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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.


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.


Mary's Story

By Mary Parker

On August 29, 2010, things were a little hectic in my life. I had just started graduate school, and was a full-time student working about 20 hours a week. I lived with my future husband, and we were scheduled to be married in just a little over a month. School work, planning the last details of the wedding, and feeling imminent pressure from a number of sources left me drained, sad and alone.


I confided in my fiancée and one of our best friends how I was feeling, and we decided to try a church we had heard a lot about. Although I attended church frequently as a child, I always felt the messages were condemning and didn’t really apply to my life. Once I was on my own, friends and priorities like working and partying became my life, so church wasn’t even on my radar. Neither was God. I felt like something was missing in my life, and since I had tried everything to fill the void (work, school, relationships, lifestyle), it seemed like church was worth a shot.

That night I heard the gospel in a way I never had before, laid out in a way that I could understand and even see in my own behavior: God loves me, but due to sin I am separated from God. NO amount of work that I do on my own can ever bridge the gap between us, but God is constantly pursuing me through the love of Jesus, who died so that I might live. “The only way to the Father is through the Son,” Jesus, who lived a perfect life in a horrifically imperfect world, and by acknowledging that he is the “way, the truth and the life” I can return to communion with God.

It sounds so simple now, but it rocked my world. As a child, I legitimately thought the only reason people went to church was so they wouldn’t go to hell. No one had ever told me that the reason Jesus died was because God loves me.

So that night, full of conviction, I walked to the front of the sanctuary, wrote my name on a slip of paper and nailed it to a cross. My husband and dear friend made the same demonstration of faith that night, and our lives began to change forever.

A month later my husband and I were married. Two days after our wedding we were baptized together. We began volunteering at church and in the community. Our relationships were enhanced. We learned daily lessons about following Jesus, especially in ways of patience, mercy and grace, through reading our Bibles and worshipping with fellow believers. I learned that in my past I had been too focused on church to see Jesus shining through.

Following Christ didn’t mean that all our troubles were over, however. When I was in graduate school, we struggled financially, which led to credit card debt and tension in our new marriage. Once we realized this was a “treasure” in our lives that we were coveting and prioritizing more than Jesus, we made the move to surrender our finances to Christ and began tithing. On a household income of less than $40,000, we paid off more than $11,000 in debt in under a year. If I ever needed proof that God wants what is best for me, this was it.

During this same time, it became apparent that something in our lives needed to change. My husband was unfulfilled in his work, and I was daunted by anxiety and responsibility. We prayed and studied our Bibles, but couldn’t figure out a solution. We had always hoped for worldwide travel and adventure, but we felt stuck and stagnant, as though we weren’t in the right place to flourish. That’s when the United States Air Force entered our lives, by glowing recommendation of my husband’s aunt, a retiring Lt. Colonel.

After a lot of discussion and prayer, we became an Air Force family. We had one long hot summer in the west Texas desert, and then we moved to the frozen frontier of Fairbanks, Alaska. We love our home and the adventurous lifestyle we experience everyday in the extreme climate and adventure of Alaska. We still face struggles, big and small, daily.

Though we’ve searched for months and visited several churches, we haven’t found a new church home. We miss our church in South Carolina dearly; it is the community where we received salvation, were baptized and began walking with the Lord. Nothing can replace that, but we are seeking a new community of believers locally to share life with. We’ve also been trying to grow our family for more than a year, and have reasons to believe that we may have more difficulty than the average couple.

Whatever struggles life may bring, we know and are ever thankful for the salvation that we have in Jesus Christ. Our God provides, comforts, sheds light on a narrow path, and is always right beside us every step of the 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 her blog, Mary's Mischief. 



Psalm 91: The Soldier's Prayer

 

 

Psalm 91 is often referred to as the Soldier’s Prayer or the Soldier’s Psalm. Countless veterans of the many wars around the globe have prayed this Psalm and carried it with them into battle. As military wives, it is our responsibility to wield the Sword of God’s Word in our homes, and Psalm 91 is one of the sharpest swords in our arsenal. If your husband is deployed, this passage of scripture can be prayed as a hedge of protection around him in battle. If your husband is home, these verses can be prayed over your entire family as you seek God’s protection from not only physical harm, but also from oppression, spiritual attacks and other wicked schemes from the enemy.

