Posts Tagged ‘military spouse’

gardeningGod really does want us to bloom where we are planted. It was never more obvious to me as when we sat in our new church in our new town, yet again. I was tired of moving. Tired of spending almost 20 years as a military nomad. Tired of being the new girl and working so hard to make new friends. Tired of being nice and outgoing. Tired of being the one who always has to make the effort. I moved to our new town with a bad attitude and God wasted no time letting me know it was time to change.

The pastor spoke on some verses in Jeremiah 29 that were not familiar to me, and the passage moved me more than Uncle Sam ever has! I have gotten used to hearing Jeremiah 29:11 because it is used so often to remind us that we have a hope and a future of good things according to the Lord–which we do. But it has been a long time since I read the verses ahead of the famous Old Testament passage. These verses resonated with me deeply, and having just left the place we wanted to retire, and not being happy about where I was, they also convicted me. Forcefully.

Jeremiah 29:4-7

4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

I don’t remember what the pastor’s sermon was on because God was speaking to me as a military wife. He showed me how to really plug in–the way He intended me to–even if I was tired of doing it.

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
If this verse is not made for the military family, I don’t know what is! Many of our moves have left me feeling like I have been sent into exile. I can hear all of you stationed at bases in the middle of nowhere–or in the middle of a foreign country–nodding in agreement. (Yes, I can hear the nodding because there are a lot of you!)

Those of us not relegated to the remote places of our world can also identify with this. The verse is talking about when the Babylonians marched the Israelites from their home to an unknown land. Can’t you relate? Our last base had become our home. We were comfortable there. We knew places. We knew people. We had a routine. Then we move and everything is foreign. We don’t know how to get to the store, we can’t find a local coffee shop and sometimes, we can’t even understand the language! But here is what the verse says: God carried you here! It was in His plan from the beginning for you to leave where you were and come to this land. He has a purpose for you here. He has put you here to prosper and show others what He can do.

Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.
When we get to our new towns, God wants us to settle in. Not in a temporary way, but in a pretty permanent way. Why else would He tell us to plant gardens and eat what they produce?  While it isn’t always practical to literally plant a garden (although I usually find it fun), there is a lesson for us in this. We are to live where we are, not looking backward but looking forward to what our garden will produce. We are to dig up the ground, plant and produce fruit. We can do this by sowing, nurturing and tending the plants of relationships so they bear fruit. And here is the kicker! The fruit of this effort is for our benefit! When we eat the fruit of this relationship garden, it nourishes us, giving us purpose and sustenance. It keeps us feeling full. I can tell you from many times of feeling empty in a new town, I’m eager to feel full of this fruit!

There are opportunities all around to dig in the dirt and plant new relationships. The best place to start is in a church because they will understand your need for family. You can also volunteer, get out to the park, or take advantage of kid’s sports activities or play dates. Something that works for me is getting out of my car at football practice or during drop off/pick up at school and making small talk with the other parents. Or, simply make a point to get out of the house. Sitting on the front porch reading, washing the car–or planting an actual garden–gives you an opportunity to meet your neighbors. It might be easier to stay inside, but this is not what God wants for us! He wants us to have a fruitful garden of relationships.

When we move into a new neighborhood I usually set a date for an open house five or six weeks from when we get our household goods (which has the added benefit of inspiring me to get moved in!). We invite our neighbors over for an ice cream social and get to know them. It’s cheap, easy and works wonders in creating relationships in the spot where God has placed us.

Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.
I understand that most of this verse does not really apply to us as military families–we are not anywhere long enough to actually raise our kids somewhere–but while meditating on this whole concept, I believe there is still instruction for us. God wants us to create relationships in our Babylon that will endure. He speaks of generations here which means we need to make sure the relationship saplings we plant are nurtured so lovingly that they will be there long after we are gone. We are to increase in number which may simply mean that we need to find opportunities to share God’s love, grace and mercy. God will put into our paths people who need Him. And amazingly He asks us to participate in His kingdom by sharing His love and His message of forgiveness through Christ. Having sons and daughters may mean that there are opportunities in front of you to share your faith so that we may increase in number. This has an everlasting implication.

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
We are also to seek out and even work for the good of the city where God has placed us. Pray about where you are. Work for its benefit by volunteering to make a difference. Take care of the elderly. Adopt a pet. Clean up a park. Have a significant and positive effect on your city. Start a neighborhood watch. Help kids read. Leave it better than you found it. Pray for it. Then you will have prosperity. You will bloom right where God has planted you!

