Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!
Perhaps you have been, like me, glued to the accounts of the tragedy at Fort Hood. Although as I write this the details are still sketchy at best the bottom line is at this moment 9 people have lost their lives and another 31 are wounded.
At this moment my heart is broken for the families of the fallen and the wounded. Our soldiers were preparing for deployment…preparing for their charge to defend our nation, to combat on behalf of Iraq or Afghan people. This was not to happen…not here…
Tonight my heart is heavy for these families. Tonight my prayers will be for the families whose are forever changed. Tonight I pray for the loved ones, the friends, their brothers.
Father, this senseless act defies our ability to comprehend. We ask that you would bring comfort to the victims and their families. We ask that you would meet them in their grief and confusion. Lord, we pray for the families, the loved ones, the wounded, for the base community. Bring healing, hope and restoration to this base and everyone affected.
Help us to care for them, lead us and guide us as we seek to understand, recover and support all affected by this event. Amen
I babysat for a family with five children for several years. One evening the youngest son, seven years old, asked me, “Miss Beth, How big is God?” I must admit I was surprised by the question. Before I could answer he asked, “Is he bigger than our mailbox? Is God bigger than an elephant?” I smiled and said, “well, yes, God is bigger than a mailbox and an elephant.” He smiled and said, “Wow, but he’s small enough to live in my heart, too?” Panic struck my heart – I was sure this little guy was going to ask me how God could be bigger than an elephant but small enough to live in his heart. At that moment his cherub face lit up as he said, “God can do anything! He can be big enough for anything!”
Recently I have to admit my focus has not been on how big God is but how big the challenges all around me appear. Gas prices are rising, the economy is is shambles, North Korea is rattling its chain, Afghanistan is a hotbed…and we’re up for orders.
How big is God? Is He big enough to handle my budget? Is he big enough for the world’s unrest? Is God big enough to get me through the next set of orders? Is God big enough?
Devon’s innocent question, “How big is God?” is a question of profound importance. But Devon’s insight is even greater. How do I view God? Can I, like Devon, declare “God is big enough for anything!”
I wish I could say, “You betcha! God is my Rock, God is my Strength. God is my Hope, my strong tower…I shall not be moved!” The reality is as we face orders that could send my precious husband into combat – well, how big is my God? Once again I am forced to cry out to the God of the universe in the midst of my personal fear.
How big is God? How big IS God? Bigger than a mailbox, bigger than an Elephant? Bigger than a war? Bigger than my fear?
Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
Horses and chariots were the advanced military equipment of that day. Today we have night vision equipment, laser guided missiles, RPGs, Reactive armored vehicles, smart bombs, and much, much more…but King David reminds us that though advanced weaponry is crucial…we must put our trust in the name of the Lord.
But, God – I’m afraid. I don’t want to go through another deployment. I don’t want this man I love, my partner, my lover, the man of my dreams, my precious husband…I don’t want him to go into harm’s way.
“From the end of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe…Increase the days of the king’s life (my hubby), his years for many generations. may he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.” Psalm 61:2-3, 6-7
Militarily the high ground is the safest place from which to launch an offense, to win the battle, to be safe. In the Old Testament the high ground was a ‘tower’ often in the wall of the fortress around a city or set apart on the highest point near a city.
Proverbs 18:10 declares, The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”
How big is God? How big is God in my heart? How big is my vision, my understanding of God? God, I think I have made you too small. You are “big enough for anything”…even my future.
Today I attended a Memorial Service for a fellow Navy spouse, Ann McCurdy. Ann was in her early 30′s, a devoted mother of two beautiful girls, a proud Navy wife and a selfless, caring friend. At her service today each who participated echoed my own thoughts, experiences and memories of Ann. Ann always had a smile on her face, always had time to listen, cared deeply about others and was a faithful friend. But the thing that struck me as each person shared; Ann never complained. Ann never asked that famous question we all ask when hardships face us: “Why Me?”
