Join Kori Yates, Planting Roots Director, as she introduces our 2021 theme: Rise Up, based on Nehemiah 2:18

Rise Up

by Kori Yates

“And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.”

Nehemiah 2:18

We live in a gated community—not the expensive, fancy one with the big houses, but the secure one where houses (or stairwells) mostly look the same. I’ve experienced lockdowns and DefCon status changes, ID checks and Visitor Centers. Our military installations are not what they used to be, but they are still the place of protection and community. Whether we worship in chapel or shop at the commissary, it’s the hub of our military life.

Frontier life was much the same. As the forts popped up on the frontier, they built walls as they built homes. The same happens down range or overseas. We build walls while we build houses. One without the other doesn’t work.

We need both protection and community.

Nehemiah knew the importance of the wall as well. The journey to Jerusalem, gathering the “troops”, and building the wall was a feat only explained by the presence of God. This moment came during a time in history where cities lived or died based on the security of the wall.

As Christian, military women today, the wall is just as important. Our battle, as Scripture tells us, is not against flesh and blood “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Even though our walls are not tangible, they still provide protection and community—both necessary in our walk with Christ.

We need each other.

Whether we wrestle with identity, face transitions head on, figure out our finances, struggle with our health, or work through difficult seasons in our relationships, we need each other. We battle thoughts in our head, feelings in our heart, and challenges in our circumstances—things that can knock us down for sure. We’re all there. We don’t battle alone.

We will walk together into 2021 intentionally rising up from “every weight, and sin which clings so closely” (Romans 12:1-2). Instead, together, the Lord can use us to build protection against isolation, fear, bitterness, PTS, suicidal thoughts, anger, loneliness, and sadness for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Encouraging and equipping each other for the battle, we can rise up and, much like the Israelites, the Lord can use us to do miraculous things.

This year we’ll take a hard look at what knocks us down and equip and encourage each other to rise up. Only through the Gospel, the hope and truth of God, can we do so. We need protection and we need community. We have them both here.

Join us this year as we RISE UP. You have a place on the wall.


Lord, lead us to build and defend where you’ve stationed us today. Give us courage and strength, Lord. We also pray for the community you have prepared for us. In moments when we feel overwhelmed or overrun, please bring people who understand the power of your Gospel and will rally with us. Amen.