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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.


He Isn't Mine To Give

By Molly Huggins

 


“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 118:1, NKJV).



I hate the word “well.”

As in, (August of 2010), “Well, I might have to go to Pakistan.” He did, two weeks later, while I was pregnant, after we had sold our house in preparation for moving to Germany. But that is another story for another day.

So he came home around the beginning of September (of 2012) and said, in THAT voice, “Well, I got an email today…” I almost threw up in the dishwater.
They needed one man. ONE MAN to go to Afghanistan--in two weeks--and he just might be that man.

I preach and preach about being content with God’s will for our lives. I say that my life means nothing without Christ, that so much of what I value is wheat and chaff, that I surrender my plans, confident in His loving kindness and mercy.
And then He tests me.

Husband came home and said, “Well … “ and I choked down sobs at the prospect of more goodbyes. And more tears pooled on my cheeks because my womb was empty, and now there would be more months of not being pregnant. But, I breathed in slowly and looked hard at my handsome man, and I knew, I know still, that the Master Planner will give us the grace we need in the moment we are desperate for it.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t angry that he had to leave. Debating the politics of the situation in the moment is a luxury we forgo when we choose this life. Logistically, I have leaving down to a science, and we are perpetually prepared. This is his job and he’s willing to do it.

Additionally, there was a not-small part of my heart that was grieving at the thought of another family living out this same abysmal waiting. If we didn’t go, there would be another pregnant “well …” being spilled out in someone’s kitchen. Is that weird? It’s who I am.

I felt completely divorced from the civilian world.

This one is hard to admit. I felt immense guilt over not being angry at the situation, of looking him in the eye and loving him more for the man that he was in that moment, of being proud of the choices he makes. I felt like I should put up a fight, I should rage and scream and cry because he’s leaving us again.

The world tells me that romantic love feels good and I should be happy and how could he do this to us? And I love him fierce and hard and true, and yet this, this did not feel good. Do I not love him enough because I was not mad at him? But oh, I do, I love this man.

Something about this reeked of sanctification.

This one is even harder to admit because in my fear, I lost sight of real, hard, truth.
This would have been deployment number four. And after the first year, I cannot shake the feeling that every time he walks away - after every goodbye - the odds markedly decrease that he returns whole, or at all. I cried hot tears at the thought of losing him. It wasn’t rational, but it was real.

He was never mine to give, but in my fear I clung desperately to the falsehood that he was mine to keep. This is how I felt … but what did I do? What did I do two weeks later when yes was an ugly, heavy word and we planned our goodbyes? {We had a reprieve, he wasn’t supposed to leave until mid-October}. How did I calm the storm, the wind and waves boisterous around my sinking feet?

The circumstances in which they chose my husband aren’t necessary to relate here. Suffice it to say I was proud of this husband of mine. He is an honorable man and I loved him even more, if possible, throughout these events.

So this is what I did. I wiped away the tears. I bought him some new underwear at Wal-Mart. I bought him some fancy headphones to keep the music piping in, the loneliness at bay. We updated the will. I winked at him a little more from across the room and I held his hand a little tighter in church.

And I surrendered him.

But, they fought for our family, his bosses, they fought for us. If he had gone, our home life would have been predominately daddy-free for 21 months … six months deployed, two months of training post-deployment, four months home, and nine more months gone. I am weary just writing it down. It wasn’t terribly unusual for us, these staccato bursts of time … together, apart, together, apart … but it. is. so. hard.

And so, there were more weeks of not knowing, of surrender and fear and worry, of uncertainty. And who could I tell? It’s unfair to get people worked up about maybe, even a maybe of this magnitude. I whispered it in asides to a few dear friends in the beginning. I was more careless as the time dragged on and on, fatigue loosening my tongue. I was consumed by this. I was a reluctant, recalcitrant child of God, shaking my fist at a Heavenly Father who, even still, works His plans for good.

And, well - after all that - he didn’t have to go.

I was eternally grateful for his command team. And for an Architect who designs us to live right where He would have us. Which sometimes is in uncertainty. But right then, was still in Tennessee. Together.

I won’t lie, it was hard to be grateful for this process. And I was weary on the other side, more weary in this Army life than I’ve ever been. Weary of the toll this life takes on our family, on our marriage, and on this husband o’ mine. But God is good and He promises us rest. And so, I kept winking at the husband from across the room and holding his hand a little tighter in church.