As I listened to each friend, each family share their thoughts a thought plagued me…Why Ann, Lord? She is so young, has two beautiful daughters who still need her. Ann was such a devout woman of faith and so devoted to caring for others. Why Ann? Even lying in her hospital bed Ann ‘apologized’ for being a burden to others. APOLOGIZED. From her bed she asked her daughter’s kindergarten teacher, “What can I do to help?” When I spoke with her she asked about ‘me.’
Ann never questioned God’s path for her life. She never complained. I never heard her grumble about facing cancer for the second time in her young life. And that left me challenged.
A question plagued me: Why not me? I am older and have ‘lived.’ I have no children to miss me or need me. Why was I blessed with more days than Ann?
This flood of emotions was followed by another thought…Ann’s life is such an example of grace and courage in the face of death. She found in this challenge a faith in God that sustained her. But more than just sustain her, she found courage and strength that enabled her to focus on others.
We are all tempted to ask “Why me” when adversity visits our lives. I have done it myself…Lord, I pray that in the days ahead I ask, “Why not me? And, like Ann, Father, help me to lay hold of your purposes for my life and like Ann rest in your goodness.
In the early days of my faith I was so captured by the Bible that the thought of memorizing scripture seemed the right thing to do, and easy. Now – it feels like work and that tells me that I need it even more. You see, we’ve had a very full and challenging first five years of marraige. We moved seven times in five years, deployment, homeport change, yard period, sea trials, work-up…etc. All that activity and I feel like I’m “running on fumes” of faith.
How did I get here? How did this woman of faith end up on fumes? To be honest, the answer is simple: Neglect. I neglected my relationship with Jesus. The busyness of life competed with time and devotion to spending time with Jesus and God, well, they were abandoned.
So, I have no further excuses…today I begin to reconnect and refresh my relationship with God by reading His word of God, memorizing Scripture, and spending time with God and Jesus in prayer.
And that is perhaps the amazing part of God’s love for us. His mercy toward us is ‘new every morning.’ “It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 Amplified Bible) Isn’t that the best news?
So, today I recommit my heart to loving God and His word, to nurturing my relationship, to find a deeper faith in Him that will sustain me through the joys and challenges of Navy spousedom.
Want to join me? I’m heading back to basics…I picked up a scripture memory program from the Navigators – the Navigator’s Topical Memory System. It’s available online or at any Christian Bookstore.
I love Bible studies, and I picked up a two by author and pastor Max Lucado. I’ve never done any of his Bible studies but – well, I’m looking forward to something new. I picked up Embraced by God – Studies on God’s Love and A Thirst for God – Studies on the Lord’s Prayer. I am going to start with the first one…wanna’ join me?
When I first became a Christian I enjoyed the friendship of wise woman who offered support and encouragement as I discovered the love, grace and ways of our Lord, Jesus. She gently guided me to go to God’s love letter to us, His Word, the Bible. In the months and years that followed His word was my rock and through it I developed and enjoyed a sweet relationship with God.
Looking back over the last few years I realized that I have allowed the challenges, stresses and busy-ness of miitary spousedom to distract me from my first love, Jesus. I have neglected standing on my solid rock, His Word. My eyes, and heart, has been consumed with the worries of the day and not the Author of my faith, my Prince of Peace.
I realize that the life-sustaining relationship with Jesus has been subtlely replaced with head-knowledge about him. I’ve been living on the fumes of past faith.
As a military spouse, I know the toll deployment takes on a marraige relationship. It requires effort to keep a relationship vibrant. Each thoughtful action, communication, experience is like a bank deposit in a ‘marraige account.’ Deployment writes deep checks on that account. Likewise, neglecting my relationship with the Lord leaves that ‘account’ bankrupt as well. I’m approaching a ‘low balance’ threshold in my faith. The years of neglect have left me here.
The good news is Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is steadfast and His mercies are new every morning. Just as a young believer I can return to my ‘first love’ and through His continued forgiveness, mercy and grace I cannot only be restored to the relationship I enjoyed but go deeper, seeing God in the midst of my current circumstances, finding His purposes in them and being a part of His master plan right here, as a Navy wife.
