Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'm Back!

Welcome to the NEW Wives of WAR blog! After a few small disasters, the old blog is no longer with us. Some of the posts may very well be gone together. I salvaged the ones I could. And so, here we are again, my friends!

Please take advantage of the "Follow With Email" gadget on the right hand side of this page so you can keep up with new blog posts.

Your feedback is very important to me, too. Many of you have messaged me on fb and your words are so encouraging to me. But I also want to hear from you how I can minister to you more effectively. What areas of being a military wife are challenging to you? What tough questions in life are you looking to the answers for?

Looking forward to sharing my crazy, hurry-up-and-wait military life with you,

Fail To Plan...

Fail to plan…
We spent the last 5 days hunkered down and gearing up for “Snowmageddon” or the “Snowpocalypse”. The biggest blizzard to hit the Midwest in decades was forecasted to drop at least 2 feet of snow in our area on top of sleet, ice, and freezing rain. We stocked up on milk, eggs, dry cereal, snack food and lunch meat. We bought hand warmers and candles in case the electricity went out. Why? Because we had time to be prepared. I knew that a blizzard of this magnitude could definitely warrant the activation of my husband’s National Guard unit. I knew there was a good chance that he would have to leave us here to “fend for ourselves” while he went out in treacherous conditions to help others. I knew if they called him in, he would probably be gone all week. I decided to mentally psyche myself up for his departure. I decided that I wasn’t going to whine this time. I decided for once I was going to stay strong, not text him every hour, not worry when he doesn’t call. Can you imagine me during a deployment? Fortunately, though my husband’s unit WAS activated, he did not have to go. AND the snowpocalypse only dropped a foot of snow on us. But we were both physically and mentally prepared for whatever was coming. As my husband always says, “Fail to plan, plan on failing.”
When you’re married to the military, you find yourself always being mentally and physically prepared. You know deployments can spring up on you, unexpectedly. You know they can be extended. You know that you might not like your next duty station and you know that anything can change at any time. You also make sure your Power of Attorney is up to date, all your paperwork is within reach, and other affairs are in order.
But are you spiritually prepared? When deployments come do you draw closer to God or do you resent him? When your husband gets injured do you trust God for His healing, or do you curse Him for allowing it? When push comes to shove, are you a woman of grace and strength that others admire or do you fall apart and crumble in despair? Where is God when things get hard?
The spiritual part of our lives is the easiest part to ignore, or get distracted from. It’s so easy to get caught up in the millions of tasks that we have to get done in preparation for what’s to come. It’s easy to focus all our efforts in building our relationship with our husband. Those things are important. But our Creater, the Lover of our souls deserves our heart first. Our relationship with God must always come first. The more time you spend with your Savior, the closer you will be to Him. And the closer you are to Him, the more you will trust Him. And the more you trust Him, the more prepared you will be when a snowpocalypse hits your life.

Code Purple

Once upon a time, there were two Army wives named Heather and Gayle. Gayle was a seasoned Army wife and the mother of a newly enlisted soldier. She was well versed in the ways of the military and had an amazing relationship with both her husband and her son. Heather was a brand new Army wife, a young mother of 3 small children, and was filled with both anxiety and an adventuresome spirit. She was struggling in her relationship with her husband and clinging onto God. Heather and Gayle met at church and became quick friends, sisters and Gayle became a mentor to Heather in more ways than she could count. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship… and the foundation of what became known to them as “Code Purple”.
As Gayle’s son went to Iraq during OIF I, Heather’s husband was going through Basic Training and AIT. Gayle would call Heather with urgent prayer requests from overseas. Heather would call Gayle crying with questions about DEERS and asking for interpretations of acronyms and Army jargon that she couldn’t understand. Sunday after Sunday they met at the altar at church, held hands and shed their tears together for the soldiers they loved. They prayed for their safety, for their integrity, for their hearts. They cried and they prayed and they cried and they prayed. And then it happened. Gayle cried “Code Purple”. Code Purple became a term understood by both of these women to mean, “I’m beyond tears. I need help.” For Gayle, it meant she needed egg salad. Now, don’t ask me what it is about Gayle’s obsession with Heather’s egg salad, but the woman loved it. It was her very favorite comfort food. And one day, while her son was away at war, when the battle was fierce and that momma’s heart was breaking, Gayle cried “Code Purple” and Heather rushed over with egg salad. Later on down the road, as Heather saw her marriage slipping through her fingers and her husband turning from God, Heather cried “Code Purple” and Gayle rushed to her with hugs… and chocolate. These women learned what it would take to get each other through.
Six years later, Heather and Gayle have seen each other through a number of trials. Both of Gayle’s sons are now serving in the Army and currently serving on separate continents. Heather’s marriage did end and she’s remarried to an amazing Christian man and soldier, and is now the mother of 5 children. Over the past six years they’ve cried tears of joy together and shed tears of pain for each other. Yesterday, they saw each other for the first time in months as they celebrated the marriage of a mutual friend and fellow soldier. As Gayle and Heather hugged and reminisced, Heather presented Gayle with a bowl of egg salad. Gayle’s reaction surprised Heather as she burst into tears at the sight of the gift. But now, after a time of reflection, Heather is also overwhelmed. Egg salad is quite small. A hug is a small token of affection. But the kind of friendship that gets you through having a son at war and a husband that is running away… well, that is a gift of great importance and immeasurable value. That kind of gift can only come from a heavenly Father that knows the needs of our heart.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Life Lessons Learned In Tucson

