Heart Talk - March from Susan Miller
Most of you know I speak at military installations all over the world. It is one of my "mountain top experiences in ministry" to embrace our military "moving" spouses with God's love and encouragement. Many of them face the stress of living on the edge of uncertainty, and with fear of the unknown. Yet, they also live with a resilient spirit of hope, perseverance, and optimism that defines the life that comes with being a military wife and mom. Whether they are Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, or Navy--they hold a special place of respect and honor in my heart.
In January, I went to Minot AFB, North Dakota. (Yes, North Dakota in January!) "Why not Minot? Freezin’ is the reason!" is the standard question and answer slogan for all who go there.
Minot may be freezing, but the military men and women, as well as their spouses, exuded a warmth that melted my heart. The pressure, stress, and long hours of their mission wear heavily on the life of each person, and of course, has a ripple effect on marriages and families. Yet again, the resilient spirit of all those I met shines through, in spite of their circumstances.
Humor would break the ice as military moms described what they wear, and how many layers of clothing they put on, (and on their children) to keep warm when they go outside. Their stories of "snow survival" ranged from hilarious to humbling. Then a storm of emotions would spill out through their words and tears as they described the sacrifices, the loneliness, and the effects of living life in bitter cold weather conditions. Just like the sun brilliantly reflects on the snow after a storm, their smiles would come -- as friends connected, and community was built through their shared experiences.
When you enter Minot AFB, these are the words over the gate: "Only the best come North." I certainly believe that, after meeting the men and women in uniform, their spouses, and many of their families. As you leave the base, it reads: "...and better when they go forth." Yes...I am certainly better for having been to Minot, and better equipped for my mission as I go forth!
From My Heart,
"Miller melts the ice of our military community"
By Jamie Helbling
Northern Sentry, January 30, 2009
Despite the mercury dipping well below zero on Saturday, the atmosphere at the Jimmy Doolittle Center was warm and sunny during the uplifting presentation “Surviving Your Circumstances,” given by Susan Miller, founder and president of Just Moved! Ministries.
More than 90 individuals received a large dose of encouragement as they listened to Miller share the secrets to finding joy despite circumstances.
In addition to the free seminar sponsored by the Base Chapel and Airman and Family Readiness Center, participants were fed a delicious meal and were given a free copy of Miller’s book, “After the Boxes Are Unpacked.”
“I thought this was a very positive seminar; it gave us a good outlook on life,” said Airman Savannah Laquaglia of the 5th Force Support Squadron who attended with her husband Nicolai. The couple will celebrate their first year of marriage in three months and expressed gratitude for the insights shared at the seminar, despite the fact that their roles are reversed with Savannah being the active duty spouse.
“It’s great to know that we are not the only ones struggling in a move,” said Capt. Eric Balls of the 23rd Bomb Squadron and his wife Tina. “We especially appreciated the tools on how to respond to your spouse.”
The information presented by Miller was timeless and offered hope for all of life’s circumstances, no matter what an individual’s age or situation may be.
Along with the relevant, real life examples from her own experiences, Miller shared some golden nuggets of wisdom with the audience that kept pen’s busy writing as fast as they could keep up.
“You can be bitter or you can be better.”
“You will never grow if you stay in your comfort zone.”
“Don’t hold onto things too tightly, they are just things. Know what to cherish and what to cling to. Cherish the things you left behind, such as your home, your friendships and your memories, but cling to what you’ve brought with you; your family, your values and your traditions. Ask yourself what you used to let go of so you can start over and move ahead.”
Miller backed all of her support and encouragement with verses from the Bible and gave credit to surviving her circumstances solely on God’s provision.
“God goes before you, with you and hems you in from behind. Hopefully He is within you as well,” said Miller. “Security is found only in God and not in your circumstances.”
To learn more about surviving a move or overcoming other struggles, visit the Just Moved! website at www.justmoved.org.
Permission for use of this article was given by the Minot AFB Northern Sentry and BHG Publishing