Friday, May 28, 2010

Photo Friday

I am so excited about being in the kitchen this summer. So are the kids. We have fresh blueberry muffins in the oven baking as I type this post. My precious 8 yr old did most of the work. She loves to help me in the kitchen.

This summer I want to let them cook a couple nights a week. I'd love to do an international theme every week. My son is really into Greek mythology (thanks to the Percy Jackson series) and I know he'd love a Greek week. My daughter loves to bake. So, I'll probably have a dessert week especially for her.

I should probably get to work putting this together for them. We're going to run out of summer days real quick. Time flies when you're able to have fun!

If you're a mom, having to entertain the kids all summer, what kind of summer ideas have you come up with to keep them busy and learning?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Definitely Not a Long Distance Relationship

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. She isn't an army wife but has many army wife friends. I mentioned that Mike might be calling soon. She got excited for me and mentioned that one of her other army wife friends was sometimes unsure what to talk about when her husband would call during a deployment. She said her friend wondered if she should worry him with the daily happenings or keep the conversation light. I never really thought about it until that moment. I usually just ramble on about our day or ask him specific things to help me in making decisions. Sometimes we have a limited amount of time to talk and I don't always tell him everything that happens (mostly because I forget).

Going through a deployment with your soldier is nothing like a long distance relationship. The distance is there, certainly, but the relationship is so much different than your typical long distance relationship. I can't call him anytime I want to tell him something or see how his day is going. I wait by the phone until he is able to make it to a phone to call me. I can't get on a plane or hop in my car to go see him over the weekend. He can't leave either.

This got me thinking about our phone conversations. No matter how brief they may be, it's how we communicate. Do I worry him with details like, "The dryer busted again, the fridge stopped making ice and my car has a flat" all in one day? Usually I tell him these things after I take care of them. I don't want to worry him with unnecessary things. I talk to him about the kids a lot. "Should I send Belle to cheer camp this summer?" "Job wants to learn to play the violin." More importantly, "This will cost money, what are your thoughts?"

Sometimes it just depends on your soldier and what he wants to know. I don't want to cause him to worry. I think he does enough of that without me adding to his anxiety. As a military spouse, when your spouse is deployed, do you choose not to talk about certain issues with your spouse because you fear it would cause more stress? Do you tell him everything? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Moving On

Lot's Wife was a woman who was accustomed to living the good life. Her family lived in Sodom, a place that God was ready to destroy because of their wickedness. The scripture doesn't say that Lot and his family participated in the wickedness of the city but they lived within its gates and most likely grew callused to the things that occured. It just didn't bother them. This is evident when Lot tries to give his virgin daughters to a raid of men that arrived at his home to take his guests (Gen. 19:5-8). His guests were angels sent to help Lot and his family escape the city God was about to destroy (Gen. 19:1).

Lot tried to warn his son-in-laws and daughters who lived within Sodom, but they didn't listen. Even Lot and his family lingered (Gen. 19:15). They had to be led out by the men sent to warn them. After leaving, they are warned not to look back, but what does Lot's Wife do? She looks back (Gen. 19:26). The big question is why. There are many theories. One being that she looks back because she still has children in the city, possibly grandchildren. They're all being engulfed in fire and I have to say I'd have a hard time not looking back. Another theory is that she couldn't bear to leave the life of luxury she lived there. She didn't want to leave the life they had built, even though it was seen as wicked in God's eyes.

Wow, was she that wicked? I don't think so. I don't believe that looking back showed that her heart was wicked. I do believe it showed her human nature. It showed that at that moment in her life she was in shock. This was a traumatic event for her. This, of course, is my theory. This is just something God has revealed to me while I was reading through the story. I believe the story of Lot's Wife looking back is here for us to read and know that no matter what our past looks like, we shouldn't be concerned with where we have been but more concerned with where we are going. My pastor said this recently and I think it fits.

Sometimes it's hard to let go of things we experience in our pasts. We cling to them as if they define who we are. Certainly, some of our past situations change us. That is definitely true in my life. I believe God uses many of our experiences to bring us closer to Him. It's when we can't let go of the "what ifs", "if only" and "why did I do thats" when God steps in and says "Don't look back." We can't change the past and the mistakes we've made, but we can look forward and move on. We can move on with God by our sides. We can move on and not make those same mistakes again.

Are there "what ifs" and "if onlys" lingering in your life? Are they hindering your forward walk with God? I have to evaluate this myself. It's not easy. If only I would have done this sooner. See how that worked. (insert laughter) I'm doing it now and that's what I truly believe God is concerned about.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Photo Friday

One of the challenges a military spouse faces is fitting as much as possible into a large flat rate box. It doesn't always work out as planned.

