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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 Goes With You

by Chantal Graupmann

 

Editor's Note: This month we are welcoming two new members to our blogging team here at CMWF.  Today's post is Chantal's first one with us.  Welcome, Chantal! We're so glad to have you sharing your story with us!

 

 

 

As followers of Christ we all have defining moments in our faith where God asks us to follow Him.

 

Choosing to let Him guide our family as we joined the military was one of those moments for me.

 

When my husband and I got married, the military was not a thought in my mind. We planned to stay in our home state of Minnesota, where almost all our family resides, and raise our future children. We never discussed other options. But two years into our marriage the economy took a downhill turn, and what I thought would never affect us, did. My new husband lost his job, and we were faced with the same difficult situation of unemployment that many Americans were facing. Young and newly married, we were completely unprepared for the difficulties that lay ahead.

 

During the following year and a half, finding work was tough. I was earning my Bachelors degree and working part time, while my husband painstakingly searched for suitable work to keep us afloat. With little hope in sight, we turned our ears all the more to Jesus in desperation. Jesus, what do you have in store for us?

 

Never before had we been so open to listening to the Lord.

 

A little whisper spoke to my heart and practically out of nowhere I found myself asking my husband, “Have you ever thought about the military?” I was completely surprised that this was coming from my mouth. As we began a long discussion about joining the military, I feared how this would affect our marriage and our family. I wanted our children to know their family and I certainly did not want to leave the new family I had gained, or be torn from my own.I was fearful of our future and how this would shape our family, but I felt God reminding me of all the time He had spoken in my life. He was encouraging me to move forward through my fear.

 

God began to deal with my lingering fears as my husband left for basic training. He led me to the first chapter in Joshua, specifically verse 9:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Those words spoke so strongly to my heart during the time my husband was away. They were a source of great comfort. He was encouraging me to trust in His plan like never before and I knew He would form our family into what it should be.

 

A little over three years have passed since I was encouraged with that passage in Joshua. As I look back, I can see how God has used the military to shape our extended and immediate family. He has kept His promises to me, and no matter where we are, He has provided us with support in the form of family and great friends. Our family is stronger and healthier than it was before the military because distance has forced us to communicate better. God has placed others in our lives at each duty station to fill a specific role where family would traditionally serve, which has created lasting friendships.

 

This passage of scripture continues to encourage me on the days I feel like military life is an impossible feat. It reminds me that He has chosen our family for this task, and no matter where the military may take us or how it will separate our family, He will be there to provide for our needs and to strengthen us.




Reflection
What fears are lingering in your heart today?
Where are you struggling to trust in God’s provision?
Who is one person you can come alongside of today to encourage with the message of God’s faithfulness?

Prayer
Lord, thank you for your constant presence in my life. Thank you for your promise to be with me wherever I may go. Your plan for my family is perfect and as you continue to lead me, I hold onto your promises for the difficult and sometimes lonely days that military life holds. I pray that you continue to go with us all our days.

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.



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.



Alive With Grace

By Molly Huggins


 


How do I tell you my story and still make it about His Story? How do I give a voice to one snapshot, hoping the echoes will glorify the Master Planner?


I’ve pondered this a lot lately, and I’ve written much of our story on my personal blog, so I wrestle with this on a regular basis. Today, I might just tell you a little about how I came to be in the Story.

For the better part of two years, I hid in the library. For thirty precious minutes in the midst of my day I would tarry there with the piles of books. It was a brief respite from the torture of eighth and ninth grade, the years when I would step off the bus in tears, unable to navigate the halls without torment, to sit through a class without snickers. I hovered there, in that library, peeking into the unchanging lives of beloved characters--virtual friends before there was such a thing, whose existence was wholly unaffected by my scabby knees, tomboy looks and utter social ineptness. I was lonely in the stacks, but I was safe.

But somewhere around my junior year, between Nancy Drew and the impossibly long walk down the main hall-- you know, the one where you have to step over the legs of the popular kids lounging against the wall and you just know they are laughing at you and your second-hand clothes and sad attempts at following a trend, and not even a cool one at that ~ I came alive.