So back to basics…reading and loving my Bible, talking to Jesus and listening for that still small voice…
Church shopping. Hmm…has a bit of a negative tone to it, doesn’t it? Military life comes with a little something called PCS or Permanent Change of Station. That is mil-speak for “we’re moving again.’
Moving is one of the top 10 stressors of life. We in the military enjoy this ‘opportunity’ about every three years. Moving isn’t all bad. I’ve seen so much of this country because of the military…places I may never have visited without the opportunity presented by military relocations. I have met so many amazing people, learned local customs, culures and cuisines through these moves. My life is eriched because of them.
However, moving is hard. It is tough. It means starting over again with a new doctor, new friends, new communities to navigate. Starting over with a new hair dresser, shopping centers, coffee shops…all the things you can take for granted.
Perhaps the hardest challenge for me has been finding a new church home. I met a former service member who is now a pastor on staff of a mega-church in San Diego. His studies led him into researching the church and the military community. It was fascinating speaking with him regarding his research.
Research aside, a church home is important. It is also challenging to find. When you land at a new base the clock starts ticking. We will only be here roughly three years. So the search begins and the pressure is on to find that new church home, that new church family. Unfortunately, that process takes time…and sometimes it feels like ‘time’ is what we do not have much of…we’re leaving in a short 36 months.
So, what is the answer? I don’t know. I know the rich relationships of church family, the spiritual support and ‘food,’ and a place to serve, plug-in are vital as I face life in general and military life in particular.
I am processing this issue, this very real challenge of military life. I have to look at myself first. What are my expectations of a church? Perhaps I am expecting too much. Are my expectations realistic? Am I willing to be open to things that are ‘different’?
Then again, how I long for a network of churches across the country that had a vision for the military in their community. I know we are only there for three years…but don’t look at that. Did you know that the average civilian church member stays at a church for roughly three years? Did you know that the average civilian church member attends a church for 9-12 months before getting involved in the life and ministry of a church?
Contrast that with military families/members who, because we know the clock is ticking, jump into church life and ministry in 3-6 months of attending. Just trivia.
So, again, I have no answers…just questions. Just a desire to find that church home again…
I’ve been a Christian for many years. Some days I proudly represent the name I bear (Christ), other days…well, not so much. I am human, not divine. I am a Christian, not perfect. So if you are looking for a perfect Christian blog to read, well, you didn’t find it here. What you have found is a very ‘real’ woman seeking to build a relationship with God that changes my life, and impacts my family, my corner of the world.
Before I married my service member I was a ‘spoiled Christian.’ I belonged to an awesome church, had rich friends who were not only a phone call away but lived down the street, around the block or a short car trip away. I could be ‘lazy’ in my personal faith because I could feast at a smorgas board of Christian support and relationships.
Then I married my Sailor. What an amazing gift from God! I never thought I’d get married, and I especially never thought I’d marry such an amazing man! God may have not brought my husband in my time frame (I was forty-something), but Scott was worth the wait!
Scott came as a ‘package deal.’ With Scott came the Department of the Navy. The Navy, the Department of Defense dictates so much of my life. In the six years I’ve been a ‘Navy Wife’ I have moved seven times, two deployments, a yard period, a homeport change, a new culture – heck, a new vernacular.
What I lost was my convenient, spoiled Christian world. With all the moving we’ve not been able to plant roots in a church. We discovered that often churches do not know what to do with military families. We discovered it was challenging to find a good church.
I discovered my deep faith wasn’t as deep as I thought. I need a deeper, richer relationship with Jesus to be the ‘strong Navy wife’ I am called to be. I need more of Jesus. I need to be able to rest in God’s care whether Scott is deployed or home, whether we have a church home or are ‘church homeless,’ whether I feel close to God today or He seems a million miles away.
Feel free to join me on my journey…walk with me, let’s learn together, laugh together…and discover a God who calls us to go deeper…