*Guest post by Sara Horn, LifeWay Women author
Here’s a confession. (How’s that for a start for my first time guest-posting here?!)
I never wanted to “do” women’s ministry. That sort of ministry, I thought early on, was full of drama and cattiness and gossip that I just did not want any part of. So I avoided women’s Bible study sign-ups and passed on invitations to evening get-togethers. It just “wasn’t for me,” I’d tell myself.
As an early-twenty-something eager to make my mark in a successful career, I preferred to stay in the “man’s” world. I worked as a writer/journalist and jumped for the chance to do any fun, interesting adventure that came my way. I interviewed politicians in Washington. Celebrities who professed a faith in Christ in Hollywood. And eventually, I flew to war zones in Iraq to interview soldiers and sailors.
And there, of all places, on the other side of the world in places of both steel (an aircraft carrier) and sand (Baghdad) is where God started working a change in both me and my attitude towards women’s ministry. At the time, I just didn’t know it.
I was a military spouse for as long as I’d been a writer – my husband joined the Navy Reserves the year before we got engaged – but for the first 10 years, I never really saw myself in that way or as that title. Until Cliff got ready to deploy in 2007. And then everything changed. And gradually, so did my heart towards women’s ministry.
Through that first deployment, God taught me (among many things) that I needed other women in my life. To share with. Laugh with. Pray with. And encourage. Me and them.
So I took a deep breath and with God’s nudging (more like pushing – ever experienced that?), Wives of Faith began.
We’ll celebrate 5 years of ministry this winter. And while there have been wonderful times, learning times, even some lonely times (in leadership there always are those seasons of loneliness, isn’t there?) – oh my goodness, there have been some GROWING times! And I’m grateful for all of it!
Military spouses aren’t a dime a dozen. Less than 1% of our U.S. population serves in in our Armed Forces. And I am convinced God has a specific purpose and plan for military wives. He knew before we did that we would serve in this special role.
There are so many ladies I’ve met who have such amazing stories. But they would not call their stories amazing. They would just call it “life.”
There’s my good friend, an Air Force wife, who supports her husband in his final years of his military career while taking her kids to swim team practice and working as an EMT because she’s found a passion to serve people in that way.
There’s the military wife and mom I know on Facebook who not only has seen her husband through multiple deployments but is dealing with her own three-year battle against leukemia, sometimes completely on her own.
There’s the young National Guard wife who just said goodbye to her husband for a second deployment to Afghanistan in four years and gave birth shortly after he left to their third child.
These women probably would not call themselves brave. They would say they’re simply doing what they have to do. But I see bravery in their stories and in others like them every day.
Because what they do matters. They make a difference every day for their families and for others around them. They make a difference because what they do at home helps their spouses serving overseas do what they do for all of us.
So many of these ladies I know are able to do what they do because of their faith. Their relationship with Christ is what keeps them going. And many of them have made the comment, “I don’t know how I could do this without Him.”
But my thoughts often turn to those spouses who don’t know Him. Who didn’t grow up in church or who haven’t been in a church in a very long time. Who are trying to go it alone. And for these ladies, my prayer is someone – someone like you, for instance – will see them. And friend them. And show them love. The way Jesus would.
My prayer is that someone will remind them that they don’t have to be brave on their own. That there is Someone else much braver who will share the journey with them.
So when you meet a military spouse, give her a hug. And tell her she is very loved.
Sara Horn is the founder of Wives of Faith and the author of the LifeWay study, Tour of Duty: Preparing Our Hearts for Deployment. An interview she gave last year with Focus on the Family about military families and her book, GOD Strong: A Military Wife’s Spiritual Survival Guide, will re-air Aug. 1. For more information on Sara and her newest release, My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife, coming out this September, visit sarahorn.com
The bravest women I know
*Guest post by Sara Horn, LifeWay Women author