I began to understand in more depth the passage of Romans 12:6-8:
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (NIV)
How refreshing to hear that I do not have to do everything, or be the “ideal” military spouse, but instead can act upon the gifts that God has already bestowed on me. I can have joy, peace, and confidence to fulfill my role as military spouse and I do not have to become a different person or put on different hats to fill all the roles I hold in this life.
There is balance in knowing I am not expected to do everything! I love that I can come back to this verse in Romans and be reminded of this when I am feeling overwhelmed and overcommitted because I have forgotten God’s truth.
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 Heather Tabers
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” ~ Luke 1:45
“I have trust issues.” Have you ever heard anyone say that? Perhaps you have uttered those words yourself. Placing trust in someone can be very risky- there is great gain to be had if that person holds true to their word and great loss to be felt if they do not. Most likely we have all felt the crushing of our hearts when we trusted someone who proved to be untrustworthy, especially if the loss we suffered was great in doing so.
Mary was a young girl who found herself in a very difficult and embarrassing position. She was a virgin, engaged to be married and pregnant with a child that was not her fiancée’s (nor hers, really). She knew that she could be accused of adultery and stoned to death. Everything was at stake- her marriage, her reputation, her life. Yet, Mary chose to believe God. She believed the words of the angel and of her cousin Elizabeth. Most importantly, she trusted the heart of the God she loved and served.
Friend, you may find it hard to trust the people in your life. It is becoming increasingly difficult to trust our government. Sometimes it is hard to trust our husband, our family, or our friends, but the heart of our loving Father can always be trusted. This Christmas season I invite you to treasure the gift of Jesus in a fullness that you may have never known. Leave the doubts of your heart at the cross and seek the Baby in the manger with a completely open heart.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~Romans 15:13
Father God, we confess our seasons of unbelief and we lay them down before you. You know the wounds of our hearts and the reasons we doubt. Heal those areas in our lives, Lord. This Christmas season we want You to fill us completely and wholly with Your love. We believe, Lord. Amen.
1. Take a moment to reflect on how Mary and Joseph must have felt. Do you trust God that deeply?
2. Has there been a time in your life where you didn’t trust God, yet he proved Himself trustworthy?
3. Is there an area of your life that you need to let go and simply trust 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.
By Molly Huggins
I mentioned joy- it’s rejoice, in fact. Verses 4-7 tell us this:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Matthew Henry describes it in this way:
“Observe, It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in God, and to rejoice in him always; at all times, in all conditions; even when we suffer for him, or are afflicted by him. We must not think the worse of him or of his ways for the hardships we meet with in his service. There is enough in God to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst circumstance on earth.”
Rejoice in the Lord always. And this rejoicing? It breeds peace (v. 7), contentment (v. 11), and continued reliance on a God who moves the mountains, and clothes the lilies (v. 13.)
Is rejoicing a daily part of my life right now?
What things hold me back from fully rejoicing in the Lord?
What could I do to share joy with others today?
Almighty God, You are the author of life and beauty. Everything holds together in You, and Your creation shouts of Your glory to the ends of the earth. Today I surrender all the things that hold me back from joy- my worries, my busy schedule, my selfish complaints- I lay them all down at Your feet in repentance. Fill my heart with joy today, the joy that only comes from You. I will rejoice in You because You are good, always. Amen.
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.