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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.


Patience and Price
Patience and Price


by Mary Parker



Have you ever waited on something with bated breath? A call to ensure a family member arrived home safely. An answer to the job you held out for for months. The orders that held the fate of your next duty station. The call from the doctor letting you know how the test results turned out. 

Often, we don’t actually like to wait very much, and part of living in the 21st century is becoming acclimated to instant, automatic responses via email, phone, and text, often making patience a more difficult virtue to build upon.

Can you imagine how the Israelites felt before the birth of Jesus? Sure, they may not have had the distractions of our technology and accessibility, but there’s no doubt some of the firmest believers struggled with the ability to trust God’s plans and promises when He had been silent for so long. They may even have been desperate in the same ways that we often feel desperate and alone in the face of trying and unforeseen circumstances.

Then, something amazing happened. A miraculous savior, promised to the Israelites hundreds of years prior, came in the form of a tiny baby (Matthew 1). Have you ever reflected on how important it is that Jesus was born to human parents in a dirty cave with barnyard animals? Jesus was sent in the midst of imperfect surroundings to provide perfect salvation for anyone who wanted to follow Him.

This Advent season, as you prepare for Christmas, I encourage you to wait patiently. As much as you possibly can, focus on the person of Jesus and his timely entrance into this world to save us and provide communion with God. Whether your circumstances seem merry and bright, or dim and dark, we all have unrest in our lives, which we occasionally try to solve by our own devices. I encourage you to remember the price for our sins has already been paid, but we sometimes need to wait on God to move through us. 

As you seek God fully this Christmas, remember that Jesus is the most precious gift ever given – the only payment in full for a meaningful relationship with God on which to build the foundation for a better life.

As Jesus illustrates to His disciples in John 14:6-7, 
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him." 

Prayer: 

Father, thank you for sending Jesus as a baby who would turn into a perfect man so that He could know my struggles and yet still pay for my sins. Thank you for loving me and forgiving me despite my sins. Grant me the patience to wait for your guidance in all circumstances in my life and help me not go astray. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Questions for Reflection:

1)    Are there areas of my life where I need to wait patiently for God’s instructions? How can I make active steps to pursue Him?

2)    What does it mean that Jesus is “the” way to God instead of just “a” way? 




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 Mary's Mischief.


Finding Moments of Reflection
Finding Moments of Reflection


by Chantal Graupmann




Sometimes I wonder about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Who was she? How did she worship, parent, love? What thoughts went through her mind during key events of her life? I often wonder about Mary during this time of year. She did, after all, give birth to our Savior, the whole reason behind the celebration of Christmas.

As I started reading through the birth of Jesus in my Bible, a verse caught my attention, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” Luke 2:19. I am still in awe when I read that verse. 

Can you picture this? Strangers are coming from afar to see and prophesy over baby Jesus. Mary is a new mother. Rather than reacting with the fierceness of a mother, she simply listens and ponders. How many of us would react the way Mary did? I know I would not. I would be asking questions, and probably be trying to shield my new baby from this crazy world! 

We can’t know exactly what Mary knew about her son, but I think I am safe in saying she had no idea the impact this little baby’s birth made on the world.

I continued to think on this verse and I wondered, as we get ready to celebrate Christmas, do we do as Mary did? Do we treasure and ponder the birth of our Savior? Most often we do not. We whiz through the many events leading up to Christmas without a moment of true, deep reflection on Christ’s birth and what it meant. 

As I strive to live for Christ, this realization got me thinking how this holiday season should be different for my family. Maybe some activities need to be let go or new ones need to be included. The process of purposefully pondering Christ in our holiday season will likely never be complete, but one thing I know I can always come back to as we add or subtract from our holiday to-do list is this: treasure is not found everywhere, it is carefully kept and often concealed.

 

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for your grand plan and the birth of your son. We confess that we often neglect to ponder the true meaning of the season. As we celebrate Jesus’ birth, help us to treasure and ponder the events that have taken place for us. Strengthen us to be open to any convictions the Holy Spirit may place on our hearts regarding this busy season, and help us to seek Christ in a new way. 





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.


Taking Time to Focus on Christ
Taking Time to Focus on Christ


‚Äčby Brandis Trionfo



My 4-year-old has recently started singing "Away in a Manger" around the house. I'm fairly certain it's because his preschool is starting to rehearse for their Christmas program. It's so precious to hear and I love how my kids learn about Christ at school.


The song touches me. In modern times, none of us can fathom what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph in that space. Giving birth on hay? Where were the epidurals and sterile blankets? What a miracle to know that Christ did that FOR US.


In these times, it can be so difficult to find even a moment to be still. To step away from our iPhones and technology and television. To find just a moment to breathe. To focus on our maker.

 
During Christmas, especially if you have little ones, at least for most of us, it's all about Santa. What he's going to bring.

