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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.


For the military spouses: When freedom costs you, too

By Molly Huggins



Dear Military Wife,

It’s July, and there is a whole lot of flag waving happening here and everywhere, and being from the south, (and in a military town), we get an extra helping of gratitude for our Soldiers and the job they do. And I am so thankful for that. But not today. I want to talk to you, about what the cost of freedom is to YOU.

Yes, you.

Camp followers. Army wives. Household 6 ... and all the other nicknames they’ve assigned us over the years ... some of them not so nice!

The 5 am coffee makers, and the ship waver-offers, and you who slog your way to the post office twice monthly to send him his favorite barbeque sauce and the extra Xbox controllers and a stack of drawings from the seven year old.

The stoic ones and the hot teary messes (THIS GIRL).

Yes, I’m talking to you, the temporary single parent, and the frazzled momma at the grocery store in her yoga pants, who may not have showered in days and just fed her children bologna straight out of the package. (DON’T JUDGE ME!)

Or worse, you who want nothing more than to be a mom but can't seem to get pregnant because it’s impossible to do even just a little bit of life together.

Or you there, who dusts off your resume and starts job hunting again, because we go where he goes, which isn't always where the jobs go ... And my Guard girls (sorry, women;) who are foreigners at home, military wives a long way from a military town.

We don't wear the rank and we didn't slog through the mud in basic training (most of us, anyways) but we sure are putting our families on the line. And you try telling me when my seven year old is sobbing for her daddy that we don't sacrifice for freedom.

And I bet a fair number of us could pack a duffel bag like a professional. We’ve been sending them off to war for a good twelve years now.

I used to demure and say we aren't brave, it's just a life, etc. And still, I won't go shouting from the roof tops, “Look at me!”

But you? That's another story.

You ARE brave, and oh, do you sacrifice. And eyes open or squeezed tight shut, you stand with your Soldier Husband.

“But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” ~ Ruth 1:16

Ruth is committing to the family of her husband in this passage, but the idea here, to be a family wherever we land ... well, it fits, it does. I mean, it’s almost like, well, you know, OUR WEDDING VOWS.

And we make a life, and a home in clapboard boxes and dilapidated base housing. We make a life in the suburbs, and in the big city. Year in, year out. And yes, most of my furniture is neutral because you never know what the walls will look like in the next place, and I scratch my decorating itch with a never ending supply of accent pillows. And at the end of the day, month, or year, we made a home ... and next year we will pack it up and do it all over again.

This life, it doesn't define us. We claim citizenship in a heavenly kingdom and hold fast to the power of the gospel and our identity as a new creation in Christ.

But there are camouflage shapes carved out of my heart and it's okay to say that the carving hurt, and we sacrificed to get them.

So you. All of you.

Ecclesiastes tells us, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

One commentary (Gill’s Bible Exposition) breaks it down for us like this ...

“If a family, community, city, or kingdom, are divided against themselves, they cannot stand; but, if united, in all probability nothing can hurt them.”

Be brave. Be proud. Bear one another up. Us camp followers need to stick together.


How can you encourage a fellow military spouse today?
Find a spouse whose soldier is deployed and seek out ways to bless them. We know better than anyone what helps!


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.


Dear Military Spouse: When Plans Come Undone

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”

Jeremiah 32:17


Dear Military Spouse,

You've probably been there, and so you know- deployments come with a great deal of planning. I made the decision to move into my parents’ home while my husband would be deployed for ten months. There was a lot of planning and preparation put into this move. Two days before the deployment, I stood in the kitchen surrounded by boxes. My mother-in-law and I were cleaning and getting things together when I received a phone call from a friend. She was asking if I had heard the news about deployment being canceled.

Can you picture that? I have to believe you’ve been through similar experiences. How everything you set in order is turned upside down and there lie all the scattered pieces of your well-thought-out plan.

I stood outside for a moment, trying to accept our new reality while mumbling under my breath, “I don’t know what to do.” I must have said that over and over for at least an hour. I was suffering from serious whiplash!

That afternoon we fielded dozens of phone calls and messages from family and friends offering assistance, and a place to stay for however long we needed. What a gift!