He isn’t mine to give … and so, I am grateful for every gift of a moment with this man I love so fierce and hard and true.

And, even in the midst of this exhausting Army life, I am flat on my face, grateful to the Lord for drawing us closer together, for strengthening our marriage in the face of uncertainty. He did the first year, and the third, and the fifth, and September 2012, and even now.
His mercy endures forever.

(And friends? The sad truth is that not every story has a happy ending. Please know that it is by God’s grace that our marriage survives--we are wholly unqualified to make it on our own! If that was not the case for you, it does not mean that His grace and mercy have abandoned you. My heart aches for you and your loved ones, and I pray you will know peace and comfort from our Heavenly Father.)




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.







When God Provides Family: On moving, loneliness, and trust
Editor’s Note: We are so excited to welcome another new contributor this month- Brandis Trionfo! Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Brandis. We can’t wait to hear more!

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There’s a framed sign in my living room that says, “Family. A gathering of folks you love, hand chosen by God above.”

I believe that’s true in so many more ways than one. In military families, it’s not just our real family; it’s other families, friends, co-workers, church families, people who are thrown together after a PCS to live life together.

When I first moved to Florida, I was alone with two kids- two and four years old- and I was about 6 months pregnant, by myself. My husband’s training was lasting longer than we’d originally planned and our house had sold, so rather than rent a place, I packed it up and left.

Man, was it lonely. There were days it was more than the unbearable heat that bothered me. I didn’t know a soul, had a hard time finding a church, and in general was too tired to try to go out and meet people. I kept thinking to myself that I just needed to wait until my husband got there, then I’d be able to meet people.

One day after (another) trial of a church that just didn’t feel right, I was done. Once we got home, I broke down crying in my living room, asking God what I should do. I was lonely, tired, scared, afraid of the choice I’d made to move alone--if I couldn’t handle a few months alone while my husband was safely in school, how would I handle a deployment to somewhere unknown?

Somewhere a voice whispered, “You’re not alone.” I thought I imagined it and I looked up from my spot on the couch to see my boys watching Disney Jr., and I heard it again, “You’re not alone.”

Of course! Silly me to think all this time that I was alone. See, in my fear of branching out I forgot to call on the one who is my refuge. I forgot to call on the one who gives me strength.



Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.” (NLT)


I’m safe in the arms of the Lord.

With that comfort, I was able to reach out to our pastor in Wyoming, who was able to recommend a church that was a perfect fit for us. In that church, I found a new family--a family that could help me, guide me, and show me that even with my husband gone, I wasn’t alone.

In the military life we’re alone a lot. We move away from our families and we’re forced to live out of our comfort zone. But take heart, friends. We may feel lonely and scared and wonder what we’re thinking--but our Father is always one step ahead of us. He reaches out to us, calls us by name, and gives us what we need WHEN we need it. It’s not on our time, it’s on His.

Don’t be scared of the lonely. Don’t be scared of leaving.

Once I was able to branch out and give it to God, I gained a new perspective. I was able to help other military wives, who were even newer at this than me, to see that they aren’t alone either.

He is with us.

 

Reflection
How can you allow God to meet you in your lonely times?
What would it look like for you to fully trust God with the season of life you’re in?

Prayer
Father, thank you for showing me that your ways are always right and that you are my fortress. Help me to not be scared. Help me to know that you are with me no matter where my fears take me. Help me to see where you would have me go and to know that you lead the way. I ask that you give me “family” to help comfort me along with your word. I pray in your name, God. Amen.




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.


Heather's Story:

By Heather Tabers

 

I have often been envious of Christians who have amazing stories of how God rescued them from a life of drugs, alcohol, abuse, or poverty. To be brought out of a life of despair and into a life of hope is a beautiful testimony of God’s saving grace. My story is nothing like that and, to be perfectly honest, for a while I felt like my story had less value. Growing up in the church and in a Christian home, I was saved at the age of 9 on a Sunday evening. Sure, I had felt convicted of my sins- but at that point in my life, the worst thing I had ever done was stealing a sticker out of my best friend’s sticker book. That didn’t feel like much to need to be rescued from. As I got older and heard countless Christians tell of their dramatic salvation and rescue stories, I was disappointed that I would never have such a powerful story to share. I could not have been more wrong.

