Tag Archives: children

When I Grow Up

When I was growing up, I frequently got asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always had an answer – astronaut, doctor, police officer…you get the picture. While this is something kids should think about, I’ve come to realize that what we want to be when we grow up shouldn’t be the focus of our lives. What’s more important, I think, is WHO we want to be.

I am 25 years old, and I still have no clue WHAT I want to be when I grow up. I have a criminal justice degree, I went to EMT school, and I have a passion for writing….I’m not quite sure where that gets me; but I’m not going to spend my life with a sole focus on finding the answer. An occupation is simply that – a job. Yes, it is where we make money to provide for our families…but it does not define who we are.

But let’s focus on the other question – who do I want to be.

I want to be a faithful follower of Christ. I want to love God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength. I want to trust Him with my life and my plans and allow Him to show me what I should be doing; that no matter what my job – He will provide for our needs as long as I listen and obey.

I want to be a loving and submissive wife. I want to love my husband only second to God and follow his lead of our family.

I want to be a patient and wise mother. I want to make good decision in guiding my children and point them to Christ. I want to show them grace and admit to them when I’ve done wrong. I want to show them that they are loved unconditionally, not just by their parents – but also by God.

I want to be a good friend. I want to love others and share the love of Christ with everyone I meet. I want to help hurting people. I want to show people, who think there is no hope left, that there is ALWAYS hope in Jesus Christ.

This is only a small glimpse into who I want to be. I’m not yet where I need to be in achieving this, but I’m no longer where I was.

So let’s stop focusing on WHAT we want to be or what our kids want to be. What we want to be doesn’t define who we are. Only God can do that. Instead, let’s focus on WHO we want to be.

Let’s teach our kids that WHO they want to be is more valuable than what they want to be. Let’s raise our kids to love God, family, and others. Let’s show them that they don’t have to earn love. Lets teach them the value of hard work but help them to also see the difference between work and identity.

What you do can be taken from you; but who you are is who you, no matter what you do.

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For the Well-Meaning Civilian

This is for all the wonderful, well-meaning civilians out there. For those who, so often, try to reach out and help the military spouse when her husband is gone. For the civilian who wants to show love and encouragement to the scared young mom while her husband is off in a combat zone…I’m going to offer you a little bit of advice on the best way to support the military wife during times of deployment or separation.

#1 – Do not try to offer cliche phrases as words of encouragement. These phrases include, but are not limited to: “You knew what it would be like when you got married.” “It gets easier, doesn’t it, since you’ve already done this before?” “At least you have your kids to keep you company.” “I don’t know how you do it. You are so strong.” “Put on your big girl panties and drive on.” “You have to stay strong for your family.”

These phrases, and many others like them, may come with good intentions. But for the scared, lonely, and stressed out military wife…these words do not offer much encouragement at all. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had people tell me to stay strong, pull my big girl panties up, or some variation of that. But to be quite honest, unless you’ve been on this end of battle, you don’t know how incredibly impossible it is to just “stay strong” when it, quite frequently, feels like the world around you is falling apart.

Many people seem surprised when I confess that I break down in tears about once a week, after the kids are in bed and the silence of the house is depressing. I just miss him, his hugs, his voice, his touch. I let myself break down, I cry out to the One whose strength has sustained me this far, and will continue to sustain me until my husband is in my arms again.

So if you want to offer encouragement, support, and love, just give her your ear to listen or your shoulder to cry. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything – that is okay, we won’t take offense to it. Offer to pray with her and for her. Give her Bible verses that might encourage her and remind her of God’s strength and love for her. Don’t expect her to be strong, but point her to the One who will be strong for her.

#2 – Want to give her a gift? Offer to watch her kids so she can sleep, read, clean, run, or whatever it is that she wants to do. She doesn’t know what peace and quiet is like. She doesn’t have time to sit down and read or to just sit outside and watch the beauty of nature unfold. Let her enjoy a few hours out of the house, away from the kids…let her feel free for just a little while.

Being the spouse of a deployed soldier is, in many ways, like being a single parent. It’s me and the kids, all day, everyday. While I love them and enjoy watching them grow and learn every day, it’s hard to do it day in and day out without a break. Life can get mundane and repetitive and it’s easy to slip into an “I’m not making any difference in the world,” train of thought. Which then leads me to feeling overwhelmed and stressed about my life and questioning my parenting ability and value.

Military wives, even if we portray an image of independence and self-sufficiency to the world, need your help to survive the deployments…whether we’ll admit it or not. We may not ask for help because of our own foolish pride; but it means the world to us to know that someone cares enough to offer.

#3 – Hug her. You may have no idea what she is going through and maybe you feel uncomfortable with her despair and desperation. Hug her anyway. And don’t let it be a fake, quick, one armed hug that just feels like your hugging out of obligation, not love.

It may have been days, weeks, or months since the last time she felt the warm embrace of a hug from someone who cares about her. Your hug will never replace the tenderness of the arms of the man she loves. But a hug can bring a tired soul to life and remind her that she isn’t fighting this side of the war alone. Your one hug can mean more to her than you’ll ever know.

I have a few friends who do this for me. They always seem to know, I’m pretty sure it’s God’s planning, exactly when I need a hug. Few things compare, when I feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, to the feeling of a loving hug of a sweet friend. It feels like someone came along to help me carry the weight. Which is what we’re all here for, right? God didn’t make us to go through this world alone. He made us different in every kind of way. He made us to need friendship and love. Show her friendship, even if she is feeling too low to show it back.

#4 – Invite her and her kids over for dinner of bring dinner over to her house (and stay to eat with her). She’s missing the company of adults. Spending all day with children can get frustrating when all you want is some adult conversation. Just talk to her over a meal, not about anything in particular, just talk.

