The faith of military wives

Georgene Rice of KPDQ-FM interviews Sarah Horn, founder of Wives of Faith and author of “God Strong”, a military wives spiritual survivor’s guide. She says the life of a military wife is challenging but most of us don’t know what that means. Her book gives us in the nonmilitary world a greater insight into their lives and how we can support them.

Military wives know they have to be strong for their husbands, for their children and for themselves. In the midst of an indefinite war the unknown can be crippling. Sarah, how did you choose the title of the book and how would it particularly resonate with military families?

Horn: When I first starting going through our personal military deployment, I found I needed to be not just “Army Strong”, as the slogan goes, but I needed to be “God Strong”. I knew my strength eventually would run out but God’s strength is abundant.

Georgene: What is it like to be the wife of a U. S. military man and what are the largest challenges of being a military spouse?

Horn: My husband has been a Navy reservist for about 14 years. For the first ten years I didn’t see myself as a military wife because he was just gone a few weekends, but then when he was preparing for his first deployment things changed very quickly. I found I was sharing many of the same feelings of fear and loneliness that other military wives experience.

The deployment tempo is especially challenging. I’ve met some wives whose husbands are on their fourth deployment. They come home for a year, deploy for a year, and then come home again. It is very stressful on a marriage and a family. So, I would say the biggest challenge is loneliness.

As parents, of course we want to protect our children. It’s hard when one of the parents goes away. My son will be nine this week. He was six when my husband was first deployed. We want to protect them from being hurt.

Did writing the book help you through some of those more challenging times?

It did. About half way through his first deployment I was sitting in my living room exhausted and wanting to quit, but not knowing how. Then God spoke to me and said, “You know Sarah you have been trying to do this with your own strength for too long. You need to lean on my strength. I’m here.” I began reading the Bible cover to cover and throughout I would find verse after verse about God’s strength. That was how the book was built—around those scriptures.

Georgene: In your book you list nine Spiritual Truths every military wife should know. I think they not only speak to military wives, but to all of us.

We talk about our strength coming from God, that fear will block our focus and that we are not alone. Superwomen get grace is a big one. Then there is God is in control, God knows my hurt, I can have joy despite my circumstances, and worship lessens my worries. I don’t believe you can worship and worry at the same time. The last is that our hope is in Christ.

Each one of the chapters shares experiences of other wives, from other branches of the service, who have been helped by God through one of these particular challenges.

I think it makes such a difference if we see there is a community of women who have been there. When we can realize that we are not alone in the emotions that we experience we don’t feel so alone and it is easier to hold on to what God wants to teach us. I don’t want women to see deployment as something to just get through and survive. I want us to see it as an opportunity to grow spiritually, and grow our marriages and families.

Georgene: What can nonmilitary friends do for military families?

Horn: Listen. Don’t try to pretend to understand. Comparing your husband’s business trip to a military deployment is not the same thing. Put yourself in her shoes. Think about what it would be like to have to be the one to cook those meals every night for a year without a break. Bring her over a meal one night or a gift card with a note saying you are thinking about her.

We get tired of not having a break away from watching the kids 24/7 with no other adult there to help. Offer to take the kids for a couple of hours. Those types of things are huge.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day is always the Friday before Mother’s Day. That is a great occasion to honor a military spouse. The month of May is Military Appreciation Month so if you do know a military service family it would be a great time to show your appreciation for them. If you talk with military service members you often find their greatest concern when they go overseas is not what is going to happen to them but what is going to happen to the families they leave behind. If you can help a military family you are helping our serviceman or woman.

Georgene: A quote from your book says God is saying to you, “Wait, stay, don’t run ahead, don’t trail behind, just stay with me. Give your worries to me. Give your fears to me. But also give your plans. Give me your dreams and let me turn those plans and those dreams into something better.”

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