I was at a church camp. Of course, right? Not what you think, though. My youth pastor taught me to love the Word. He was bold, and he loved the Lord fiercely. He challenged us to do the same. And our youth weekends were wild and adventurous, as befitting a former Marine.

So on this wild and adventurous weekend, digging deep for the Truth, I learned to look at myself through the Savior’s lens. I discovered the redemption of the gospel and the freedom of being His creation. I was known, and loved. All those things that seemed SO IMPORTANT-- my scabby knees, second-hand clothes, and sheer awkwardness, and the acceptance I secretly, desperately wanted-- they melted away in the arms of my Savior.

And so I pick up the weave in His story, somewhere around age 16--me, who is known, who is knitted together in my mother’s womb, me, whose name is written in the Book of Life.

It’s a long story; I’m just giving you a peek at the beginning. We have valleys behind us, and more ahead. Of that I have no doubt. But I will fear no evil in the shadows. “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…”

Me, who is tattooed on the hands of the Maker. Alive with grace.

 


Reflection
Where did your part in His Story begin?
What prompted your search for meaning and significance?
Who could you be sharing your part in His story with today?

Prayer
Jesus, thank You for making me a daughter in Your Kingdom. Thank You for inviting me in, to be a part of the story with you. Help me to live each day worthy of the calling I have received. I trust You with my story, Lord, knowing that it is truly Yours. I trust that You hold all of it in Your capable hands. 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.



Philippians 4: Rejoice, Always

By Molly Huggins

 

Greetings to you my friends. I’m sure you’ve noticed our theme this month, and I am humbled to talk to you about Philippians 4. And friends? Please pray for me as I share my heart with you. It is always with much trepidation and a steadfast desire for the Truth that I parse Scripture for you. As always, hold my words up against the Word.

Philippians 4 can be divided into three sections. In verses 1-9, Paul encourages his brethren in the church of Philipi to remain steadfast in Christian duties - unanimity, joy, prayer and thanksgiving, etc. In the second section, verses 10-19, Paul acknowledges their kindness to him while expounding on his own contentment. He closes this portion with a desire to see their own well being, and ends the chapter (v. 20-23) with praise, greetings, and blessings to his friends.

There is much meat here, and some of the better known verses are in our collective memory bank. But I am not going to talk about those. I have limited space and so will highlight what ministers to me on a daily basis.

I mentioned joy- it’s rejoice, in fact. Verses 4-7 tell us this:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


Rejoice in the Lord always. Such a simple word, such a monumental command.

Always: every time, each time, at all times, all the time, without fail, consistently, invariably, regularly, habitually, unfailingly.

Always: continually, continuously, constantly, forever, perpetually, incessantly, ceaselessly, unceasingly, endlessly.

Always: forever, for always, for good (and all), forevermore, for ever and ever, until the end of time, eternally, for eternity.

Always: no matter what, in any event, in any case, come what may.

Matthew Henry describes it in this way:

“Observe, It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in God, and to rejoice in him always; at all times, in all conditions; even when we suffer for him, or are afflicted by him. We must not think the worse of him or of his ways for the hardships we meet with in his service. There is enough in God to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst circumstance on earth.”

 

We must rejoice in God when we have nothing else. When what we feel is not we know. This all consuming fire, this God who palms the oceans, He is omnipotent and all powerful and my every breath in, every breath out, is engineered, impeccably designed, to showcase His glory.

Rejoice in the Lord always. And this rejoicing? It breeds peace (v. 7), contentment (v. 11), and continued reliance on a God who moves the mountains, and clothes the lilies (v. 13.)

 

The joy letter, indeed.

 

Reflection
Is rejoicing a daily part of my life right now?
What things hold me back from fully rejoicing in the Lord?
What could I do to share joy with others today?

Prayer
Almighty God, You are the author of life and beauty. Everything holds together in You, and Your creation shouts of Your glory to the ends of the earth. Today I surrender all the things that hold me back from joy- my worries, my busy schedule, my selfish complaints- I lay them all down at Your feet in repentance. Fill my heart with joy today, the joy that only comes from You. I will rejoice in You because You are good, always. 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.