Well of Hope

Hagar is introduced in Genesis 16 and is intertwined with Sarah's story. Hagar was an Egyptian slave that Sarah used as a surrogate mother to provide Abraham with the child she feared she never would. It didn't really work out like Sarah had hoped (Gen. 16:4-5). Hagar did give birth to a son, but despised Sarah in the process. Hagar was eventually cast out with her son, Abraham's heir, once Sarah had Isaac (Gen. 21:8-14).  Hagar was alone, with her small child, wandering in the wilderness. She ran out of water and had no one to turn to. She placed her child under a shrub because she didn't want to watch him die. She was helpless and afraid. In that moment, she called out to God.

I'm falling in love with these stories. As I read about Hagar and her desperation, it doesn't take long before the Hero steps in at the climax of the story and saves the day. When Hagar is at her weakest moment, God "calls to Hagar out of heaven." (Gen 21:17) He comforts her and provides her with a future promise of making her son a great nation, which gives her hope and the strength to stand up. He opens her eyes to see a well of water. (I could go on all day about the significance of water in the bible, but instead I'll just give you a few scriptures... Isaiah 12:3, 35:6, John 7:38, Luke 16:24.)

The meaning of this well of water is beyond my understanding. I personally have never experienced a physical thirst like the one Hagar and her son were experiencing. I can somewhat relate emotionally and spiritually. As a military wife, there are many days that I walk around in a fuzzy haze of lonliness when my husband is deployed. People care and lend their kind words of encouragement and support. I know that I have several people in my life that I can call when I'm feeling really down, which is more than Hagar had. Honestly though, if I only relied on the people in my life to carry me through the deployment, my expectations would not be met. No matter how much they care for me and my family, they couldn't provide me with the well of hope that I truly need to get me through it.

I love that Hagar's story is recorded to encourage me during my weakest moments. It means so much to know that the women in the Bible meant just as much to God. He revealed Himself to them and made them promises, gave them hope, comforted them and used them to do great things. When Hagar was at her weakest, God gave her strength. He provided her with a well of water. It is a well of hope for me today.

Have there been moments in your life when you were able to see God's well of hope and promises? If so, you're right where you ought to be; leaning on Him for strength.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Time to Laugh

Today, I read a bit about Sarah. There are many stories about Sarah but the one that sticks out to me the most is found in Gen. 18. Sarah laughed at God's promise to give her a son. She laughed "within herself" and God heard her, of course. Sarah wasn't the only one laughing. In Gen 17:17, Abraham had a good laugh concerning the same thing.

Why is it so funny that God would promise them a son? The timing. Sarah and Abraham were both old. Sarah was no longer of child bearing age and she actually thought the idea of having sex with Abraham was comical (Gen. 18:12).

Laughter and timing are very significant in this story. The time the promise is revealed to Abraham is a year prior to Sarah "overhearing" the promise from inside the tent (Gen 17:21, 18:9,10). The time the child would be born goes beyond what is physically possible; "Lord, you do realize I'm ninety years old?" says Sarah. I can imagine Him also saying, "Sarah, my timing is much different than yours. I can't be bothered with silly details like your age. Let's get on with building a nation, shall we?"

No matter how laughable God's timing is, He fulfills His promises. Even when we think that something is impossible or a miracle couldn't possibly occur, God provides. For me, waiting is the hardest part. Waiting for God's perfect timing was hard for Sarah too. She tried to take matters into her own hands and it didn't go very well (Gen. 16). It's encouraging to know, God still used her to build a nation. He still blessed her and gave her the one desire of her heart; a son. Then her laughter was rejoiceful (Gen. 21:6).

This story proves that no matter how unuseable we think we are, God can still use us. All in His timing, of course.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I just began doing a bible study about the women of the bible. First up is, of course, Eve. As I'm reading the scripture, at first I'm thinking, "Good grief, Eve, being created from Adam's rib bone must not have offered you much intelligence." As I continue to read Genesis 3, I begin to realize that it wasn't Eve's lack of intelligence that prompted her to make the fatal decision to eat the fruit; it was her vulnerability that left her heart unguarded to believe the lies of the serpent.

Much like Eve, I'm the type of woman that wants to keep it all together and let everyone know, "I've got this, people!" This is especially true when my husband is deployed. He's gone for 12 months and our household must continue functioning. I have to step into his shoes for a time, which is the perfect opportunity for me to behave just like Eve. It's the perfect opportunity to forget that I need to guard my vulnerable heart while I'm making major decisions for my household.

I'm not saying her motives weren't pure. Her decision was driven by the desire to "eat good" and "gain more wisdom" (Gen. 3:6). She knew the warning God had given but the serpent deceived her. This deception led her to make a decision that ultimately  brought her shame and pain (Gen. 3:7, 16).

So, this leads me to a very important question: How do I guard my heart while my husband is deployed?
1. God's promises in Scripture - Ps. 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble"
2. Church Family
3. Support from other military spouses who are sharing the same experiences - The Lantern or the FRG (Family Readiness Group)

These are just a few that quickly came to mind. Are there any other scriptures or people in your life that you turn to when the decisions that you need to make as a military spouse seem to be too much to bear?
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