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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.


When God Provides Family: On moving, loneliness, and trust
Editor’s Note: We are so excited to welcome another new contributor this month- Brandis Trionfo! Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Brandis. We can’t wait to hear more!

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There’s a framed sign in my living room that says, “Family. A gathering of folks you love, hand chosen by God above.”

I believe that’s true in so many more ways than one. In military families, it’s not just our real family; it’s other families, friends, co-workers, church families, people who are thrown together after a PCS to live life together.

When I first moved to Florida, I was alone with two kids- two and four years old- and I was about 6 months pregnant, by myself. My husband’s training was lasting longer than we’d originally planned and our house had sold, so rather than rent a place, I packed it up and left.

Man, was it lonely. There were days it was more than the unbearable heat that bothered me. I didn’t know a soul, had a hard time finding a church, and in general was too tired to try to go out and meet people. I kept thinking to myself that I just needed to wait until my husband got there, then I’d be able to meet people.

One day after (another) trial of a church that just didn’t feel right, I was done. Once we got home, I broke down crying in my living room, asking God what I should do. I was lonely, tired, scared, afraid of the choice I’d made to move alone--if I couldn’t handle a few months alone while my husband was safely in school, how would I handle a deployment to somewhere unknown?

Somewhere a voice whispered, “You’re not alone.” I thought I imagined it and I looked up from my spot on the couch to see my boys watching Disney Jr., and I heard it again, “You’re not alone.”

Of course! Silly me to think all this time that I was alone. See, in my fear of branching out I forgot to call on the one who is my refuge. I forgot to call on the one who gives me strength.



Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.” (NLT)


I’m safe in the arms of the Lord.

With that comfort, I was able to reach out to our pastor in Wyoming, who was able to recommend a church that was a perfect fit for us. In that church, I found a new family--a family that could help me, guide me, and show me that even with my husband gone, I wasn’t alone.

In the military life we’re alone a lot. We move away from our families and we’re forced to live out of our comfort zone. But take heart, friends. We may feel lonely and scared and wonder what we’re thinking--but our Father is always one step ahead of us. He reaches out to us, calls us by name, and gives us what we need WHEN we need it. It’s not on our time, it’s on His.

Don’t be scared of the lonely. Don’t be scared of leaving.

Once I was able to branch out and give it to God, I gained a new perspective. I was able to help other military wives, who were even newer at this than me, to see that they aren’t alone either.

He is with us.

 

Reflection
How can you allow God to meet you in your lonely times?
What would it look like for you to fully trust God with the season of life you’re in?

Prayer
Father, thank you for showing me that your ways are always right and that you are my fortress. Help me to not be scared. Help me to know that you are with me no matter where my fears take me. Help me to see where you would have me go and to know that you lead the way. I ask that you give me “family” to help comfort me along with your word. I pray in your name, God. Amen.




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.


Freedom to Choose

By Heather Tabers


 


“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19

It is easy to begrudge the hand that life has dealt us.

Often times, our life’s circumstances were thrust upon us and we had little, if any, say in the matter. Our parents. Our physical features. Our talents. Our physical ability. Our socio-economic status. These things often define who we are despite our ability to control them. It seems unfair that we are called to live a life we did not choose to live. We didn’t choose the disability. We didn’t choose the illness. We didn’t choose the abusive mother, the diabetes, the bankruptcy, or the limp. We didn’t choose it.

It is easy to feel trapped by the lack of choices you may have in your life. The enemy wants nothing more than to rob your life of joy and any feelings of hope that you may have.

The problem, for him, is that you DO have a choice. And so do I.

We have the freedom to choose joy in the midst of our less-than-joyful circumstances. When we are hated, we have the freedom to choose love. When we are sick, we have the freedom to choose gratitude for life. When we are slow, we have the freedom to choose to keep going. When we are deprived, we have the freedom to choose to trust God’s provision.

We have the freedom to choose, because our infinite, mighty God holds it all in His hands.


 

Reflection
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?

Prayer
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


 

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.



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.