Life Lessons Learned
This weekend I found myself glued to the TV. The shooting in Tucson, AZ hit close to home. Actually, it hit close to my best friend’s home. She lives in Tucson. She’s been in that parking lot. That’s her neighborhood. The gunman used to attend her daughter’s school. It hit really close to home.
I watched interview after interview and like most of America, I was looking for something good in the middle of one of the ugliest parts of humanity- the senseless taking of innocent lives. It didn’t take long to find some good.
One of my favorite interviews was that of a man named Bill Badger. Colonel Bill Badger, actually. Col Badger is a 74 year old retired Army Colonel who had retired and was living in beautiful Tucson. He (along with another man) is credited with tackling the 22 year old gunman and wrestling him to the ground before he had a chance to kill any more innocent people in that parking lot. In the interview he almost apologetically told the reporter that in all of his years in the Army, he never saw combat. He didn’t fight in Vietnam. He’d never been shot. But that day in the Safeway parking lot on Oracle Dr in Tucson, AZ Bill Badger became a hero. A bullet actually grazed the back of his head. And that 74 year old by-stander saved a number of lives. The reporter, along with most of America, credited his military training and the lessons he’s learned throughout his career as the motivation behind his heroic actions. He methodically stopped the gunman and brought him to the ground, just as he had been trained.
Another hero from the Tucson tragedy is Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords’ 20 year old intern, Daniel Hernandez. At the sound of fired shots, Hernandez ran into the line of fire to provide aide to those who had been hit. He checked on two other victims before approaching Congresswoman Giffords and treating her wounds. He picked her up off the ground, positioned her in a way that she could breathe, held her hand, talked to her, and applied pressure to her wounds while instructing others in the parking lot as to how to care for others that were wounded. He mentioned in the interview that he’d received some training during his senior year of high school for becoming a nursing aide but had decided to go another route. That training may have very well saved Gabriella Giffords’ life and the lives of others that day.
We never know when we’re going to be thrust into the middle of a situation that will require us to rely on lessons we’ve learned in the past. For Bill Badger it was an entire career of training. For Daniel Hernandez it was one semester… a semester that probably seemed wasted to him when he changed his career goals.
As a military wife, you may not understand what your purpose is. You may not understand why you’re at Ft Polk. You may not feel like you’re gaining anything valuable living in Alaska while your husband serves in Iraq. You may feel lost while your husband is out at sea and you’re living in a town where nobody knows your name. You can’t forget that God knows where you are. He placed you there. And He has a purpose for every circumstance in your life.
I can relate to that Colonel that humbly admitted to never having served in a combat zone. I often feel inadequate as an Army wife because I’ve never been through a deployment. My husband’s been through 3 but they were before we met. I wonder “Who am I to offer advice to any military wife?”  But that’s just the enemy speaking lies to me. The truth is that God knows every situation I’ve ever been in and I’ll ever be in. He knows the reason that I face every trial and that I receive every blessing. And there’s someone out there that I can bless, encourage, support, minister to, pray for, and even advise based on the experiences that I’ve had in my own life- no matter how great or small they may seem.
I encourage you to think about the lessons God has taught you in your life. Has He taught you patience during a deployment? Grace as a geographical single parent?  Organization as a working mom?  Financial stewardship as a wife on a tight budget? The power of prayer as a devoted wife? Hospitality as a new family on a new base? Creativity, independence, responsibility, courage, leadership, mercy, self defense, understanding of the military? Bill Badger and Daniel Hernandez were everyday people like you and I who did heroic things because they were willing to put to use the things that they’ve learned. Are you ready and willing to bless someone’s life? God is ready to use you!

