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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.


Hope
Hope

by Molly Huggins




Here’s a little known fact about me: I am horribly indecisive. Inevitably, the season I find myself living in is my very most favorite! And after weeks of snow and ice have blanketed the South, spring is here! My very most favorite season. Spring, the days when what seems dead comes alive, when daffodils cover the bleak- looking fields, a harbinger of the explosion of green coming. A season of birth, and life, and hope. 

A season echoed in the book of Romans, a glorious retelling of our death, our rebirth, and our life through the story of Abraham and Sarah. 

“Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, 'I have made you a father of many nations' in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, 'So shall your descendants be.' And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” 

Friends, there have been more moments than I care to remember where all the circumstances in our Army life have been contrary to hope. Miscarriages, the loss of friends, countless moves, wrenching goodbyes, and so. much. fear. We are in the midst of one now, another move, and little ones who are old enough to understand the heartache of goodbye but not old enough to comprehend the whys of it. 

And yet, and yet, there is hope in which I believe. Hope for the new year, hope for new places, hope for a new life (we are pregnant with our 6th child, the 4th living one), hope in glory, and above all, hope and faith in the gospel. 

I just finished writing my testimony and I will tell you like I tell the world, 

“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’” (Lamentations 3:21-24, ESV). 

As you watch the world come to life around you, in what are you placing your hope?

And sisters? If you are in a place contrary to hope, a place that feels like death, I am praying desperately that you will see and be comforted by the steadfast love of the Lord, that you will receive grace, and above all, hope. 



All my love. 

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.



 


Perspective
Perspective
by Molly Huggins

​My husband and I, we are both helicopter pilots. 

I say are, although it’s been five long years since I sat in the driver’s seat of my favorite machine. Are, because the love and longing never quite go away, and I hang onto my husband’s every word as he tells me about his days, his months, his missions for all the time he was away from me. 


(We have a strict “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy when it comes to the danger he faces on deployment. I wait until he comes home and then I binge on the stories. A result of his first deployment where fear was a battle I almost lost.)


And then he tells me about one VERY close call, and my throat closes up a little, and my stomach turns, and I have to stop listening for a little while. Because, sisters of mine, I am momentarily stunned anew by the gifts we’ve been given, smack in the middle of this chaotic Army life. 


I am one stray bullet from being a widow. I am a one dollar test away from a child with special needs, ravaged by the effects of unchecked jaundice. (Go here to read my friend’s story). I'm white in a world where my brothers and sisters of color still routinely suffer violence and oppression. I’m rich by the world’s standards and I have three healthy children that I know can be lost in a moment. 


And the perspective, it sure doesn’t make me hurt less on days that are hard and achy, but it never fails to make me thank Him more, praise Him more. 


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. ~ James 1:17


We are moving to a new (big) city in three months, and I’ll be a belly-swollen, bone-tired toddler mama desperate for roots and community and weeks away from giving birth. But still, I’ll be on my knees, all gratitude for the gifts, and the steadfastness of a Father who shows no shadow of turning from me. 


Sisters, in seasons of difficulty, how can you be thankful? 





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.




Redemption

By Molly Huggins




I heard tell of King David’s first wife once: Michal, a woman both unloved and, in the end, unloving. It’s not a pretty story, and the ending leaves something to be desired.

We know she loved David; he may have loved her in the beginning. Somewhere in David’s power struggle with Saul, she- the king’s daughter- became an ugly pawn. Michal stayed when David fled and lied to protect him. David, instead of returning for her, took two other wives and Michal was given by Saul to a man who, by all accounts, truly loved her.

But politics prevailed, and as a condition of further peace with the house of Saul, David demanded his bride back from a man who wept at her departure. Michal had no love left for David and is depicted as scornful of his behavior and subsequently barren for the rest of her days.

And yet--her story is still included in the books of I and II Samuel. In THE Story. That’s the point, isn’t it? Of this season of Lent, of sacrifice, of a good, ugly, dark Friday.

Sometimes redemption tells ugly stories. We have to weep at the foot of a splintered cross to rejoice in a barren tomb.

And we all have them, these ugly stories, whether we are the wounded or the wound-makers.

And redeemed though we are, like Peter we take our eyes off Christ. And oh, the wind and the waves they are boisterous, and we don’t feel redeemed.

But the gospel, it is built on rock, The Rock. And our ugly stories become an exclamation point to The Story, finished in an echoing, empty grave.

We may not know the particulars of Michal’s story. We certainly don’t know the ending of ours. But we know when our sin swirls around us, eddying in the dark places; when the ugly seems the most real, and our wounds are aching- we are the redeemed. The named and chosen ones, tattooed on His palms. We who were once dead are now alive through the alchemy of Christ’s death and resurrection.

We are new creations, washed clean.

It’s spring here now. A perfect complement to this season of Death, slowly turning to Life. A Good, ugly, dark Friday and a Resurrection.


Reflection
What stories are you telling?
How is God using the hard ugly things in your life to show the story of the Gospel?