 

While I grew up loving Jesus, my faith was not tested much as a child. I always knew that Jesus was there but I didn’t feel like I needed him very often. That all changed when I was 21 years old. Having been diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease during my senior year of high school, my doctors told me when I got married at the tender age of 20 that if I wanted to have a baby I should start trying early as they were not certain that my body would be able to bare children. After our first year of marriage we decided to try and within three months I was pregnant. When I called my rheumatologist to tell her the good news, she had devastating news to share with me. The results of my routine pulmonary labs had come back showing that I had pulmonary hypertension and that I was most likely going to die.

 

The worst news I have ever received became the defining moment in my faith. My rheumatologist immediately sent me to one of the best perinatologists in the country who immediately urged me to abort my unborn child. She showed me case studies and read me the statistics- I only had a 50% chance of surviving the pregnancy, if I aborted the baby. If I refused, they did not expect me or the baby to survive. Against my doctor’s wishes, I chose to keep my baby. My doctor continued to pressure me with horror stories of how I would die hooked up to a ventilator in the hospital, suffocating to death, leaving my husband a widower to possibly have to raise our potentially premature, sickly baby alone. My faith was tested but it did not waiver. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the same God who rescued alcoholics, prostitutes, and drug abusers from a life of pain and shame was big enough to rescue me. I trusted His sovereignty and His will for my life and I placed both my life and my baby’s into His capable, loving hands.

 

The story of my pregnancy is long but it is a testimony of the power of prayer. Because so many believers came to the throne on our behalf, my daughter, Miracle Denene, is now a beautiful red-headed thirteen year old who loves Jesus. I learned to never compare my story to someone else’s. God paints beautiful pictures on the canvases of our lives. No two pictures look the same but each comes with the surrender of ourselves to His capable hands. Some pictures may be bold and very detailed while others are soft and subdued but they are all beautiful masterpieces of our God.

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.



Dear Military Spouse: Fighting Back Negativity


Dear Military Spouse,

I don’t know where you are or exactly what you’re going through, but I am sure that your life is FULL of challenges. From the sudden changes that can occur with moves, TDYs and the uncertainties of deployments, we always have to be on our toes and ready to adapt. Combine those potential hardships with the demands of everyday life and work, and being a military spouse becomes a difficult job description to fulfill.

As the new kid on the block at our first base, I had all sorts of anxieties about meeting people and getting plugged into the community. When things didn’t progress as quickly as I had hoped, I became discouraged. When I wasn’t able to put my hard earned Master’s degree to work immediately, I began to feel worthless and lost. Fear and doubt became my enemy and I felt my faith becoming strained and tested.

Whether the enemy takes shape in the form of negative thoughts, negative people in your surroundings, or excruciatingly difficult circumstances, God wants to redeem you.  In the Old Testament, God is described primarily as the Redeemer. As the Israelites struggled in Egypt, the wilderness, and under Babylonian rule, God rescued them from their enemies, offering salvation and forgiveness. In the New Testament, the blood of Jesus is provided as an ultimate promise of redemption for all who accept Him. God is the redeemer of our lives and circumstances. He has the authority to rescue us from all our enemies if we simply reach out and ask for His help.

As I worked hard to thwart negativity, I recalled this passage:

 “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:2-5).

Remembering how God pulled me out of a pit of despair in order to grant me new life helped me understand this truth: God saved me for a purpose! God gives us a new blessed life in free of fear and worry.  He brings us from deep darkness into marvelous light. Putting that sharp contrast into perspective
reminds me to be thankful, no matter the circumstances.

I am alive in God! I am whole in Christ! I am redeemed and set free! I am forgiven! I choose not to live in fear!

Dear Sister, as you walk through today- potentially a difficult path where you feel the pain of every step- I ask you to remember where you have been and how God’s love has saved you. Cling to the truth of His salvation: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23). Remember Jesus’ sacrifice and hold onto the hope of salvation. Know that as our circumstances change, our God stays the same, and He wants to redeem you today! 


Love,

Your Sister in Christ, Mary 




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.


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.