Praying For His Career- Part 2

If only the military were more like a buffet… if only we could choose which aspects of military life we wanted. Most of us would gladly say “Yes, I’ll take a serving of health insurance, a scoop of travelling the world, an order of honor, a heap of military balls, and a side of my man in uniform.” And then we’d quickly run past the line of deployments, remote PCS’s, red tape, declined promotions, unexpected Medical Boards, combat injuries, and last minute TDY orders. Unfortunately, when you’re married to the military, you don’t get to pick and choose. You get whatever Uncle Sam dishes out. Sometimes it seems unfair that other wives you know seem to get a good plate, and you’re left with the lima beans. It doesn’t make sense why your husband got passed up for a promotion after working so hard when somebody else’s slacker husband gets promoted. These things bother us. They frustrate us. At times they completely unnerve us. So, what do we do when we’ve had it with being a geographical single mom? We’re done with trying to live out our romance over Skype and emails? We are fed up with moving from base to base and from house to house? What do we do when we want to support our husband but we just can’t take it any more?
We pray.
God promises us in His Word that He has it all under control. In Jeremiah 29:11 He tells us that He has a plan for our lives – a plan for our benefit, not a plan against us. Sometimes that’s hard for us to see, especially if we’re in the middle of a deployment or a Med Board, or we’re sitting at our husband’s hospital bedside. That’s why prayer is so so so important. Whether you love the military life or you are counting down the days til his discharge, God has a plan for every day that you and your husband serve this country. You won’t know that plan, you won’t feel that comfort, you won’t be able to rest in His security unless you’re seeking him in prayer.
How do you pray about something you hate? You go honestly before your King. He knows your heart – there’s no point trying to hide it from Him. Our God is a gracious and merciful God. He hurts when we hurt. So take your tears to God – He holds them in a bottle. Each one is precious to Him. Did you know that He cares that much about you?? Tell Him your frustrations. But don’t just whine as you approach the Throne of Grace. Lay it all down. Surrender. Tell God that while you don’t like your current set of circumstances, you trust Him. Ask Him for guidance. Ask Him for mercy. Ask Him for help. Ask Him to open your eyes and ears to things you may have missed. And ask Him how you can support your husband during this time. Ask Him how to make it through each day.
And then listen. That’s the hardest part – for me, anyway. I talk and talk and talk and whine and cry and gripe… and then I walk away and try to pick myself up. But usually I collapse again. I can’t do anything in my own strength. I need God’s strength to make it through each day. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still. Wait for the Lord. Wait for His guidance. Wait for His comfort. He will run to you and scoop you up if you just let Him.
So if you’re in the middle of a year without your husband, or you’re saying goodbye to your friends (again) as your prepare for the next duty station… pray. God has big plans for you.
Join me in this prayer for our husbands:
Father God, my husband has sworn an oath to this country and I have given him my heart, so I know that I have a duty to serve as well. Help me to be an encouragement to him even in the darkest of circumstances. Control my tongue so that my words do not discourage, hurt, frustrate and anger my husband. Thank You for being a God that I can come to with my frustrations. Lord, being a military wife isn’t easy. But You knew that this is what I would become. And I trust You with the details. So please give me an extra portion of Your grace, patience and mercy. Pour Your strength into me so I can carry on. Please guide my husband and he guides our family. Bless his career so that he may fulfill the full plans You have for his life. Amen

Praying For His Career- Part 1

Today is the first day of my “new normal”. My four oldest kids are at school. My 2 year old is running around the house. And my husband just left for his first day of his last semester at St Louis University. He’ll graduate with his Masters in May and then he’ll begin the doctorate program in human biology at Logan College of Chiropractic. Yep… my husband, the MP, the soldier, is going to be a doctor. This decision has been a huge adjustment in his life. It’s been a huge adjustment in my life, and in the lives of our kids. Together we talked about it, we’ve prayed about, we’ve researched his options. He’s going to school through the VA’s Voc Rehab program, so we had to look into which courses/programs they would allow him to take. We had to figure out what he would be getting paid during this time. We had to talk about his physical ability to go through these rigorous classes. We had to talk about his long term goals, his short term goals, his goals for our family. We had to talk about how this would affect his standing with the military- when he gets his Masters, would he become an officer? What opportunities are there for him in a medical unit? What about the other opportunities that we had previously discussed? How does this fit in with our goals and dreams for our family? We’ve had to make a lot of decisions lately and not one of them were we willing to make on our own. Not one could we make without discussing it together AND asking God for His guidance. As God has been opening windows of opportunity in my husband’s career, we’ve willingly, obediently followed. We know it’s going to be hard. We know that for Bob it means long hours and school and longer hours studying at home. We know for him it means extreme fatigue, mental exhaustion, an hour drive into the city every morning and an hour drive home every night. For me it means crawling into bed alone while he studies. For me it means being patient with a husband who will more frequently become short tempered, frustrated and tired. For the kids it means less play time with Daddy and less family activities. The decisions he makes affects us all.
“Praying For His Career” is going to be a multi-post entry as we come together as military wives, seeking God’s grace and protection over our husbands. As military wives, our husbands’ careers are more than a 9-5 job that he leaves at the office. Our husbands’ careers are a way of life. His career determines where we will live. His career determines whether or not he will be in harm’s way. His career determines how often we’ll be apart. His career determines how often we’ll get to see how parents or our siblings. His career affects where we can shop. His career affects our daily lives.
When you are married to someone in the military, you are married to the military itself. Sometimes you’re blessed enough to have the opportunity to help in the decision making process like Bob and I are currently are in deciding which path he should take in continuing his education. Sometimes you’re cursed with not having any say in the fact that your husband is going to deploy for the third time, leaving you home and pregnant alone. Whether you have a say in it or not, God’s hand is on it and He is not surprised by any decision that is made. This is why it is so important for us as wives to lift up our husband’s careers.
I encourage you to begin asking God to search your heart in regards to your attitude towards your husband’s career as we come together asking God to bless and keep our warrior husbands.

