The Friday before Mother’s Day has been set aside as a day to recognize, celebrate and appreciate Military Spouses. This is a group of women that I am honored to be a part of. It is also a group of women that time and time again embodies courage, strength, resilience, and determination.
When Keith was pursuing and praying about being an Active Duty Army Chaplain over twelve years ago, his dad had a talk with me that I will always remember. As part of that conversation, he told me that the military community was a culture of it’s own and asked me if I was ready to be a part of it.
I said that I was, but I honestly couldn’t have known at that time what this community would come to mean to me.
Being a Military Spouse has enhanced my life in ways I could never have imagined twelve years ago.
It has grown me and stretched me in ways I could never have thought myself capable of being grown and stretched.
Being a Military Spouse has taught me to be flexible and strong. It has taught me the importance of community and friendships. It has taught me to support my husband and the work that he does. It has taught me to listen to those who are hurting. It has taught me to accept and love those who are so different that I am…it has taught me to appreciate differences.
Over the past twelve years of being a military spouse, our family has grown to include four sweet children, we have moved almost seven times and survived almost three year-long deployments.
But my story is no different or any more special than other military spouses who make up this amazing community!
ThirdLove is teaming with an organization called Every Mother Counts throughout the month of May that has dedicated itself to helping make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every single mother. As a part of this project, they were looking for stories of strong mothers that deserve to be recognized.
I immediately thought of this community of mothers and women that I am a part of as a Military Spouse. They deserve to be recognized and celebrated for the work that they do everyday supporting their husbands, raising their children (often on their own for long stretches of time), and encouraging one another.
These mothers go months without seeing their husband, the person they love the most.
They take on the role of both mom and dad for that same amount of time.
They move every two to three years, saying goodbye to friends and communities they love and quickly getting established in new ones.
They learn a totally new vocabulary and volunteer their time and energy to support their soldier husband.
They know their husband’s social security number as well as, if not better than, their own.
They say goodbye with tears in their eyes.
They welcome their husbands home with butterflies in the pit of their stomach.
They avoid the news because it can affect them and their families directly.
They hold their children close and listen to them when they miss their Daddy.
They worry that their children won’t know their Daddy.
They are asked repeatedly, “How do you do it?” and “Didn’t you sign up for this?”
They do it because there is no other choice.
And, no, they didn’t sign up for this life and the hardships that come along with it.
But they handle those hardships with unfathomable grace and strength.
They pick up broken pieces.
They press on in strength as wives, mothers, and friends.
On this Military Appreciation Day, I would like to thank my friends and community of fellow Military Spouses.
Thank you for being the strength behind the strength of our nation.
If you know a military spouse, if there is one in your community, church, neighborhood and/or family, please take a moment to thank them today.