Joseph Surrendered His Plans

By Mary Parker


Although there are many examples of Godly people in the Bible, one of the most admirable is Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph. In Matthew 1, Joseph discovers that his betrothed, Mary, is pregnant and is certain the child cannot be his. Joseph, despite what must have been devastating news, decides to go through with the marriage and plans to quietly divorce Mary (Matthew 1:18). This passage clearly displays Joseph’s great love. In spite of his own hurt, he does not try to hurt Mary. 


Joseph abandons his plan and follows God’s plan, trusting the word of God as truth. Then, an Angel of the Lord visits Joseph in a dream and tells him that Mary is in fact carrying Jesus, who “will save his people from their sins”. Joseph does not sit idly by or doubt the word of God (Matthew 1:21). We are told that Joseph was faithful to the law; it is important to remember that before Jesus, the law was the only way for people to consecrate themselves to God. 
Because Joseph was so faithful to God, he was obedient to God’s word. We are told, “when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife” (Matthew 1:24). Despite news that would rattle even the most faithful believer, Joseph puts all his trust in God and immediately follows God’s instructions from the moment he wakes up. Joseph abandons his plan and follows God’s plan, trusting the word of God as truth.


The story of Joseph, his strong character and faith show us that God does not operate according to our plans. I’m sure Joseph never dreamt of marrying a pregnant woman whose child was not his own. But I’m also confident that Joseph would not have traded being the earthly father of Jesus for any plans he may have prepared on his own. 


As we study this story around Christmas, I encourage you to pray over any plans you have made for your life – for today, tomorrow and long-term. Instead of relying on your own plans, put all your trust in God, our faithful Father who provides a way in every circumstance, even those that test our faith. 



Reflection

Why is Joseph’s story an important aspect of Christmas? 

How can you develop the strong faith of Joseph?

In what areas of your life can you surrender your plans and trust God completely? 

Prayer
Father God, Thank you for this time that we get to study your son Jesus, and all of the wonderful ways that his coming blessed the world. Thank you for your word that tells of Joseph’s faith so that I may learn how to better follow you and your plans for me, each and every day. I trust that you will make all things work together for my good, even when circumstances seem scary or turn out differently than I expect. Help me to put my plans aside and put all my trust in you today and every day. In Jesus’ name I pray, 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


Mary Trusted God

By Heather Tabers


“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” ~ Luke 1:45

“I have trust issues.” Have you ever heard anyone say that?
Perhaps you have uttered those words yourself. Placing trust in someone can be very risky- there is great gain to be had if that person holds true to their word and great loss to be felt if they do not. Most likely we have all felt the crushing of our hearts when we trusted someone who proved to be untrustworthy, especially if the loss we suffered was great in doing so.

Mary was a young girl who found herself in a very difficult and embarrassing position. She was a virgin, engaged to be married and pregnant with a child that was not her fiancée’s (nor hers, really). She knew that she could be accused of adultery and stoned to death. Everything was at stake- her marriage, her reputation, her life. Yet, Mary chose to believe God. She believed the words of the angel and of her cousin Elizabeth. Most importantly, she trusted the heart of the God she loved and served.

Friend, you may find it hard to trust the people in your life. It is becoming increasingly difficult to trust our government. Sometimes it is hard to trust our husband, our family, or our friends, but the heart of our loving Father can always be trusted. This Christmas season I invite you to treasure the gift of Jesus in a fullness that you may have never known. Leave the doubts of your heart at the cross and seek the Baby in the manger with a completely open heart.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~Romans 15:13



Prayer
Father God, we confess our seasons of unbelief and we lay them down before you. You know the wounds of our hearts and the reasons we doubt. Heal those areas in our lives, Lord. This Christmas season we want You to fill us completely and wholly with Your love. We believe, Lord. Amen.

Reflection
1. Take a moment to reflect on how Mary and Joseph must have felt. Do you trust God that deeply?
2. Has there been a time in your life where you didn’t trust God, yet he proved Himself trustworthy?
3. Is there an area of your life that you need to let go and simply trust God?


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.




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.



Solid as a Rock: God's Faithfulness in the Changes
Moving to Alaska is no small feat. Particularly when you drive one of the most treacherous roads in North America, fraught with bears, bison and moose (oh my!) and traverse thirty mile stretches of gravel in a sedan. I am elated to report that we survived our recent move, with just a few scrapes.