You have an amazing opportunity where you are right now to make an impact on your world. We even have a special benefit as military families because once we make an impact on one city, town or neighborhood, we know we’ll soon have the opportunity to do it again in a whole new Babylon!

When we apply the instruction in these verses to our nomadic military lives, think of the impact! Globally, we can make the world better by locally making our cities and neighborhoods better. Personally, our lives will be richer, more prosperous and more fulfilled–just by digging in, planting gardens and praying and acting on behalf of our Babylon. By doing these things, you are fulfilling God’s purpose for you in your unique life.

Ready? Set? Bloom!


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I had such a wonderful time at the Wings Conference May 14-15! Thank you to everyone who made it such an amazing event!

My sister, one of our speakers and a board member who are not military have told me how amazed they are at you ladies! They are impressed by your strength and courage and uplifted by your attitudes! All I can say is, “Yep, Military Spouses are Amazing!” While I am still on the topic of the 2010 Conference, be sure to check out the photo slide show on our Conferences page! (You can find the tab at the top of this page!)

We have many exciting things coming up; monthly online coffees, a new platform for our website, and monthly newsletters full of tips, tools and resources for thriving in the military lifestyle! We are also looking into simulcasting our 2011 Wings Conferences–so if you are part of a military spouse group and want to get the simulcast of next year’s conference, let us know and we’ll start planning now!

Looking back on the conference, here are some of the highlights:

  • Around 100 bright and beautiful women from around the country laughing, crying, singing and growing!
  • Amazing speakers who shared with us how to live a Delicious Life, how to get more from our prayer lives and how laundry day relates to our spirituality! In fact, there was a lot of talk about underwear…hmmm!
  • Breakout sessions helped us connect to one another and get some ideas, tools and resources for specific military life challenges.
  • Funny skits from Ertha and Bertha–including karaoke!
  • Great worship music led by Kim and CJ–who knew a 39-year-old mother could rap like that! (here’s a link to her rappin’ on YouTube from another event if you want to see it).
  • One exhausted and exhilarated Conference Founder! I was so thrilled to meet so many of you that I’ve spoken to on Facebook or by email; I love looking at the pictures of your smiling faces. You bring me great joy!

I promised to share with you a conversation I had with one of you about sneezing. Yes! About sneezing!

“Achoo!” went a boy.
“Bless you.” said his mother.
“Where is God?” asked the boy.
“What do you mean?” replied the mother.
“People used to say, ‘God bless you,’ now they just say ‘Bless you’.

The mother thought about that. When did she stop saying, “God bless you?” Why did she drop “God”? Had she dropped God in other areas of her life?

Good question! I know its something I’ve been pondering: where have I let God drop out of my life? Especially in the “little” things…because if God isn’t in the little things, it’s harder to find him in the bigger things…Do any of you have ideas on how to keep God in the little things in our lives? I’d love to hear what you do!

Thank you all for your stories and your presence in my life!

And God Bless You all!

(remember to check out the conference slide show video under the conferences tab!)

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Hi All! I can’t wait to share with you the photos, videos, quotes, etc about the conference over the weekend! I’m traveling today but will be posting these things as soon as I can this week–so keep checking back!

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Tomorrow we are hosting a Wings Conference fundraiser in Colorado Springs and Chick Fil A is being SOOO generous! They are doing it ALL DAY at ALL 5 Colorado Springs locations for us! Chick-Fil-A rocks! Especially Torrie Giffen who has coordinated it all for us!

Hope you can join us tomorrow as we raise money to help military spouses!

Click here for details!  chick fil a flyer

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We received a donation for three scholarships to the Wings Conference May 14-15 and we just gave them away to three facebook fans in Colorado Springs: LAUREN ROBERTS, MELISSA BOYLE and .KALYN DIAL-GILLESPIE! I am so excited that these three ladies get to go to the conference this year! Congratulations! Be sure to join the Wings for Women Military Spouse Conferences Fan Page on Facebook to get in on specials and such.

Have a nice weekend!

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Multiple deployments can wreak havoc on the military family; the spouse is strong, but sometimes she gets tired of being alone, overwhelmed by single parenting, or suffers from anxiety or depression because of the military lifestyle. Sometimes, the military family needs someone to talk to.

