In this week’s Monday Minute, Brenda Pace shares 3 steps we can all take to help others during deployment.
3 “Steps” to Help Others Flourish During Deployment
by Brenda Pace
A military wife’s concern for a husband deployed with a combat unit can be overwhelming. I recently watched the movie Indivisible based on real-life Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather. In one scene Heather sees another young military wife sitting alone on a bench. She introduces herself to Amanda and enters into conversation in which they realize both of their husbands are deployed. Heather identifies with and shares Amanda’s deployment frustration when she says, “I don’t know about you, but this is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Oh, that every deployed wife would have a woman like Heather to come alongside and say, “It’s okay to feel overwhelmed.” Even better if that woman follows those words with, “You’re not the only one who feels that way.” Amanda’s relief is visible in this scene as Heather gives her permission to acknowledge the emotion and isolation that often accompany military family separation.
Don’t Let Her Sit Alone
Amanda and Heather’s husbands are the ones deployed, but these women express their own sense of feeling battle-weary. Their weariness does not come from combat, but from lack of sleep because of a crying baby, anxiety for a husband in a danger zone, and responsibility of holding down the fort at home. The struggle is beyond real!
Military wives can become independent and self-reliant out of necessity and experience. The tendency to think, “I have to be strong for others and do things for myself” can lead to hiding insecurities and if not acknowledged and dealt with can result in loneliness, exhaustion, and depression. Heather could have ignored Amanda sitting alone on a bench and Amanda could have rejected Heather’s invitation of friendship, but they both took a courageous step toward one another. Heather spoke simple words with profound possibilities when she offered her contact info and said, “If you want to talk or hang…” The scene ends with the encouraging picture of Amanda no longer alone but seated on the bench beside Heather.
3 Steps to Help Others Flourish During Deployment
Family separations are inherent to military life. Deployment, training, and schools for the military service member will all happen—and happen again. A commitment not to go it alone is key and essential to making it through a military family separation. In the movie, Heather reached out to Amanda and they found in each other a battle buddy. Their shared military experience provided an immediate bond that became a support system throughout the deployment. They both understood the challenge of war whether on the battlefield or at home. The steps they took are steps you and I can take to help someone flourish even during deployment.
- A Step Toward—Take a courageous step toward a wife experiencing deployment. Start a conversation and find ways to offer practical help without being invasive. Simple deeds like providing a meal, sending a note or text, making a phone call, and if she’s a mom—offering to watch her children, can be the thing that turns the tide of a day during a deployment.
- A Step Beside—Come alongside and offer a safe space to express emotions. Guard against telling a deployed wife to just “be positive,” but help her not stay stuck in the negative.
- A Step Ahead–Continue to reach out to offer words of encouragement and acts of service throughout the deployment. Think ahead and find out about birthdays, anniversaries, or other significant days that you could provide support.
Verses to Ponder
The following Scriptures use encouragement to describe coming alongside someone to give aid, strength, comfort, or courage. How can you do this for someone experiencing deployment?
- Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)
- And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Dear Lord, strengthen the sister who is alone today because of a military deployment or other cause of separation. Encourage her through the power of your Holy Spirit and intersect her life with someone who will sit with her, walk with her, talk with her, and be a friend who shares your love. Amen.