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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.


Changing What "It Is"
Changing What

‚Äčby Mary Parker


If there’s a phrase that has always peeved me when others say it, “It is what it is” takes the cake! The writer in me hates the undefined antecedent. All of me is disturbed by the concept that although something is not right, not good, or in some other way displeasing, we must accept it without trying to change it.

Something I’ve learned through a core value in my home church and my walk with Jesus is that growing people do, in fact, change.

Change can be hard, but necessary. 

Although my wedding day is filled with beautiful memories, I’m happy that my marriage continuously changes for the better, rooted in discipline and intentional improvement. On our wedding day, our marriage wasn’t where it needed to be – Will and I were intrinsically selfish people not yet sure how to navigate the world as a dynamic duo.

We could’ve simply thrown our hands in the air during our first marital conflict and muttered, “It is what it is,” but we decided to fight for one another, not against one another. To fight for the vows we made to God and one another in front of our family and friends. To fight for a love we believe in, and want to learn more about.

There have been times since then where it could have just been easier to quit rather than adapt, too. TDYs, last minute changes in plans, challenges in seeing family and feeling stranded in the Arctic wilderness (strictly hypothetical, obviously), for example.

But we adapt and seek God’s will in all circumstances, aware that His will won’t always match our plans.

Paul writes in his letter to the church in Rome, 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Change can be hard, but beneficial.

The world tells us to be mad when others hurt us. To react when we’re angered. To show hostility toward our enemies. Learning from Jesus’ examples in life has helped me shift from bitterness toward others to forgiveness, from frustration to acceptance, and sometimes even joy and peace over things that were once aggravating (loud chewing for instance). 

These heart changes, however small, create shifts in our thoughts, which result in behavior modification, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45b).

It’s a daily commitment, but I’m learning to rely on God’s strength to make changes in my life so I can ultimately be more pleasing to Him and, honestly, be a more pleasant person to be around.

As for challenges in marriage, often posed by the military, seek God’s will as husband and wife, open to change, and work toward a daily-renewed union.

 

Father, thank you for the blessings you have shown me in this life. I pray you will supply the strength to help me make changes in my thoughts toward others – help me to be more pleasing to you and love others more fully. Show me your will so I may obey any changes in my life and marriage you are asking of me. Help me to live for you today and every day. Amen.


Questions for Reflection: 

*What changes can I make to improve my attitude today?

*How can committing my perspective to be more pleasing to God
affect my thoughts, behavior, and relationships?


 


 

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.


Marriage: The Pathway to Maturity
Marriage: The Pathway to Maturity


by Mary Parker



When Will and I decided to embark on our Air Force adventure, we barely knew what it would mean to be a military family. We felt confident our values matched with the service and looked forward, unsure what the future would hold.

Almost two years into our journey, we call Fairbanks, Alaska home; it’s a mere 4,000 miles from our starting point in South Carolina. Being so far away from everything familiar – family, friends, homes, college football games, and winding country roads – can be challenging, but we embrace the ride!

Whenever we begin to feel distant or miss our family, we reflect on the idea that we are never alone, and God is leading our family with and for a purpose.

We also believe God designed us, as two people, to come together and form a family, as foretold in the Biblical introduction to marriage through the story of Adam and Eve:

“A man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

Faith in God’s plan helps fortify us as a team, when it seems difficult to be so far away, or when it stings a bit to be just a team of two on a military installation where it can feel like every couple should have two kids minimum. 


Although facing life together continues to become easier as we nestle into marriage and learn more about one another, there are times when being a military family can provide additional challenges: last minute TDYs, late nights on standby duty, missed dates and appointments.

Overall, we have it pretty lucky due to the nature of my husband’s job. Still, sometimes it can be extremely frustrating when it seems like the Air Force has total control of our circumstances. It can be downright discouraging!

But the truth is encouraging – God is in charge, and His word prepares us throughout the entire Bible, especially the New Testament, for circumstances that can rock our lives and families:  

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

 
As I strive to persevere and develop spiritual fruit to offset the challenges that come along with the joys of being a military family, I grow in patience and my marriage blossoms. Obviously, this is not a complete picture of marriage, but it is a component. Faith that God has control of the situation and is guiding us with and for a purpose carries us through and helps us as we walk, as straight as possible, the narrow road on the pathway to maturity.

 
My consummate mantra as a wife, and as we face challenges, is to possess these qualities of the infamous Proverbs 31 wife:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25).

I encourage you to laugh in faith today! 

 

Questions for Reflection:

*Am I trusting the military, or God, with my family’s future?
*What practical steps can I take to develop perseverance in my life? How can that impact my family as a whole?



 

 

 

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.


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.