To the military wife and ones who love, support, and desire to encourage her, this one’s for you.
Life’s not always a bowl of juicy peaches, sweet cherries, or fresh tree-ripened mangoes. Sure, our tenure includes bright sunny seasons sugared with laughter, joy, and good times. But dotted among those experiences and memories simmers a topic many wives refuse to discuss.
Quiet as the sea mist, though, we bare it and trudge on. Because tradition assumes we should.
A notion ripples through the military community and civilian world alike. Military wives are a strong batch. Don’t mess with ‘em.
With a branding of pride, we military wives carry the weight of the world while twirling a dozen virtual dishes. Not a single one falls. Our fix-it know-how seemingly flows better than Bob Vila’s, and if anyone faced Chuck Norris toe-to-toe, it’d be the military spouse. So it seems with this well-touted notion that military wives are be-all, do-all kinds of women. They hold the world together, sewing torn seams on a moment’s need and never, ever, EVER fall apart.
Because that’s what military wives do.
Or is it?
We feel pressured to stand strong one hundred percent of the time, never faltering or allowing weakness to see the crack of day, let alone shine brightly for all to see.
Because that’s what’s expected. But by whom?
Are we falling prey to those thoughts? Is it the enemy’s ploy in this unseen battle for the heart, bending us toward self-sufficiency, shame, or pride when, in truth, weakness, holy confidence, and an overwhelming need for an Almighty God trump all else?
Military wife, you’re not alone.
Don’t fall prey to the notion. It’s okay to wobble with weak knees, to raise a hand for help, to showcase those vulnerabilities stuffed for far too long.
Because when we are weak, He is strong.
You’re not alone. Trust this. Our Father abandons not His loved ones.
Military wives experience heavy feelings at times. The worn and torn, I’m-ready-to-fall-apart, I-can’t-do-it chorus sounding on replay can nearly do us in. However, tuning into to the truth, we find hope.
We’re not alone. God is with us.
It’s okay to allow our weaknesses and imperfections the light of day, because often then we see the power and work of God.
I came to my realization of this after a rough journey.
In 2006, my husband deployed. Again. We were building a house in the North Carolina countryside on some acreage—the slower-paced, rural life we’d longed to offer our three children was morphing into reality. The house was to be completed before my husband shipped out. Instead, we faced multiple construction delays, leaving me to sell our existing home, close on the new house, and move with three youngsters in tow. Tagging along was a long punch list of items headlined by mineral issues in the water, which left me stumped. It brought a rise of frustration I found difficult to shake, and I spiraled downward.
To add to this list of issues, my husband and I felt guided by the Lord to homeschool our children—all this around the time he deployed. My selfish bent pined for those quiet moments while the oldest was at school. Erase that with homeschooling. What about “me” time? After all, I’d be the pseudo-single parent.
I focused on the negatives versus the wonderful opportunity we faced. Negative self-talk became the norm.
Other wives could handle this. Why couldn’t I?
Why did I react like a deer in the headlights whenever fresh problems arose?
Would history pen me as the world’s only weak military wife?
A declaration of godly obedience somehow surfaced, though. By golly, I’d obey God no matter what it took. Buckle up. Pull up the bootstraps. I was a military wife. Pride and self-sufficiency took the wheel. Again.
And so I trudged forward with hubby half a world away, punch list in hand, and kids at my heels.
I refused to ask for help or share about my struggle. In all honesty, knowing how to do either was part of the problem.
And the spiral continued.
A few friends and a long-distance relative expressed concern. I held them at bay. Shouldn’t I be able to handle daily life? Others did. I determined to hold the world together in my husband’s absence—whatever the cost.
So I continued forward, until one night, the weight proved heavier than typical. I stood beside my bed and considered ending it all. Loneliness kept me company. Desperation and exhaustion, too. I needed a way out from under the heaviness, and life seemed to offer no other options.
The lie touted its goods. Shame heaped on top of it because any “good” Christian wouldn’t teeter like I was. Surely.
The enemy wove those thoughts, threading a mindset that he could kill, steal, or destroy. After all, that’s Satan’s ploy. As children of God, we’re to be on call against this deception—to resist it, flee, and stand firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ. And sometimes, as Aaron and Hur did with Moses as Joshua battled, then defeated the Amalekites (Exodus 17), we need fellow arm-holders. Others. People. And the God who strengthens us to win spiritual battles.
That night, I curled up in bed and continued until the deployment ended. I’m grateful to God.
I never sought outside help but should have. Over several months, and with wisdom from Above, healing came. We moved out of the Carolina house and headed to Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in Hawaii. There, through a conversation with a fellow Navy wife, I realized the truth. Other spouses struggle, too.
I realized I wasn’t broken or weak after all. And most definitely not alone.
These women battle against emotional lows, feelings of overwhelm and weakness, exhaustion, and even the “d” word: depression. It happens, and it’s okay to not have it all together—to need and ask for help.
Because when we are weak, then He is strong. And God’s strength causes mankind’s to pale. Under His wings, friend, we rest in safety. We’re wise to run to Him.
A few practical tips include searching for a local friend or two. Try church, small cell groups, moms or military organizations, or in the neighborhood. With wisdom, doors open to share about daily life with authenticity and transparency. Prayer helps, too, as does digging into God’s word. So does bartering with a trusted friend for babysitting services and pushing ourselves to take that step and ask for help.
For those who love and want to see military spouses succeed, offer help regularly, and put action to words. Don’t wait, simply bring that meal. Listen. Help put up the Christmas tree or offer to watch the kids during doctor appointments or grocery runs. Mow the yard. Invite them to your dinner table, and don’t be afraid to share, because real friends challenge us and whisper the hard truths when others won’t.
National Military Appreciation Month and Mental Health Awareness Month occur in May. Military Spouse Appreciation Day is observed on the 12th as well. So when that day rolls around and for the remaining three-hundred-sixty-four days each year, know that you are appreciated, military wife. Dearly.
God sees you, and He is near. Friends, too.
Be strong in His mighty power, and carry on, beautiful one. Because of Christ, you’ve got this—even if some pieces fall along the way.
“‘Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Amen. (Matthew 28:20 WEB)
With gratitude to the King of Kings,
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Wyatt
Kristi Woods is a writer, podcaster, and speaker—but mostly a Jesus girl. She offers a free 30-Day Psalms Bible reading plan, Bible studies, prayers, and other faith-building tools for a deeper walk with God at www.KristiWoods.net. You’ll also find her new podcast, Intentional Living with Kristi Woods at LifeAudio.com. Kristi, her handsome, retired-from-the-Navy husband, and their three children survived a nomadic, military lifestyle and have set roots in Oklahoma—where she keeps a close watch for tornadoes and good chocolate.
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