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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.


Solid as a Rock: God's Faithfulness in the Changes
Moving to Alaska is no small feat. Particularly when you drive one of the most treacherous roads in North America, fraught with bears, bison and moose (oh my!) and traverse thirty mile stretches of gravel in a sedan. I am elated to report that we survived our recent move, with just a few scrapes.

Before our trip, and definitely during, I prayed vigilantly for our safe travel. I prayed from a combined place of hope, faith and fear. In each situation, talking to God about my concerns- whether for three seconds or thirty minutes of rocky road- helped me to remember my relationship with Him. He is my perfect Father in Heaven who takes care of me and looks after me. He has promised never to leave me or forsake me (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5). When I make it through times that seem so desperate, I remember to trust Him no matter what.

But sometimes that’s hard to remember in the midst of changes, even when God has shown us how great He is countless times before. Now that we are all settled in our beautiful new home, I continue to fight the doubt and fear Satan tries to plant in his efforts to tempt me to stop trusting God. Lately, my biggest struggle is worrying about money, particularly when finances are in flux after such a big move. Will there be enough? Will God come through and provide again?

Although it’s not always my first response, I am increasingly disciplining myself to turn to God’s Word in times of change. When everything else in our world is so transitional and temporary, it is vital that we remember our God and His Word are everlasting.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus relays the tales of the wise and foolish builders. One hears the words of Jesus and builds his house on the rock of God, while the other ignores Jesus’ words and builds his house on sand. The house of sand collapses in the first storm, but though “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house,” the house on the rock prevails because it has a solid foundation (Matthew 7:25).

I know that no matter where we go or what we go through, our house is built on the rock of God’s word. Even through the storms of change He shows me the way, and makes me strong, especially when I remember to put Him and His word first.

 


Reflection
God reminds us multiple times in the Bible that He will never leave us or forsake us. Why do you think He tells His people this more than once?
Think of a time when you faced a big change in your life. How did you handle it? If you surrendered those circumstances completely to God, how would you have handled it differently?
Changes are part of our life in an unstable, fallen world. How will you prepare for the next transition in your life in a Godly way?

Prayer
Father God, I thank you for the changes you have placed in my life. Even though I don’t know how things will work out, I believe that you will work things together for my good. Although I struggle with fear and doubt in this time of transition, I pray that you will show me my next steps in following you every step of the way. I trust you and keep my hope in you God. Help to make my faith solid like a rock today and every day. 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.



Here I Raise My Ebenezer
Music tells the stories in this wee family of mine. There is always a song, a singer, a note that accompanies the moments we treasure.

A recurring hymn woven in our tale - sung at weddings, funerals, countless church services, and even a few bedtimes - is “Come Thou Fount,” written in the 18th century by Robert Robinson.

 

If you are unfamiliar with the lyrics, let me highlight a few key phrases.

 

“Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise ...”

“Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come ... “


There’s more -I encourage you to listen to the whole song.  But for now ... have you ever thought about who or what Ebenezer is?

It comes from I Samuel 7, after the Israelites had been delivered from the Philistines. Samuel interceded for the Israelites as they cried out to the Lord. And the Lord answered, confusing the Philistines with a mighty thundering.

Then, “Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (I Samuel 7:12, NKJV).

Ebenezer is, literally, “a stone of help.”

 

Friends, I am here to tell you, it is only with a multitude of grace and a veritable mountain of Ebenezers that I can write to you with joy of His mercy and goodness in my life.

 

In eight plus years of marriage, we’ve lived through four deployments (with a fifth looming), six moves, five pregnancies, three babes, and the combat loss of my best friend. And He never fails to help. Scripture pours out of me when I think of each moment I cried out in my desperation.

There are too many to list them all.

 

So beloved, hear this.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13, NKJV).


I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord because I have. Again and again. In darkness, and in light. In grief, and in joy. In loss, and in new life.

The Almighty, the Namer and Counter of Stars - He carries me, His precious lamb, in the crook of His arm (Isaiah 40:11). And He promises, promises, to never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).

So here, here I raise my Ebenezer, my stones of help. Rocks made of the Word of life, poured out on parchment, cried out in desperation, sung from prisons, spoken from a bloody brow on a rough hewn cross, and whispered in the echoes of an empty tomb.

Hither by thy help, I come.


Reflection

Friends, what are your stones of help?

How has God shown you His goodness in the midst of despair?

If you can’t think of any, I challenge you to dig deep in His word ... find the promises so richly provided.

Prayer

God, thank You for being my Rock, and my refuge. I praise You because You give true hope in the midst of desperate circumstances. I lift up my cry to You today and ask You to meet my heart with joy. Fill me up with Your love. Help me to remember that You are always in control.  Help me to see Your goodness today, and to trust You always.



