Sunday, March 30, 2008
It was exactly 10 months ago since my husband stood before a congregation and preached. Sure, he's preached in the field several times, but that's a bit different from preaching in a church or chapel (oh, and I forgot about the one time at the old chapel where it was pretty much our family and 3 other people). Today was beautiful. God met with us there and I know lives were touched. The time of praise and worship was great and then my husband got up to preach and it was awesome. He was definitely in his element!
He preached from Luke 24:13-35 (click on scripture passage to read), and the title of his message was "I Hope You Get Heartburn!" He spoke of the two men who walked away from the story of the empty tomb with information but no transformation and put it to us that we, too, could be very much the same. We could have walked out of church last Sunday filled with information about the resurrection but no real transformation took place in our lives.
He talked a lot about how their reality and expectations were not aligned. Therefore, they experienced discouragement, disappointment, depression and so on. He then asked if we could relate..."Lord, I had hoped you would have: provided a job...healed ______....saved my marriage....helped me get a promotion...kept my spouse from being deployed AGAIN..." and then encouraged us to not let our experiences and circumstances rob us of our hope or blind us to the reality that there is no situation under the sun that is hopeless for a believer.
-Jesus is the Redeemer of Israel, but also the world.
-The tomb is empty; Jesus has risen and is alive and well, and willing and able to walk with us along life's way.
These men could not experience the joy and hope of this reality because they were focusing on their feelings and a false reality!
He asked us to examine our own life experiences, asking the question - have you ever had a heartbreaking experience -shattered dreams, broken promises, death, disease, divorce, abuse; thinking your life is sure not turning out the way you expected? If so, we can identify with the two men in this story!
To heal their broken hearts, Jesus brought reality to their expectations! To do this, Jesus had to bind their broken hearts with the truth of God's Word. Here I thought Kevin had a great illustration. He talked about how he loves to go to buffets because he can pick what he wants to eat - no vegetables, just lots of meat! - and how we have the tendency to do that with the Word of God. We'll pick and choose what we want to read ("Oh, Jesus loves me...") and leave out things we don't want to read about ("...that's too convicting. I think I'll skip that!"). These men were foolish not to believe ALL the prophets had spoken. They were discouraged because they did not believe ALL the scriptures and all that Jesus himself had told them. To defeat depression, discouragement and disappointment we need to believe ALL of God's Word! Believe it all, even if it doesn't make sense or meet your expectations. And, apply it all.
Verse 27 caused us to ask, "Why didn't Jesus just reveal himself?" It doesn't tell us why, but think about this: Those men knew Jesus. They had spent time with him. Yet, soon Jesus would ascend to heaven and they would only have the Word and the Holy Spirit with them. In an instant, had he just revealed himself, they would have believed he had risen. Jesus speaking the Word to them allowed them to focus on believing the Word of God. We must believe it ALL.
There's so much to share about the "heart-burning" experience (verses 28-32). I believe as you read it you will see that the reality of the resurrected Lord in their lives made their reality and expectations come together. No more shattered dreams, discouragement, depression or disappointment! Their hearts burned within them and they were so excited!
Don't miss the fact that they invited him in (not realizing it was Jesus at this point) and urged him to stay with them (verse 29). At the table, Jesus broke the bread and gave thanks. At this point, their eyes were opened and, in an instant, their lives were changed (verses 30-31). We, too, must do the same. It's one thing to have a head knowledge of Jesus. It's another thing to invite him in and move that information from our head to our heart. We MUST invite him in and give him the place of authority in our lives before we will ever experience the hope and joy that only HE can bring to our lives.
My prayer is, first of all, if you don't know Jesus, if you have never invited him into your life, that you would do that today! And, secondly, for those of us who have invited Jesus into our lives, that our hearts would burn with excitement for the resurrected Lord and we would be so excited that we would have to tell someone. I don't know why, but I was only going to comment on my husband and how well he preached. For some reason, I believe God had me go on. I pray someone will come to know the One who has given me a hope and a future, a joy for living, and heart that burns with excitement for the One who forever changed my life - Jesus Christ!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
They went kayaking. Some people might think that's a pretty cool thing to do for a "field trip"...but imagine going kayaking when it is SNOWING!!! Only tough guys have fun kayaking in the freezing cold weather. At least that's the way I feel about it.
My husband said they had only been in the water a few minutes when one of the guys flipped his kayak over and had the opportunity to try out his wetsuit! (...he said it was warmer in the water.) I'm just glad they were given wetsuits.