 

If you are not in the habit of praying God’s Word over your husband, I encourage you to start with some of these verses from Psalm 91. You can insert your husband’s name as I have done below. Your husband may fight physical wars in the military but as Christians, we all fight in a much larger spiritual battle. As military wives, our roles are very significant. We are Warrior Princesses of the Most High God, called into His service as a Sword wielding warrior. Pick up your Sword, Princess! It’s time to battle for those we love.

 

Bob, who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “You are Bob’s refuge and his fortress,
Our God, in whom we both trust!”
For it is He who delivers my husband from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover Bob with His pinions,
And under His wings Bob may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
Bob will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at my husband’s side
And ten thousand at his right hand,
But it shall not approach Bob.
(Psalm 91:1-7)

 

Reflection & Prayer
Pray the words of the psalm over your husband today, and rest in the truth that God goes before him and beside him in any battle he faces.




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.



Psalm 139: Search My Heart

 A little over a year ago my husband left for two months of training. We’ve been together for years and living without him provided new challenges for me, like how to sleep in an empty bed, how to make meals for one, how to laugh and how to talk through my day. I felt an emptiness without his presence.

 

Within a week I was lonely. Although I was surrounded by friends and family, nothing could fill the void my husband left. I was desperate for comfort but was reminded of Psalm 139. My anxious heart found comfort as I prayed the words of the Psalm,

 

“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” (23-24).

 

This prayer is a constant reminder to stay grounded as I strive to please to God while facing the challenges of missing an absent husband. The loneliness I felt afforded me the opportunity to dig deeper into God’s word.

 

The Psalmist exudes love for God and praises His companionship in verses 4-6; “Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” As I missed my husband and the way we would finish each others' sentences, I learned to recognize that my Father God is always present and knows my sentences before I even think them! Although this was knowledge I already had, the Holy Spirit comforted me by bringing it to my remembrance when I needed it the most.

 

Aside from working and spending time with family, I dedicated our time apart to God. I sought to build a more firm relationship with Him by putting Him first in every situation. Psalm 139 encourages a dialogue with God, a conversation about the ways that He loves me and is always with me, constantly encouraging me to draw closer to Him. During a season when I needed God the most, I found Him through His word and His precious thoughts of me (17).
In retrospect, as I think about the time apart from my husband, I realize things were not as gloomy as they seemed. As we prepare for another separation from each other as well as the support of friends and family, I am thankful I have God as my light for whom, “even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (12).

 

Reflection
What actions, thoughts or behaviors in my life may be “offensive” to God?
How can I pursue a stronger relationship with God every day?
Do I prioritize other people or things above God in my life? How? Why?


Prayer
Pray the words of the Psalmist today as you go about your day, inviting Him into all the things you are doing:

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.

 


 

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. 




Dear Military Spouse: You Are Not Alone


I walked into the guest room as he was packing his bags. I had to weave through the camouflage catastrophe to get to him, making miracles of space in an oversized rucksack.


I leaned over his shoulder, kissed him, and eased myself out of the room.

I hate watching him pack his bags.

And this morning, when he stands framed in the wavy leaded glass of the front door, an olive drab duffel bag in each strong, tanned hand ... my heart cracks a little under the weight of it. This is the image I will carry through the next nine months, his broad back filling the doorway, walking away.

And we are not alone in this ... there are a million goodbyes whispered in doorways in the dark, on tarmacs, in hangars, and everywhere else soldiers gather to be shipped away. Many have gone before us. He represents them all in this moment, gathered in the shape of one man gripping his bags and hefting them on his shoulders.

And I curl inward on the hurt from my breaking heart, tears welling up from the dark, hard places that know about the leaving. Fat drops that pool in the corners of my eyes before I hastily brush them away. Because I ... we know about the leaving, the goodbyes, the what-could-happens. Grief and loss are begrudging companions on this journey we’ve traveled.

We all know about the leaving.


With wet cheeks, I uncurl from the leather chair. Because, sisters, here is the truth that keeps me breathing deep.

He’s leaving tomorrow. But I am not alone.

I am never alone. My loving, heavenly Father promises he will never forsake me. Never abandon me. {Hebrews 13:5b}

“Fear not,” he says, “for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” {Isaiah 43:1-3}.


I know this is true. We’ve lived it. The Holy One has walked with me through moves, miscarriages, deployments, and death.

We serve a steadfast God, who lives with us in the hard places. One who knows about the leaving. And I will urge you {and preach to myself}, in the same way Moses exhorted Joshua before the battle of Jericho, against all odds: 


“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” {Deuteronomy 31:6}.


He’s leaving. But I am never alone.


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.