 
Last year (thanks to Pinterest--there goes that technology again!) I learned A LOT about biblical Christmas themes. Things like how candy canes are shaped the way they are after the staffs of the shepherds who visited Christ. I've taken these little nuggets of knowledge and made it so I speak them to my kids AS we're celebrating the other stuff. I found a pin about 25 verses to read up until Christmas, to prepare yourself and your family to celebrate Him. This list could go on, but you get the idea.


I find that the little things like that will help us to slow down and focus on what Christmas is REALLY about. It's so hard to wrap our heads around the fact that Christ came for us, knowing already what would happen to him, so that we could be set free.


Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)- "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."


Just think about that for a moment. The words that pop out: Wonderful. Mighty. Everlasting. Peace.


In these times, it's good to have that on your side. Take a moment this holiday season to meditate on the word of our Father. Take a moment to focus on Him and how He is preparing your way. Through the season and the snow and the gifts and the hot chocolate, remember Him. He came so that we might have LIFE. And live it to the FULL.


Enjoy your Christmas. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

 

Prayer:

Lord, I thank you for this season. I thank you that we're able to take a day to celebrate you. I thank you for your grace in knowing that we should be celebrating you every day but sometimes we fall short. I pray Lord that during this time we're able to focus on you and all that you've done for us. I pray that we use whatever tips and tricks we can find to remember what this holiday is all about. I ask these things in your name, Amen.


Questions for Reflection:

*What are some ways I can find to incorporate more biblical truth in my holiday routine?

*How can I slow down and focus on the Word?  

*Do I need to carve out more time for Him?




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.


A Shepherd for the Shepherds

By Molly Huggins



I’ve lost two babes at two different times in the days before Christmas.

And so I revel in the humanity of the players in that first Nativity. I empathize with young Mary, of course.

I keep thinking of her physical feelings, her emotions at being a first-time mother. Closing my eyes and thinking of her in labor…in a cave/stable/animal dwelling. The smell, the temperature, the dust…the pain. Cleaning, or trying to clean him. Nursing him for the first time. How sweet that moment is. Or scary, or frustrating, or overwhelming.
Unwashed teenage boys came traipsing in to see her wee man. Was she scared? Happy?
I just love knowing that Jesus had a mommy who did mommy things like nursing, and wiping bottoms, and soothing tears, and swaying to calm Him, and loving His smiles…all the while knowing He was never really hers.

But today, I want to talk to you about the shepherds--those unwashed teenage boys.


Shepherds were second-class, or no-class citizens. They were despised, distrusted, and outcast. “Smug religious leaders maintained a strict caste system at the expense of shepherds and other common folk. Shepherds were officially labeled ‘sinners’—a technical term for a class of despised people.”


And yet ...

“Into this social context of religious snobbery and class prejudice, God’s Son stepped forth. How surprising and significant that Father God handpicked lowly, unpretentious shepherds to first hear the joyous news: “It’s a boy, and He’s the Messiah!” ~ From Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries.

The angel promises the shepherds in Luke 2:10, “... good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

For all of us. The broken, the broke-down, the hurting, the poor, and the lonely. All of us--the wounded and the wound-makers. The Shepherd came to the shepherds, for the shepherds.


And oh, the Good News. We don’t just celebrate a Birth. We celebrate victory over death, over sin. We celebrate a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, a Prince of Peace {from Isaiah 9:6}.

Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. His peace is not as the world gives...is unable to give {from John 14:27}.

Peace to mend a broken heart, a broken marriage; peace to bind the wounds of our shattered lives. Peace to calm a grieving mother as she watched her Son die slowly on a cross.

“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them” Luke 8:20.

Dear friends, take a moment to marvel at the news--to praise God for the Good News of great joy that will be for all the people.


Prayer
Father, thank You for sending Your Son into the world to be with us. Thank You for Emmanuel- God with us- right in our brokenness and mess. Bring peace to our hearts today. Bring hope and healing where our souls need it most. Thank You for the gift of life given to us in Jesus. Amen.



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.



Joseph Surrendered His Plans

By Mary Parker


Although there are many examples of Godly people in the Bible, one of the most admirable is Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph. In Matthew 1, Joseph discovers that his betrothed, Mary, is pregnant and is certain the child cannot be his. Joseph, despite what must have been devastating news, decides to go through with the marriage and plans to quietly divorce Mary (Matthew 1:18). This passage clearly displays Joseph’s great love. In spite of his own hurt, he does not try to hurt Mary. 