Prayer
Father, thank You for making all things new. You are always redeeming us, reclaiming us, forgiving us. Help me to see Your light shining in the dark places. Remind me of Your promises and who you are, that I might trust You more deeply. 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.






Don't Lose Heart

By Laura Moore


16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

 

As I grow more familiar with the military community and wade deeper into this lifestyle, naturally I gain confidence. That has been such a great thing! The whole experience has taught me to be much more independent. I’ve run a household on my own and lived out weeks at a time as a single mother. I’ve repaired a broken heater and toilet, taken the car in for an oil change, and paid the bills for my family.  I'm laughing because those seem like silly things to be proud of; but to me, it was a big deal! I was nineteen when I got married, and as a young military spouse I didn’t have as much experience in those areas. Even though to someone else it may have not been a huge deal for the heater to break, to me it felt like the end of the world. Or when the toilet broke and I discovered a quick fix with the chain was all it took to start working again- I was beyond proud of my new abilities!

I may have gained confidence in the ability to roll up my sleeves and handle those things, but along the way I realized that no amount of strength willed by my mind would carry me through an entire deployment, a season of work-ups, or the handful of moves in a short period of time. I didn't have the strength and my heart failed right away. The first week Darren was away I was saying how I missed him and ready for it to be over, but we had only just begun the long time apart. I would have thrown in the towel if not for truth found in the text of 1 Corinthians 4:16-18.

Taking a close look at verse 18, we're reminded that we should look to the things that are unseen. We should look to God. Yes, yes, I know that already and you do, too- but what does that really look like? Maybe it means that we don't pretend to have it all figured out for the sake of looking good, that it's alright to admit how sad we are or stressed in order to come to a place where we can say we are truly at peace. And not because of anything we did, but because of everything God works out through us. The secret is to move into the presence of God daily to be renewed each day.

During momentary trials, I looked to the Lord and it was made clear He had a plan in all of this. Resting in His strength allowed me to live content. He provided and was faithful over and over.

I hope that no matter where you are in this journey, when other people look at you they don't hear you boasting in your own ability, but that they hear how God renews you and gives you hope along the way. I know how tempting it is to want praise for all this hard work, but let God reward you. Our hope is not only for our good but it's also for the glory of God to show in our lives, so that others may to be drawn to Himself.

Reflection

Where do you tend to fix your eyes? On yourself? On the approval of others? On some other desire?

What steps do you need to take to fix your eyes on Christ?


Prayer

Lord, I am so thankful for Your great love for me, and that You are all-sufficient in every season of my life. I confess that I look to other things besides You- those things never bring true peace. Help me to turn my eyes on You in all situations, for all things. I trust that You are more than enough for me. 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.


Molly's Story

By Molly Huggins

 


I love stories and storytelling. I love seeing the threads the Master Planner stitches into our lives and the ways they change us. But in all honesty, here's the truth about the weaving: I didn't design my tapestry this way. And the push and pull of the needle as it pricks my heart - well, sometimes the weaving hurts. There's a particular thread that, for the longest time, I wanted to wish away. I prayed, begged, and pleaded for the Lord to cut it short. To change my story to fit what I wanted.

I’ve been staring at my computer for days trying to figure out how to fit all the emotions onto one screen, into one story.

How do I tell you that they called me when my daughter was five months old and told me I would be deploying in the fall?

{I was an Army National Guard helicopter pilot at the time}.

How do I tell you that we already knew Husband, an active duty helicopter pilot, would also be deploying in the fall?
Is it possible for you to feel the way I felt, bewildered and still surprised, when I climbed on a plane headed overseas?

I truly believed God would take this away. I thought this would go away if I said all the right things about God’s plan and His will and trust and sacrifice and all the other Christian buzzwords that sound great and echo hollow in our reeling hearts.

I was like Abraham, waiting for the lamb while I offered up my child. And when none came, when I waded through a long summer of preparation and emotion, oh, I was so angry.

I didn’t want to leave her. And I said all the right things about duty, and my job, and what I signed up for, but I’ll be honest with you- I never, for one second, thought it would happen to me. That’s another story for another day, but I really thought I would just sail through this Army life and have all the fun flying and none of the sacrifice. I was selfish, so selfish.

My sister and her husband took our daughter for a year. She was one and a half. I cried salty, unceasing tears through all the airports with the memory of her chubby arms squeezed around my neck in our last goodnights.

We got her back when she was two and a half. There will never be enough words to tell you how that felt. I tried, {and there are pictures of our reunion here}. I am still trying, even now, to tell that piece of the story.

It took me two years to stop being angry, and I still grieve the loss of time with my child. It took me two years and then some to understand, and be grateful for the stories He is writing for me and my family.

That’s the end thread of this story, and I am grateful. For the humbling of my selfish heart. For the dismantling of my pride. Even for the two and a half year spread between children that resulted in the gift of our first son.

The stories we fear become our Story and the hard parts change us, they carve into our souls and make new shapes. And maybe the mystery is that I am grateful for the shape I'm in, but I'm just honest enough to admit that most days, I wouldn't have chosen His method of carving.

