Rocking Ordinary:Army Wife Style!

Rocking Ordinary-Army Wife Style! Graphic

As moms, we are sometimes overwhelmed.  We often wonder how much longer we’ll be stuck in spin cycle of cleaning the same messes and doing the same old ordinary thing.  How will we ever use our everyday lives to make a difference?  What if we admit our failures?  Will God still be able to use us?  How can those of us who are just ordinary moms influence those around you intentionally and Biblically?

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[clickToTweet tweet=”During my early days of the Army wife life, I was stuck in spin cycle. #ArmyWife #RockingOrdinary” quote=”During my early days of the Army wife life, I was stuck in spin cycle. #ArmyWife #RockingOrdinary” theme=”style2″]

Clay was on recruiting duty and that wasn’t what I pictured of an Army wife life.  He would leave the house early in the morning and come home late at night.  To make things more overwhelming, Clay kept me barefoot and pregnant during our first four years of marriage.  It was a struggle to figure out my place in the world.  We were a military family living in a town nowhere close to a military post.  This was the life of recruiting.  The churches we attended struggled to plug us in and we struggled to make relationships.  During this time, Clay was trying to figure out how to juggle being a Soldier and recruiter at work and husband and Dad when home.  It was a struggle for both of us.

American Sniper Post-10

I often wondered if I was seen or noticed.  How could someone so insignificant make a difference in the world?  How could I be a wife and mother who was able to rock the ordinary?  I wanted to her.  I longed to be her.  I felt stuck in a pit that I couldn’t climb out of.  Don’t get me wrong, I was blessed.  Very blessed!  But stuck.

I felt like I had to have the perfect marriage (or at least appear to have the perfect marriage) and the perfect children.  Not just perfect children, but perfect military children.  In my mind, my marriage and my children were imperfect.

[clickToTweet tweet=”  I felt like a wife who was failing her marriage and a mother who was failing her children. #ArmyWife” quote=”  I felt like a wife who was failing her marriage and a mother who was failing her children. #ArmyWife” theme=”style2″]

American Sniper Post-9

I seemed to forget that true success was “Finding God’s Will and doing it.”  In the book Rocking OrdinaryLea Garfias says, “God defined success to the young leader Joshua as knowing God’s Word and obeying it.  And though that can encompass so many, many parts of Joshua’s life–and mine–I can’t help but notice what God didn’t say was true success:”

  • His marriage
  • His children
  • His job
  • His wealth
  • His health
  • His decorating
  • His clothing choices
  • His diet

[clickToTweet tweet=”I wanted to do more, be seen, have a voice and make a difference. #ArmyWife #RockingOrdinary” quote=”I wanted to do more, be seen, have a voice and make a difference. #ArmyWife #RockingOrdinary” theme=”style2″]

All this began to take form when I began making friends with other recruiting wives and volunteering to establish an otherwise dead FRG (Family Readiness Group).

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When I surrounded myself with others with similar experiences, pain and adversities as myself, I felt like I had found my tribe.  I realized that “We tear down the walls between us brick by brick every time we reach out and say, ‘me too’.” ~ Lea Garfias

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As Clay’s military career continued and we began our journeys across the United States, one of my first priorities when settling in was finding at least one person to be in my tribe of sisters.  More often than not, I would find them in a lovely organization called PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel).  This group is a bunch of lovely military spouses – from the newest military spouse to the retiree wives.  These ladies range from barely 18 through Titus 2 mentors.  We would come together each week for Bible study, food, and fellowship.  There I would find like-minded believers and friends who understood what my life was like.  They understood the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, and being stuck on spin cycle.

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[clickToTweet tweet=”Extraordinary friends make the ordinary choice to reach out continually and consistently.” quote=”Extraordinary friends make the ordinary choice to reach out continually and consistently.” theme=”style2″]

I hear a lot of ladies saying how hard it is to make friends.  In the book Rocking Ordinary, Lea shares that many of these are excuses.  “I’m shy.  I’m an introvert.  I am busy at home with my children all day.  I work full time.  I work from home.  My church is too big; my church is too small.  The church people are not friendly; there are too many cliques.  But that’s all we make–excuses.  More small reasons to ignore the greatest working of God through me.”

WOW!  That’s all I can say when I read that.  “The greatest working of God through me.”  Just think about that for a second.  We want to Rock this Ordinary life, yet we make excuses for paths that God gives us to share Him in an ordinary way.

