Moving can require a litany of give-aways: spices, cleaners, opened food packets, and an odd assortment of containers from refrigerators and cupboards. Somehow a stack of things always seems to remain that needs to be shifted to friends or family whether moving across town or across the ocean. My neighbor once left cinnamon, salt and a variety of seasonings for every occasion. Another friend gave hairspray, bathroom cleaner and cat tray liners—and we didn’t even have a cat. Sometimes we leave or get items we’ll never use or don’t know what they are. More important is what we leave behind emotionally when we move.
Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. — Colossians 3:23
When we were writing the first draft of the HomeBuilders Bible study, Making Your Marriage Deployment Ready, we did what was suggested and got a copy of the Command magazine published by Officer’s Christian Fellowship in order to track down an article by Anne Borcherding entitled “Share My Calling.” The article begins with Anne telling the reader about a conversation she had with her husband, Rob, when he explained: “‘This isn’t just a job for me. This is my calling, and I need you to share my calling.’ As he described his commitment to the Army, my husband’s voice was filled with emotion. It grabbed my attention. Rob and I were attending an intensive marriage retreat before the first of three deployments to Iraq. God opened my eyes that day to an essential element of both Rob’s service in the military and our marriage.”
My husband and I were drawn in to the truth in her article. This was important. “Share My Calling” went on to include a description of Anne’s struggle with understanding her husband’s devotion to military duty . . . . and her role in all of that. Anne wrote, “I did not immediately embrace the idea of shared calling. It was a process. Initially I thought, ‘I love my husband, I am there for him, but the military is his calling not mine.’ However, God began to open my eyes to a different outlook.”
Her writing contained a definition of “calling” and also four ways in which God revealed to her, over time, how He wanted her to be obedient to His purpose for their marriage: by examining her attitude, by recognizing the link between her husband’s profession and his identity, by remembering God’s purpose for marriage, and by reflecting on her biblical role as a helper to her husband. Next she summarized six tough questions, with biblical answers, which she worked through in order to further analyze this whole issue of her husband’s noble calling to military service—and what it meant to her as a wife.
Our co-authors, Keith and Sharon Morgan, agreed that this mention of shared calling should be a part of the deployment Bible study. We deemed it so pivotal that we put it into the very first chapter. You see, this matter is at the very core of some struggles being experienced in military marriages today (“I didn’t sign up for this!!”). Our decision was validated by feedback from our field test groups. It turns out that the two-page section in Session One of Making Your Marriage Deployment Ready resonated with several of the spouses, and they heartily endorsed it to be included in the final draft.
Here are the discussion questions we ask on pages 13-14 of Making Your Marriage Deployment Ready after explaining the topic:
— Have you ever considered your military service as a “calling”?
— At this point in your marriage, would you say you have a “shared calling” to the military? Is that something you’ve even thought about?
— If you were to have a shared calling, how do you think that would affect the way you view deployment?
What happened in Rob & Anne Borcherding’s life after she prayed and worked through this personal challenge? “Believing God to be true to His Word, I chose to join Rob in his call to military service. Life has not magically become easier. His three trips to Iraq didn’t just fly by, and feelings of frustration haven’t disappeared. But, I have a new-found desire to serve, love, and minister to the military community. I am far less irritated by, and more supportive of, the demands his job places on him. My better attitude has also brought a surprise added benefit—an improved relationship with my husband!”
Perhaps you struggle with the matter of a shared calling to the military. Please be encouraged–Mrs. Borcherding’s experience is meant to be shared. As explained in 2 Corinthians 1:3,4: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
Questions to Share:
- What part has God played in your decision to join the military or to remain in military service?
- Pray together for opportunities to minister to others who are experiencing deployment. Serving others is one way in which we can take the focus off of ourselves and on to a higher purpose of the military calling.