My husband said it was a good day, and everyone enjoyed themselves despite the weather. He got home about 6:00 p.m., took a hot shower, ate dinner and was fast asleep by 7:30. He also started his morning running 5 miles so that could be another reason for the early bedtime. What a day! (This was one of those times I didn't feel like I missed out on anything...ha ha)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The title does NOT mean that only military wives can join. It only means the majority of us will have something in common that will allow for a first-hand understanding of what it is we go through. I have several women I'm praying with about their husband's joining the chaplaincy and are interested in this ministry. At this point, it is an open community, meaning anyone who joins the community can see prayer requests and/or comment. It also allows for anonymous prayer requests, but it may be that we establish the group interested in joining and then make it private, only allowing those in the group to view our site (with the ability to invite others should there be more interest) to allow for more openness and confidentiality.
As I get more familiar with the site, I'll add updates to this post. Looking forward to praying with those of you who would like to join! If you're currently familiar with this site, feel free to leave comments that will help make this site all it can be for our community. (Thank you, Amy, for telling me about this site!)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
There's been this thought that has lingered in my mind for days. Today it went from my head to my heart, and I have no doubt that it's from the Lord.
Our blogs can be used for so many things. Whether it be just to journal - hoping no one really reads it because it allows them into the innermost part of our heart (or maybe secretly hoping someone will see so that they reach out to us), or to share our experiences with our friends and family that we can't see on a regular basis, or to connected to others and make friends. Whatever the case, we're here...
This particular blog was created as sort of a gift to myself for many reasons. For the most part, I wanted to journal what we were experiencing on this journey into the chaplaincy. I thought it would mainly be my family and friends back home who would take a look every once in a while. I had no idea it would become so much more to me. I realize now, it wasn't a gift to myself. It was a gift from God. Only he could know what would become of it.
This morning as I was praying for many of you that meet with me here on a regular basis, that have shared your hearts with me, and are in the chaplaincy (or not), are about to be (or not), or are still praying about what the Lord desires for your life (or are simply not on this path but are still in my prayers), I realized there is so much more we can do with our blogs and I'd like to start a prayer ministry.
If you are interested in being a part of this please let me know. I will be creating something that will allow people to leave their prayer requests and updates (by name or anonymously) and praises. I don't know all the details yet, because I haven't had time to really put the work behind it, but I just know it's what I'm supposed to do. Anyone want to join me?
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I love you, son!!! You are doing a wonderful job and we're so proud of you. Keep up the good work and I'll see you soon (although not soon enough for me!)...
Hannah - miss you! Praying for you. Thanks for the encouragement you and your family bring to Karl's life. You're such a blessing! :)
Monday, March 24, 2008
I just looked back. It was Friday, Jan. 4th when I received this comment - "I just stopped by after finding you on Gentle Whisper. I'd love to get connected with other Ch Wives, mine is currently a CH Candidate at CH-BOLC. I'm adding you to my list. Have a blessed day." The funny thing is, she lives very close to me. God never ceases to amaze me at his goodness. This is now the 2nd woman I've had the privilege to meet here where I live that I initially met through my blog. I wish all the others lived close by...maybe someday!!
I never would have thought this blogging thing would bring about such wonderful friendships. Since beginning this particular blog, I've had the privilege of meeting, praying for and getting to know some truly wonderful women, and I can't thank the Lord enough for the joy it has brought to my life. Most of them don't live close at all, but I feel as though they are right next door some days as they are constant in my life.
Mary - thank you for taking the time to meet with me today! I had a good time talking with you and getting to know you more. I can't wait to hear about your time in SC when you return.
Meredith - I'm so jealous Mary will have the opportunity to meet you before me (joking!). I know you both will be blessed to meet each other! Have a great time getting to know other chaplain spouses!
Sheryll - I'll see you tomorrow!!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I don't really know how to answer it in a sentence or two, so I apologize in advance for the lengthy answer that I'm sure will come from trying to answer this question.
I'll start with a little background. My husband served seven years and eight months in the Air Force, from 1991-1998. During that time, God really began to work in his life. While in Germany, from 1993-1996, he was sent to Croatia for six months and it was there that he spent many hours reading his bible, praying and drawing close to the Lord. Once he returned from Croatia, we really got involved in an English-speaking church that was located close to the base, and we got serious about our relationship with the Lord. One particular day, my husband heard the Lord's calling and responded. At that time he had no idea what that meant, where it would lead or what it would look like. He only knew he wanted to serve the Lord with all his heart.
