When we receive orders, I pass through several levels of stress. This is common for most military spouses, and it usually starts with the base stress level of information. I need information: the 5 W’s. Where are we moving? When do we need to be there? How are we getting there? What unit will we be with? Who is our sponsor? Why? Why is the one I always knew the answer to—The needs of the Army.
Then, I move into the stress level of planning, when the plans may change multiple times. I plan what to let movers pack and what to take ourselves. I prepare by gathering copies of essential documents. I plan for worst-case scenarios by photographing all our belongings in case of loss or theft. I even planned exciting dishes with food we couldn’t move with us.
The next level is the organizing of all the moving pieces. I work to figure out when the moving truck will come. I ensure things are separated so we can carry important things with us and they don’t get mixed into boxes.
Finally comes the level of acceptance and peace. This level arrives the day we clear our current house and start our travel to our new location. Getting out of one place means that we are officially moving. Yes, the Army can and does change orders, but once we leave a duty station, they rarely return us to that same place.
I had no idea what I was doing in my first move, so it was chaos, but I trusted God to get us all to Europe.
You may not have experienced the stress of a military move, but I bet you have experienced your own stress in unknown situations. Unknown situations are stressful because we feel we have little control over what is next. Through our military lifestyle, I’ve seen how God brought us through that first messy move and all the moves in between. He is faithful! And because He is faithful, we can trust Him. That trust is where I find my peace.
As we light the candle of peace, it represents the Angels, God’s messengers. God sent His messengers to share the joy of Jesus’ birth with the shepherds. He also sent Gabriel to Mary with the message that she was to become the mother of God’s son.
When Gabriel told Mary about the significant change in her life, she was “greatly troubled.” She did not start planning, organizing, or asking thousands of questions. She trusted God’s messenger because she lived a life surrendered to God. She had peace and strength from God.
God sent another messenger to Joseph when he was planning to divorce Mary quietly. Joseph’s world turned upside down when Mary became pregnant. But he was a just man and did not want to hurt her, so he decided to do everything quietly to help her avoid more pain. Yet God sent an angel to tell him not to divorce Mary. He listened to God, who gave him peace and courage to marry Mary and raise Jesus.
These messengers brought God’s peace to individuals and groups of people. In the future, they will come with Jesus when He returns at His Second Coming.
Angels brought messages of peace.
Angels brought messages of courage and peace throughout the Old Testament. Since Christ’s death on the cross, we receive peace, courage, and strength through the Holy Spirit when we have faith and accept God’s greatest gifts of grace and forgiveness.
Jennifer Wake is the 2023 AFI Fort Belvoir Spouse of the Year. She is an Army wife, mother of 3 grown children, teacher, and writer. She is a chemistry/physics teacher by trade, an Accredited Financial Counselor by interest, and a writer/speaker of God’s Word by His calling. She is married to an Army Chaplain and has served in chapels in various locations, from Germany to the Mojave Desert. Over the past 25 years, she has made a home for the Wakes 14 times and persevered through multiple deployments. God has called her to mentor military spouses, especially chaplain spouses who serve sacrificially. Her passions include writing books and blogs, developing Bible training material, networking with women in the military, and professional quilting. She volunteers with Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) wherever she is stationed and with Planting Roots, a ministry for military women by military women. She resides in Springfield, VA, with her wonderful husband and dog and enjoys her quilting room.