Praying For His Past & Future

“Yesterday is History. Tomorrow is a Mystery. Today is a Gift. That’s why they call it the Present.”

We all have pasts. We all have futures. Figuring out what to do with them now can often be a challenge. Meeting someone, falling in love with him, merging your lives together and taking on the past and future of another person is even MORE challenging at times. Without God’s help, the baggage of the past and the unknown of the future would be impossible to handle.
Whether you met your military man before he signed the line or took the oath… or after he had already given his heart and life to service, the military most definitely plays a huge role in his past, his present and his future and in yours, too. If you’ve been by your man’s side since Day 1 of his military career, you have the upper hand. You know where he’s been, what he’s done and how it changed him. If you’re like me and you met him after 18 years of service and 3 deployments, it can be difficult to put the pieces of his past together. But either way, your prayers for him are essential.
Often times soldiers do things they’d rather not remember doing. Whether it’s killing an enemy on orders or having a one night stand, our husbands like every other person on the planet has things in his past that he is not proud of and does not talk about. As wives, these things are sometimes very difficult for us to understand, to accept, and sometimes to forgive. You may find that the things that continue to haunt your husband will begin to haunt you. Past mistakes and failures often come back to bring down an entire family. That’s because the Enemy is a coward. He will stoop to the lowest of places to dig into the deepest of closets and pull out the ugliest of skeletons from the past. Why? Because many times, the past hurts. And a marriage not centered on the hope and the promises of God will crumble under pain.
Let me give you an example of the Enemy’s tactic- a look into his playbook. Scenario #1:  GI Joe faced a brutal attack in Iraq and killed a handful of insurgents in a vicious fight. Four years later, he is still having nightmares about it. He tells his wife about the nightmares and shares with her the details of the  battle he was in. Hearing about the way her husband took the lives of other human beings frightens her. She begins looking at him differently, she no longer trusts him when he’s angry, she withdraws. He senses her fear and blames himself so he tries to stuff it down. He doesn’t get the help he needs and continues to be tormented. They start fighting because she doesn’t understand why he’s always angry and frustrated. Their marriage dissolves quickly.  Scenario #2: As a single man, GI Joe sleeps with a number of women. He participates in a number of inappropriate activities and lives a pretty wild lifestyle before finding God. Then GI Joe gets married. He discloses his past to his young bride and tho she is surprised at what she learns, she tries to be accepting. As time passes, his past begins to haunt her. Ex-girlfriends come back and cause problems. His stories of the past leave his new bride feeling inadequate. She knows that many of the women from his past has been more beautiful, more sexual, more exciting. She feels like she can’t compete. He doesn’t understand what she’s trying to compete with. He doesn’t understand her insecurities and wants her to “get over it”. He loves her and he married her and the women from his past mean nothing to him. But they haunt her every time they try to make love. Or every time she hears one of their names. She feels cheated, knowing that other women have had part of her husband that she can never get back. He feels guilty and frustrated and just wants to move forward. They fight. A lot. And their marriage dissolves.
In either scenario if GI Joe and his wife had God in their lives and at the center of their marriage, their stories could have ended like this: GI Joe and his wife realized that their issues were direct attacks from the enemy, so together they prayed for unity in the marriage. They prayed for mutual understanding, forgiveness, honesty, openness, love, grace and mercy. Mrs GI Joe continued to pray for her husband’s past. She prayed that God would use his past to bless their future and not harm it. She prayed that she would be the kind of wife he needed to help him over the hurdles of the past and that together they could create a beautiful future together.
Praying for your husband makes a bigger impact than you can imagine.
As difficult as the past can be to deal with, the unknown of the future can seem just as daunting. The decisions and the “what if’s” in life can be overwhelming. Will he deploy again? Are we going to stay here or do we have to PCS again? Will he ever get promoted? Will they medboard him out? Is he going to re-enlist? Should he go career? Should he re-class? What if we get orders and the kids have to move during high school? What if I get sick while we live overseas? What if the baby comes while he’s deployed? What if he gets hurt? What if he can’t find a job if he gets out?
No matter what questions, circumstances or decisions our husbands are facing, it’s CRUCIAL that we remain in prayer for his future. One thing that I’ve learned in life is that even if we make the wrong choice, God is faithful to bring good from it if we continue to seek Him. He allows His children to make wrong choices because it can bring us closer to Him. But if you want to spare your family the pain of learning lessons the hard way, I urge you to pray that your husband will seek Him first in every decision he makes.
Ask God to prepare the places He would have you and your husband to go. Ask God to bring a good church home, new friends and a good school to the new installation you’re moving to. Ask God to bring people into your husband’s command that he can minister to. Ask God to search your heart and rid it of selfish ambitions when you’re forced to make a major decision. Ask God to strengthen your marriage while you’re together so it will be stronger when you’re apart. God alone knows the plans that He has for you. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that those plans are for our good and not to harm us. So, trust your future into the hands of the One who created you and created your husband. Ask He who has numbered your days to walk each day ahead of you so that you can follow Him closely. Ask the God whose plans are for your good what it is that He would have you to do. Pray that your husband would do the same and that together you would live lives that will leave a godly heritage for your children.

