Have you ever been to a conference and while listening to the speaker you wondered what it would be like to get to know her – be her friend? I confess I’ve had such wishful thinking.
That’s why I was excited when asked to interview one of our speakers, Brenda Pace. Hope you enjoy the visit as much as I did.
PLANTING ROOTS: I know you’re busy traveling, Brenda. You’re also speaking, taking care of that chaplain husband and taking care of the grandchildren.
What did you do today that made you laugh at yourself?
BRENDA: I ordered a breakfast sandwich this morning at a cute little cafe. It was an open-faced biscuit with a perfectly cooked egg on one side. The other side of the biscuit was slathered with creamy butter and I saved it to eat with honey when the egg was gone.
I took one bite of my breakfast dessert and gagged.
The biscuit was not slathered with creamy butter, but goat cheese. I do not like goat cheese! I thought I ordered gouda cheese—instead I ordered goat. I was reminded that sometimes things don’t look—or sound—like what they appear.
PLANTING ROOTS: I understand you don’t have enough room in your house for all of us, but we would love to come over for coffee and dessert.
If we did, what would you serve?
BRENDA: I would offer you a steaming latte topped with plenty of whipped cream. I would probably offer you some delicious thumbprint cookies that I purchased at a local bakery. They are better than anything I could bake.
The cookies are addictive.
My friends and I used to stop by the bakery on the way home from high school to purchase a dozen—don’t judge—they are small and a dozen go down easy! They are a staple at every baby or wedding shower in my hometown.
PLANTING ROOTS: Delicious! Give me a minute. I’ll try not to talk with my mouth full. Your home is so warm and inviting.
Could you show us your favorite room in the house?
BRENDA: The family room and kitchen are the gathering rooms in our home. It’s an inviting space banked by a wall of windows overlooking some beautiful East Tennessee hills. We enjoy lovely sunrises in the morning. I could never tire of the view!
PLANTING ROOTS: I could stay here with you all day, but I was just wondering, what would you do with 30 minutes of free time?
BRENDA: If I had thirty minutes of free time I would read or work on a craft project in my office. Here’s one.
PLANTING ROOTS: Talking about the office, besides the Bible, what’s your favorite book and why?
BRENDA: I have too many favorites to narrow the choice to one!
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers is a staple. Two books that made a deep impact on my life are Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning, and A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels is my favorite on the topic of leadership.
I own all the fiction written by the 19th century Scottish author George MacDonald. Books have always been my friend. I come by it honestly.
When I married and moved out of my parents’ home, my father converted my bedroom into a library complete with rows of shelves to walk through. That man loved books, and he passed that love on to me.
PLANTING ROOTS: I’m glad you mentioned your family. There are hundreds of chaplain’s wives, but not all have taken this mantle to help military women the way you have. What’s the story behind your calling?
BRENDA: I had no idea what I was getting into when my husband raised his hand to take an oath for military service.
He made a commitment to serve his country and I made a commitment to be his partner in life. I was not prepared for military culture and the challenges I faced because of my husband’s acceptance of God’s call to be a military chaplain.
Instead of facing the situation and meeting the differences with excitement and enthusiasm for the ministry ahead, I entered this new arena of ministry with suspicion and fear of the unknown.
Were it not for a Christian commander’s wife who mentored me as she lovingly and patiently showed me the possibilities of military ministry, I would have resented this culture that for all intents and purposes was foreign to me.
I had an “aha” moment when I realized that wherever God’s call took my husband there would be a place for me—He would not leave me out of the equation.
God birthed in me a deep love for military families.
PLANTING ROOTS: We can tell. You are a treasure. Just like every military woman you’ve seen more than your share of challenges: moving, deployment, parenting alone, making new friends, spending chunks of time apart and an ever-present fear of adding to the number of wartime widows. How did you face your challenging times?
BRENDA: As a follower of Christ, I was dedicated to live for Christ wherever the road led, to include the detours and rough road, as well as the smooth, easy paths. Military life has certainly brought both!
The hard times forced me to put my faith into action. I also had to learn to be honest about my struggle. Journaling has always helped me in that process.
I write my thoughts to include fears and struggles and then go back and remind myself of truth from God’s Word to combat the fears and struggles. My foundational Scripture verse is Psalm 119:35, “Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.”
I also learned to be vulnerable with my friends. I value the deep relationships with other military friends. The shared experience of military life creates a significant bond. Military women make the best friends!
PLANTING ROOTS: This visit has been way too short. There’s so much more I would like to learn from you..
Brenda, you’ve co-authored Medals Above My Heart, The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional, and most recently authored a devotional series, The Journey of a Military Wife: God’s Truth for Every Step. Tell us about your new series.
BRENDA: Whether in war or peace, a military wife faces unique challenges. America’s involvement in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East has left the military wife in need of spiritual support to sustain her in uncertain times.
I wrote The Journey of a Military Wife, God’s Truth for Every Step in cooperation with the American Bible Society Armed Services Ministry. The book series looks to the Word of God as a valid foundation for the military wife in her unique life context. As a complete text, the books offer an overview of biblical insight for the military wife. Stand-alone sections address specific aspects of military life a wife will face over the course of her husband’s career including marriage and family issues, deployment, reintegration, relocation, and transitions.
The journey motif in the Bible serves as the metaphor for the structure of the book. Scriptural travel stories provide a sound approach to relate biblical truths and application to military wives who experience multiple moves, deployments, temporary duty assignments, family separations, and other transitions inherent to a life of military service. Studying such stories will point the military wife to the Lord for direction and help.
The books emphasize Scripture as the basis for the military wife to understand not only God’s care and concern for her, but also to recognize and utilize God’s Word as the answer for issues of everyday life and a guidebook for victorious living.
PLANTING ROOTS: We appreciate your books and value the opportunity to get to know you.
Thank you for standing alongside us at Planting Roots and for being one of our speakers next month. We appreciate your dedication to equipping, mentoring, and training Godly women. Your encouragement and inspiration help us help others in reaching their potential in Christ
Not on Amazon, but found at the American Bible Society: http://news.americanbible.org/article/national-update-winter-2014
You can visit Brenda by peeking at this youtube.com video on The Journey of a Military Wife.
Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels
Interview written by:
Christine Malkemes, who desires to encourage, equip and inspire women and men around the world in a deeper relationship with Christ. Her journey is filled with adventures, hard knocks, and great responsibility. She’s credentialed with the Assemblies of God, a retired Army Officer and a former member of the Women’s Army Corps. Her love is for her family, but her passion is to know God and make Him known to others. She writes with a prayer on her lips, an open Bible and a trusting heart in the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and teach. Visit Christine at her blog.