Military Spouses: Find Hope on the Home Front
- Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Marshele Carter Waddell's new book, Hope for the Home Front: Winning the Emotional and Spiritual Battles of a Military Wife, (New Hope Publishers, 2007).As your spouse serves our country in the military, you serve as well, providing support on the home front and making many sacrifices to do so. The burdens you must deal with – such as loneliness, fear, temptation, frequent moves, and single parenting during deployments – can easily become overwhelming.
But with God’s help, you can find the hope you need to overcome any challenge on the home front. Here’s how:
Fight fear with faith. Know that, despite how dangerous your spouse’s missions may be, God is in control of what happens. Choose to trust in God’s great wisdom and love for both you and your spouse. Rather than wasting time and energy fearing certain circumstances, decide to fear God alone, by respecting His sovereignty. Whenever you encounter a crisis, see it as an opportunity to learn to trust God more. Remember God’s promise to always be with you, and His assurance that you don’t need to be anxious about anything. Whenever you catch yourself starting to worry, pray about the matter instead. Every day, release your spouse to God’s protection and trust Him to do what’s best in your spouse’s life. Pray for God to give you the peace you need.
Recognize the power of words. Understand that words have tremendous power to either bless or harm other people. Bless your spouse with encouraging words often. When talking with your spouse about your frustrations, choose your words carefully so you don’t cause harm to your marriage. Realize that, just like military jargon, your spouse’s thoughts and feelings often require patience to come to understand. Make time to genuinely listen to your spouse before you reply to what he or she says. When comforting a friend who is also married to a spouse in the military, make time to listen to your friend’s heart instead of just jumping in with pat answers.
View interruptions and inconveniences as opportunities. Whenever you face interruptions and inconveniences (such as unexpected deployments, rescheduled duty, extended work hours, cancelled liberty, or poorly timed telephone calls), don’t let disappointment, hurt, or resentment get the best of you. Instead, pray for God to help you be flexible and gracious about accepting them. Don’t react right away; let time and space act as cushions between your thoughts and words, helping you to calm down before responding. Remember that each interruption and interpretation is an opportunity for you to grow in your faith by deciding to trust God more. Recall the many ways God has proven Himself faithful in your life in the past, and look forward to how He’ll help you get through your current and future challenges. Understand that God has your family’s best interests in mind, and rely on Him for strength as you change your plans in response to unexpected circumstances. Recognize that what at first seems like a burden can be a blessing in disguise, such as when it leads you to develop new skills and embrace fresh confidence.
Remember that God is on your team when your spouse is away. During times when you’re left solo to bear burdens designed for a duet, rely on God’s help to get you through. Realize that He will provide all you need to deal with any challenge that comes your way while your spouse is gone – from termite infestations, plumbing problems, and car breakdowns, to viruses, hurricanes, and snowstorms. Remember that you can count on God’s grace to be there when you need it. Pray about each challenge specifically, and make time to listen carefully to the Holy Spirit’s reply, giving you the wisdom to know how to respond.
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