Sometimes when you’re going through something, it’s not clear what God is up to. It’s only when you’re out of the fog that you can turn back around and see where He was working things together for your good and His glory.

He is in control of our circumstances and nothing is a surprise to him. It’s one of my favorite characteristics of God because I love having a plan! He is not shrugging his shoulders about the direction of our lives. We can trust that he is at work through this challenging lifestyle to which he’s called our families. We are led by the God who is in highest authority and rules over everything that was, and is to come.

Laura



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.


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.



His Faithfulness

I recently walked through a season of loneliness while my husband was away frequently, and lived far from family. I learned a lot in the last few years about who I am and how God works in a heart. I also learned that nothing He brings us through is without purpose. He always has a plan, and He has proven himself trustworthy during years that were difficult.

 

We recently moved to a different duty station and I’m thrilled about this one. Beforehand, I didn’t know we were going to move close to family. I was convinced we would find ourselves in another location far from our loved ones. But God blessed us and brought us to a place of rest, and I am delighted!  He is faithful to care for us, and in this change of seasons, I’m learning He knows us well and delights in blessing our families. But, I’m aware in order to grow we have to go through times of trial.

 

Philippians 1:6 says this:

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 

I don't know what difficult season you find yourself in.  Maybe your spouse is away, or the work hours are long and you are desperate for a break. Don’t give up. Stand firmly in Christ, being confident that God is going to keep on working in you and through you, no matter what circumstances you might face. Trust that God will be faithful to your family, and that this season is part of His amazing plan for you.

He will use this experience for His glory and your good.

 

The Lord arranged our circumstances here in a way that I could never have dreamed as a military family. We find ourselves in the Midwest, which is home to me. Our family lives nearby, and our home is beautiful! I think it’s a lot easier to praise God when you have first walked through a valley. It’s nice to find ourselves on this mountain and to see a reward for all the stretching and pulling God allowed our family to go through.
He is faithful. And He will finish the work in you that He started.


Reflection

 

Am I trusting the Lord in every area of my life?

 

What things do I struggle to trust Him with?

 

Where have I seen God’s faithfulness in my life lately?


Prayer

Father God, You are true and faithful. I know that You promise to continue working in me and through me, even in difficult times. Help me to trust You for that. Give me eyes to see Your goodness today, so that I might live a life of praise and not a life of complaint. I trust Your plan, because You are good. Use me today to build Your kingdom. 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. 





Here I Raise My Ebenezer
Music tells the stories in this wee family of mine. There is always a song, a singer, a note that accompanies the moments we treasure.

A recurring hymn woven in our tale - sung at weddings, funerals, countless church services, and even a few bedtimes - is “Come Thou Fount,” written in the 18th century by Robert Robinson.

 

If you are unfamiliar with the lyrics, let me highlight a few key phrases.

 

“Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise ...”

“Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come ... “


There’s more -I encourage you to listen to the whole song.  But for now ... have you ever thought about who or what Ebenezer is?

It comes from I Samuel 7, after the Israelites had been delivered from the Philistines. Samuel interceded for the Israelites as they cried out to the Lord. And the Lord answered, confusing the Philistines with a mighty thundering.

Then, “Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (I Samuel 7:12, NKJV).

Ebenezer is, literally, “a stone of help.”

 

Friends, I am here to tell you, it is only with a multitude of grace and a veritable mountain of Ebenezers that I can write to you with joy of His mercy and goodness in my life.

 

In eight plus years of marriage, we’ve lived through four deployments (with a fifth looming), six moves, five pregnancies, three babes, and the combat loss of my best friend. And He never fails to help. Scripture pours out of me when I think of each moment I cried out in my desperation.

There are too many to list them all.

 

So beloved, hear this.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13, NKJV).


I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord because I have. Again and again. In darkness, and in light. In grief, and in joy. In loss, and in new life.

The Almighty, the Namer and Counter of Stars - He carries me, His precious lamb, in the crook of His arm (Isaiah 40:11). And He promises, promises, to never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).

