by Chantal Graupmann
The butter dish.
It's a simple yet useful tool every kitchen should have, and we have never owned one. This little fact drives me crazy. I cannot count the number of times I have noted that I need to buy one, but for some reason or another, a butter dish is never purchased. Instead, our butter gets placed in a bowl, on a plate, or sometimes even stays on the counter in its wrapper. This seemingly small annoyance irks me in a big way, as I constantly waste time and energy as I move the butter around the kitchen because the container is too large, takes up an awkward amount of space, or it makes a mess.
Yet, isn't that a picture of how our lives can be? We sit, day after day, knowing that a small change can make a big difference in our lives. Yet we move this or that, avoiding the real problem.
James 4:8 states: "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you."
Our family is about to experience our very first deployment in a matter of just a couple short weeks. Not only that, but my husband and I have been making some decisions about the way we want our life to look, the way it should look, as followers of Christ. Talk about big changes.
These things, these important things, have been in the back of our minds for some time now. However, just like the butter in our kitchen, we have failed to address the small change that can make such a huge impact in our lives.
The simplicity and usefulness of James 4:8 bores into my heart: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
All we must do is draw near!
My countless hours of worry, of looking for answers, of outright avoidance have all been a waste of precious time. If I simply seek God, he will be my source of all comfort and he will guide me in the right direction with his constant presence and conviction.
This truth helps me stay calm in the midst of all the change happening in our lives. I have found that taking even 5 minutes in the morning to seek God makes a huge impact on my attitude and my perspective throughout the day.
Questions for Reflection:
*Are you willing to make a small change in your life and draw near to God?
*What are some practical ways to "draw near" to Him?
Chantal Graupmann is an Air Force wife and mother to two children. She is striving to serve women in the midst of motherhood and military life, and is passionate about building community. She loves finding time for DIY projects, experimental cooking, and travel.
by Brandis Trionfo
Meeting my Savior that day was the biggest change I’d seen, military or no.
Questions for reflection:
*What changes in your life have showed you your need for God and His grace?
*Where has the Lord met you in your life at the weakest moments?
Brandis is a former Sailor turned Air Force wife, a stay at home mom to 3 kids, and a lover of rustic country decor. She misses the Navy almost daily but is so very thankful for the time she gets with her family, dogs, & friends living near the beach. She occasionally blogs but mostly forgets at Anchored in the Air Force Life.
by Mary Parker
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.