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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.


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.



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.