Forgiven

By Mary Parker

 

Have you ever made a mistake? Inevitably, we have all been wrong in one way or another. What’s often worse than actually being wrong is the humiliation of admitting you were wrong. Although God desires for us to choose the wisest decisions, He also understands we are human. He knows that we will make mistakes before we make them, however, we can rest in His promise that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).


 

I am so thankful that our perfect Father in Heaven never says, “I told you so,” or asks, “Why did you do that? Didn’t you know any better?” He does, however, expect us to confess and repent of our sins (1 John 1:9). In turn, He promises to show us how to make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:6). Confessing our sins and admitting our faults becomes easier when we understand the depths of God’s forgiveness towards us and His love for us.

 

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zepheniah 3:17Zephaniah 3:17 tells us, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” How encouraging and comforting! Not only does our Father forgive us for the mistakes we make, but he protects us and rejoices over us in love. God’s love is so enveloping and unconditional that it can be difficult for the finite, human mind to comprehend and accept.

 

As we grow in our faith, we will grow more thankful for the spirit of conviction versus condemnation. In our thanksgiving, we invite God’s presence into our hearts and lives, creating a constant connection, where we can rest assured that He will hear our requests. As we enter into a season of giving, it’s important to reflect on all that we have been given, in prayer and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). God is always with us, a loving guide ready to lead us back to His path.



Reflection
What is the difference between condemnation and conviction? Why does it matter?
What is God convicting you of today? How can you be obedient?
How does God’s gift of conviction teach us to deal with other people in our lives?

Prayer
Father, thank you for being so gentle and patient with me, even when I make mistakes I should have learned from. Thank you for providing the perfect example of Jesus to show me how I may be a Godly person on this earth. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me so that I may be set free from the bondage of condemnation for my sins, so that I may live a life praising you. Show me how to live for you each and every day of my life. In Jesus’ name, 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.


God's Great Exchange Program

My family is blessed to be loved, nurtured, and taken under the wing of a wonderful woman of God named Sandy. She is the mother that my heart adopted. A few months ago she spent a week in our home, pouring out her heart, loving on us, and leaving a legacy of God’s love for my children. In all of the little things that we did as a family, God used Sandy to impart pearls of wisdom, to help us see Him more in our every day lives, to teach us life lessons, to show us His love.

 

One afternoon, Sandy saw my 9 year old son swatting frantically at a bee. He shared with her that he is very afraid of bees and the lesson she taught him was one I will never forget. Tenderly, she shared with him that she also had fear, but that she had learned how to be free from it- by giving it over to God. She told him that she made an exchange with God- He took her fears, and gave her His peace to fill the void.

 

This truth is for us, too. When we are fearful, we can exchange our fear for His peace. There is no fear too big or too small for us to bring to Him; He gives us peace from His Spirit freely.

 

As I reflect on those wise words from my friend, I cannot help but think of the many opportunities that exist in God’s “great exchange program”. We can exchange our sorrow, for His joy. We can trade in our pain or His healing. Psalm 30 reminds us of this promise, as the psalmist praises the Lord for a great exchange in his life:

 

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise you forever.

What about you, sister? Do you have some old regret you want to get rid of? Just give it to Him and He’ll give you a new start in return. Are you buying into lies from the enemy about your value, your worth, your purpose? Trade those lies for God’s promises in scripture, and let His truth remind you of your magnificent worth to Him. Exchange your past for His future. God’s exchange program is BIG, and the possibilities are endless.



Reflection

Am I living a life filled with the peace and joy of Christ?


What fears, lies, or regrets am I holding in my heart today?


How can I encourage a fellow sister in Christ to be a part of God’s great exchange program?

Prayer
Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice. You gave your life for me on the cross, in order to pay for my sins. That is the greatest, most beautiful exchange in all of history. Don’t let me forget it, Lord. Bind my heart to Your gospel. Thank You for all the exchanges You provide in my life, God. Today, I choose to lay down my ________________ in exchange for Your ____________________. Do a great work in my heart, Lord, that I might know and glorify You more. Amen.



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.


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. 





When I Grow Up

Have you ever asked a young child what they want to be when they grow up? Often they will tell you their dreams of being a fire fighter, a veterinarian or a ballet dancer but not before changing their mind several times.

