18 Ways to Reach out to a Military Family Who Has Moved to Your Community

military familyThis is PCS season in the lives of many military families. The orders come, the new duty stations are assigned, and families are gearing up for yet another move. The news of who’s moving where splatters my Facebook pages this time of year. Our connection through social media keeps me in the loop of their lives with their pictures, stories, and prayer requests. They live with a resilient spirit of hope, perseverance, and optimism that defines the life that comes with being a military wife and mom.

Through Just Moved Ministry, God has given me the privilege to be in the lives of military women all over the world. I am in my sweet spot of ministry when I can teach, mentor, encourage, listen to, pray for, and be with these women. From year to year, I see many of them again in different parts of the world and at different military installations. They become a part of my life, my heart, my prayers, and my memories.

They have become my friends and I have become their cheerleader.

You can do the same thing. Be a friend and a cheerleader to the military wife. Show tangible ways of love and care, pray for her, and encourage her. When a military family moves in your neighborhood or community, make every effort to meet them.

The following suggestions, in their own words, come straight from military women who shared with me how you can reach out to them when they move.

  1. While a greeting and a smile is always appreciated, don’t let it stop there. Be bold. Keep calling, encouraging, and inviting us to lunch, shopping, etc.
  2. Provide us with a list of local services: a handyman, mechanic, hairstylist, babysitters, churches, restaurants, etc.
  3. Offer to be our emergency contact for schools. That’s the first question the schools ask, and the one we never have an answer for.
  4. Offer to drive us to functions. We don’t know our way around, and that would encourage us to go.
  5. Invite us to church, or even lunch or dinner on Sunday. That’s a lonely day for us.
  6. Express your support. We appreciate hearing and reading your encouragement.
  7. Let us know you are praying for our soldier and for our family. Ask about our specific prayer needs. Don’t assume you know.
  8. Please don’t wait for us to ask or come to you. Knock on our door, talk to us at the mailbox, invite us over when we are out in the yard.
  9. We spend so much time making sure our children are settled in, but we don’t take care of ourselves during these transition times. I need to be included in Bible study, a girls’ night out, a lunch group.
  10. Accept new military families as if they are moving in for a lifetime–not just passing through. Please invest time in us.
  11. Include us in neighborhood parties. Wear name tags to help us learn names.
  12. People have picked up our check at a restaurant, or even paid for a cup of coffee. It brings tears to my eyes every time. Our family is so grateful.
  13. Churches can be a great help in our transitions. Welcome us and include us along with other newcomers at functions and events.
  14. Invite our children over for a play date.
  15. On special occasions or holidays at school or church, honor the dads or moms who are deployed. This means so much to our children.
  16. When my husband was deployed, a family in our church “adopted” our family. They helped us with house and yard maintenance, celebrated Birthdays, and included us for holidays. We will never forget them or what that meant to us.
  17. Be understanding and be listeners. Sometimes our needs go beyond a plate of cookies.
  18. Risk a broken heart. Love and support a military family even though we will eventually move and leave you. Allow your children to love ours as well, even though they may be sad when we leave.

So bring out your pom-poms and be their cheerleaders.

It’s time to get off the bleachers and move from the sidelines to run with military families to the finish line!

 

 

SusanSusan Miller

From Susan’s updated and expanded new edition of After the Boxes are Unpacked. A Focus on the Family and Tyndale book available from Just Moved Ministry.

 

A Move in the Right Direction

When I was a young girl, Mama and I went on a trip to South Carolina to visit my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Daddy was stationed in Korea at the time, so we decided the best place to be was surrounded by the comfort and warmth of family. Off the beaten path of interstate highways, we traveled along on the typical two-lane roads that led us to our small town destination. Captivated by the beauty of farm land with perfectly planted rows of crops ready for harvesting–we took a wrong turn, and got lost.

old gas stationWe stopped at a little country gas station, known back in the day as a “filling station”, in the middle of nowhere. An old gentleman was sitting in front of the gas station in a chair that was leaning back on two legs against the wall. He wore overalls and a wide-brim straw hat that shaded him from the hot sun. We pulled off the road in a cloud of dust. Mama rolled down the window and said, “Excuse me, sir. Could you tell me how much farther it is?” He got up from the chair and walked over to the car. He scratched his head as he replied, “Well, ma’am, it all depends on where you’re comin’ from and where you’re goin’ to.” Mama realized how funny her question was, and we all laughed together. She then gave him the information he needed to tell us how far we had to go.

wrong waySometimes, when I find myself moving in the wrong direction, the old gentleman’s words come back to mind. I ask myself, Where am I comin’ from and where am I goin’ to? It always keeps me focused on making sure I’m moving in the right direction, especially since it’s so easy to quickly get off track with wrong priorities, or sidelined with distractions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” So I ask you, my friend, Do you know where you’re goin’ to, and are you movin’ in the right direction?  

Who you are, who you become, and the decisions you make, are pretty much affected by where you’re coming from, where you’re going, the life you lead, and the choices you make.

But one thing is for sure: you’re moving in the right direction if you choose to follow Jesus Christ. Plain and simple as that. To know Him is to love Him, and to follow Him is life changing. Jesus beckons us to follow Him. He said, Come, follow me (Matthew 19:21). We are to Follow God’s example in everything (we) do…(Ephesians 5:1). The more you read, study, observe, and know Jesus Christ–and then imitate Him–the more He will flow from within you.

In all you do and say, make it a priority to “live out” Jesus’ direction in your life.

I know how easy it is to let my priorities shift, lose my focus, get distracted with stuff, busyness, and the craziness of life. I can easily take the wrong exit and get off the main road to Jesus. I have to be intentional every day to move in the right direction and not lose sight of where I’m going. Some days it’s harder than others. Some days I totally blow it. But He always nudges my heart to get back on the right road that leads me to Him.

You, my friend, are never too lost, or too aimlessly wandering in the wrong direction. Stop. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for directions. Listen…

Come follow me, Jesus said.

From My Heart to yours,
Susan Miller signature

An excerpt of this story is found in Susan’s updated edition of After the Boxes are Unpacked, a Focus on the Family book, published by Tyndale House and available at JustMovedShop.com.