Joseph abandons his plan and follows God’s plan, trusting the word of God as truth. Then, an Angel of the Lord visits Joseph in a dream and tells him that Mary is in fact carrying Jesus, who “will save his people from their sins”. Joseph does not sit idly by or doubt the word of God (Matthew 1:21). We are told that Joseph was faithful to the law; it is important to remember that before Jesus, the law was the only way for people to consecrate themselves to God. 
Because Joseph was so faithful to God, he was obedient to God’s word. We are told, “when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife” (Matthew 1:24). Despite news that would rattle even the most faithful believer, Joseph puts all his trust in God and immediately follows God’s instructions from the moment he wakes up. Joseph abandons his plan and follows God’s plan, trusting the word of God as truth.


The story of Joseph, his strong character and faith show us that God does not operate according to our plans. I’m sure Joseph never dreamt of marrying a pregnant woman whose child was not his own. But I’m also confident that Joseph would not have traded being the earthly father of Jesus for any plans he may have prepared on his own. 


As we study this story around Christmas, I encourage you to pray over any plans you have made for your life – for today, tomorrow and long-term. Instead of relying on your own plans, put all your trust in God, our faithful Father who provides a way in every circumstance, even those that test our faith. 



Reflection

Why is Joseph’s story an important aspect of Christmas? 

How can you develop the strong faith of Joseph?

In what areas of your life can you surrender your plans and trust God completely? 

Prayer
Father God, Thank you for this time that we get to study your son Jesus, and all of the wonderful ways that his coming blessed the world. Thank you for your word that tells of Joseph’s faith so that I may learn how to better follow you and your plans for me, each and every day. I trust that you will make all things work together for my good, even when circumstances seem scary or turn out differently than I expect. Help me to put my plans aside and put all my trust in you today and every day. In Jesus’ name I pray, 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


Mary Trusted God

By Heather Tabers


“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” ~ Luke 1:45

“I have trust issues.” Have you ever heard anyone say that?
Perhaps you have uttered those words yourself. Placing trust in someone can be very risky- there is great gain to be had if that person holds true to their word and great loss to be felt if they do not. Most likely we have all felt the crushing of our hearts when we trusted someone who proved to be untrustworthy, especially if the loss we suffered was great in doing so.

Mary was a young girl who found herself in a very difficult and embarrassing position. She was a virgin, engaged to be married and pregnant with a child that was not her fiancée’s (nor hers, really). She knew that she could be accused of adultery and stoned to death. Everything was at stake- her marriage, her reputation, her life. Yet, Mary chose to believe God. She believed the words of the angel and of her cousin Elizabeth. Most importantly, she trusted the heart of the God she loved and served.

Friend, you may find it hard to trust the people in your life. It is becoming increasingly difficult to trust our government. Sometimes it is hard to trust our husband, our family, or our friends, but the heart of our loving Father can always be trusted. This Christmas season I invite you to treasure the gift of Jesus in a fullness that you may have never known. Leave the doubts of your heart at the cross and seek the Baby in the manger with a completely open heart.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~Romans 15:13



Prayer
Father God, we confess our seasons of unbelief and we lay them down before you. You know the wounds of our hearts and the reasons we doubt. Heal those areas in our lives, Lord. This Christmas season we want You to fill us completely and wholly with Your love. We believe, Lord. Amen.

Reflection
1. Take a moment to reflect on how Mary and Joseph must have felt. Do you trust God that deeply?
2. Has there been a time in your life where you didn’t trust God, yet he proved Himself trustworthy?
3. Is there an area of your life that you need to let go and simply trust God?


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.




A Savior is Born

By Laura Moore


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

 

Who would have thought that God would use a tiny baby as the light that would save a dark world? Through a prophecy recorded in Isaiah 9:6 God shows us a glimpse of our savior.

 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

 

Before we talk about the wonderful meanings of these names of Jesus, don’t you think it’s wonderful how God’s word is always fulfilled? As military families we are often given a direction only to have it changed a few times. We don’t have much hope in the date we’re given for our spouse’s return from deployment. We are told we will be moving to one place and at the last moment it falls through. We are told a medical procedure is covered, only to be thrown for a loop when we are slapped with a huge bill.

 

While we can’t hold a lot of hope in these circumstances, we can celebrate how our God does not waiver in His plans for our lives or this world. Isn’t that great news?!

 

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

 

During this Christmas season, remember that God gave the world a tiny baby as He promised. This small one is our Wonderful Counselor who is exceptional and always gives the right advice. He is our Mighty God, not only Jesus, but God himself. Our Everlasting Father is timeless and as The Prince of Peace, He runs a government of justice and peace.

 

We were given a gift and this is why we celebrate together: that to us a child was born who is our light, and we can find hope in Him through any circumstance we face.

 

Reflection
In what ways has God shown you His faithfulness lately?

What areas of your life do you struggle to trust Him with- family, friends, work, etc.?

 

Prayer

Lord, thank You for always fulfilling Your words. You are so faithful. Thank You for being all that You are- Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Help me to rest in You today. I choose to let go of every fear or worry in Your presence, knowing that You will always come through for me. Give me the strength to trust You. 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.