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CMWF Blog

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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.


Butterly Patience
Butterly Patience


by MaryLee Heller


When I was in elementary school my dad was still serving in the US Navy. We were stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which was still a hub for fleet training.

One of the more powerful memories that came out of GTMO was a day when I quietly wandered off, at school recess. I've always loved nature and there was plenty of wonder to be found there. On this day I found a butterfly's cocoon that was clear and I could see the butterfly moving inside. It was hatching. I couldn't tear myself away. Soon, friends found me. Most wandered off, bored. A very few stayed.

When recess ended, the teacher found us. In an elegance that I would not understand until much later, we were allowed to remain outside and finish watching the emergence. “But,” she warned, “do not touch or try to help it. It must struggle to become strong enough to live.” The butterfly fought, struggled, and wriggled. Soon it stood, allowing its wings to dry, to open, to expand, to strengthen. It went from a simple, dark, fuzzy creature with hints of wing structure, to a regal monarch butterfly. All too suddenly it flew off.

It seems to me that we all have times in life where people around us are like butterflies fighting their way out of cocoons. My grown sons went through it between the ages of 16 and 18 before they suddenly needed to fly away. My husband is retiring from the Navy now. Pregnant friends wait for babies. Sick friends wait for health. Embattled marriages and other relationships often have one in struggle and another waiting and watching. 

We cannot help them as they struggle to exit their confines. We cannot hurry them as they dry and strengthen their wings. We must do something equally hard: we must be patient.

In the King James Version of the Bible, patience is often translated as "long-suffering." It doesn't say "short inconvenience" or "brief interruption of frustration." It is suffering alongside someone as they struggle or as they perch in a wait. It is witnessing their change, in true awe. It is knowing that we are doing nothing, but much is happening that is beyond our control. Something is happening, even though we are frustrated at our own lack of influence or activity. There is really nothing that we can do to help the butterflies in our life—except watch and wait and celebrate when they begin to soar into life again.

"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant," says 1 Corinthians 13:4. It seems to me that it's not about whether or not we have times of wait—all love has times of wait, according to this verse. It seems to me that it's more about how we wait.

 

Prayer for the wait: 

Father God, please help me to endure the suffering alongside this person who I care so deeply for. Please help me to trust you and what you are doing as I just witness, in faith, what you will do to work this for the good of us who love you. And, help me, please, to wait in the spirit of kindness. Thank you. Amen.

 



MaryLee is a grown Navy "brat," veteran of the US Navy, and wife to a recent Navy retiree. She home educates two of the four children she shares with her husband of more than twenty years while authoring novels and serving as Director of Christian Military Wives Fellowship. In her copious amounts of free time she pursues her creative, Bible study, and Bible teaching passions.


Change is the Constant
Change is the Constant


by Molly Huggins


​Change is the one constant in this Army life of ours.

We are on our fifth home in nine years. We’ve spent four and a half of those nine years apart. Our little family has expanded by three. And always a steady flow of orders issued and changed at the eleventh hour.


I know I am singing a familiar refrain to you all. 

Currently we are rejoicing at the return of my husband safely from Afghanistan, his fourth deployment complete. It brings me so much joy to rearrange the spaces in our home to include him. What bedtime looks like with daddy. What breakfast looks like with daddy. What Saturdays look like with daddy. {A whole lot of donuts!} 

There are boots on the floor, dirty uniforms draped over the chair, empty Diet Coke cans NEXT to the trash bin, and I couldn’t be happier. The Husband is home.

But with return comes reintegration, and with reintegration comes more change. I am equal parts giddy and panicked.

That is just a small snapshot of us. Your pictures may look wildly different - your moments anchored by circumstances nothing like mine. But the change? The change is constant. 


And friends, it’s far too easy to be afraid in the face of change. To curl up, overwhelmed at the immensity of each thing. So for this season, for all your seasons of change, may I offer this reminder from the heart-cries of Jeremiah: 

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

(Lamentations 3:21-25).

 
In the midst of hard, constant change, His steadfast love never ceases.

Every morning, every morning, I am refreshed by compassions made new. And in every season of change in our life, the threads of grace and mercy shine bright, written by a loving, faithful Father.

Great is His faithfulness.





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.



Changing What "It Is"
Changing What

by Mary Parker


If there’s a phrase that has always peeved me when others say it, “It is what it is” takes the cake! The writer in me hates the undefined antecedent. All of me is disturbed by the concept that although something is not right, not good, or in some other way displeasing, we must accept it without trying to change it.

Something I’ve learned through a core value in my home church and my walk with Jesus is that growing people do, in fact, change.

Change can be hard, but necessary. 

Although my wedding day is filled with beautiful memories, I’m happy that my marriage continuously changes for the better, rooted in discipline and intentional improvement. On our wedding day, our marriage wasn’t where it needed to be – Will and I were intrinsically selfish people not yet sure how to navigate the world as a dynamic duo.

We could’ve simply thrown our hands in the air during our first marital conflict and muttered, “It is what it is,” but we decided to fight for one another, not against one another. To fight for the vows we made to God and one another in front of our family and friends. To fight for a love we believe in, and want to learn more about.

