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Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. — Titus 2:3-5
I believe that we all have much to learn from the Juergens family—not just from Diana but also from her husband, Rich, and all eight of their daughters. While Diana’s name is on the cover as the author of Wife of a Soldier, a Journey of Faith, the faith of her whole family is at the heart of this wonderful book. This is a must-read for all of us who truly believe that the Bible is the handbook for military families during this global war on terror. It is a must-read for all who are seeking answers to the many questions brought on by the stresses of deployment. It is a must-read if confusion and loneliness have over-taken your life. . . .if military life hasn’t been what you wanted or expected and deployments have threatened or stolen your joy.
I will visit Diana this week in her home as she readies her household for yet another PCS. I will ask her, “How is Psalm 27 preparing you for this move?” One of the insights that she shares early on in her book is how she gets ready for each move and deployment—by preparing her heart in prayer. She writes, “It has been over fifteen years since my first lesson of God’s presence and faithfulness during my times of loneliness and separation. I still must prepare my heart for each move and deployment. I begin by reading and meditating on Psalm 27:13-14, which says, ‘I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!’ As a military spouse, I now understand there is a requirement on my life to learn to wait. God does not want me to lose heart in my challenging situations, but to trust in Him for the outcome.” (p. 32)
In an earlier visit to Diana’s home, I had asked her why she wrote this book. She said that in one of her quiet times with the Lord, He spoke in that still, small voice to her heart, “I want you to write a book.” She admitted to me that her first reaction to that direction was, “Me? I’m scared.” She said that God even gave her the titles to the chapters that particular day. So she began to journal, and waited. Two weeks later, our country was hit with the tragedy of 9/11. Life got crazy as her husband’s military duty became impacted by the demands on the call for the global war on terror. In 2005 she again took up the calling from God to work on the book project. She chose early mornings and late evenings to complete the manuscript with the aid of her daughters, whom she homeschools.
Let me briefly share some of her insights from this book:
Regarding prayer—“Many times after my husband deployed to Afghanistan, I would find one of our daughters crying. Their concern for their dad was overwhelming them. I would encourage them to take their emotion and use it for good. We would immediately being to pray for their daddy and the men and women serving with him. It was amazing to watch God take their hurting heart and restore a sense of peace as they gave their burdens to Him.” (p. 82)
Regarding the lessons of loneliness—“It was good for me to draw near to God, and to put my trust in Him, so I could tell of His works. I recognized that God was doing a work in me even though it was very painful. It was as if God took my husband out of my life on purpose to show me He was always there for me.” (p. 29)
Regarding her daughter’s sense of calling—in Hannah’s words: “It was at this point in my life that I made the choice to make the most of my life as a soldier’s daughter. I began to see things in a very different light. I was amazed at how much the Lord was teaching me through my trials.” (p. 73)
Regarding making their home a “place of refuge”—“Some of the mistakes I made were taking out my frustrations on my husband for his unpredictable schedule, pressing him for answers for the future, unloading my day on him before giving him the chance to unwind, allowing our children to demand his time before he even took off his uniform, and committing to extra activities without first consulting with him. My lack of communication with my husband and the children caused friction in our home. My goal became one of creating an atmosphere in our home where someone could share their feelings and be heard. With our large family this goal proved to be a challenge, but I made a commitment that day to strive for a peaceful home. I knew God was the key to making it happen.” (p. 115)
Regarding operational stress/combat trauma—“Our marriage withstood a very painful time after my husband’s return from Iraq. I believe the foundation of faith we both had spent building, prior to finding ourselves in the midst of a fire, is what protected us. . . . Forgiveness was the means by which God was able to restore our relationship. Now I thank God daily for my marriage and for what He taught me as I ran to Him even when my hurting heart wanted so desperately to run away.” (p. 125)
In the introduction to his wife’s book, Rich Juergens says, “This book is a story about a family’s journey of faith. It’s the story of imperfect people empowered by a mighty God. It’s a story about life lived to the fullest for the glory of the Lord. I pray that it is a blessing to you.” (Foreword)
It is a blessing to me—and to many. Thank you to all of the Juergens family. To God be the glory!
Juergens, Diana, Wife of a Soldier, A Journey of Faith (Baltimore: PublishAmerica, LLLP, 2009)
Questions to Share:
1. What have you learned from these excerpts from Wife of a Soldier, a Journey of Faith that you might like to apply in your own family?
2. Have you ever thought of your time in the military as a journey of faith? Why or why not?