I’m afraid that’s how I am in my service to the Lord. In my adult life, I have been so many things: a die-hard nursery director, VBS director, 3-year-olds teacher, Christian Life ministry leader, women’s and military wives’ Bible study leader, prison ministry participant, cheerleading coach, coupon queen, international missionary, blogger and more. I’ve written manuals for nurseries, letters to inmates, curriculum for children and devotionals for military wives, yet I’m still looking for my niche. Sometimes I find myself asking God, “What do you want me to be when I grow up?”  I look at women who have been serving in their field of ministry for decades and wonder if that will ever be me.

I have come to realize that in every season of my service and ministry, God has taught me invaluable lessons and introduced me to those He needed me to minister to. My resume of ministry may not impress in any single department, but if I have served the Lord and shared His love, then I have fulfilled my calling. I’m okay with being well-rounded. In fact, I embrace it! And until God calls me to taper my skills and abilities to a specific calling, I’m going to continue enjoying the broad adventure He has led me to. After all, God made me this way. He created me with my many interests, varied passions, and a heart for all people. I may never go back to Africa, or to prison, or to cheer camp, but I know God has big plans for my future as long as I remain willing to go where He sends.

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”- Luke 4:18



Reflection
What season of ministry are you in right now?


Are you serving where you are most comfortable or where God wants you?


Are you willing to go where God leads you?


What is one way you can step out and serve this week?


Prayer
Father God, thank You for using us in ways we could have never imagined. Find our hearts willing and ready to go wherever You may lead us. Develop in us the talents and abilities You need for us to complete the work You are calling us to do. May we never compare our ministry to the ministry of others around us, but always keep our eyes focused on You and Your will for our lives. Thank You, LORD, for loving us and using us to share Your love with others. Amen.




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.


Splashed: Trusting God in the Storm
I hate getting splashed. I mean, I really hate getting splashed. I don't like running through the sprinkler or getting sprayed with the hose. I don't even like getting splashed when I'm in the pool. The problem is, in life, we get splashed a lot. God gave me an image a few years ago when everything in my life was falling apart. I would curl up in a ball in my bed and cry, begging God to hold me as I cried myself to sleep. But God gave me this beautiful image of a small child, curled up in His great big hands with waves crashing all around underneath and lightning striking across the sky, sleeping peacefully and blissfully unaware.

That's a beautiful image, and it has carried me through many dark nights. But it would probably be more accurate if the little girl were sleeping in a wet soppy puddle in God's hands. Oh, how I long to be blissfully unaware of the pain, devastation, and sin that surrounds me! How I would love to snuggle with my Papa God, unscathed by the storms. But you and I both know that when the storms come, we get splashed, even in the safety of our Creator's hands.

God has offered us many promises in His Word. He promised to always be with us (Joshua 1:9), He promised to deliver us from bondage if we commit ourselves to Him (1 Samuel 7:3). But He never promised it would be easy. When He promised to carry us over the storms of life, He never promised that we wouldn't get wet.

Friend, are you getting splashed? I know I am. I feel like a soppy, wet mess. But I am SAVED. I cannot be devoured by the rising waters! I cannot be lost at sea! My Pappa God will hold me safely and securely in His hands. He will not drop me! Do you know that friend? Do you believe it? Can you wipe the wet hair from your eyes for just a minute to peek out over God's hands and take sight of the roaring storm? Can you see what you are being delivered from? Together, let's be mindful to stop fussing when we get splashed and be grateful that we've been saved!

1 Timothy 1:12 "That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day."

 

Reflection

What storms in my life are causing me panic and fear?

Am I trusting God to carry me through these storms?

What fears do I need to surrender to Him?

Where can I see God’s hand in these storms and thank Him for it, even now?


Prayer

Father God, You are my strong tower, my refuge. Thank You for carrying me through so many storms. Even when storms rise up on every side, I know that my salvation lies in You, and it cannot be shaken! Help me to trust in Your strength, and surrender my fears to You in this season. I believe that You are strong enough to carry me through this. Give me the strength to endure hardship and heartache for Your Name’s sake. Amen.

 

 

 

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.