Philippians 2: United in Spirit

By Heather Tabers



When I study instructional passages of Scripture, I love to look at these three concepts: What, Why, and How. Let’s use these concepts to look at Philippians Chapter 2.

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

I love that in the first two verses of this chapter, Paul opens up a sermon on unity with one simple if/then statement. IF there is any encouragement (help, exhortation, counsel) in Christ, IF there is any fellowship (partnership) of the Spirit, IF any affection (the Greek’s strongest word for compassionate love) and compassion, THEN we are to be of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. IF we are blessed with encouragement, help, exhortation, counsel, fellowship, partnership, affection, compassion, and love, THEN we need to be united.


To break it down, IF God is compassionate towards you, THEN you need to share that same compassion with your brothers and sisters.



Paul offers no exception to this rule, only further encouragement to strengthen the bond among Christians. In one sentence, he gives us the What of the passage: Be united. Now, the Why- Why is it so important for Christians to be united? Why is it so important that we be of one mind, one love, one spirit, one purpose?
Because God chose to be united with us.

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


God, in all His perfection and righteousness and holiness, came to earth in the form of a lowly man through His Son, Jesus. Despite being sinless, He obeyed the Father and allowed Himself to be crucified horrifically in our place. The most compassionate love ever displayed was bestowed from a perfect Creator to a sinful creation, all for the sake of being united. Sin no longer separates me from God. He bridged that gap on the cross so that I can be His for all of eternity. That’s the Why-because Christ chose to be united with us.


But how we can be of one mind, one love, one spirit, and one purpose with all Christians? We’re so different!


3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.


Putting others before ourselves does not usually come naturally, this is why Paul breaks it down for us. To be united in the body of Christ as one, we need to put away our selfish habits and conceited ways. We need to stop thinking that our needs and wants are more important than someone else’s. We need to look for opportunities to bless others- not just the others we want to bless, but all others. That’s the How in this lesson- choosing to humble ourselves in unity with one another, just as Christ did for us.


Reflection
Who in my life do I lack unity with?
How can I humble myself and seek to put that person’s needs before mine?
What would this world be like if Jesus had put His needs before ours?

Prayer
Lord Jesus, thank You for the humility and sacrifice You demonstrated on the cross. You put Your glory aside and chose to die for me, because of Your deep love for me, even when I was far from You. Thank You, Jesus. In light of Your love and Your sacrifice, I choose to surrender my pride and my wants, my needs. I choose to love others above myself. I know I can’t do it on my own, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit. Open my eyes to the people around me who need to be loved and served today. 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.



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.






Free from Condemnation

By Heather Tabers


When I was a little girl, I was surrounded by family and friends that loved me very much. However, I was also surrounded by family that were less than pleased with my existence. In many ways, I was a disappointment. An inconvenience. A mistake. A burden. An embarrassment. As I grew older, I grew more aware of these opinions and carried their weight around in my heart. I was told that I should have been aborted. I was told that my life ruined the lives of others. I grew up bearing the weight of misplaced condemnation.

 

The definition of condemnation is “the expression of very strong disapproval” or “the action of condemning someone to punishment”. I understood this definition all too well as a child. That’s why Romans 8:1-4 is such a passage to me. Romans 8:1 begins, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” For a little girl who was raised in condemnation, this was such good news! Who I am in the world is nothing compared to who I am in Christ. I was not planned or wanted in this world, but the God who knew me since the beginning of time had a special plan for my life. Why? Verse 2 says, “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

 

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “That’s great for you, Heather. You were an innocent little girl. Your circumstances were not your fault. But you don’t know what I’ve done. I’ve messed up. People don’t like me because I’ve done some bad things.” There’s good news for you, too, dear sister. The rest of this passage reads, “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

 

Did you catch that? God sent his Son, Jesus to the world to bear our punishment. That condemnation that you and I have both felt is not ours to bear any longer! It doesn’t matter if we deserve the guilt, shame, and punishment or not- Jesus took it! When we are daughters of the King, we are liberated to live a new life free of the things that used to weigh us down.

