I'm so excited for today's guest post! I meet Amanda about six years go in Italy. She was the true definition of Christ grace and Christian friendship. There are days I would not have survived without her. She has helped shape my journey with Christ, and has been a true friend from day one, no matter how crazy life can get she has been part of my anchor for sure!
After spending 12 years as an Army wife, I’ve had the opportunity to meet other military wives from all over the world. Some have been seasoned veterans, knowing all of the ins and outs of military life, while others were brand new to the Army life, desperately trying to navigate the overwhelming flood of acronyms and paperwork. I have known career women, stay at home moms, recent high school graduates, grandmothers, and so many more. Yet despite their vast differences, they also have a great deal in common.
There are so many challenges that these women face each and every day that I could go on and on, but there is one distinct challenge that stands out above the rest. Each one of them will be uprooted from the home they know and relocated time and time again to various parts of the world. They will have to leave their familiar homes, jobs, friends, family to settle into an unknown place. They will set up a new life, make new friends, find new jobs, but always knowing in the back of their minds that in a few short years, or months in some cases, they will have to leave again for a new duty station. Sometimes they might have their husbands to help them through the transition, but more often than not long work days, training, and deployments require them to make the adjustment on their own. This uncertain process is repeated over and over again.
With the prospect of PCS (Permanent Change of Station) always looming overhead, you might think that the stress would be too overwhelming. That anyone, even Christians, would collapse underneath it, but I have found that that is rarely the case. Instead, I have watched women find their strength in Jesus and form some of the strongest bonds imaginable with those around them. Rather than focus on being far away from family, they become family. They celebrate holidays and birthday together, being there for each other when one of them needs a shoulder to cry on or someone to share a joke with. I have had the privilege of witnessing these bonds being developed and watch how each woman grows in her faith and as a person because of it. This unique growth has transformed these women into something incredible, something I like to call a thistle.
Now I know some of you might be confused at this point. A thistle is a weed, right? It’s prickly, has thorns, and grows everywhere. Even God cursed the land with thistles and thorns when he banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:18) Why on earth would you compare being an Army wife to being a thistle? Well, they have a lot more in common than you might think.
Thistles anchor their roots securely wherever they’re planted. Sometimes they grow in lush gardens and fields. Other times they sprout up through rocks or cracks in a sidewalk. Wherever they happen to be, they dig their roots down deep to keep them secure while pushing up through the ground to reach the surface. Once to the surface, they produce thorny leaves that protect the delicate stalk as it matures. Day by day, the plant grows stronger and more resilient until it can finally bloom into a soft, crown-like flower.
This is the picture of the Army wives that I know. Sometimes we are at an easy duty station, with the support of friends and family nearby and everything that we could possibly need. Other times, it feels like we were just dumped on a rocky hillside and left alone to fend for ourselves. No matter where the Army sends us, we dig deep and push through the difficulties that each new PCS brings with it so that we can grow in our faith and our friendships and bloom where we are planted.
And so, in honor of all of the beautiful Army wives that I know who have inspired me with their kindness and strength through adversity, I decided to get a permanent reminder to always be anchored in Christ and grow where the army sends me. I pray my friends, that God uses other women in your lives to help you stay firm and grounded in Christ and bloom like a flower in the thorns.
Amanda is an army wife of 12 years, and a mother of three beautiful feisty kiddos(10,8,7).
When she's not running kids around she can be found working as a virtual assistant/transcriber and blog writer. She and her family currently reside in Fort Benning, Georgia.