Family separated by Faith…

Today I acknowledged the existence of something I was never even looking for.
I saw God reflected through the unabashed love of my children.  His pure, perfect love, emulating via their hugs and smiles.  His enthusiasm for life evident in their tiny, clapping hands.
Then, alongside this beautiful truth came the ugly realization.  If God can thrive inside of us, then, if we let him, Satan can too.
Sadder yet, is that I can also see the loathsome devil working inside people I love.
An abusive childhood–decades gone–haunting, hurting, and embittering the strong woman who left it behind.
An unfaithful husband being served divorce papers in front of the co-workers who he informed that the divorce happened last year.
A young man teeming with amazing talent, potential, lack of self-esteem, and cynicism.
And there’s me.  The one who can see all of this, but does not know what she will do about it.
How do I tell them that God loves them?  How do I blurt out the hopeful phrase, that ironically, seems to cause more tension than comfort?  More doubt than reassurance?  More anger than calm.
How do I help them to get the devil off their back (and mine)?
Showing your faithfully-distanced loved ones God sure can be tricky.  At the moment I can see no other way to handle it, other than to keep holding Christ’s hand while attempting to walk the straight-and-narrow.  To keep the prayers coming.  To keep the potential for dialogue going.

Not Your Fault

Awolnation’s Not Your Fault has been my anthem for the last couple of months.  As the mother of two children aged two and younger, I can tell that it’s likely to continue being my anthem for quite some time.
Seriously, I couldn’t write some of the bewildering scenarios those two babies manage to fit us into.  I’m thankful that for the most part, I can look any given debacle in the eye and laugh, and at other times just be completely unaffected by it all.
After all, they’re little ones.  Their jobs are not to be neat, clean and convenient.  On the contrary, their occupation is to take in everything around them.  And while my kids are busy soaking up their surroundings, it is their clothing’s job to soak up whatever beverage or bodily fluid is being distributed without my immediate knowledge.
These things should be expected, and typically, they are.
Then, there are days like today.  Where all the elements of my life inside and outside of this home rendezvous in the center of my living room, insistent upon creating all different kinds of chaos until there is nothing left for this mama to do except crack.
And crack, I do.  Two crying kids, a handful of Cheerios of Silence later, and I’m ready to love on my kids the way they deserve.
I turn to prayer, and ask Him for strength.  I remember the concept of trading an earthly belonging for a Heavenly one.  Colossians 3:8 mentions some of the more undesirable aspects of being human.

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

 Colossians 3:12, on the other hand, features traits of a much more pleasant nature.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Easier said than done?  Yes.  Worth it?  Totally.  It’s all about taking it one thing at a time.  So for now, I’m trading anger for compassion, and trusting God to see me through on it.
Awolnation will likely be soundtracking me along the way, too…

Key Spouses: Who They Are, What They Are Not

Sometimes key spousing is no fun.
A look inside my key spouse binder. Specifics blurred out.
Our squadron’s updated deployment list came out last week.  Upon looking it over, I commented to Hubs that one of his friends is deploying soon.  While this isn’t news to him, my comment was more to the effect of, “Hey!  This is one of the guys whose wife you said was nice.  And I need friends…”
To which Hubs sympathetically replied, “Yeah…  She doesn’t really like your group.”
My group, by the way, is not what this woman thinks it is.  According to a handful of people, though, my group exists only to do petty things.
For them, to be a key spouse is to pretend one has authority over non-key spouse spouses.  It means holding social gatherings in order to talk about the people who aren’t there.  It is about holding my husband’s rank high up in the air for all to see.  To be a key spouse is to be an elitist snob.
Alas.  That is not what I do.  As a key spouse to our squadron, I check up on and extend myself to the families of our deployed.  As a key spouse, I send out mass e-mails to make sure our squadron is aware of what our base has to offer them.  When they end up in the hospital, I call and see if there is any way to help.  Childcare?  Short-term chauffeur?  Meals until you’re back on your feet?  Done.  If I don’t have an answer, let me call someone who will.
Sure, there is a social side to being a key spouse.  We also arrange monthly social gatherings.  Playgroups.  Book clubs.  Dinners and holiday events.  We have the hope that there will be something for everyone.  Even if it has to be subgroups, it is our hope to instill an actual sense of community.
Once a month our squadron’s key spouses get together to discuss how well we’ve been keeping up with our assigned duties.  We work together to figure out what is working and what can be done better in order to help spouses feel welcome and at home.  There are four of us and about eighty families.  Of the four of us, I am the only spouse whose husband is enlisted.  The officer’s wives express some concern over the fact that a few of their charges refuse to accept their help.  They have used mutual acquaintances to play telephone, informing the key spouse group that they will not speak with officers’ wives, “because they know how they are.”
As I understand it, there are spouses out there who wear their husband’s rank.  The women I know, however, are not those women.  Nor are they cookie-cutter renditions of one another.  Regardless of  whether they are married to an officer or an enlisted man, all of these women are Air Force Wives.  They remember their own times of need, and how the help they did or didn’t receive affected them.  As they balance the various aspects of their personal lives–which still include deployments–they also choose to take on the work of a key spouse, and take that responsibility seriously.
My final priority as a key spouse is this: to bite my tongue and cap my pen, lest I send certain folks Thinking of You cards pointing out the sad irony which lies in calling their key spouses snobby, elitist women.