Yes. That’s me…and approximately 1.21 million other people in the United States and abroad (http://www.defense.gov). We are camp followers, or better known as military spouses.
That number seems like a lot. But in the grand scheme of things, we actually make up a very small percentage when compared to the number of “regular” married people in our country.
We take a lot of pride in our service to country, but we are by no means the first to travel this trail. American military spouses began following camp as far back as the Revolutionary War, just ask Martha Washington. Lucky as she was to stay home for the better part of the year, she too met up with the camp in winter.
Other women were not so lucky.
As spouses of poorer soldiers, some had no choice but to follow camp with children in tow. These women washed clothes, cooked, sewed, and tended to injured all while hiking, making camp, and raising children. Tough chicks, to say the least. Even at that time, GEN Washington was trying to figure out the logistics of caring for the families. The military is still working at that.
Through the Civil War and on to the frontier, women followed camp wherever it took them, and many had quite the adventures. From guarding their children against Indian attacks to raising and growing their own food, these women became the stability of the church, maintained hospitality in sometimes harsh environments, fought off disease, nurtured families, learned to live with crates for furniture and dirt for rugs. Many even learned to use rifles and canons, and even did so in the heat of battle.
These women have surely left a legacy.
But military spouses are still trail blazing. On the modern frontier, they have left careers and sometimes family behind to follow camp as well. They create homes out of houses, raise independent and honorable children, start their own businesses, support their spouses through long hours and months of deployment, and display attributes of integrity and grace that frontier wives would applaud.
Standing in a formation, military service members all look much the same. Wearing identical uniforms and similar hairstyles, finding the one that belongs to you can be a challenge. Military wives feel much the same way. Looking at them as a whole, they might all seem to be the same. But if you step a little closer and zoom in, you will find that each one is unique and completely amazing.
Over the next few weeks, I would like to introduce you to some of those women who have challenged and inspired me. Modern-day camp followers who have flourished in their nomadic environment, not just to be great Americans or really cool women, but to make a difference in the cause of Christ.
You will be amazed at where God has brought them and what He has done in them. They are truly inspirational women, and are blazing a trail that only God could design. Do you have a modern-day camp follower that has inspired you? These are just some of mine.