Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chaplain Spouse Seminar - Day 1

We started out the morning in chapel with over a hundred chaplains (camouflage everywhere!). It's only a 20 minute service so it's quick and to the point. I kept wishing it was my husband preaching because it's been months now since I've been able to hear him preach. The twins went with us and then I took them to the youth building to spend the day with other chaplain kids.

They both said the best part about their day was leaving. Well, one said, "when we left" and the other said, "walking out the door"...with a little humor and smiles on their faces. They didn't like the carrots and spinach on their lunch plate too much...but all is well now as we are hanging out waiting patiently for their dad to get to the apartment.

I, on the other hand, had a really good day. It was very informative. We listened to a lot of different people speak about a lot of different things, but it was well worth the time it took.

I enjoyed learning about how the chaplaincy came about and where it stands today in the military. I also loved what the commandant said about chaplains - "They are called by God and enlisted by our nation." He also said, "They march with permission into the most intimate places of people's lives." He challenged us to decide to be a part. It was a challenge because as military spouses we don't have to do anything; it's not required of us, but we should want to join in. He said, "Do it together. It's a mission for God!" I'm so excited about what God has in store for us. I know we are in this together and I wouldn't have it any other way.

The commandant's wife lead the seminar and she's such a neat example for us. She's extremely sweet (hugging everyone, including her husband after he spoke) and humble and you see the great love she has for her husband and God. It was a blessing to hear her speak and observe how she interacted with others. I loved hearing all the ways God has worked in their lives. I thought what she said about the military community was really neat as well. She said, "It's a friendly world; where you move and your neighbors bring you cookies, introduce their kids and give you their number should you need anything." She also gave us a lot of great advice like, "Put it in His (God's) hands and go where He sends you. The Army thinks they are deciding where you'll go, but God's the one really deciding that." She talked about their very first assignment and how she felt the first day he left for "work" and it was beautiful. She assured us "if you allow God to use you and do what He has for you, you will NOT be disappointed."

I could go on and on, telling of all the things we learned and how God spoke to my heart through each part of the seminar, but that would take forever. Each part was very helpful and I've got LOTS of notes! I can't remember who said it, but I loved what they said. "Be yourself. Be who God created you to be, and love those God gives you to minister to." I know each of us were touched by what we heard today and will be better chaplain spouses because of the things we learned and experienced.

The one thing that struck a cord with me was when one of them spoke about leaving his son in Texas to move and the grieving process that took place. I fought back the tears the whole time. Afterwards, I talked with him for about 20 minutes. I never know when the tears are going to come these days, but they flooded as I spoke with him. I know I am feeling many things, but the one thing I often find myself wondering is - how will my husband feel as we are driving away from our son and daughter. I know it is a great sacrifice for him to leave them and I know that day will be very hard for him, too. It brought some sense of comfort to hear him speak of his tears and thoughts. I guess sometimes we just need to hear stories that are similar to ours and know what they went through, not necessarily advice.

I look forward to sharing all this with my husband when he gets back to the apartment, and sharing more with friends and family when I return home!

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