By Heather Tabers
When I was a little girl, I was surrounded by family and friends that loved me very much. However, I was also surrounded by family that were less than pleased with my existence. In many ways, I was a disappointment. An inconvenience. A mistake. A burden. An embarrassment. As I grew older, I grew more aware of these opinions and carried their weight around in my heart. I was told that I should have been aborted. I was told that my life ruined the lives of others. I grew up bearing the weight of misplaced condemnation.
The definition of condemnation is “the expression of very strong disapproval” or “the action of condemning someone to punishment”. I understood this definition all too well as a child. That’s why Romans 8:1-4 is such a passage to me. Romans 8:1 begins, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” For a little girl who was raised in condemnation, this was such good news! Who I am in the world is nothing compared to who I am in Christ. I was not planned or wanted in this world, but the God who knew me since the beginning of time had a special plan for my life. Why? Verse 2 says, “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “That’s great for you, Heather. You were an innocent little girl. Your circumstances were not your fault. But you don’t know what I’ve done. I’ve messed up. People don’t like me because I’ve done some bad things.” There’s good news for you, too, dear sister. The rest of this passage reads, “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Did you catch that? God sent his Son, Jesus to the world to bear our punishment. That condemnation that you and I have both felt is not ours to bear any longer! It doesn’t matter if we deserve the guilt, shame, and punishment or not- Jesus took it! When we are daughters of the King, we are liberated to live a new life free of the things that used to weigh us down.
Maybe you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “I know I’m a child of God. I even teach Sunday School. But I’m still a sinner. I keep messing up. Why can’t I just let go of this sin in my life?” These verses have good news for you, too, sweet sister. God’s boundless, limitless, matchless love and mercy flow over us every morning. Each day that you wake up is a new day to live in the Father’s freedom. Were you a gossiper yesterday? His mercies are new every morning, so today you are free from that condemnation. Were you a crabby mom yesterday? His mercies are new every morning, so today you are free from that condemnation. Were you an adulterous wife yesterday? Whoa. Adultery? That’s serious stuff. Are you condemned for that? No. His mercies are new every morning, so today you are free from that condemnation. When you GIVE GOD your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and cleanse you from ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Not just the little stuff. Not just the stuff that isn’t really your fault. He forgives us from ALL of our unrighteousness.
Tomorrow is a new day, sister. Lay those sins at the foot of the cross tonight and wake up free tomorrow morning.
What sins do I need to lay at the foot of the cross?
Who do I need to forgive in my life?
Freedom from condemnation is not just a gift for me. Who do I know that needs to be set free?
Father God, You are mighty to save! You love the unlovable. You forgive the unforgivable. You bring new life to the dead. Bring new life in me today, Father. I lay my sin, my guilt, and my shame at the foot of Your cross. You bore my sins so that I would not have to carry the weight of condemnation any longer. Thank You for loving me, forgiving me, and creating new life within me. Amen.
By Mary Parker
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?
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
We are moving to a new (big) city in three months, and I’ll be a belly-swollen, bone-tired toddler mama desperate for roots and community and weeks away from giving birth. But still, I’ll be on my knees, all gratitude for the gifts, and the steadfastness of a Father who shows no shadow of turning from me.
Sisters, in seasons of difficulty, how can you be thankful?
Molly Huggins 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.
Psalm 91 is often referred to as the Soldier’s Prayer or the Soldier’s Psalm. Countless veterans of the many wars around the globe have prayed this Psalm and carried it with them into battle. As military wives, it is our responsibility to wield the Sword of God’s Word in our homes, and Psalm 91 is one of the sharpest swords in our arsenal. If your husband is deployed, this passage of scripture can be prayed as a hedge of protection around him in battle. If your husband is home, these verses can be prayed over your entire family as you seek God’s protection from not only physical harm, but also from oppression, spiritual attacks and other wicked schemes from the enemy.
If you are not in the habit of praying God’s Word over your husband, I encourage you to start with some of these verses from Psalm 91. You can insert your husband’s name as I have done below. Your husband may fight physical wars in the military but as Christians, we all fight in a much larger spiritual battle. As military wives, our roles are very significant. We are Warrior Princesses of the Most High God, called into His service as a Sword wielding warrior. Pick up your Sword, Princess! It’s time to battle for those we love.
Reflection & Prayer
Pray the words of the psalm over your husband today, and rest in the truth that God goes before him and beside him in any battle he faces.
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.