Once his time was up in the military, we stayed in the town we were living in because he was a youth minister. Later he was asked to be interim pastor at a small church close-by so we did that for about 10 months. During that time, we began to feel the Lord's leading for him to go to seminary, so we packed up and moved to Texas. Just a few months after he started seminary, we started a church. Some might consider that a bit crazy, but we felt the Lord's leading and obeyed. It was a small church, averaging anywhere from 50 - 80 people over the course of seven years. We had a lot of new Christians, many who came to know the Lord and had never been in another church before. It was beautiful, challenging, exciting, tough...you name it, we experienced it. But, God was in it and the people were wonderful. We couldn't really imagine ourselves anywhere else but, over the course of those seven years, there were times my husband asked me how I felt about him going back into the military as a chaplain. Most of the time, we would chat about it, but never see how it would be possible or good for our church or family. How could we leave the people we loved so much?
I believe every time my husband preached about something that had to do with the military he got emotional. I even had friends in the church who wondered if he would go back in and made the comment more than once that they could see him as a chaplain. His love for God and country was evident.
The more the conversation of the chaplaincy came up, the more we began to wonder if it was the Lord bringing it to mind or just a thought my husband was toying with. It was when it began to come to my mind without any prompting from him that I knew we'd better get serious about praying about it. At that point (about two years ago) we began to pray about it very fervently. We began to talk to our kids about it and asked them to pray about it. The twins liked the idea and the older two only requested that we wait until they finished high school. Amazingly, my husband finished seminary at the same time our oldest son graduated from high school, and our daughter graduated early, allowing her to be in college a full semester and out on her own eight months before we left.
From praying to walking by faith...
There comes a point when you must put feet to your faith. For us, we had prayed and asked the Lord to make it clear to us what we were to do. Ultimately, though, we had to take that step of faith and follow what we felt God was leading us to do. We've found over the years that when it's time to move God changes your heart for where you are and gives you a heart for where you are going. I can honestly say, though, this was one of those times where we struggled deeply with those feelings. Our hearts were torn. We began to question what would happen to our church and the people we had grown to love so dearly. We questioned whether it would be good for our children and our family. We questioned, but we moved forward.
The process to be accepted as a chaplain in the military is lengthy and grueling. You don't just sign up and go. First of all, you have to have your master's degree in seminary (min of 72 hours) to even be considered. My husband's seminary was 92 hours for a master's degree.
Next, you must be endorsed by your denomination's endorsing agent, pass your physical, go to a 06 chaplain interview, and so on. Each step of the way we felt more and more confident that this was the Lord's will. I'll never forget the way God spoke to me when we looked into it farther by attending a chaplain retreat. The closer we got, the more we opened up to our immediate families. Once we were certain, we told our church.
Telling our church was the toughest thing we've ever done. It was heart-breaking, even knowing it was the Lord's will, but it was another confirmation for us as they embraced us, prayed for us, encouraged us and sent us off to be missionaries to the military. I know it doesn't always work out this way, but I also know that we must follow the Lord, no matter what the cost. People won't always understand or accept this calling. In fact, it's not an easy one to accept because it can be dangerous and cause us to be separated from our families -- the two things many people have a hard time understanding that someone else would do.
Dear "Anonymous" - I hope this answers your question. I appreciate your question, and pray God will give your family discernment in regards to this path you are on. Several people I've come to know through my blog asked similar questions. Some are now on this journey, soon to reach their first post, while others are still praying and seeking the Lord's will. I am excited for all of you. Whether you join this special ministry, or stay where you are, it's an amazing thing just to serve the Lord. Thank you for opening up to me. If you would like to chat more via email, please feel free to leave a comment with your email address and I won't post it. That's true for anyone who leaves a comment with their email address. All comments are screened by me before posting.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Our three bedroom house got a little crowded with our daughter moving in (not that we are complaining about that!) and we have been checking the waiting list every day, hoping something would come available soon. In fact, my husband began to want to move off post more and more. We looked a little, but I never was convinced it was what we should do...even though the idea was beginning to appeal to me, too. The night before the call from the housing office, my husband asked me if I had been out looking any more lately and I told him I hadn't because I wasn't convinced it was the right thing to do, nor did I want to put a $1000 deposit down for a rental home. He asked that I still look. Last night he told me he felt that was the Lord's way of keeping us on post. I agreed.
The other neat thing about this house is, as we were driving down our street, one of the twins noticed that another chaplain and his family lived right across the street. The last name sounded familiar so I called my husband and asked if he knew him. Sure enough, it was one of the chaplains he went to Hawaii with. Just the thought of another chaplain family living there made me happy. Then come to find out we knew him...that was even better! Not long after they returned from Hawaii he preached at the chapel and we all were blessed. The boys said he was the best one they had heard yet. Today he is serving in Iraq.
