I remember all too well the challenges that my family faced when my dad’s National Guard unit was called to active duty for Operation Desert Storm. I was 16 when my dad got activated — two days before Thanksgiving. But I was 17 when he returned right around Easter. I didn’t recognize my dad — might have had something to do with the squiggly mustache he’d tried to grow, and he didn’t recognize me.
Today, when a service man or woman is called to active duty and deployed, that solider or sailor is often gone for much longer than the few — excruciatingly long — months my dad was gone. As one of my friends put it, being a supportive spouse when you’re loved one is in the active duty military is not for the faint of heart. When you’re loved one is deployed during the holidays it becomes even more challenging.
Now that I’m a mom of four active kids who homeschools them, I have a shadow of an idea what my mom endured while my dad was away. However, she also had to keep the family business running. That’s not something I need to do.
When I asked my friend Hannah Conway, a military wife who’s husband just ended his service, about what it’s like to be a military spouse, she had some great insight. As she puts it:
“Many of us try to go it alone…no one wants to ask for help or admit they need it, and military wives have a lot of pride to some degree…a good thing, but it can also be very harmful.” She would encourage the military wives “to be a friend to others and look for ways to serve in and around their community. I have found that I’m able to keep my perspective when I’m serving.”
But how can we serve them? More specifically, how we can help women (and men) who find themselves facing the holidays alone? I asked my mom, Hannah, and another friend Kimberly what they would have found helpful when they were living those times. There are some simple ways we can come alongside these men and women and show love in meaningful ways.
Gift them free time for Christmas shopping.
The year my father was deployed all of my gifts came from the same store. They were very nice gifts, but my mom didn’t have the time to shop around town like she normally would have. My friend Kimberly’s husband has been in the military the entire time of their marriage. She remembers many times Christmas shopping with her kids, because they were too young to be left at home. So she took a blanket and tried to hide the gifts from her children – while they were shopping with her. Imagine what a blessing a few hours to go shopping along would be.
Find out more ways to spread love to military spouses and read the rest of this post over at Cara’s blog!
And don’t forget about the BOGO deal of Where Treetops Glisten! Here are the details.
Would you like to brighten the day of a service person living overseas? The authors of Where Treetops Glisten and our publisher (WaterBrook Multnomah, a division of Penguin Random House) has teamed up to help you do just that!
Purchase books from ANY retailer (physical store or online) and submit your information in the form below.
- Buy up to 5 copies of Where Treetops Glisten and our publisher will give 5 books for free from the list.
- The list of available titles is:
- Radical by David Platt
- The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons
- In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
- Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer
- And of course, Where Treetops Glisten
- Order the book between 11/11 and 11/26 to qualify for the BOGO. Books will be sent out the first week of December to make it there in plenty of time before Christmas.
- This offer is first come, first served…while supplies last.