Before our trip, and definitely during, I prayed vigilantly for our safe travel. I prayed from a combined place of hope, faith and fear. In each situation, talking to God about my concerns- whether for three seconds or thirty minutes of rocky road- helped me to remember my relationship with Him. He is my perfect Father in Heaven who takes care of me and looks after me. He has promised never to leave me or forsake me (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5). When I make it through times that seem so desperate, I remember to trust Him no matter what.

But sometimes that’s hard to remember in the midst of changes, even when God has shown us how great He is countless times before. Now that we are all settled in our beautiful new home, I continue to fight the doubt and fear Satan tries to plant in his efforts to tempt me to stop trusting God. Lately, my biggest struggle is worrying about money, particularly when finances are in flux after such a big move. Will there be enough? Will God come through and provide again?

Although it’s not always my first response, I am increasingly disciplining myself to turn to God’s Word in times of change. When everything else in our world is so transitional and temporary, it is vital that we remember our God and His Word are everlasting.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus relays the tales of the wise and foolish builders. One hears the words of Jesus and builds his house on the rock of God, while the other ignores Jesus’ words and builds his house on sand. The house of sand collapses in the first storm, but though “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house,” the house on the rock prevails because it has a solid foundation (Matthew 7:25).

I know that no matter where we go or what we go through, our house is built on the rock of God’s word. Even through the storms of change He shows me the way, and makes me strong, especially when I remember to put Him and His word first.

 


Reflection
God reminds us multiple times in the Bible that He will never leave us or forsake us. Why do you think He tells His people this more than once?
Think of a time when you faced a big change in your life. How did you handle it? If you surrendered those circumstances completely to God, how would you have handled it differently?
Changes are part of our life in an unstable, fallen world. How will you prepare for the next transition in your life in a Godly way?

Prayer
Father God, I thank you for the changes you have placed in my life. Even though I don’t know how things will work out, I believe that you will work things together for my good. Although I struggle with fear and doubt in this time of transition, I pray that you will show me my next steps in following you every step of the way. I trust you and keep my hope in you God. Help to make my faith solid like a rock today and every day. In Jesus’ name – 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.



God's Great Exchange Program

My family is blessed to be loved, nurtured, and taken under the wing of a wonderful woman of God named Sandy. She is the mother that my heart adopted. A few months ago she spent a week in our home, pouring out her heart, loving on us, and leaving a legacy of God’s love for my children. In all of the little things that we did as a family, God used Sandy to impart pearls of wisdom, to help us see Him more in our every day lives, to teach us life lessons, to show us His love.

 

One afternoon, Sandy saw my 9 year old son swatting frantically at a bee. He shared with her that he is very afraid of bees and the lesson she taught him was one I will never forget. Tenderly, she shared with him that she also had fear, but that she had learned how to be free from it- by giving it over to God. She told him that she made an exchange with God- He took her fears, and gave her His peace to fill the void.

 

This truth is for us, too. When we are fearful, we can exchange our fear for His peace. There is no fear too big or too small for us to bring to Him; He gives us peace from His Spirit freely.

 

As I reflect on those wise words from my friend, I cannot help but think of the many opportunities that exist in God’s “great exchange program”. We can exchange our sorrow, for His joy. We can trade in our pain or His healing. Psalm 30 reminds us of this promise, as the psalmist praises the Lord for a great exchange in his life:

 

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise you forever.

What about you, sister? Do you have some old regret you want to get rid of? Just give it to Him and He’ll give you a new start in return. Are you buying into lies from the enemy about your value, your worth, your purpose? Trade those lies for God’s promises in scripture, and let His truth remind you of your magnificent worth to Him. Exchange your past for His future. God’s exchange program is BIG, and the possibilities are endless.



Reflection

Am I living a life filled with the peace and joy of Christ?


What fears, lies, or regrets am I holding in my heart today?


How can I encourage a fellow sister in Christ to be a part of God’s great exchange program?

Prayer
Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice. You gave your life for me on the cross, in order to pay for my sins. That is the greatest, most beautiful exchange in all of history. Don’t let me forget it, Lord. Bind my heart to Your gospel. Thank You for all the exchanges You provide in my life, God. Today, I choose to lay down my ________________ in exchange for Your ____________________. Do a great work in my heart, Lord, that I might know and glorify You more. 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.