 

Maybe you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “I know I’m a child of God. I even teach Sunday School. But I’m still a sinner. I keep messing up. Why can’t I just let go of this sin in my life?” These verses have good news for you, too, sweet sister. God’s boundless, limitless, matchless love and mercy flow over us every morning. Each day that you wake up is a new day to live in the Father’s freedom. Were you a gossiper yesterday? His mercies are new every morning, so today you are free from that condemnation. Were you a crabby mom yesterday? His mercies are new every morning, so today you are free from that condemnation. Were you an adulterous wife yesterday? Whoa. Adultery? That’s serious stuff. Are you condemned for that? No. His mercies are new every morning, so today you are free from that condemnation. When you GIVE GOD your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and cleanse you from ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Not just the little stuff. Not just the stuff that isn’t really your fault. He forgives us from ALL of our unrighteousness.

 

Tomorrow is a new day, sister. Lay those sins at the foot of the cross tonight and wake up free tomorrow morning. 


Reflection
What sins do I need to lay at the foot of the cross?
Who do I need to forgive in my life?
Freedom from condemnation is not just a gift for me. Who do I know that needs to be set free?

Prayer

Father God, You are mighty to save! You love the unlovable. You forgive the unforgivable. You bring new life to the dead. Bring new life in me today, Father. I lay my sin, my guilt, and my shame at the foot of Your cross. You bore my sins so that I would not have to carry the weight of condemnation any longer. Thank You for loving me, forgiving me, and creating new life within me. 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.




No Perfect People Allowed

By Mary Parker




I’ve been struggling with some serious mixed emotions. My husband is taking off for a six-week TDY next week, and the thought of being without him for that long makes me nervous, sad and honestly, grumpy. I know it could be worse. I know he could be in a dangerous place, deployed somewhere with limited communication. The thought of countless spouses who endure that type of separation spurs me on and makes me so thankful for the nature of our separation. But still I know I will miss him.

Thinking of this love and sorrow makes me imagine how God must feel about us. He created you and me, in our mother’s wombs, and loved us before anyone else. He knows our thoughts, our words, our every move before we even make them. Despite seeing even our wickedest behaviors, He loves us in an immense way that surpasses understanding. He also misses us, and is calling us to Him every day, urging us to find our refuge and shelter in Him.

Imagine how you miss your husband every day when you are apart. That longing is how God feels for us when we’re apart. The Bible tells us that sin has separated us from God, but that through everything he is trying to win us back. Although he pursues us, we have to know Jesus before a relationship with God can be restored and nurtured.

This sounds like a lot of work, right? But the truth is, the work was done over 2,000 years ago. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This verse reminds us of the price Jesus paid with his perfect blood so that you and I could be completely redeemed and made righteous for God.

The sacrifice was made out of love! Not guilt. Not love-for-you-only-if-you-are-perfectly-perfect-in-every-way. Jesus died a horrible death for each of us, so that we could be reunited with God and avoid the agonizing suffering of sin. God doesn’t want something from us . He wants something for us, and that’s joy in life through redemption in Jesus. The innocent blood of Jesus was spilled for my sins, and yours, so that we don’t have to bridge an impossible gap to get back to communion with God. Praise the Lord for that!

If you’re feeling far from your husband or family, remember that your creator and redeemer has made Himself 100% accessible to you. All you need to do is recognize the price Jesus paid for you, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior today. If you already have a relationship with Jesus, take today to thank Him for his sacrifice and strive to walk closer with Him, learning his kind, patient, generous ways. Remember, Jesus Christ didn’t die for perfect people-He died for us.


Reflection
Why is it important that Jesus died for us “while we were sinners?”
How is God pursuing me now?
How can I more actively pursue a relationship with Him today?


Prayer
Dear God, Thank you for sending your precious son Jesus to take my sins. I commit my life to serving you and seeking your will, and I thank you for loving me even when I make mistakes. Help me to see through your eyes and show me how to follow you each 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.


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.