David & Joyce Schroeder
At a recent meeting with our staff at Ft. Hood, one of this nation’s largest deploying bases, the Deputy Installation Chaplain, Lt Col Wright, said, “Most civilians mistakenly think that soldiers on the frontlines still need socks and Chapstick. What they really need… is to know that their marriages are going to survive their deployment."
e loved you so much that we were W delighted to share with you not only the “
gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” I Thessalonians 2:8
Research shows that about 20 percent of marriages fall apart within two years when one spouse has been sent off to war. An anonymous soldier who served in Iraq said about a quarter of the soldiers in his platoon ended their marriages while in Iraq. Recognizing the stresses military life and multiple deployments put on families, Cadence is stepping up their efforts to help strengthen family relationships and avoid the divorce courts. A planned partnership with MOPS International to help expand Military MOPS groups at key deploying installations is one example of how the Lord is moving through Cadence to meet this most pressing need. We therefore want to dedicate this edition of Cadence Connection to Military Wives who faithfully serve both their country and their Lord.
David Schroeder President
Cadence Connection Volume 1, Issue 2
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Wise Words from Military wives Reflections
by Milly Briseno, Military Widow *
Military families are well acquainted with the thrill of welcoming home the one who served bravely on foreign soil or sailed upon vast open waters. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is a phrase I used to ponder in those early, enchanting years when Aaron and I were so-called “dating.” In our courtship, the separations stretched far longer than the times we spent together. I remember when Aaron spent a year in Korea. Just longing for a hug from him would frequently distract me from my studies as a nursing student but, at the same time, fill me with a restless anticipation to keep pressing on, knowing that the time would pass and he would be brought closer to me. After we married, we had a great “Welcome Home” as Aaron stepped off the plane at Sea-Tac International Airport from his year in Egypt. But there was an even greater “Welcome Home” embrace I had the pleasure of witnessing three times over. What a moment it must be for a dad to take his newborn in his arms to welcome that precious one into the home of which he is the head, the protector, the provider—a promise made. I will never forget the welcoming gaze of love, admiration, and promise as Aaron held Elena for the first time, as he wrapped his arms around Corina for the first time, and as he embraced his son Jesse for the very first time. I know my kids have that promise still. Aaron could make that promise and keep it because another Father did the very same thing so long ago. From the Heavens came the One who has promised a “Welcome Home” embrace, but it would be in another place—a place far from war and pain and suffering, a place free of separations and longings, a place filled with satisfaction and certainty. This place is our real home, the one for which we have been created. That hope made our visit to Fort Logan National Cemetery on the 6-month anniversary of Aaron’s departure from this temporary home a joy—because my kids know that the greatest “Welcome Home” will be when their Savior, Jesus, carries them to their mansion in heaven. When they enter their real home, Aaron will be waiting, arms open, with a “Welcome Home” embrace. Would you join us, though in another place? I know Aaron would want you to embrace Jesus just so you could be part of the “Final Welcome Home Ceremony”—military and civilian alike. * Milly is pictured on the cover with Aaron and her children.
The Strength of Love
by Erica Cope
I wasn’t even out of bed when the doorbell buzzed. I assumed someone had just rung the wrong doorbell. But when I opened the door, two soldiers asked if I was the wife of Sgt. Joshua Cope. Their faces showed no signs of good news. Being a young military couple was tough, but we were always willing to work through our problems because we loved each other. Now barely in our twenties, we had promised each other to stay together for life. And our baby Laney needed her father. I let the soldiers in, fighting my hand to shut them out. They asked me to take a seat. My lungs refused to breathe. “Your husband Joshua was injured yesterday at approximately 11:00 a.m. after his vehicle ran over a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq.” The chaplain continued, “He is in critical but stable condition.” I looked to him for more answers. “He will likely lose his legs and possibly his right hand.” “But he’s going to live?” I thanked God. A few hours later my friend drove me to the hospital where Joshua had been transferred. The chaplain walked with me into the room. White sheets covered Joshua’s legs, but it was clear that the sheets went flat where knees and feet should’ve been. The thick bandages on his hands were shaped like crab claws. He was swollen almost unrecognizably, and he was dripping with sweat. He tried to focus on me, but his eyes kept drifting upward. The chaplain asked him, “Do you know who this pretty lady is?” He looked again and nodded yes. I couldn’t help but smile and blush a little. I moved closer and looked into his eyes knowing that now was not the time to cry. I kissed his forehead and told him that I had missed him so much and that Laney and I loved him.… … Everyday afterward would be a challenge, for both of us. But I would do it for the man I loved. Love pushed me miles when I could only take steps. Through everything, I found, and would never forget, the strength of love. There is a comfort in the strength of love; ‘Twill make a thing endurable, which else Would overset the brain, or break the heart. —William Wordsworth Erica and Joshua
An Interview with
Asking for Help
An excerpt from her book, Faith Deployed: Daily
Briefly tell me the details of your life when your husband was gone.
Encouragement for Military Wives
My husband (Lt Matthew Thompson, USMC) was last deployed to Iraq in 2006. During the deployment our daughters Chloe and Calah were five and three years old. We lived in housing on the Marine Corps base at Twenty-Nine Palms, Trish and Matthew California. I had just completed an amazing Bible study a month before my husband deployed. The deployment was the beginning of the testing of my new-found faith. Looking back, what mistakes did you make during this time?