So here, here I raise my Ebenezer, my stones of help. Rocks made of the Word of life, poured out on parchment, cried out in desperation, sung from prisons, spoken from a bloody brow on a rough hewn cross, and whispered in the echoes of an empty tomb.

Hither by thy help, I come.


Reflection

Friends, what are your stones of help?

How has God shown you His goodness in the midst of despair?

If you can’t think of any, I challenge you to dig deep in His word ... find the promises so richly provided.

Prayer

God, thank You for being my Rock, and my refuge. I praise You because You give true hope in the midst of desperate circumstances. I lift up my cry to You today and ask You to meet my heart with joy. Fill me up with Your love. Help me to remember that You are always in control.  Help me to see Your goodness today, and to trust You always.



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.


Grow in Patience, Not Impatience

It is amazing how much God loves us and nourishes our growth each and every day. God formed us “in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). While some good works start outwardly and have an impact on the heart, others begin with heart change reflected in our actions.

God has called me to be more patient. For some people this may not take a lot of work, but that certainly doesn’t describe me, and never really has. The more quiet time I spend with God, the more confident I am that God wants me to focus on enhancing the fruit of the spirit in my life that is most challenging: patience (Galatians 5:22-23).

This morning God challenged me to grow by extending grace to a stranger. I was strolling along down the dairy aisle when a woman in front of me made a sudden, wide U-turn, forcing me to cling to the rack of shredded cheese for dear life. Moments later we encountered one another in the 10 items or less self-checkout lane. As I quickly scanned my three produce items, I could hear her behind me sighing and saying some pretty hurtful things about me. Satan was on my left shoulder telling me to be offended and urging me to confront her in anger.

Instead, I chose to focus my thoughts on Jesus. He challenged me not to judge others because others can’t see God in my actions when I act impatiently. I was convicted to pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139: 23-24). So I scanned quickly, smiled, and wished her a good day.

When we set our eyes on Jesus, we can find the strength to extend patience and gentleness to others under any circumstance. Although a smile in the checkout lane is a small thing, it was given with the patient intention to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”
(2 Corinthians 1:4).

We live by God’s grace each day, and by extending grace towards others, we can do a good work in the lives of others as well as our own hearts.



Reflection

What situations tempt me to be impatient?

How can I better please God in situations when I choose not to judge others?

What opportunities do I have to pray for others each day?

Prayer
Father, thank you for always being patient with me, especially when I make mistakes. Thank you for not throwing my mistakes in my face or creating obstacles for me because of them, but welcoming me into your comforting, loving arms so that I might learn. Help me to be more patient with myself, others and my surroundings each and every day so that I may nurture the fruits of the spirit and become closer to you. Help me to be a more godly woman so that others can see your great works and love in my actions. Thank you God for loving me. I love you and worship only you. 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 on her blog, Mary's Mischief. 


When Fear Takes Over

I have a confession to make. Seven years and four deployments into this Army life, I still wrestle with fear. We all do. I tell my fellow Army wives that battling fear is a daily struggle. There is no magic pill, special prayer, specific activity, or pithy quote that instantly unfreezes you. That keeps you calm when he hasn’t called and he's on a mission and you are spiraling into crazy, imagining all that's gone wrong. You fight every day and towards the end, you sleep a little easier, you breathe more. You surrender every day to a loving, merciful Savior with a Master Plan and irresistible Grace.

 

But fear still lurks. 


Just months ago, on this most recent New Year’s Day - I found myself momentarily paralyzed. There was a hailstorm. Out of nowhere. I was so confused. As I was scrambling to pick up the chalk scattered over my garage parking space so I could get my car inside, I had an epiphany. I was contemplating how (or if) I wanted to write about the last year, to wrap it up in a neat little package, or maybe write about next year, what I want to do, hope to do, have fooled myself into thinking I will do . . . but I realized that the weather told the whole story.

It was beautiful. And then stormy. Out of nowhere. And in this life, I pick up the pieces and scramble for the shelter I know I have in the arms of the Almighty.

“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).

In that moment I was struggling desperately with fear already, the vague harbinger of a specific storm. I felt it in my gut. A move. A new job. Another deployment? Another deployment. Fear.