There have been times since then where it could have just been easier to quit rather than adapt, too. TDYs, last minute changes in plans, challenges in seeing family and feeling stranded in the Arctic wilderness (strictly hypothetical, obviously), for example.

But we adapt and seek God’s will in all circumstances, aware that His will won’t always match our plans.

Paul writes in his letter to the church in Rome, 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Change can be hard, but beneficial.

The world tells us to be mad when others hurt us. To react when we’re angered. To show hostility toward our enemies. Learning from Jesus’ examples in life has helped me shift from bitterness toward others to forgiveness, from frustration to acceptance, and sometimes even joy and peace over things that were once aggravating (loud chewing for instance). 

These heart changes, however small, create shifts in our thoughts, which result in behavior modification, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45b).

It’s a daily commitment, but I’m learning to rely on God’s strength to make changes in my life so I can ultimately be more pleasing to Him and, honestly, be a more pleasant person to be around.

As for challenges in marriage, often posed by the military, seek God’s will as husband and wife, open to change, and work toward a daily-renewed union.

 

Father, thank you for the blessings you have shown me in this life. I pray you will supply the strength to help me make changes in my thoughts toward others – help me to be more pleasing to you and love others more fully. Show me your will so I may obey any changes in my life and marriage you are asking of me. Help me to live for you today and every day. Amen.


Questions for Reflection: 

*What changes can I make to improve my attitude today?

*How can committing my perspective to be more pleasing to God
affect my thoughts, behavior, and relationships?


 


 

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.


Calm in the Midst of Change
Calm in the Midst of Change

​ 

by Chantal Graupmann

The butter dish.


It's a simple yet useful tool every kitchen should have, and we have never owned one. This little fact drives me crazy. I cannot count the number of times I have noted that I need to buy one, but for some reason or another, a butter dish is never purchased. Instead, our butter gets placed in a bowl, on a plate, or sometimes even stays on the counter in its wrapper. This seemingly small annoyance irks me in a big way, as I constantly waste time and energy as I move the butter around the kitchen because the container is too large, takes up an awkward amount of space, or it makes a mess. 

 
Yet, isn't that a picture of how our lives can be? We sit, day after day, knowing that a small change can make a big difference in our lives. Yet we move this or that, avoiding the real problem.


James 4:8 states:  "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." 


Our family is about to experience our very first deployment in a matter of just a couple short weeks. Not only that, but my husband and I have been making some decisions about the way we want our life to look, the way it should look, as followers of Christ. Talk about big changes.


These things, these important things, have been in the back of our minds for some time now. However, just like the butter in our kitchen, we have failed to address the small change that can make such a huge impact in our lives.


The simplicity and usefulness of James 4:8 bores into my heart: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” 


All we must do is draw near!


My countless hours of worry, of looking for answers, of outright avoidance have all been a waste of precious time. If I simply seek God, he will be my source of all comfort and he will guide me in the right direction with his constant presence and conviction.


This truth helps me stay calm in the midst of all the change happening in our lives. I have found that taking even 5 minutes in the morning to seek God makes a huge impact on my attitude and my perspective throughout the day. 



Questions for Reflection:

*Are you willing to make a small change in your life and draw near to God?

*What are some practical ways to "draw near" to Him?




​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.


The Biggest Change
The Biggest Change


by Brandis Trionfo


Our biggest change as a military family came about when my husband received orders to Cheyenne, Wyoming. At the time, I was still active duty Navy. Wyoming isn’t exactly a hotbed of Naval activity, so we were at a crossroads in our marriage--merely 6 months into it. I was newly pregnant with our first child, and already had almost 10 years in the Navy. We had some big decisions to make.

This was before I was a true Christ-follower. I can say I was always a believer, and looking back now I can see how He had a hand in every step we took.

I made the decision to get out of the Navy. I knew if I stayed in we’d be separated for months at a time. I knew I’d be on a ship, nowhere near my husband or our son.

Boy, talk about a BIG change. I went from being a full-time Military Police Officer to a military spouse, and a first-time stay-at-home mom on top of it. We moved to Wyoming in April, and the following February, I met Christ. I was so very lonely--I didn’t know how to reach out to other people and I didn’t have many friends. My husband was gone for 4 days at a time and I’d reached my breaking point. Our marriage was not doing well.

Tony convinced me to go to a spouse’s function on base one day and I met up with a woman whose husband worked with Tony. She invited me to her church and the Spirit moved me, y’all. I met up with her the following Sunday and walked into a new life. The church was doing a sermon series titled, “Desperate Households,” about marriage. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Christ was what was missing from my life. He met me right where I was at. He always does, doesn’t He? I sat in my chair, tears pouring down my face, and I KNEW that I’d been pretending for far too long. 


Meeting my Savior that day was the biggest change I’d seen, military or no.


See, the day I surrendered to Christ was the day that my life began to make sense. All the things I’d done up to that day were just preparing me to open my heart to Him. Most of us know the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Don’t you just feel hope when you worship the Lord? When you accept Christ into your life you begin to see changes that you can’t even describe. You suddenly know that He’s got plans for you!

