Did you know deployments are stressful not just for military personnel, but for their families, too? Of course you did. Everyone knows that. But, unfortunately that doesn’t mean everyone knows the best way to talk to people whose spouses are deployed.
I am grinning as I type this PSA. I have heard everything on the top list more than once (I know these things are usually said with good intentions, and there is grace for all of it), and thanks to the precious people in our community, everything on the bottom, too.
My little tongue-and-cheek, parenthetical comments are meant to point out the obvious flaws in logic with a bit of humor. 😉
Goofy things people say women whose husbands are deployed:
1. Oh, does your husband have PTSD (because everyone in the military does. Or because, if he did, that would be a good getting-to-know-you conversation)?
2. Has your husband killed anyone (because that’s polite conversation)?
3. Your husband is away all the time? Sounds like every woman’s dream (because I am surely thrilled about my husband being in danger and not being able to speak to him. It’s a dream).
4. I know someone in the military, so you must have the exact same experiences as my acquaintance (yes, because the military is the same size as a small business and everyone’s experience is the same).
5. Let me tell you how we should be handling the Middle East differently (because that’s uplifting).
6. Let me tell you my opinions on terrorism (oh, so glad to have an expert in the room).
7. Oh, you must be so mad at President Obama/Bush (because only the president you dislike has any sway in the current state of affairs).
8. You must have so much free time (because not having a spouse at home means your professional, personal, and church commitments stop)!
9. Oh, he’ll stop leaving once you have children (because you know how only really selfish people serve the country with young children at home).
10. Here I am posting about your spouse being overseas on social media (because I want everyone to know that I’m living alone and there are no safety issues with this at all).
Supportive things to say instead:
1. Hey how are you?
2. Do you need anything?
3. I am praying for you and your husband.
4. Are you doing OK?
5. I’m here for you.
6. You’re strong.
7. Want to hang out?
8. I know how much you love your husband.
9. You can call me any time.
10. (Any other topic in the world since she has a life and interests, too).
I am thankful to be surrounded by people who say the bottom 10 things to me all the time when my husband is away! But did you know that a lot of military spouses move frequently and don’t have a strong day-to-day support system? You can bless a military wife by just taking a few minutes to say something on this list.
Or, you can take a few minutes to do more. In the past, I have received notes on my door, cards on holidays, and treats from a neighbor as encouragement.
Offer to hang out, or give grace if she needs space. Encourage her in her walk with the Lord by inviting her to your Bible study or sharing the good the Lord is doing in your life (note, this is very different than preaching “at” her, it’s walking “with” her).
Did you know that trials and hardships are guaranteed? In fact, Paul writes,
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
That doesn’t mean that we walk around sadly waiting for the worst to happen. It does mean that we know suffering is coming, we have have an extra appreciation for blessings and joyful moments, and that we know where to look for hope when the world seems bleak or frightening.
I wish I had the perfect words and encouragement for every reader’s hurts, but I do know where just such hope can be found. Friend, when things are hard, friends kind words and reassurance are sweet, but nothing compares to the peace and comfort of God’s word.
Here are some (imperfect, hurried, heartfelt) doodles to encourage you on your walk. I promise to make some prettier ones for you someday when I have a little more time.
These will look best printed small; about 4×6 or smaller is ideal. Click on each thumbnail to get the full size image, then feel free to print for personal use.
A random mash up of life lately…
I spontaneously decided to doodle all over our dresser and use some ASCP in Duck Egg to paint my doodle in place.
It’s fun and silly and just right… For now. This little “entertainment center” will get a makeover down the road. I neglected to prime it before painting it white and have regretted that decision ever since. It constantly seeps old stain and sap right the paint. I think it needs to be stripped, cleaned up with some TSP, sanded, and primed before attempting to refinish it again.
Also, I’m an aunt! At least to a puppy. Brother got this little beagle girl, Remington (“Remy”) last week. She was in rough shape with worms when he got her, but he’s nursed her to health and she approves. He is taking on this puppy in the midst of a huge home renovation. I am so impressed by his work ethic and tell him so often. Lucy approves of her “cousin” wholeheartedly. But that’s just because she still gets plenty of attention. As always, I’ve been shuffling decor.
I got to spend a very special day with one of my former students while her mother completed some professional development. This little one is part of my dear crew of students I had for multiple years… They’ll all always have a special place in my heart. Starbucks, breakfast, classroom volunteering, shopping, and lunch were all on the agenda.
It turns out, this little one is the best shopping and dining company a girl could hope for. I finally hung my vintage TN map plaque. … And found a seasonal home for my CL Fair print. I created this new printable for my Etsy shop and am a little bit in love with the charcoal constellations and stars. I got to host a friend as we attended a wedding and a birthday party together. I always love spending time with this group of ladies. The birthday girl. My best friend came and stayed for a “staycation” in which we rested and ate a lot of delicious food.
I also have permanent fine lines and one gray hair this summer. I am excited as can be to be getting my “crown of glory,” though I suppose I will be covering it when I get a few more to go with it. I made my first batch of pesto with herbs from my balcony container garden.
Lucy and I are now just waiting for someone we love to come home. Not too much longer, I suppose. It has been a long, worrisome year and a half, but it is my testimony that the Lord strengthens and sustains us, and brings us joy no matter. I am learning more and more to lift up praise and thanks first, always, and no matter. He is so good, and He does not withhold good.
I am so pumped about a new ministry, Just Married Ministries, whose aim is to provide resources and encouragement for newly-married couples.
I got to guest blog for them this week about my VERY favorite topic; making a home!