My heart was sinking, hardening a little . . . moving, more goodbyes, another year apart, more loneliness. And then in the deep dark, I knew . . . I know . . . there is sunshine in between. There is sunshine after. There is joy in the morning. There is shelter in the storm. I am His.

And oh, in this life there is sunshine. Joy when “I’ll see you next week” really was next week, when I stood in a cavernous hangar that was echoing with brassy patriotic anthems and the barely contained excitement of a hundred other families, living out their own stories in the spaces around me. Joy when I caught a glimpse of my handsome, head-shaved man in lockstep, and he slid his eyes sideways and saw me and started to grin, my so serious, always composed, always professional soldier-Husband who couldn’t keep the smile from splitting his cheeks. Joy when he folded his arms tight around me, my head fitting tight under his chin, my gravity restored, albeit slightly off-kilter, because we were different, not better or worse, but different. Joy in this Army life we live together.

So, beloved, when the fear comes - when it creeps into shadowed corners and speaks dark into your heart - push back with relentless truth, with hope, and yes, joy. He loves you with a steadfast love, never ceasing. His mercy and grace are limitless. You belong to Him, a daughter of the King.


Reflection

What fears have taken root in my heart recently?

What steps do I need to take to surrender those fears to God?

What other things do I try to lean on- instead of God- when I am afraid?  How can I make an effort to trust Him above all else?

 

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for your unending love and grace.  I'm so thankful for the hope I have in knowing You- that You will never leave me, that You have control over all that goes on around me, and that You are for me.  Help me to trust You and believe truth about You, even when fear surrounds me.  Give me the strength to trust You in all things.  Amen.

 

Molly Huggins (www.allthegracebetween.com) 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.



Splashed: Trusting God in the Storm
I hate getting splashed. I mean, I really hate getting splashed. I don't like running through the sprinkler or getting sprayed with the hose. I don't even like getting splashed when I'm in the pool. The problem is, in life, we get splashed a lot. God gave me an image a few years ago when everything in my life was falling apart. I would curl up in a ball in my bed and cry, begging God to hold me as I cried myself to sleep. But God gave me this beautiful image of a small child, curled up in His great big hands with waves crashing all around underneath and lightning striking across the sky, sleeping peacefully and blissfully unaware.

That's a beautiful image, and it has carried me through many dark nights. But it would probably be more accurate if the little girl were sleeping in a wet soppy puddle in God's hands. Oh, how I long to be blissfully unaware of the pain, devastation, and sin that surrounds me! How I would love to snuggle with my Papa God, unscathed by the storms. But you and I both know that when the storms come, we get splashed, even in the safety of our Creator's hands.

God has offered us many promises in His Word. He promised to always be with us (Joshua 1:9), He promised to deliver us from bondage if we commit ourselves to Him (1 Samuel 7:3). But He never promised it would be easy. When He promised to carry us over the storms of life, He never promised that we wouldn't get wet.

Friend, are you getting splashed? I know I am. I feel like a soppy, wet mess. But I am SAVED. I cannot be devoured by the rising waters! I cannot be lost at sea! My Pappa God will hold me safely and securely in His hands. He will not drop me! Do you know that friend? Do you believe it? Can you wipe the wet hair from your eyes for just a minute to peek out over God's hands and take sight of the roaring storm? Can you see what you are being delivered from? Together, let's be mindful to stop fussing when we get splashed and be grateful that we've been saved!

1 Timothy 1:12 "That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day."

 

Reflection

What storms in my life are causing me panic and fear?

Am I trusting God to carry me through these storms?

What fears do I need to surrender to Him?

Where can I see God’s hand in these storms and thank Him for it, even now?


Prayer

Father God, You are my strong tower, my refuge. Thank You for carrying me through so many storms. Even when storms rise up on every side, I know that my salvation lies in You, and it cannot be shaken! Help me to trust in Your strength, and surrender my fears to You in this season. I believe that You are strong enough to carry me through this. Give me the strength to endure hardship and heartache for Your Name’s sake. 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.