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.
“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.
Dear Military Spouse,
Military life can be so lonely. Deployments, TDYs and overnight training exercises leave us home alone much more often than we would like. When the kids are sick, the car breaks down, or the washing machine starts leaking, we often find ourselves asking, “Where is my husband?!” Even harder on the heart are the nights we lay in bed alone, curled up with a t-shirt that still smells like him and praying that God would bring him home safely. It has been during those moments that God has revealed Himself to me in a deeper and more intimate way.
Since I was a little girl I have known God has my Savior. As a teenager I began to know Him as the Lord of my life. As an adult, I learned how to go to Him as my Father. But it was not until I found myself all alone in our bed one night that I learned how to trust and love God as my Husband. That’s right; I said that God is my husband.
Isaiah 54:5 says, “For your Maker is your Husband – the LORD Almighty is his name…”
I remember reading these words and wondering how God could possibly be my Husband. I continued reading and found that God tells us that He will call us back as if we were a wife “deserted and distressed in spirit.” Oh sister, have you ever felt deserted or distressed in spirit? It was as if God had penned those words just for me. The more I read the more I learned that God has deep compassion for me and those words soothed my aching heart. How good is our God? Not only is He a Father to the fatherless, but He is a Husband to the single mom (even the geographically single mom!).
Whether your husband is sitting next to you as you read these words, or whether he is deployed on a mission, or he has abandoned you and his marriage vows, your Husband God is never going to leave your side. His love and compassion are never ending. His promises are never failing. Dear Sister, I encourage you to bring every unfulfilled expectation in your heart to God, lay them at the foot of His cross and exchange it for the peace that passes all understanding. Then curl up in the welcoming arms of your loving God and rest in His presence. He loves you, dear Sister. He always has and He always will.
by Brandis Trionfo
One of the biggest changes in perspective I've had has been changing the way I thought of military spouses. I'll be honest--when I got out of the military and became a military spouse, I didn't have the highest respect for spouses. The only real interaction I'd had with them was when they came through the gate to show me their IDs, and often, it wasn't a pleasant experience.
I learned pretty quick after I got out that it was probably MY attitude that was making the experience bad and that military wives are a pretty strong bunch. We handle deployments, PCS moves, TDY's, smelly laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. etc, all without batting an eye and usually with only one hand. Oftentimes there's a baby on the hip taking up the other hand!
God poked and prodded me a lot to change my opinion.
Once I found Him, I found comfort in a few spouses who truly had so much to offer I think I learned more about military life through them than I did in my ten years of active duty service!
If it hadn't been for one of them, I may not be where I am today. If it hadn't been for another, I'm not sure I'd have worked through the issues my marriage faced. And if not for another, I'd have never learned how important and lasting our friendships really are.
As a military spouse, I've formed unlikely friendships that will stand the test of time.
I've become friends with people I wouldn't have ever thought to be friends with before, and it's so rewarding to know, at the end of the day, that not only is friendship vital, it's biblical. God lays something on our heart when he gives us a friend--and we military spouses are lucky to have each other--because there will come a time when we'll really need one another.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us:
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up."
See, once God gives us these friends, it's important that we're there for them!
Friendships are so very important. I'm thankful to have found friends who mean so much to me, and even more thankful to know that God has given them to me.
My perspective of military spouses has changed so much in the last few years because I've seen firsthand how hard it can be, but also how rewarding it is. With this, I urge you to reach out to another military spouse! Maybe there's someone in your husband's squadron or unit who seems like she might need a friend? Or maybe she's like me, and she might not seem too friendly or too keen on the idea of being friends with other spouses? Chances are she's afraid and she doesn't know how to approach other spouses. Maybe you keep seeing that mom at the playground but you don't want to step out of your comfort zone to say hello? Give it a chance! We all need friends.
Father, I thank you for friendship. I thank you that sometimes the friends we make truly become our family and in times where we aren't near family, we're able to stick by those who have walked our path with us. I thank you that you choose the people we need in our lives and give us what we need exactly when we need it. I pray that we're able to forge new friendships with even the most unlikely of people in an effort to draw closer to you. In your name I pray, Amen.
Questions for reflection:
1. Is there someone I can reach out to today?
2. What is God laying on my heart in regards to friendship? Is there someone I need to call? Someone I need to forgive?
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 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 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.
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.