Praying For His Choices

I think when it comes to those we love, women are given a natural “gut instinct” when there is something bad looming around. This instinct wakes us up in the middle of the night and urges us to hit our knees in prayer for our deployed husband. This instinct begs us to talk to our children about what really happened at school. This instinct often tells us which route to take, which friends are a bad influence and when to go straight to the emergency room. Many of us have come to rely on those gut instincts. We trust them. Oh, if only those we loved trusted them, too.
                We’ve all made major decisions as a family after carefully discussing our options, weighing the costs and praying for direction. But so often, especially in the military, a choice needs to be made immediately. And sometimes choices are made immediately that should have taken a few more days to mull over. As women, we tend to go with our gut. Men tend to rely on what they know. What they know and what we feel don’t always match up, tho. Proverbs 21:2 says that “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes.” Chances are, your husband isn’t making a choice that he isn’t confident in. Just as you don’t make choices that you don’t firmly believe in. So what do we do when a decision needs to be made and we don’t see eye to eye?
                This is when prayer is of the utmost importance. As helpers, as wives, it’s our responsibility to relay to our husbands the things that God places on our hearts. There’s a reason God gave us feelings. They have a powerful place in our lives. And they’re good for more than just an excuse to eat chocolate. While our feelings can often get out of hand and can’t be trusted alone, when they’re paired with prayer and God’s discernment washes over us, they have an important place in our families, in our marriages and in our lives. Most other people, including our husbands, don’t trust our guts the way we do so prayer becomes the key.
                When God gives you a gut feeling about something, it’s not your job to “open his eyes to the error of his ways”. If you share your feelings with him and he doesn’t agree, step back and pray. Here’s the hard part tho… you need to continue to be supportive. This is where I fail the most. I have the tendency to say “Fine, don’t listen to me… do it yourself!” And then when I’m right, the words “I told you so” are soooooo hard to keep from rolling off my lips. This brings us back to yesterday’s topic of praying for our husbands’ wives. When decisions are needing to be made, our attitude is just as important as our information. Our husbands need our support. They need to know that right or wrong, we’ll be by their sides. They need to know that when they make a  bad decision, we will still love them and still trust them. We need to respect their position as the head of our house, appointed to that position by God.
                Prayer should not just  begin when a decision is on the table tho, my friends. Your husband is making decisions every day. He has to make choices regarding his career, his health, his time, his relationships, his safety.  Some decisions are minor- what to eat, when to go to sleep, how to spend an evening. But some are of major importance- choosing a top choice for duty station, who to send out on a mission, or when to fire your weapon. We need to be in constant prayer that our husbands will seek God first in every decision they make. Prov 9:10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Pray first for his walk with God. Pray that he will be in tune with the leading of the Spirit. Pray that when decisions need to be made quickly, your husband will hear from heaven immediately. Pray that when decisions can be made over time that you two will have unity and agreement in the decision.
                We are all human and we will all make bad decisions. But if you’re in prayer for your husband and the decisions that he makes, even if he makes a bad one, you can know that you’ve done your part and that the next step for you is to continue encouraging him. You would want him to do the same for you. The last thing that we want to hear when we are wrong is “I told you so” or “You never get anything right.” Ladies, here is a chance for us to practice being our husbands’ biggest cheerleaders.
                What decisions is your husband in the process of making today? How can you help encourage him. Be in prayer for him today.