Today his wife and I talked on the phone for about 15 minutes. After realizing where her husband was, I just had to at least call and introduce myself and make sure she was doing OK. Talking to her was such a blessing. She said they are all doing great and he's seeing God work there. Please continue to pray for our Soldiers, Chaplains and all the families!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
My precious husband had me read this scripture last night after reading the many comments I've received on my blog lately. Colossians 2:2 (Paul speaking):
He then went on to tell me that he believes my blog is a huge, important ministry that the Lord has given me. Receiving all the comments I have in the last few days has opened my eyes to see that, and I can honestly say I'm thankful for what I've been going through if it means that God is glorified and others are blessed.
My husband also told me to read 1 Kings 17 today, so I spent a good part of my morning studying and finding much application to where I am in my life right now. I won't really elaborate on it today, except to say that if you are struggling and need the Lord to show you more of who He is and how much you can trust Him, go to 1 Kings 17 and study it. (If you don't have a bible let me know!!)
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have been praying for me. I can not tell you how moved I am by your love and encouragement. What a blessing you are to my life. I also want to thank my husband for his love, encouragement and guidance. Babe - you never cease to amaze me. Thank you for sharing this life with me. No matter what I am going through you are always there for me, helping me to lean on the Lord, all the while lending your shoulder to cry on. Your love and devotion to me are unwavering. I love you more...
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
This morning, while spending time with the Lord, I looked up the definition for WAIT. Two of the definitions caught my eye and spoke to my heart -- to be available or in readiness; to look forward to eagerly. I get it now! I am to wait on the Lord in expectation of what He desires for me and my life. I already know in part what I'm to be doing with my time and, with that, I must continue to do what I know I should be doing with a sense of expectation of what else He has in store. I'm not to get bogged down with figuring it out myself.
Last night I got upset because I couldn't really explain why I started crying AGAIN for the second time yesterday. The first time was when I read my last post to my husband, before publishing it yesterday. The second time was when I tried to talk about it a little more later in the evening. My husband told me I needed to let go of what I once did and not dwell on our past ministry; that, in doing so, I would discover more of what it is God would have me be about now. He also asked me if I would be content if all I ever did was take care of him and the kids (not that he believed that was all the Lord wanted me to do with my time...he just wanted me to face it head on and be honest with myself). I told him yes, as long as I knew for certain that's what the Lord wanted and I wasn't just taking the easy way out by not serving Him in other ways.
While living in Texas, I worked full-time; both with the church and at a job that was pretty demanding. I loved them both. At church, I led our praise team, worked with the youth and taught women's bible studies periodically. In my secular job, I worked for the CFO and two VPs in a very fast-paced environment, but I loved what I did and the people I worked with. I knew God was using me in both places. Sure, it was overwhelming at times, especially when my husband left for chaplain training for three months and I continued to work and take care of everything else, but I knew it was God's will for my life at the time. By the time I left I was looking forward to change!
Moving here was exciting. Giving up a career and a ministry I loved was not easy, but I was willing and ready for whatever the Lord had in store. To be honest, I had in my mind what I thought it would look like going back into the military. It doesn't quite look the way I imagined it would, but that's okay, too! The show Army Wives probably caused some of my expectations to soar and reality just didn't meet those expectations. I didn't make friends right off the bat, my neighbors weren't coming over to welcome us to the neighborhood and bringing us cookies (joking). In fact, it was quite the opposite; no one seemed too thrilled about a chaplain moving in next to them. That was probably the most disheartening thing that happened. I missed our older children terribly. I missed our families and friends. I missed our church. I missed being involved in ministry as I knew it. But...
I believe everything happens for a reason. God moved us here to be about a different kind of ministry. My husband even went through the "what is it I'm supposed to do?" phase (so I know this is all normal), even having his title as chaplain. Now he's seeing it and ministering in ways he never imagined he ever would be. He's seeing God work and he's excited to be a part of it. I have those days as well. Days where I see first-hand God touching lives; I experience the joy of ministering with my husband, in small ways (like the cheeseburger ministry and preparing song sheets for the field services and so on). I love those moments! I guess it's me wanting more. I found that as I drew closer to the Lord last week He was telling me to continue to do that; to desire to just spend time with Him more, to love Him more, to place my time with Him above all else, and so on...