Give an Hour is an amazing organization offering free mental health counseling for military and their families who are dealing with such issues as parenting, marriage, divorce, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, reunion, deployment, anxiety, etc. Although similar services are offered on each military installation, Give an Hour knows that the military doesn’t have near enough resources to help the thousands of military members and families who need help coping with the effects of this long-running war. In addition to returning troops and their families, Give an Hour also offers services to parents, siblings, unmarried partners and others who are not entitled to military benefits but are affected by the military lifestyle.

Learn more about Give an Hour and their free counseling services by visiting their website at giveanhour.org. Be sure to tell them that Wings for Women Military Spouse Conferences sent you!

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I’ve been doing a lot of studying on what makes a great conference; from the ones I used to attend as an MLM distributor, to conferences like Women of Faith and Beth Moore. The more I talk with people about what we are trying to do, the more I’m noticing a varied response. My husband and other men always ask, “Why a conference?” Whereas women always say, “A conference?! We’ve been needing one of those!”

I firmly believe that women just need a place to gather. When we have that place, be it a home, a coffee shop or a conference, we will bond, talk, laugh, cry and heal. Men usually don’t understand this idea because they need something to rally around when they meet: a ball game, electronics, vehicles. Give a group of men a broken down car and some tools and they will walk away at the end of the day knowing they’ve accomplished something. Give women a place to meet others like themselves and they will walk away at the end of the day knowing that they are not alone and therefore feel encouraged and strengthened to carry on.

So, that’s what I tell the men who question this idea: we just need a place to get together.

Wings for Women is providing that place. When you come to the conference, you will get pampered by massages and gifts, entertained by skits and speakers, and educated by other military spouses and professionals who can make your life easier. You will walk away from this two-day conference feeling lighter, healthier and connected. (You can even register now by following this link)

For some, however, just that one time boost each year isn’t enough. Some of you are living in homes where the effects of war-related post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has ravaged your safe haven. It has changed your life in a way you never wanted or would have wished for. For you, there is something additional that you will want to attend. That is the “When War Comes Home [Don’t] Retreat” that Marshele Carter Waddell and Rev. Rahnella Adsit are putting together just for you!

The retreat will take place at Glen Eyrie in November of 2010. It is an overnight intensive retreat that will focus on healing for the military spouse who live with the effects of PTSD every day. They are putting together an amazing program for healing, help and accountability that is unprecedented. Find out more from the website-whenwarcomeshomeretreat.com.

So my encouragement is this: Come to the conference in May at the Cheyenne Mountain Conference Center and invite your friends–you’ll meet with military spouses from across the nation and you will be uplifted and encouraged by the program we’ve put together.

And if you are in a family reeling from the effects of battle-induced PTSD, also sign up for the intensive retreat at Glen Eyrie in November.

Military Spouses–this is your year!!! Go for it!!!!

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Over the weekend I had a great conversation with Stephen Robinson, a military brat and Army veteran who shares his vast military lifestyle knowledge and experiences in This Emotional Life, a documentary on PBS (learn more about what the program is doing for military families here). Stephen is an amazing advocate for veteran’s affairs and has testified before the House and Senate on PTSD, suicide, mental health and the resiliency of the force. He found out about Wings for Women on the web and gave me a call to talk about what we are doing for military spouses. It made my day!

We’ve been working so hard at Wings for Women to create a conference that empowers and uplifts military spouses. My husband has been so great about funding this organization until we get the sponsorships we need to run affordable conferences for military spouses across the country. Sometimes it is a lonely journey working long hours, creating programs, lining up speakers, finding sponsors. Half the time I honestly wonder what I was thinking; I literally woke up one day and said, “Okay, let’s do this! Let’s make it as big as the vision I believe God has given me to bring healing and hope to military spouses.”

Some days I think I must be crazy, creating this thing out of thin air; I get discouraged by the obstacles and frustrated by the people who don’t understand why military spouses need Wings for Women Military Spouse Conferences–why we need a place to talk with others who know; a place to laugh, cry, talk and hug; a place to get together and heal. But I keep pressing on because I so passionately believe that we military spouses need this!

Military spouses aren’t weak and we aren’t victims. But we are tired. We need each other. I know that these conferences are exactly what military spouses need. I know we are filling a gap. And I know that when we strengthen the military spouse, we help everyone!