Talk about a change for the better! Once I began to regularly attend church and follow Christ, my marriage improved. I’m not saying it’s perfect (we’re pretty big on NOT being perfect, haha!), but we love each other. Once we made Christ the center of our home, we learned quite a few lessons. And six years, three kids, and two duty stations later, we’re still going strong.

Where do you need our Heavenly Father to meet you at today? I can tell you this for sure: He’s there. He’s waiting for you, calling to you, with arms wide open. He loves you more than you can ever imagine and He has plans for you! You are called by Him. He has written your name.

Father, I thank you for your unending grace. I thank you that you are always willing to meet me where I am and give me the strength to go forward. Lord I pray that you would give me the ability to accept the inevitability of change and to know that you are sovereign. I ask that you remind me who I am in you, and to remember that all changes in my life are according to your plans for good. In your name, Amen.


Questions for reflection:

*What changes in your life have showed you your need for God and His grace?

*Where has the Lord met you in your life at the weakest moments?





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.


Dear Military Spouse: Fighting Back Negativity


Dear Military Spouse,

I don’t know where you are or exactly what you’re going through, but I am sure that your life is FULL of challenges. From the sudden changes that can occur with moves, TDYs and the uncertainties of deployments, we always have to be on our toes and ready to adapt. Combine those potential hardships with the demands of everyday life and work, and being a military spouse becomes a difficult job description to fulfill.

As the new kid on the block at our first base, I had all sorts of anxieties about meeting people and getting plugged into the community. When things didn’t progress as quickly as I had hoped, I became discouraged. When I wasn’t able to put my hard earned Master’s degree to work immediately, I began to feel worthless and lost. Fear and doubt became my enemy and I felt my faith becoming strained and tested.

Whether the enemy takes shape in the form of negative thoughts, negative people in your surroundings, or excruciatingly difficult circumstances, God wants to redeem you.  In the Old Testament, God is described primarily as the Redeemer. As the Israelites struggled in Egypt, the wilderness, and under Babylonian rule, God rescued them from their enemies, offering salvation and forgiveness. In the New Testament, the blood of Jesus is provided as an ultimate promise of redemption for all who accept Him. God is the redeemer of our lives and circumstances. He has the authority to rescue us from all our enemies if we simply reach out and ask for His help.

As I worked hard to thwart negativity, I recalled this passage:

 “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:2-5).

Remembering how God pulled me out of a pit of despair in order to grant me new life helped me understand this truth: God saved me for a purpose! God gives us a new blessed life in free of fear and worry.  He brings us from deep darkness into marvelous light. Putting that sharp contrast into perspective
reminds me to be thankful, no matter the circumstances.

I am alive in God! I am whole in Christ! I am redeemed and set free! I am forgiven! I choose not to live in fear!

Dear Sister, as you walk through today- potentially a difficult path where you feel the pain of every step- I ask you to remember where you have been and how God’s love has saved you. Cling to the truth of His salvation: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23). Remember Jesus’ sacrifice and hold onto the hope of salvation. Know that as our circumstances change, our God stays the same, and He wants to redeem you today! 


Love,

Your Sister in Christ, Mary 




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.


His Faithfulness

I recently walked through a season of loneliness while my husband was away frequently, and lived far from family. I learned a lot in the last few years about who I am and how God works in a heart. I also learned that nothing He brings us through is without purpose. He always has a plan, and He has proven himself trustworthy during years that were difficult.

 

We recently moved to a different duty station and I’m thrilled about this one. Beforehand, I didn’t know we were going to move close to family. I was convinced we would find ourselves in another location far from our loved ones. But God blessed us and brought us to a place of rest, and I am delighted!  He is faithful to care for us, and in this change of seasons, I’m learning He knows us well and delights in blessing our families. But, I’m aware in order to grow we have to go through times of trial.

 

Philippians 1:6 says this:

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 

I don't know what difficult season you find yourself in.  Maybe your spouse is away, or the work hours are long and you are desperate for a break. Don’t give up. Stand firmly in Christ, being confident that God is going to keep on working in you and through you, no matter what circumstances you might face. Trust that God will be faithful to your family, and that this season is part of His amazing plan for you.

He will use this experience for His glory and your good.

 

The Lord arranged our circumstances here in a way that I could never have dreamed as a military family. We find ourselves in the Midwest, which is home to me. Our family lives nearby, and our home is beautiful! I think it’s a lot easier to praise God when you have first walked through a valley. It’s nice to find ourselves on this mountain and to see a reward for all the stretching and pulling God allowed our family to go through.
He is faithful. And He will finish the work in you that He started.


Reflection

 

Am I trusting the Lord in every area of my life?

 

What things do I struggle to trust Him with?

 

Where have I seen God’s faithfulness in my life lately?


Prayer

Father God, You are true and faithful. I know that You promise to continue working in me and through me, even in difficult times. Help me to trust You for that. Give me eyes to see Your goodness today, so that I might live a life of praise and not a life of complaint. I trust Your plan, because You are good. Use me today to build Your kingdom. 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 her blog, Embracing This Life.