Praying For His Trials

By God's own hand, women were fashioned and designed specifically to be helpers. Adam had all of creation at his fingertips and yet God found him to be lacking. So Eve was given to Adam as a special gift- he was given a helper. Today, godly wives still recognize their God-given roles as helpers. We help our kids with homework. We help our husbands with yard work. A good military wife has learned how to properly press BDUs and polish boots... only to be issued new uniforms which require turning inside out to wash and hanging dry. Maybe she helps him properly square away his dress blues before an important ceremony. She may help him pay the bills when he is TDY and help him remember the new commander's name at a Hail & Farewell. It's no surprise that when our husbands face serious trials our radar goes off and we want to help like never before.

Unfortunately, all of us face trials that no one else can help us with. There are problems that no one else can fix. We all know that there are lessons in life we can only learn through pain and suffering. As wives, there's nothing harder than watching our husbands face a trial that we cannot help them with. The feeling of being unable to lift some of your husband's pain or burden can make you restless and anxious.

So, what's a wife to do? The obvious answer doesn't always come to mind first- and that is to pray. Pray for your husband. Pray with your husband. Pray over your husband. Pray and ask God what your role is in his trial. How can you encourage him? Does he need more space right now? Does he need to be able to hold you closer?

Remember that God often allows trials in our lives to build character and strengthen our faith. James 1:2-3 says "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (The Message Bible)

It is always painful to watch someone we love suffer but we have to remember that God will never leave us or forsake us. We need to mirror God's love to our husbands- never leaving them or forsaking them.

Do you remember the story of Job? He lost everything. His friends and even his own wife told him to curse God and be done with it. Do you want to be like Job's wife or like the Proverbs 31 wife? We cannot protect our husbands from ever facing a trial. But we can support them. We can love them. We can build them up in a prayer. We are their helpers- their God assigned Battle Buddies and together we can claim God's victory over every trial that we face.

If your husband is facing a trial, I encourage you to pray a prayer similar to this:

Father God, You alone can measure the weight that is on my husband's heart, mind and shoulders at this moment. I know that Your Word tells us in Isaiah 55:9 that Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. I may not understand why my husband is facing the trial that He is facing, but You do. I trust that You have a plan for my husband's life. (Jer 29:11). I know that You love him and that You care about every detail of his life (Matt 10:31). So, I ask that You continue the good work You've begun in him (Phil 1:6) and use this trial to mature him and grow him into the man You want him to be. (James 1:2-3). Show me how I can be a helper to him. Make me sensitive to his needs and soften my heart towards him. Give me a forgiving spirit, should the stress of this trial cause him to act out in anger or frustration. Be the third chord in our marriage that binds us tighter together so that we cannot be broken (Ecc 4:12). Amen