She is tired of sitting down for every meal with kids who don’t appreciate what she cooked for them and who end up throwing half of it on the floor. If there’s a baby sitter available, go for a moms night out. Have dinner, watch a movie, anything that allows her to spend some time with grown ups.

I’m sure there are many more things that could be added to this list, but these were just the primary ones I could think of.

As a proud Army wife, I am deeply thankful for my friends and family, whether military or civilian. The battle on home front is not one that we can fight alone. I think it is harder for civilians to understand what we’re going through and often our silly pride stands in the way because we think they can’t/won’t help for whatever reason. From my experience though, my civilian friends often want to help more than my military spouse friends because they don’t have the added stress of the deployment. But what stops them is they simply don’t know what we need from them. And unless we tell others what we need how they can help?


I Signed Up For The Fight

The Army life…it just plain hurts at times. The constant separations, the missed birthdays and anniversaries, the lonely holidays. The times you get the kids in bed at night and you just sit there, wondering where he is, how he’s doing, if he’s safe, or if he’s even alive. The times that you just wish you could stay in bed, when you don’t want to get up and face the world. Civilian families don’t understand. They may try to be supportive and loving, but they just don’t get it. They don’t understand the very real possibility that your husband may never come home. They don’t understand the pain of missing his voice, the softness of his touch, or the sweetness of his kiss. But those are only the negatives and if you only focus on the negatives, you won’t see the positives.Military Ball

The positive list is much, MUCH, longer. When you’re a part of the Army, you develop an instant family. You have sisters who understand exactly what you’re going through and who are all willing to support and encourage each other at all costs. Army wives get to experience the joy and fun of Military Balls; dressing up like a princess and enjoying a night of beauty, romance, and fairy tales. That is something that civilians know nothing about. Our husbands are willing to lay down their lives for each other, but we do the same on the homefront. We have healthcare and we have homes to live in; no, they may not be the greatest, but at least we have them. For that alone, I am thankful.

I’ve heard people say, that when my husband is gone I should just go on with my life like nothing is different; to an extent that is true. But how can I live as if nothing has changed when my other half is in a war zone, when I go days, if not weeks, without any communication, when our young children want to know where their daddy is and don’t understand why he’s not here. So yes, our lives must go on, but it is impossible to live as if nothing has changed because, when he’s gone, everything is changed.

DeploymentBut in the midst of the absence of my husband and the sadness of missing him, I serve a great God who gives me everything I need to keep going. In times of separation, I’ve noticed that I feel a closeness with God that I only feel when my husband is gone. When I am upset with the thoughts of ‘what if’s’, God brings me a peace and comfort that I don’t experience at any other time. Maybe it’s because when he’s not here, I have more time to spend in God’s Word and focus on Him, or maybe is it’s because God knows that I need to feel His presence more in my husband’s absence, or maybe it’s a combination. Whatever it is, I know that I don’t deserve it. I know that God’s greatness extends beyond anything I can possibly fathom.

When I got married to a soldier, his dreams became mine, his goals became mine, and his fight became mine. He fights on the front end of it all and I fight on the home front of it. We’re fighting the same battle. The fight for God, love, and family.

You signed up for the fight
It wasn’t long after meeting
She knew he was the one
Even though she knew his job
Meant carrying a gun
When she said “I Do”
She meant “I’ll give you all of me,
Even when we are apart,
Two as one, we’ll always be.”
It didn’t take long at all
For the orders to come
The ones that meant he had to leave
His one and only love
He told her that he’d miss her
And that he’d see her soon
He tried to calm her fears
The possibility of doom

She’s afraid of what could happen
Afraid that he could lose his life
On her knees, she prays to God
“Bring him home to his new wife.”
She cried, “How will I get through it?
Twelve months is a long time.”
So she opens up her Bible
And lets God’s Word fill her mind
God told her, “It’s okay to cry,
I am your strong foundation.
Your husband is a man of honor
Fighting for his nation.
For better or for worse,
You signed up for the fight too.
I love you, I love him.
Love alone will get you through.”

You see her in the park
At church or at the store
Now there’s two toddlers in tow
She had expected so much more
She has given up her dreams
To cling to and follow his
Most days she wouldn’t mind it
If she could simply feel his kiss
She lays the kids in bed at night
A little voice says, “I miss daddy.”
With tears in her tired eyes,
Together they pray softly
“God, keep my daddy safe.
Me and sissy miss him lots.
We know he’s where you need him
But sometimes without him we feel lost.”

Some days she’s just plain lonely
The man she loves is far away
With a willing heart and empty hands
She falls on her knees to pray
“Lord, I want to be the wife and mom
That you’ve called me to be,
Help to embrace this separation
When through the tears, I can’t see.”
God told her, “It’s okay to cry,
I am your strong foundation.
Your husband is a man of honor
Fighting for his nation.
For better or for worse,
You signed up for the fight too.
I love you, I love him.
Love alone will get you through.”

Now the kids have gotten older
And now they understand
Why daddy has to go and fight
Why he protects their land
But understanding leads to fear
When they know that he could die
Just the thought alone
Brings tears to precious eyes
“Mom, how did you do it?
Marry dad in this profession.
Aren’t you scared that in his job,
Anything could happen?”
But it’s not about his job,
It doesn’t matter what he does
When you find the one, that’s it,
Your heart can’t stop the love.

Of course she’s still afraid
What if he won’t come home?
But she holds onto a God who’s stronger
And who won’t leave her all alone
She drops down to her knees
She prays, “Lord, protect his life.”
But even if God’s will’s not hers
She knows she’ll be alright
‘Cause God says that, “It’s okay to cry,
I am your strong foundation.
Your husband is a man of honor
Fighting for his nation.
For better or for worse,
You signed up for the fight too.
I love you, I love him.
Love alone will get you through.”


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