by Mary Parker
We’re all busy, right? Sometimes in our culture, we wear our time management like a badge of honor. And I’ve been known to keep up with the best of them – between life as an Air Force spouse, working full-time and teaching part-time, staying fit, fostering relationships with friends and family in Alaska and back home on the East Coast, I’d say I qualify. I sometimes struggle with this as a pride issue, but I enjoy juggling multiple commitments.
Being busy isn’t a bad thing, and when we’re pursuing the things God wants us to, we can find untapped happiness and fulfillment. But when God gets left out of the picture, problems can really start to infringe on our time, and every other aspect of our lives.
This has happened in my life more than once. Deadlines pile up, and amidst pressures (many of which are self-inflicted) to follow-up on emails, make dinner from scratch, craft Christmas decorations, and walk the dog, God gets left out. Then I wind up on the kitchen floor, exhausted and delirious because I’ve stashed the milk in the pantry…again. After all God has done and continues to do for me, it is easy for me to forget that He is with me always.
When my husband is TDY, I seek God eagerly and fiercely because I consciously put Him first, as I should every day. Seeking God actively, reading His word, and listening for His voice in my life, for just 10 minutes at the start of the day provides immense peace and blessing over all the minutes of the rest of my day. So I’ve resolved to spend time with God every day in this manner, giving Him the first minutes of each day He blesses me with.
Jesus, knowing the hardships of humanity, beckons us to spend time with Him:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-29).
I find I have a steadier head throughout the day when I consciously remember God is with me. I am quicker to see other people through God’s eyes, and offer grace. I am slower to frustration and anger when I accept that this is a “light and momentary trouble,” and I am more apt to love others fully when I meditate on God’s love for me, and His commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself."
I encourage you to look at your alarm clock as a daily date with God – a time to spend in His love and comfort, and allow Him to prepare you fully for the day ahead!
Questions for Reflection:
*How much time do I spend seeking God every day?
*Are there activities on my to-do list that I put before God?
*How can spending time with God affect my mind, body and
spirit throughout the day?
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.
by Chantal Graupmann
When I first became a military wife I expected that I would automatically become the well-known stereotype of the “military spouse.”
This is the spouse who volunteers on a weekly basis for squadron AND base events, the spouse who has the uniforms crisply ironed, the spouse who stands strong and keeps the home without fear or discouragement in the face of deployment or temporary duty, and the list goes on.
I moved to our first duty station with the image of the ideal military spouse in mind, and then once I got there I slowly started to realize such a woman does not exist! And how could she?! I laugh now, knowing it was silly of me to think so. Yes, each and every one of us may embody one or two of the items on the list of “ideal” spouse but none of us alone can possibly do ALL those things.
As my perspective on the life of a typical military family changed, I began to understand in more depth the passage of Romans 12:6-8:
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (NIV)
How refreshing to hear that I do not have to do everything, or be the “ideal” military spouse, but instead can act upon the gifts that God has already bestowed on me. I can have joy, peace, and confidence to fulfill my role as military spouse and I do not have to become a different person or put on different hats to fill all the roles I hold in this life.
There is balance in knowing I am not expected to do everything! I love that I can come back to this verse in Romans and be reminded of this when I am feeling overwhelmed and overcommitted because I have forgotten God’s truth.
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
One of the biggest changes in perspective I've had has been changing the way I thought of military spouses. I'll be honest--when I got out of the military and became a military spouse, I didn't have the highest respect for spouses. The only real interaction I'd had with them was when they came through the gate to show me their IDs, and often, it wasn't a pleasant experience.
I learned pretty quick after I got out that it was probably MY attitude that was making the experience bad and that military wives are a pretty strong bunch. We handle deployments, PCS moves, TDY's, smelly laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. etc, all without batting an eye and usually with only one hand. Oftentimes there's a baby on the hip taking up the other hand!
God poked and prodded me a lot to change my opinion.
Once I found Him, I found comfort in a few spouses who truly had so much to offer I think I learned more about military life through them than I did in my ten years of active duty service!
If it hadn't been for one of them, I may not be where I am today. If it hadn't been for another, I'm not sure I'd have worked through the issues my marriage faced. And if not for another, I'd have never learned how important and lasting our friendships really are.
As a military spouse, I've formed unlikely friendships that will stand the test of time.
I've become friends with people I wouldn't have ever thought to be friends with before, and it's so rewarding to know, at the end of the day, that not only is friendship vital, it's biblical. God lays something on our heart when he gives us a friend--and we military spouses are lucky to have each other--because there will come a time when we'll really need one another.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us:
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up."
See, once God gives us these friends, it's important that we're there for them!
Friendships are so very important. I'm thankful to have found friends who mean so much to me, and even more thankful to know that God has given them to me.
My perspective of military spouses has changed so much in the last few years because I've seen firsthand how hard it can be, but also how rewarding it is. With this, I urge you to reach out to another military spouse! Maybe there's someone in your husband's squadron or unit who seems like she might need a friend? Or maybe she's like me, and she might not seem too friendly or too keen on the idea of being friends with other spouses? Chances are she's afraid and she doesn't know how to approach other spouses. Maybe you keep seeing that mom at the playground but you don't want to step out of your comfort zone to say hello? Give it a chance! We all need friends.
Father, I thank you for friendship. I thank you that sometimes the friends we make truly become our family and in times where we aren't near family, we're able to stick by those who have walked our path with us. I thank you that you choose the people we need in our lives and give us what we need exactly when we need it. I pray that we're able to forge new friendships with even the most unlikely of people in an effort to draw closer to you. In your name I pray, Amen.
Questions for reflection:
1. Is there someone I can reach out to today?
2. What is God laying on my heart in regards to friendship? Is there someone I need to call? Someone I need to forgive?
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.
Do you remember the Sesame Street song, "That's about the size, where you put your eyes, that's about the size of it"? It's a song all about perspective based on what our eyes are focused on. It's a great teaching tool for little ones, and it can be a reminder to us big ones as well!
Our perspective is based on where we put our focus. If we are focused on the One who loves us and has a unique and exciting plan for each of us, our perspective will be a good one. If we are focused on our circumstances, our perspective tends to be clouded by discouragement and a sense of being overwhelmed.
My prayer is that this space will be where you will find strength and encouragement to place your focus where it ought to be. May God bless you as you seek and follow him.