Praying For His Mind

If you've ever read "The Power Of A Praying Wife" you've no doubt been compelled to pray for your husband in a new way. As military wives, the areas in our husbands' lives needing prayer are even more vast. I hope to tackle a few of these areas in this blog.
It should be easy for me to write about praying for our husbands’ minds as this is probably the area that I pray for the most for my own husband. Yet, it’s coming to me slowly this morning. Maybe because a man’s mind is so foreign to us women. Maybe because I have a hard time understanding my own mine, let alone his. Maybe because praying for “his mind” encompasses so many things, I don’t know where to start. Yeah… I think that’s it. How do I approach this issue? Do I start with the differences in a man and a woman’s mind? No, I think we’re all aware of those. How about the spiritual attacks on his mind? Maybe. Those attacks are as real as the ones faced in the sandbox. Or what about the protection of his physical mind? I’m talkin’ about the brain itself. That thing under his helmet. That’s an issue to be addressed. Or what about his memory? His ability to retain and recall information. What an odd thing to pray about… or is it?
                If you’ve ever gone to Sunday School, heard a sermon, or picked up a Christian “self help” book, you know very well about the spiritual attacks that we face. You know the battles we face. And I do hope that you are praying against those attacks for yourself and for your husband. When those attacks come, I pray that you recognize them and that you stand together against them. Those attacks can do more damage to a marriage than almost any other. If we don’t fight them, they will destroy us.
                But I want to talk about the other two aspects that I mentioned. Maybe you’ve never thought about praying for your husband’s physical brain- for the physical protection of it and for it’s working ability. Honestly, before meeting my warrior husband, I had never thought about it either. God has shown me that my circumstances are not unique to me, but they are unique to that of a military wife. Maybe you can’t easily identify with what I’m about to share, but maybe you can.
                The military is full of acronyms that we will never learn but there are 2 that are becoming quite popular in recent years- PTSD and TBI. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury are two diagnoses that our military members dread receiving. Many don’t believe that they actually have a problem. Yet these issues are very real and they burden more military families than we know. I am nowhere near qualified to write about these conditions or their effects, but I can relay to you, the importance in praying against them for your husband.
                If your husband does not have PTSD or TBI, praise God! If he is currently in a war zone, as you are praying for his physical protection, pray for the physical protection of his mind, as well. Pray against concussions. Pray that he always has his helmet on when he needs it. These things are so important! I only wish that my husband and I had already known each other and been married before he served his last tour in Iraq. I wish I had been praying these things for him. I wish that he had not received a total of 6 LOD concussions. I wish he could remember his childhood. I wish he didn’t see shadows. I wish he didn’t hear loud noises or that constant humming. I wish he didn’t see bright flashes of light. I wish he didn’t get angry easily. I wish he didn’t have nightmares. I wish he didn’t mourn the loss of his fellow soldiers. I wish the things that he saw and heard and smelled and did with his own hands were not still in his memory bank at all. I wish they could no longer haunt him. I wish he didn’t have PTSD or TBI. But I’m so glad that he is who he is. And I’m so glad that God has given me the patience and the desire to understand the battles he’s still fighting. I’m grateful for the resources that are available to us to help us learn together how to work through these issues and the circumstances that have entered our lives because of these issues.
                And what about your husband’s memory? I mentioned that my husband has no recollection of his childhood. He remembers very little prior to his senior year in high school.  Yes, these are important memories to have lost. But what about the things that your husband must recall on a daily basis? No, I’m not talking about the grocery list that you sent him with this morning. Or his ability to remember to put his socks in the clothes hamper. Or his ability to remember your birthday, anniversary, or how much you love calla lilies. Do you pray that while your husband is in the field he will have the ability to recall all the training that he has received? Do you pray that he will remember to do the things he’s been trained to do to keep himself and his fellow soldiers safe? Do you pray that he will retain the information he has studied before he goes before a promotion board? Do you pray that while he is away that he will remember the vows that you two made to each other on your wedding day? Do you pray that when he is faced with temptation that he will remember God’s Word so that he can resist that temptation? If not, I encourage you today to begin praying for your husband’s mind in a new way. This may be an unusual prayer, but we live in an unusual world as military wives. Join me in praying this prayer for our husbands:
Father God, we thank You that no matter how odd our request may be, You hear our prayers and You are concerned with the things that concern us. So God, we lift our husbands’ minds up to you today and we ask for Your hand of protection over them. Your Word says that You have knit each of us together in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13) so that means that You know us inside and out, every intricate detail. You know more than any psychologist of the workings of our brains and so we trust You alone with the ability to protect and defend our husbands against both physical and spiritual attacks on their minds. Where injury has already come, we pray for healing. We pray against nightmares, negative or evil thoughts, flashbacks and painful memories. We ask that you instead replace these things with thoughts that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, having virtue, or anything praiseworthy (Phil 4:8). We ask You to renew our husbands’ minds that they may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2). We thank You for the extensive training that they have received as members of our military and we pray that when it is needed, they would be able to recall precisely what they have been taught. Give them good judgment, discernment, wisdom and clarity of mind in all that they do. We thank You for their willingness to serve, to be in harm’s way for the safety of others and to endure the things that they endure. We pray for Your mercy and grace to fall upon the men that we love. Bless them, protect them, shield them, LORD. Amen