I had a really hard time balancing quiet time alone with the Lord and doing lots of “stuff ” to make the time go by faster. Unfortunately, I struggled with getting angry often and yelling at my children when my husband was gone. I learned that there are very few things that are worth getting really angry about. I learned the hard way that my kids misbehaved, probably out of being discouraged by my yelling at them over silly stuff. How would you describe your relationship with God during this time?
Ever heard the phrase, “Faith under fire flourishes”? We never know the depth of God’s love until we’ve experienced first hand His carrying us through hard times. I also came into a new understanding of the Lord being my husband—as I had never known before—while my physical husband was in Iraq. I felt the Lord’s presence so strongly each and every single day and night while my husband was gone, as if I were never really alone. How did this time change you?
It made me much more dependent on the Lord and not so dependent on my wonderful husband! Before my husband left, I really think I relied much more on him for my happiness. Since the deployment, I’ve realized that, yes, my husband will always be one of the greatest sources of happiness in my life; but the Lord is my All in All. I have an amazing husband that I do not deserve. But even on his best day, my husband cannot completely fulfill me the way my Maker, the Lord of the Universe, can! What effects did this time have on your marriage?
We have taken a huge amount of pressure off each other now that we go to the Lord to fill and meet our deepest needs. To an extent, we can fulfill our spouses and make each other happy. But there comes a line that only the Holy of Holies can cross—places where we were never meant to fulfill each other. Please share anything else from your heart that could serve to convict, encourage, and/or help a woman who is going through this. You can’t do this alone! There is no room for pride. We need other strong Christian women to be able to call on in time of need.
by Jocelyn Green
For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 The weekly Bible study I hosted in my home was two hours away and my driveway was buried in snow. It needed to be cleared before people arrived. I could just start shoveling, I told myself. But before my husband went underway, he had said, “Remember, if you need anything, the EO [engineering officer] is staying home this time. If it snows, he can plow out the driveway for you.” But I had never asked anyone for help when my husband was at sea before.
Jocelyn and Rob
Once I finally asked the EO to plow me out, the job was done in about ten minutes. I was ashamed at myself for needing to beat back my pride and allow someone else to help me. We are called military “dependents,” and yet we have to be extremely independent when our husbands are off serving the country. It’s fitting for us to be self-confident and competent women, ready to tackle the obstacles that crop up in our path. We wouldn’t survive otherwise! But I discovered that I was becoming overly self-reliant. In an effort to not appear “weak,” I was unwilling to humbly admit that I couldn’t do everything in my own strength. Pride was stealthily taking root in my heart. There are times in every military wife’s life when she could use a helping hand—whether or not she wants to admit it and actually ask for it. Paul had the opposite point of view. “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). When we are weak, Christ can take over for and give us His strength, glorifying His name in the process.
To find more information on the book and purchase a copy via a link to amazon.com, visit: www.faithdeployed.com Find the Cadence Connection online at www.cadence.org/ connection. If you know friends who may enjoy these articles, they can read them online.
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your prayer guide
for Cadence International • May, June, and July 2009 week of May 3-9 Pray for the Cadence leadership team as they meet all this week for the annual spring Pray and Plan. They will discuss matters of importance to the mission, its health, and its future. week of May 10-16 Pray for fruitful outcomes of fundraising events that have taken place recently. Pray for new people to have a desire to financially support the military ministries of Cadence. week of May 17-23 Distribution of over 2000 KidsLink Downrange card kits (created by MOPS groups) will take place at Fort Hood, May 18-22, 2009. Pray for the kids who will receive them. week of May 24-30 This month begins the process of transition in military communities—many are relocating during the summer months. Pray especially for the families who are facing changes and developing new friendships. (Memorial Day is May 25 this week.) week of May 31 – June 6 Pray the Lord will allow Cadence missionaries to pursue relationships with wounded soldiers in the Warrior Transition Units. week of June 7-13 Summer is a time of emphasis on relationships in Cadence ministries. Through camping, picnics, and outings of all sorts, these months provide an excellent time to build stronger relationships with military people and their families. week of June 14-20 Pray for Military Children’s Ministry (MCM) teams being trained for ministry. MCM teams will be going to Germany, Texas, California, Kentucky, and Washington. week of June 21-27 A new group of missionaries has just been appointed to ministry with Cadence over the weekend. Pray for their hearts and minds as they go through training this week. week of June 28 – July 4 As America celebrates its birthday, may we all remember the men and women in uniform who stand in harm's way around the world and who protect our freedoms on a daily basis. They deserve our prayers, support, and gratitude. week of July 5-11 Pray for Malachi Youth Ministry activities and Bible studies this summer. This is always a time of transition with students leaving and new students coming. May Malachi groups be open and inviting to the new students. week of July 12-18 Pray for open hearts as MCM teams are sharing the gospel across the U.S. and Germany. Dozens of 5-Day Clubs and several VBS programs are being conducted. week of July 19-25 Pray for the Cadence and military leaders in Thailand (specifically Paul, Ron, and Surasak) as they begin a new hospitality house in Chiang Mai for other Thai military leaders. week of July 26 – August 1 Continue to pray for Cadence missionaries who are involved in partnership development this summer.