Is just being a stay-at-home mom/wife enough for me? Sure! If that is what the Lord desires for me. What does it look like now that my kids are older and in school all day? I have no clue! Is asking the Lord to show me where I fit in here OK? Sure! Must I be patient? Yes! A light bulb went off in my head this morning...it's all in how I wait though. Today I understand that to wait is to be available or in readiness; to look forward to eagerly whatever it is the Lord has for me and wants me to learn during this time in my life. It's trusting in Him for He knows the plans He has for me and my family; He knows better than I what I should be about. So, I wait. Not as I waited last month or last week or even yesterday. I wait, being available. I wait, looking forward in anticipation. I wait, continually praying and supporting my husband, praying for our Soldiers and their families, praying for my children, ministering to people through my blog (God showed me this truly is a ministry!). I wait, trusting God with my life and knowing He is right here beside me every step of the way!
Monday, March 10, 2008
One of the toughest things I've gone through during this transition from pastor's wife to chaplain's wife is the change in our ministry. It's no longer both of us serving TOGETHER in our church. He heads off to work every day fulfilling his purpose, and I often find myself wondering what mine is. Don't get me wrong, we both had our own ministries within the church, but they also tied together, allowing us the opportunity to serve the Lord side by side a lot. I never felt like just "the pastor's wife"...I ministered the way God led and gifted me to in the church, as well as in my secular job.
When my husband is away I struggle with the thought - am I fulfilling God's purpose for my life right now? I hear the Lord speak gently to my heart, and it's always the same answer - your ministry is different now; serve your family and in that way you are serving and honoring me. It wasn't that I didn't take care of my family before. I had other areas of service outside the home though, not that those areas were more important or more rewarding, it was just much different for me. I'll be honest, it's not easy to go from serving faithfully in a church to sitting on the back row so to speak. When my husband is home, or the kids need me, I see my purpose more clearly.
It's not an easy job being a military chaplain and knowing I am here for husband, at any time, means so much to him. I also know that being available for our children and keeping our home in order is important, too. I just want to be sure I'm fulfilling the purpose God has for me here, whatever that looks like. I don't really think this is all the Lord desires for me, and I'm searching and seeking His will and patiently (well...trying to be patient) waiting on him. I don't just want to rush into something or join a group because I want to do something more with my time. That wouldn't be seeking the Lord...although it would be easier. Again, it's tough to put it all into words.
Although it wasn't an easy week, the funny thing is, I wouldn't change it for the world! I love where we are and what we are doing. If you were to ask me how I am, I would honestly tell you I am great! I know there are seasons in our lives. Some may not be exactly as we'd like them to be but, then again, it's not about us anyway, right?! It took some time for me to sort through my feelings. I spent a lot of time in prayer and in God's word. I talked it out with my husband, even though it was tough because I feared he would feel as if it was his fault I was struggling. All these things are important though. I know that no matter where we go or what we do, we are in this TOGETHER. The Lord is here with us; he knows when we have tough days and when we need encouragement.
This week may have been more for me to come to grips with some things than it was for my husband to go off to training. I drew closer to the Lord and now look at things a little differently than I did last week and for that I am grateful. Even writing this has been helpful. My prayer is that this post ministers to other women out there who may struggle with the difference in ministry, or their husbands are about to be chaplains. I'm sure it's different for everyone, but maybe hearing some of my thoughts will help someone.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Today my husband is off again for more training. This time it is Battleminds: Traumatic Event Management. I would venture to say it will be very important training for him as a Chaplain. Since I don't really know a whole lot about it, though I certainly have some idea, I can't really write about it at this point.
It's makes me think about him being deployed. Every single time he leaves, I think about it. During my quiet time on Friday, I found myself asking the Lord with such passion to prepare my heart if he is to deploy any time in the near future. With the military, you just never know when it could happen so I want to be prepared.
In some ways I've already begun to prepare. These preparations aren't about me though. It's about giving/showing him love and attention and support and encouragement every single day of our lives. It's about holding tight to the one I love and trying to remember how important each moment with him is because we're not guaranteed we'll be together tomorrow. I guess the more I think about it, it's not really about him being in the military that should cause me to pay closer attention to expressing my love more freely. Just him being in the military, where the possibility of us being apart is greater, has brought it to the forefront of my mind.
We talk about him deploying sometimes; not so that we can focus on being apart, but so that we can focus on what God wants for our lives. We know that if he does deploy it is the Lord's will. We know that, no matter what we do or where we go, the Creator of the universe is watching over us and He is in control. Knowing that makes all the difference in the world to me. It doesn't mean I won't miss him or that I won't fear for his life sometimes. It just means that I have the Lord in my life to comfort me and bring me strength.
I'm excited that he was able to go to this training. I want him to be prepared in every way possible to meet the needs of his Soldiers and to know what it is he needs to do in all types of situations. As for me, I will try not to focus on missing him so much this week and be productive right here where the Lord has me. I know God has other things He wants me to focus on, so that's what I'm going to do!!