My Intro

When I was 20 years old I married my high school sweet heart. Ten years later I found myself alone, raising four kids, and completely heart broken. After five years of marriage my husband had enlisted into the Army Reserves and he left our marriage both physically and emotionally. The desire to be single, to be free, to live without responsibilities out-weighed the desire to have a family and so he followed after the desires of his flesh.  I struggled for five years to hold it together. I dealt with his infidelity, his abandonment, his lack of financial support, his lack of emotional support, and his addiction to prescription pain medications. We went back and forth from “we’re going to make it” to “I want out”. He didn’t have the courage to end the marriage and so he strung me along for five years until he finally couldn’t take it anymore. I clung to God, I told Him I would be patient. I waited and I waited for God to return my husband to me and my children. I prayed like I never prayed before. My relationship with God grew by leaps and bounds. He sustained me. He provided for me in supernatural ways. He became my Husband and He cared for me every step of the way.  And when my husband and I divorced, God whispered in my ear “I heard your prayers and I will answer them. Not in the way that you’ve asked, for My ways are higher. But I will give you the desire of your heart. I will give you love and security. I will.”
God led me through that season of wilderness, and as He so often does, He led me to the brink of a canyon. On the other side stood my Promised Land, a land of love and provision, security and peace. I cried out to God over and over to please lift me up and set me down in the Promised Land. Had I not endured enough? Had I not survived the Wilderness? Why oh why would He set me down on the edge of a canyon?? What was I supposed to do here? Sit and wait?? After all the waiting and wandering in the Wilderness, surely God couldn’t expect me to sit and wait at the edge of the Canyon.
Well, in hindsight, that is precisely what God wanted me to do. And that is exactly what I did NOT do. I got to the edge of that canyon (or a season of waiting patiently for God to give me direction) and I began devising my own plans of how to get across it. I was ready to be loved and provided for. I was ready to feel secure and not completely without control as I had felt for so long. So I looked around, and decided to try jumping across that canyon myself. I took a running leap and landed on a boulder jetting out from the wall of the canyon, 10 ft below where I started. Now, a sensible person would see that this was a foolish idea and would either try climbing back up to the edge of the canyon, or would sit there and wait for God to rescue them. But I was neither sensible nor patient at that period of my life and so I jumped again, this time landing on a rock 20 ft below the last one. My jumping continued until I found myself pacing the bottom of the canyon, wondering what went wrong. I’m very fortunate that God allowed me to land on boulder after boulder as I plunged myself deeper into the canyon. He could have easily allowed me to splatter myself against the jagged rocks that I so recklessly leaped from. But He didn’t. My loving Father shook His head and protected me from myself. However, He let me continue to lead my own life, deeper and deeper into the canyon.
Don’t get me wrong. The entire time I jumped deeper into the canyon, I was calling out to Him. I was praying. I was reading my Bible.  I just wasn’t waiting. The anxiety that was inside of me was bigger than the canyon itself. I was seeking after God. I wanted nothing more than to fellowship with Him in the Promised Land. And I wanted it now. With each jump I took, with every boulder I landed on, I destroyed things in my life. I didn’t realize at the time that my desire to be in control was hurting many of my relationships, my career and of course, it was keeping me out of the Promised Land.
Finally, after almost an entire year of boulder jumping, I had no boulders left to jump from and I stopped pacing the base of the canyon and just sat down. I read the story of Esther and thought about the beauty treatments that she participated in for a year before being brought before the king. So I asked God, “Will you prepare my heart for the Promised Land? I’m not ready for it.” I fully expected to sit at the bottom of that canyon for a year, but my God is a merciful God. It wasn’t that God wanted to withhold the Promised Land from me any longer… it was just that He needed me to be willing to wait on Him. I finally sat still down there in my own canyon of loneliness and God dropped down a ladder.
I fully expected it to be a ladder of steel, but was amazed instead that He lowered a rickety wooden ladder. You see, He needed me to trust Him with every step. I took that first step, then a second, and gasped as the first rung broke in two just after I removed my foot. I kept my eyes glued on God, not the Promised Land, and after trusting Him for just a few more steps, I held on as God raised that ladder out of the canyon Himself. No more climbing was needed. All I had to do was show Him that I trusted Him and He lifted me out of my pit.
The ride out of the canyon was fast and exciting. Just imagine holding onto a ladder as it’s lifted hundreds of feet up over the jagged rocks to the safety of the land. Somewhere along the ride up, I felt another hand holding onto mine, strengthening my grip on the ladder. It was the hand of someone I recognized- an amazing man, a soldier, a single father… a man who is now my best friend, my protector, my hero and my husband.
Bob, too, had been waiting patiently on the side of a boulder to be pulled from his own canyon of loneliness. Bob had been up and down the walls of the canyon and had learned what I learned about waiting for God’s outstretched hand.  In fact, I had previously met Bob in the canyon as I was jumping off boulders. I had tried to land on the boulder that he was standing on months before, but he wasn’t in a place where he could share his boulder at that time in his life and so I had fallen even further onto another boulder. Now together, with his hand gripped around mine, we were being raised out of our canyon and set on solid ground. We entered the Promised Land together.
We have shared with each other our individual wilderness experiences. We know about the boulders we’ve landed on in the canyon. We’ve tended to each other’s scrapes and bruises and dusted each other off. This adventure in the Promised Land has only just begun for us. What God has in store, we do not know. But we are no longer wandering alone. God is our Guide. He is with us as we discover each twist and turn that life brings us.
I want to welcome you to the Wives of WAR blog. We are not only wives familiar with the "war" our husbands are fighting, but we are women embracing the acronymn of WAR- Women At Rest. We are military wives learning to trust God in the midst of our circumstances. That's what it's all about!