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.

 

Heroes: Military wives etched on my heart

Many of you followed me through pictures on Facebook as I traveled from Vicenza, Italy to Ansbach, Germany to Wiesbaden, Germany to speak to military wives. A picture speaks a thousand words. Take a good look…

1506.military collage

 

These women, along with many of their husbands and children that I met, are etched in my heart. We shared Christ together, life together, prayed together, worshiped together, ate meals together, laughed and cried together. We made cherished memories, and took countless pictures. I taught them about our unchangeable God in their ever changing world. They taught me about rising above ever changing circumstances, in unchanging life situations.

I’ve been back home a while now…

and I still see their smiling faces.

I see their stress released through laughter.

I see their eyes, filled with tears they’ve learned to control, begin to spill over uncontrollably.

I hear them pray for each other, as they put a friend’s needs above their own.

I feel their hugs and the reluctance to let go.

I’ll never forget their testimonies of profound faith and trust in God in the midst of hard circumstances.

I’ll never forget their gut-wrenching stories of situations they are much too young to experience.

Many of them face the stress of living on the edge of uncertainty and with fear of the unknown.

Yet, they also live with a resilient spirit of hope, perseverance, and optimism that defines the life that comes with being a military wife and mom.

These women are my heroes. They are the keepers of their home, committed wife to their soldier, and devoted mom to their children.

I hope you’ll take a closer look at the women in the pictures. Choose one, (or two, or even all of them), and take a minute right now to stop and pray for the woman behind the picture, her soldier, and her children.

All those faces will suddenly become etched in your heart too…

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My military heroes, my friends

My heart is still beating with joy from speaking to the Schofield Barracks Army Post military wives at their PWOC Conference in Hawaii. We even had some women there who came from Hickam Air Force Base. The icing on the cake was meeting with the women who attend the Moving On group at the chapel.

Moving On group at Schofield Barracks

After spending time with these incredible women, I had the privilege of seeing God’s word bring hope, comfort, and encouragement to so many lives that have been uprooted by moving. We laughed and cried as we shared our joy and our pain together. We prayed for one another and joined hands in worship. We walked away feeling refreshed and renewed in our spirits as we focused on Christ and not our circumstances.

These precious women are in the trenches of military life, many of whom are holding their families together in the absence of their husbands who are deployed. They face the unknown with brave hearts and a strong faith. Many have just moved and are experiencing the adjustment and transition of being in unfamiliar surroundings and starting all over again. Then there are those who are facing the challenges of yet another move that has become an expected part of military life. They, too, face the unknown with a persevering heart and a strong faith.

My life is never the same after I am in the presence of military women. They touch my heart, strengthen my faith, and keep me humble. They are ordinary women who are called to do extraordinary things as wives and moms. When you stop and pray for the men and women who are serving our country in the Armed Forces, remember to pray for the spouses and families left behind. They, too, are my heroes!

Here are eight ways you can join our Just Moved Ministry Team in praying for our military:

  • Safety and protection for deployed spouses
  • Strong marriages during stressful circumstances
  • Healing of broken relationships
  • Provision for uprooted families
  • Encouragement for uprooted moms
  • Smooth transitions and adjustments for uprooted children
  • Comfort in the midst of the physical and emotional effects of a PCS (transfer)
  • Military families to put their trust and hope in Jesus Christ.

My presence will go with you….  Exodus  33:14

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Ordinary women called to do extraordinary things

Military wives: unsung heroes of our militarymilitary wife

Imagine the fear and anxiety of being a military spouse who has not heard from her husband, doesn’t know exactly where he is, or what he is doing. She simply waits. She has no option other than to trust and have faith that the phone will ring, the text or email will come, or his face will appear on Skype—anything to reassure her that he is okay. Imagine how she feels when her husband’s mission is so classified that he cannot share the stress he endures daily. Think about the strain on her marriage and on her children when a PCS (a move), or deployment comes–again, and then, again.

I had the privilege to be with many military wives who live with these situations at the PWOC  international military conference in Nashville, Tennessee recently. Needless to say, I have a soft spot in my heart for these women, many of them young enough to be my daughter. They have gone through things that most people, who do not live in a military world, will not experience in a lifetime. They are ordinary women, who are called to do extraordinary things as they serve on the front lines at home, while their husbands serve our country. They face the daily battles of loneliness, fear, and anxiety with perseverance, resilience, and, above all, an unwavering hope and trust in Jesus Christ.

Story after story touched my heart, and strengthened my faith. Jesus was always at the center of each conversation, the anchor for their survival. As I prayed with Mary*, the tears flowed over the heartache of a rebellious son who desperately needed his deployed father. Sue, who I had met at a military conference in Germany, wouldn’t let go of me as we embraced. She shared that her marriage was falling apart, and she didn’t know how to put the pieces back together again. Katherine, married one year and pregnant, was moving to a remote military base in Japan to be with her husband. She was anxious about a different culture, a foreign language and being so far from family. We hovered in a corner and I listened as she expressed her fear of the unknown.

These women, along with countless others, are my heroes. I am one of their biggest fans. I will stand on the sidelines of their lives and pray for peace, comfort, and victory in the midst of their circumstances. May we never forget to pray for our soldiers who serve our country, and for those who are in harm’s way, for their spouses who keep the home fires burning, and for their children who struggle with the uprooting and upheaval of change. Just imagine what our prayers can do…

Susan Miller

*names have been changed