Dear military spouse,
I will never forget the day my husband told me, “I am joining the military.” As a newlywed couple with a one-year-old, this was not the life I had hoped for. My expectation was that we would continue on our current path, me working toward my doctoral degree in Psychology in hopes of having a private practice and my husband continuing to be a banker. Our world was shaken up when he took that beloved oath to serve his country. I was suddenly thrust into a new world with terms I had never heard of from PCS to Tricare. I had to quickly learn to navigate the commissary, understand the world of being the spouse of an enlisted member versus an officer’s wife, and get used to many holidays without my family. The desire I had to own my own business quickly faded under the reality that I was all alone in a new town. Yet, as much as I could have remained frustrated about this, the Lord showed me during my time as a military spouse that I was loved. At each duty station, He sent people to remind me of His goodness and love for me. Today, I write to you from one military spouse to another to say, “I see you and I understand.”
I know there are many days that feel overwhelming. The fear of what may happen next is always there. When will the next deployment come? How will my family adjust to another PCS? What if our new community doesn’t accept us? With so many unknowns, it can be hard to feel steady and find the peace you need. Today, I want to encourage you that you are not alone in these feelings. And, although, you may never get an award or glory that comes along with being a military member, I can assure you that you matter. The love you bring, the attention to detail, the choice to keep going when things get tough, and the way you hold down the fort is to be applauded. I want to thank you for your service and remind you that you are loved by God and that He sees it all. From the pressure to keep up with the other spouses to feeling isolated to just keeping your mind steady in a crazy world, nothing is going unnoticed.
Here’s what I know to be true:
You are not alone.
There may be times you feel left behind or “lost in the shuffle.” The sad truth of being a military spouse is the loneliness that comes along with it. The truth is, being far from our families and having to find a new tribe at each new duty station truly takes a toll. It can feel like we don’t have a support system and that asking for help is a burden. But, I want to encourage you that you are not alone. I love this verse and it has kept me encouraged during times like this:
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 1:8
This verse reminds me that God is always with us. Every duty station, He goes before you. Every time you feel at your lowest, He is the ultimate comfort. In uncertain situations, He is our steady refuge. Though the world may feel unsettled, He never ever leaves us. He is with you, and we can praise God that in the craziest moments, He is there to keep us as no one else can. As a military spouse, we know all too well that depending on others to be there for us is not always a certainty. But, with the Lord, we can rest assured that no matter the circumstance, He and His angels are surrounding us.
God has a plan for your life.
I am sure by now you know that being a military spouse can make you feel invisible. There is a silent mourning of the life that we hoped for. And although we’re proud of our spouses, we cannot help but wonder what career paths we may have taken. I want to give you permission to grieve what you expected. I want to assure you that you are not the only one who feels like she lost a bit of herself with each move and change. Today, I want to remind you that you are more than just a military spouse. You are more than your spouse’s rank or position.
My friend, the Lord has called you to greatness, even now. The Lord has given you dreams and aspirations that shouldn’t be hidden away. Yes, He has fashioned you for a special purpose that shouldn’t go ignored just because your path looks different than most. I love what Psalms 139:16 says, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
Though your life may not look as planned, the Lord has a plan! The great news is that He knew who He called you to be and the plans for your life, despite your unique position as a military spouse. Not only this, but I have seen over and over how our roles as military spouses can be our greatest strength. We carry resilience, initiative, and a strength that will be an amazing asset to any career path, business, or idea that the Lord puts in our hearts. Can you imagine what your life would look like if you were to start that business, serve at your church, host a Bible study, or go back to school? I will never forget the day the Lord spoke to me that I had allowed the military life to bury my giftings. Since then, I got my Master’s Degree in Psychology, became a Professor of Social and Developmental Psychology, started a successful blog, started to speak at many events in my area, and more. It wasn’t because I was so great, but it was because I was willing to allow the Lord to use me, despite my circumstances. Can I tell you how freeing it was to finally embrace the call that God put on my life?
Yes, you can be a phenomenal military spouse and a woman who does everything God is calling you to do! I want to encourage you to no longer allow your role as a military spouse to silence you from stepping out in faith. In fact, use it as an encourager to motivate other military spouses who may be struggling to find themselves. Your vision of your life may look different than you expected and the plan may be altered. But, I can assure you God can still use you. I leave you with this moment from the Word that encourages me in these times: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
My prayer is that you never forget what you bring to the table and that you will not lose yourself. You are not a shadow of your husband’s career choice but uniquely designed to carry our God’s purpose. Surely, if we are willing, God can use us to inspire us to do something amazing.
God can help you carry this weight.
There is a weightiness that comes with being a military spouse. There are times when you may have to go months without seeing your spouse, experience moments like childbirth alone, and wonder if your husband is safe. Many wives we meet will never comprehend the amount of frustration these moments can cause. This special assignment that you’ve been given as a military spouse also comes with the reality that you may have to raise children alone and find a new tribe of friends in a different city every few years. Even more so, we are a place of safety for our spouses, as they face many things that they can never share. I want to encourage you that the Lord is here to help you carry this weight of responsibility.
Psalm 55:22 reminds us of His promise to help us in these times of feeling overwhelmed.
Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
My friend, the days may not always be easy, and the years may be tough. Yet, we have a God who cares about the pain we feel. He welcomes us to cry to Him. He invites us to vent to Him and to share the pain of our heart with Him at any moment. It is not an inconvenience to hear you in your time of need. And the amazing thing about God is that He will not just listen, He will respond. I am believing that as you cry out to the Lord, He will give you wisdom and strategy to carry it all. As a military spouse, surrendering our burdens to the Lord will be one of our greatest victories.
Try to enjoy the moments.
I know that being a military spouse can be a crazy ride. However, I want to remind you to take time to really be in these moments. There will come a day when you will miss the adventure of the next military move. There will be a day when you will wish you could enjoy the military discounts, healthcare that covers almost every injury, and the comraderies amongst military spouses. You will miss staying on the military base with all the amenities only a few minutes away. I bet there will even be moments where you miss the spontaneity of the military which kept you on your toes. These little things may seem minuscule now, but there will be a day when you wish you could relive these moments. Today, as you finish this letter, I want you to intentionally take a deep breath and think of the goodness of God. Surely, if we think about it, we can see traces of His grace all over our journey as military spouses. This should be reason alone to rejoice and thank God!
My prayer for you today is that you will carry these words to heart. I know that so many military spouses are hurting, silently. I pray the Lord sends you a tribe of women to remind you that you matter. And when your strength is failing, I pray that you’re brought back to the Word. My prayer is that you will continue to be the bravest, most resilient, and innovative version of yourself. Surely, the Lord has a special place in His heart for military spouses.
So, my friend, I thank you for your service and I applaud you.
You are loved.
You are appreciated.
You are His.
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Wyatt
Victoria Riollano is an author, blogger, and speaker. As a mother of six, military spouse, Psychology professor and minister’s wife, Victoria has learned the art of balancing family and accomplishing God’s ultimate purpose for her life. Recently, Victoria released her book, The Victory Walk: A 21 Day Devotional on Living A Victorious Life. Her ultimate desire is to empower women to live a life of victory, hope, and love. She believes that with Christ we can live a life that is ALWAYS winning. You can learn more about her ministry at victoryspeaks.org.