By Alex Green
Why do military wives struggle so much when it comes to building a strong community between one another? We are so good at holding down the fort and making sure the kids are taken well care of when our husbands are on deployment. We are experts at packing on a dime and moving to the next duty station. We are even gifted in knowing when the best and worst times are to shop at the commissary. Military wives are strong, dependent, loyal, adaptive, trustworthy, and awesome (I might be a tad bit biased on the last point, haha!) Military wives truly are one of a kind with a unique call to serve along side their husband and country. Our community should be more united than it actually is, so why isn’t it?
When I became a military spouse five years ago, I saw firsthand how divided our community truly is and I couldn’t understand it. Wives were bashing other wives because of their husband’s rank. I witnessed countless posts on the military wives’ pages where grown women were calling each other dependents and gold diggers. There seemed to be an endless cycle of ugly cruelty towards one another that totally turned me off from wanting to be friends with anyone affiliated with the Marine Corps; that was until I met Jesus.
You see, I had it stuck in my head that if I close the door off from the military community then I wouldn’t have to deal with fake friends and stereotypical labels. I honestly thought that by choosing to be a lone wolf in the calling of a military wife that it actually would somehow make my time as a military spouse more bearable. But after three years of only having made one friend (who in turn moved to another duty station) my life was very lonely. It says in God’s word, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) In other words, Jesus was telling me that I needed these women, just as much as they needed me. He showed me through a local church where countless members of military families attended, that there were women out there who wanted/needed friends just as much as I did and who longed for a stable, trustworthy and loving community to welcome them. Jesus gave me an elevated perspective of what a community is and how to build one.
The perspective shift…
What if we shifted our perspective from serving our husband to the inclusion of serving my fellow sister too? Face it, each and every one of us are in the same boat. We all deal with the inconsistencies of the military. We all deal with the loss of good friendships and new surroundings. We are all just trying to survive in this crazy, one-of-a-kind life style of a military spouse. It was Jesus who said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) If Jesus, the Risen King, The Messiah, Our Lord and Savior, came to serve us (and still serves us from Heaven) why should we be exempt from serving those around us? As military wives, we need to wake up and notice there is a demand for connection and authenticity in our community. There is a fellow sister out there longing to be reached by you. We are called to be a people who will serve and befriend the unfriendly and tackle this life style together.There are two practical ways we can strengthen our community and our bond.
1. Have a relationship FIRST with Jesus.
Jesus should be the most important relationship that you have here on Earth. When you put Jesus at the forefront of your life, He promises to guide you, lead you, strengthen you, love you, and forgive you. It says in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” When you remain in Jesus, not only will He build you to be the woman, wife, and mother you are called to be, but because you chose to put Him first in your life, you are now a true reflection of who He is to those around you. When you put Jesus in His rightful place, our relationships outwardly will become fruitful too. Think of your relationship as a cross. First (vertically) Jesus, secondly (horizontally) others. How can we expect to pour out and serve our fellow sisters if we aren’t being poured into by the one who gives us life?
2. Get plugged into your local church.
There is something so special and contagious about being in church, serving the body of Christ, and loving one another. In Proverbs 22:6 it declares, “Train up a child in the way that he is to go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This verse is commonly used as instruction on how to raise a child, but I also believe that it is an instruction of how the church operates towards its people. When you make the decision to be an active participant of the church, there are people who are ready and prepared to train you, love you, and support you. They want to bring the best parts about you to the surface and propel you into your God given destiny here on Earth. Church is a great place to practice your faith, so you can truly be a light upon a hill for all to see.
The military has a great phrase, “No person left behind.” I believe as wives we should follow suite, as no woman left behind. We are too large in numbers to be divided. I truly believe if we band together as fellow military spouses and sisters in Christ, there is nothing we can’t do and no person we can’t reach.
Alex is a wife to a marine and new mom to a 16-month old daughter. She is a stay at home mom, a mentor to military wives, and serves faithfully with the youth of Grace Church in North County San Diego. She is originally from Kansas City, MO but resides in Oceanside, CA. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!