So when I get calls from people of Stephen Robinson’s caliber, I know we are doing what is right. When I receive notes from military spouses telling me how long they have waited for something like this, it makes a difference. When I see spouses registered for our conference who are flying in from across the country, I’m inspired. When I get calls from people from PBS and other military ministries, I know we are being blessed and will be able to bless others.

I am so grateful for the many business professionals and military spouses who are coming along beside Wings for Women to make this conference happen. It is only 60 days away and I can’t wait to meet all of you crazy amazing military spouses who are attending! Keep spreading the word–let’s pack the house and party in May!

If you haven’t registered for the conference yet, there are only a few more weeks to do so! Follow this link and register today! (It’s only $32–but it has a value of $125)

See you soon!

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Since I began Wings for Women last fall, I have met some amazing people who are working hard to bring peace, joy, happiness and help to military spouses. I am so proud to work side by side with these ministries. In the next few blogs I will be highlighting some of the ministries I have learned about. If I miss you in the next week, don’t get mad. I plan to do this often because I think it’s important that Military Spouses know of all the resources available to us!

Meet Bria Slaughter: Hero Coming Home

Bria has been a military wife for almost 11 years and has such an incredible passion for the well-being of military wives and their families. “I have enjoyed these last few weeks speaking at worship leaders conferences about my new project “We Hold These Truths”, how I became involved, why it holds such a close place to my heart, and how honored I am to be in such an incredible sisterhood of some of the strongest and most AMAZING women I know!” says Bria.  Though the intent of her project is for church choirs – the “mission” is to insure the message gets out to each and every military family member as we recognize the  sacrifice! Here’s to your mission, Bria!

Here’s the link to the video

Here is Bria’s Blog

“Hero Coming Home” can be found in the project “We Hold These Truths” published by Lillenas Publishing Company @ Lillenas.com

Jocelyn Green has done a great writeup about Bria; you can read more here!

Thank you Bria for ministering to military wives!

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I saw this quote on one of my Facebook pages the other day:

“There are two kinds of success. One is the very rare kind that comes to the man who has the power to do what no one else has the power to do. That is genius. But the average man who wins what we call success is not a genius. He is a man who has merely the ordinary qualities that he shares with his fellows, but who has developed those ordinary qualities to a more than ordinary degree.” ~THEODORE ROOSEVELT

If this doesn’t describe the military spouse, I don’t know what does! A military spouse has the same qualities as a civilian spouse(CS), but we’ve had the opportunity to develop those qualities to a more than ordinary degree~that makes us EXTRAordinary!

Let’s look at some of those ordinary qualities that make us stand out as mil spouses (MS):

CS uses organization to coordinate the household, car pool the kids, keep life in order.

MS does that PLUS coordinates household moves every few years, remembers where items are in this house (and coincidentally where everything was in the other house, too!), remembers who did what in every place we have lived, coordinates life when hubby is deployed, remembers to shop early and send Christmas gifts in October when living oversees. Extraordinary!

CS is friendly to her neighbors because they’ve lived in that house for years.  She socializes a lot because her besties since third grade live just down the street. She always has a smile on because she knows what is going on.

MS gets out and makes new friends the very first week in a new town. She meets her neighbors because she needs to rely on their friendship during deployments. She connects with people quickly because there is a limited amount of time to create friendships. MS can visit almost any town in the US and stay with someone she knows because her friends are all over the place! MS has hundreds of people on her Christmas card list, and even more on Facebook! Extraordinary!

Emotional Strength
CS is strong because she is a woman. She’s strong for her kids, for her spouse, and for her friends whom she has known all of her life. She thinks she can get along if her husband loses his job or if her kid doesn’t do well in school or sports. CS’s strength lies in what she knows and her friends and family.

MS is extraordinarily strong because she is a woman, and because she is a military spouse. She’s prepared each time she says goodbye to hubby, just in case it is the last goodbye (she saves his phone messages for the same reason). She takes on new challenges, new cities, new countries. She might cry for a day or two after a move, but then she bucks up and makes the best of life where God has put her. She plays the role of mom AND dad when she has to. She holds the family together by making memories and special moments out of every day events because her family is the best thing she can count on. MS can do anything she sets her mind to simply because she is a military spouse!

Yes, military spouse, YOU ARE EXTRAORDINARY!!!! Don’t you forget it!

2 Thessalonians 1:11
Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.

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