I love to read historical non-fiction, but I don’t just like to read about places and dates. The people intrigue me more – their personalities, thoughts, fears, livelihood, marriages. Recently, I have been reading a book called “Founding Mothers” by Cokie Roberts. Thinking about it, most of them were military wives or mothers as well, just in a different war. Their husbands and children fought the Revolutionary War – a war on the home front. Their war was a little different, but many of the adventures and thoughts of the women seem to still ring true today.
For example, Abigail Adams wrote, “I find it necessary to not only pay attention to my own indoor domestic affairs, but to everything without, about our little farm, etc. . . . frugality, industry and economy are the lessons of the day – at least they must be so for me or my small boat will suffer shipwreck.” (p 59) How many times has that thought crossed my mind – it just sounds more eloquent when she says it.
Martha Washington ended up enduring eight years of war – one for which she did not necessarily plan, but succeeded beautifully. From hanging out in camp during the dead of winter to the threat of kidnapping while living in her home, she faced it all with grace, though not always with happiness. They were hard years for everybody. They were just like us in so many ways.
I do love what Mercy Otis Warren’s husband said to her, though. James Warren wrote, “God has given you great abilities; you have improved them with great acquirements. You are possessed of eminent virtues and distinguished piety. For all these I esteem I love you in a degree that I can’t express.” (p 52)
Looking back at history, I find that as a military wife I am not so unique. So many women have done what I do, and many have had more challenging roles. Military wives have been a part of every generation, even in the Bible.
David certainly had wives (some better than others) as he went off to war, as did Solomon and most every Israelite king that followed. There were soldiers as well in the Bible like Uriah the Hitite, the husband of Bathsheba. Not always completely positive examples of military wives, but they were there nonetheless. The Biblical individual I look to the most as a military wife, though, was not a soldier’s wife at all.
Sarah, Abraham’s wife, has made an impression on me. As God told Abraham to go to an unknown land, Abraham went home and certainly told Sarah they were moving. You can imagine the conversation as she asks where they are going, how long they are going to be there, etc. Abraham has no answers. And according to scripture, God did not tell Sarah personally, but they packed up everything and went. I would have loved to hear the conversation between the two, but I have no doubt she was much more gracious than I would have been in her response to Abraham (Genesis 12).
What have I learned today? I learned that I am not the only one who has endured military wife life, and I pray I can succeed as graciously and with such faithfulness as so many others who have gone before. Additionally, I reminded of the fact that God has complete control over everything, even when my husband has crazy ideas J. I am thankful for this military life because it is exactly where God wants me.
Ideally as I strive to be more like Jesus, my husband will have the similar thoughts of me as Mr. Warren did of his wife or maybe the Biblical example: “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value” (Proverbs 31:11). It would be even grander to have my Savior say, “’Well done, good and faithful servant’” (Matthew 25:21).