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Once I finally finished sulking over all my imperfections as a wife and mother, the only way I was going to Rock Ordinary was to bloom where I was planted.  I learned that because we would move often, we didn’t have years to develop lasting friendships.  We didn’t have years to get settled.  We didn’t have years to learn our way around a new post or town.  I decided to dive in heart first, love people and love the life of the military.  I decided to not complain about my less than ordinary life….well, not complain too much anyway.   I decided to learn to rock the ordinary in a million little ways that made a million little impacts on a million little lives – starting with mine.

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I may never have my name on a billboard or on a magazine cover, but the impact I could make could be so much bigger than that because of God’s perfect purpose for my life.

  • I could take meals to a spouse whose husband was KIA.
  • I can attend Memorial Services to support a wife and kids who would never see their loved one again.
  • I could be a shoulder to cry on.
  • I could pray with the spouse who is brand new and her husband just left.
  • I can do mass care packages for hundreds of Soldiers – assembly line style.
  • When I sent my husband care packages, I could send extra for the Soldiers who didn’t receive mail.
  • I could send my husband’s entire Platoon Christmas stockings that the kids helped me make, complete with the true meaning of the Candy Cane.
  • My boys could make pictures for single Soldiers returning from war.
  • I could make sure that those Single Soldiers came back to barracks rooms complete with Welcome Home baskets of everything they would need for a few days.
  • I could send Bibles to a war-torn country where they are illegal, so that Soldiers could have Bible study together.
  • When my husband would not be able to leave work because of training, I could take his platoon food. (Yes, this happened for all 73 Soldiers)
  • I could open my home up to Soldiers who were not able to go home for Holidays.
  • I could leave my door open to my husband’s Soldiers who just wanted a home cooked meal.
  • I could take food to the Soldiers on Staff duty during each holiday.
  • I could take AFTB (Army Family Team Building) classes and become an instructor so that I could help others new to the Army life to be able to understand this new life they entered
  • I could become CARE team trained so that I could be the “hands and feet” if a Soldier was KIA.

Shamberly and I

I don’t list out any of the above to toot my own horn.  I never expected recognition, even though the Army did so a few times.  I did it because it was the right thing to do.

[clickToTweet tweet=”When we show God’s love to others, we find it for ourselves. ~Lea Garfias. #RockingOrdinary #ArmyWife” quote=”When we show God’s love to others, we find it for ourselves. ~Lea Garfias. #RockingOrdinary #ArmyWife” theme=”style2″]

This was my way of figuring out in the mass chaos of Army life how to be Rocking Ordinary.  I did it because it gave me a focus and made me feel close to my husband, even if he was half a world away.  It was my purpose or, as the Army would say, it was my mission.

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A few years after my husband’s second deployment to Iraq, we were stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington.  Some of his old Soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas made their way up there.  One of them was a Soldier I sent a Bible to while he was deployed to Iraq with my husband.  My husband began mentoring him and sharing God’s Word – His Infallible, Loving, Holy Word.  He actually got saved while he was there during Bible study with my husband.  I was so excited that he had found the Lord I actually had his name engraved on the Bible before I sent it.  While he was there visiting, we had all went out to dinner and he hugged me, thanked me, and told me how much that Bible meant to him.  He said he still had it and that was the Bible he used.

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Another time Clay was preaching at our church in Washington and several of his Soldiers from post came to our church to hear him.  Afterwards, we invited them all back to the house to enjoy food and fellowship. One of those guys didn’t have a Bible.  I grabbed a Bible I had recently purchased and gave it to him.  I used hospitality as a way to reach this young Soldier.  I don’t know much about him and he no longer stays in contact with my husband.  I may never know where he is with his walk with Christ.  All I can do is pray that God blessed that opportunity.

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[clickToTweet tweet=”It is our God-given responsibility to live out the purpose God created for us. #ArmyWife ” quote=”It is our God-given responsibility to live out the purpose God created for us. #ArmyWife ” theme=”style2″]

My purpose began by embracing my role as a military wife.  I wish I had Lea’s book when I was learning to embrace my role as a young Army wife.  Whether you’re a military wife or (insert company) wife, I encourage you to check out her book.  This valuable book helped me learn how to be the wife and mother with a purpose who is Rocking Ordinary.

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Military Moving Home is where the Army sends us

For me now? I still can’t walk away from Army life, even in retirement. PWOC at Fort Campbell starts back August 30th. I plan to be there, Lord willing. I am still volunteering raising awareness for PTSD and other military needs. I am still heavily involved with military in our area.

[clickToTweet tweet=”What started out as a way to cope for me has become my mission. #ArmyWife #RockingOrdinary” quote=”What started out as a way to cope for me has become my mission. #ArmyWife #RockingOrdinary” theme=”style2″]

If you want to check out Rocking Ordinary, I highly recommend it! You can click any of the hyper links throughout this post or click below. 🙂

In Christ,

Laura

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