I can grieve, and be grateful.

Friends - how has the Lord shaped you? What hard stories is He using to draw you closer to Him? I would love to hear them, and to pray for you.

 


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.


Heather's Story:

By Heather Tabers

 

I have often been envious of Christians who have amazing stories of how God rescued them from a life of drugs, alcohol, abuse, or poverty. To be brought out of a life of despair and into a life of hope is a beautiful testimony of God’s saving grace. My story is nothing like that and, to be perfectly honest, for a while I felt like my story had less value. Growing up in the church and in a Christian home, I was saved at the age of 9 on a Sunday evening. Sure, I had felt convicted of my sins- but at that point in my life, the worst thing I had ever done was stealing a sticker out of my best friend’s sticker book. That didn’t feel like much to need to be rescued from. As I got older and heard countless Christians tell of their dramatic salvation and rescue stories, I was disappointed that I would never have such a powerful story to share. I could not have been more wrong.

 

While I grew up loving Jesus, my faith was not tested much as a child. I always knew that Jesus was there but I didn’t feel like I needed him very often. That all changed when I was 21 years old. Having been diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease during my senior year of high school, my doctors told me when I got married at the tender age of 20 that if I wanted to have a baby I should start trying early as they were not certain that my body would be able to bare children. After our first year of marriage we decided to try and within three months I was pregnant. When I called my rheumatologist to tell her the good news, she had devastating news to share with me. The results of my routine pulmonary labs had come back showing that I had pulmonary hypertension and that I was most likely going to die.

 

The worst news I have ever received became the defining moment in my faith. My rheumatologist immediately sent me to one of the best perinatologists in the country who immediately urged me to abort my unborn child. She showed me case studies and read me the statistics- I only had a 50% chance of surviving the pregnancy, if I aborted the baby. If I refused, they did not expect me or the baby to survive. Against my doctor’s wishes, I chose to keep my baby. My doctor continued to pressure me with horror stories of how I would die hooked up to a ventilator in the hospital, suffocating to death, leaving my husband a widower to possibly have to raise our potentially premature, sickly baby alone. My faith was tested but it did not waiver. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the same God who rescued alcoholics, prostitutes, and drug abusers from a life of pain and shame was big enough to rescue me. I trusted His sovereignty and His will for my life and I placed both my life and my baby’s into His capable, loving hands.

 

The story of my pregnancy is long but it is a testimony of the power of prayer. Because so many believers came to the throne on our behalf, my daughter, Miracle Denene, is now a beautiful red-headed thirteen year old who loves Jesus. I learned to never compare my story to someone else’s. God paints beautiful pictures on the canvases of our lives. No two pictures look the same but each comes with the surrender of ourselves to His capable hands. Some pictures may be bold and very detailed while others are soft and subdued but they are all beautiful masterpieces of our 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.



Laura's Story

Editor’s Note: This month, the ladies of the CMWF Writing Team are sharing parts of their stories with you. These military wives come from all different backgrounds and bring unique, beautiful stories to the table. We hope you enjoy getting to know us a little bit better!

By Laura Moore



When Darren and I were first married, we were not a military family. We were a young couple trying to figure out how to love each other and live together at the same time. It was kind of ugly at times. We were both selfish and had different ideas on how to do everything- and I mean everything! It was difficult, and looking back I wonder why I didn’t see that it was more important to love Darren instead of always needing to prove my point and determining to be right.

I didn’t know how God could save a marriage that was crumbling within the first few months.


Thankfully His plans were to bring us hope, and when Darren joined the military it was a turning point in our marriage. It didn’t make everything perfect, but I know that’s when I started to appreciate him a lot more.

Having him gone for extended times with little communication revealed how much I loved that guy. I was able to step back and see how God called me to support and love him. I came face to face with what was really in my heart. I don’t mean to say we didn’t have disagreements and that our marriage was always thriving. The first few years as a married couple, we struggled. But I’m thankful for how God would teach both of us and pull us closer year after year.

Here we are, nearing our fifth year as a military family, and I look back fondly at these years. I was told many times that the stress on our marriage from the military lifestyle would make it difficult to have a good marriage. I saw a lot of marriages end these last few years, but prayed God would strengthen ours no matter the circumstances.

He has answered that prayer, and we have made a strong effort to stay connected.

There were certainly challenges. How can you have a marriage with little to no communication month after month? I chose to marry Darren and wanted to spend my life with him, not apart. When he was home, most of that time he was very exhausted with little to offer. That was our biggest challenge.

I think if I didn’t have a relationship with the Lord then our situation would probably be very different. I would have felt hopeless all those years. But when issues presented themselves, we talked through them and didn’t shut each other out. That was not always easy but it was important to let each other know what was working and also what wasn’t.

We are currently on Darren’s shore duty and it has been amazing. I am so happy that he has a chance to rest. He still has a job that he works hard at here, but we’re soaking up this time together as a family.

We face unique challenges in our military marriages, but I would love to hear one thing that you do to stay connected to your spouse. Looking forward to reading your ideas in the comments!

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.




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.