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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.


Praise and Thanksgiving
Praise and Thanksgiving


​by Mary Parker



Lately, on Sunday nights, I’ve had trouble getting to sleep. Thoughts of Monday morning “what-ifs” and “to-dos” keep my brain riveted in cyclical momentum. This has resulted in several crabby (to put it mildly) Mondays, after a great day devoted to God just 24 hours before.

The same restlessness plagues my brain as we plan a cross-country trip during the holidays to see our family for the first time in two years. A time that should be full of joy and relaxation is haunted by worry and anxiety. The harder I try to plan and fix, the messier everything seems to get.

In the situations of holiday planning and late night restlessness, I often find that the comfort I’m seeking only comes when I surrender my tired body and brain to
Jesus.

So instead of staring at the ceiling in mind-numbing thought, I thank Him for the mercy He provides for me to start each day anew, for the lessons of loving others that make my marriage, familial relationships and friendships more fulfilling, for providing more than my family could need or imagine and encouraging me to give freely to others. The list goes on, and I find myself beautifully rested and restored when I awake Monday morning.

 

When I begin praising God for all He has done and continues to do in my life, I become less concerned with what can go wrong. I can even remember the times when things have blown up at work or with family, and the times I rely on God to see me through are infinitely more successful than when I rely on my own devices.


For some of us, restlessness comes with the daunting challenges of the work week. For others, it’s during the nail biting moments of the college football game when we say things we probably shouldn’t (myself included), while prepping the prized Thanksgiving turkey, or while planning to spend holidays apart from loved ones. 


Whatever the restless moments in your life, I encourage you to praise Jesus in the midst for all that He has done, is doing, and continues to do in your life.

Ultimately, thanking God for the blessings, which surely exist in our lives, is an amazing way to renew ourselves daily, as He intends:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him'” (Lamentations 3:22-24).


Questions for Reflection:

*​If you are struggling with restlessness, is there something you need to give to the Lord?

*What are some specific blessings you can thank God for right now?

*How can you remind yourself of God's faithfulness?

 

Prayer:

Father, thank you for all the blessings you have put in my life, for loving me more than I can ever know, for pouring your mercy on me every single day, and for refreshing me daily. I seek you today and ask for help to recognize your great hand in this world. Help me to be thankful for my blessings and not take them for granted. I love you Father and am thankful for your supremacy in my life. 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.


The New Face of the Alarm Clock
The New Face of the Alarm Clock

​

by Mary Parker




We’re all busy, right? Sometimes in our culture, we wear our time management like a badge of honor. And I’ve been known to keep up with the best of them – between life as an Air Force spouse, working full-time and teaching part-time, staying fit, fostering relationships with friends and family in Alaska and back home on the East Coast, I’d say I qualify. I sometimes struggle with this as a pride issue, but I enjoy juggling multiple commitments. 

 
Being busy isn’t a bad thing, and when we’re pursuing the things God wants us to, we can find untapped happiness and fulfillment. But when God gets left out of the picture, problems can really start to infringe on our time, and every other aspect of our lives.

 
This has happened in my life more than once. Deadlines pile up, and amidst pressures (many of which are self-inflicted) to follow-up on emails, make dinner from scratch, craft Christmas decorations, and walk the dog, God gets left out. Then I wind up on the kitchen floor, exhausted and delirious because I’ve stashed the milk in the pantry…again. After all God has done and continues to do for me, it is easy for me to forget that He is with me always.

 
When my husband is TDY, I seek God eagerly and fiercely because I consciously put Him first, as I should every day. Seeking God actively, reading His word, and listening for His voice in my life, for just 10 minutes at the start of the day provides immense peace and blessing over all the minutes of the rest of my day. So I’ve resolved to spend time with God every day in this manner, giving Him the first minutes of each day He blesses me with.

 
Jesus, knowing the hardships of humanity, beckons us to spend time with Him: 

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-29).

 
I find I have a steadier head throughout the day when I consciously remember God is with me. I am quicker to see other people through God’s eyes, and offer grace. I am slower to frustration and anger when I accept that this is a “light and momentary trouble,” and I am more apt to love others fully when I meditate on God’s love for me, and His commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself."

 
I encourage you to look at your alarm clock as a daily date with God – a time to spend in His love and comfort, and allow Him to prepare you fully for the day ahead!

 

Questions for Reflection:

*How much time do I spend seeking God every day? 

*Are there activities on my to-do list that I put before God? 

*How can spending time with God affect my mind, body and

spirit throughout the day?





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.