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.


It's Not a Masquerade: A Call to Come Together
Sometimes, life as a military spouse is like being smack dab in the middle of a masquerade ball. You know, the dance where everyone gently places a mask on and twirls around perfectly?  Being a military spouse isn’t comfortable. We have a hard time planting roots as we jump into a new community, church, job, or group of friends. Deep down, most of us are pretty lonely a lot of the time, but we’re pretending it’s all good.  We put on a mask. And it’s not helping anyone.

 

Our arms are full of babies, bottles, laundry; paper work spills onto the counters and kitchen table. We buy into the lie that everything will fall apart if we admit we’re not perfect so we don’t ask for help as we chug along with our mask in place.  It’s in the quiet moments that we discover we’re not doing well. And in those moments, how desperately we need to be reminded of the need for transparency with one another.

Proverbs 27:17 describes the kind of friendship God desires for us:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

God has created us to sharpen each other, to help us each become more like Christ, through authentic friendships. You and I need each other. We need to reach across the table and grab hands, to be told that it’s normal to cry when our husbands leave, and normal when we’re exhausted after juggling a full day of being mom, and that it’s okay to slip up! We can come together to encourage and lift each other up but only by slipping off our masks and showing flaws, and revealing just how much we depend on our great God.

We bless our sisters when we help them carry the load through authentic relationships. We have a rare and beautiful sisterhood that is unexplainable to those outside the military world. It’s our military sisters that pick up the kids, drop off a meal, call to make sure we’re alive, and give us that reassuring look when things are falling apart.

Drop the mask today. Keep loving and reaching out, because we truly need one another.

Reflection

How has a military spouse blessed you recently?

What is holding you back from being authentic with others?

Who are a few military spouses you can bless through friendship and prayer?

Prayer
Lord, thank You for loving me unconditionally, even in my failures and shortcomings. Your Word says that Your power is made perfect in my weaknesses. Help me to trust You for that. Thank You for the friendships You have given me as I walk through all seasons of life. Give me strength and courage to be vulnerable with others. I pray that you will make me a blessing to others as I walk with You, living authentically, relying on Your grace and not myself. 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.



Losing Control, Learning Surrender

“Too much to do.”  How many times have you heard that internal voice repeat itself in anxiety and guilt on any given day? Yesterday I found myself sitting in an urgent care waiting room for nearly four hours, frantically wanting to be at home. Even though I knew I was where I needed to be, I rebelled against the way the day led me and tried to hold onto my plans in anger and resentment.


My husband and I survived, even though not every task on my itemized list was checked off. We didn’t eat a meal made from scratch. I didn’t make it to the gym (I’m sure you can tell how that broke my heart). Work took a backseat, and the infernal baseboard dusting was ignored yet again. But we lived, and if only I had surrendered to God’s plan for my day sooner instead of the vision that I stubbornly stuck to despite all the arrows pointing me in another direction, I could have been more obedient and enjoyed the gift of every moment, rather than grumbling and letting time slip ungratefully through my hands.


Letting go of the illusion of control over our lives is tough. In the military we are reminded incessantly that we don’t have control – over where we live, our husbands’ work hours, how long we can be employed or keep our kids in the same school. But we can take comfort that God has control. He has a plan that is always greater and better for us than the ones we devise.

As we try to make plans for our day or our future, we have to remember this truth:


“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).


We have to ask God to show us His will in every day, and we must be aware enough of His loving, gentle presence to recognize it and be obedient.

It is incredibly comforting to remember that as we go through this process of surrendering to God’s plans, we are never alone, regardless of what the enemy tells us (Hebrews 13:5). Not only has God promised us that we will never be alone, but He also tells us that He is working for the good of those who love Him (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28). God knows our plans are inferior and tentative, compared to His eternal and glorious blueprints. By trusting in God and His plans completely, we can throw off the shackles of anxiety and rejoice in each moment God has provided. We can look toward the future with hope, a gift we could never provide for ourselves.

 

Reflection

What areas of my life am I struggling to surrender to God’s control?

What fears do I have about giving my plans over to God?

Am I choosing to live today in obedience and joy, or am I acting in resentment?


Prayer

Father, thank You for the gift of today. I know that You are working for my good and Your glory. I praise You for Your sovereignty, for always being in control. Thank You for Your awesome plans that are so much better than mine could ever be. Help me to trust You today. Give me eyes to see Your plan, and a humble heart to submit to it throughout the day so that I can live joyfully in each moment. I choose to lay my plans down at Your feet, accepting whatever You have prepared for me today. 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.