This is PCS season in the lives of many military families. The orders come, the new duty stations are assigned, and families are gearing up for yet another move. The news of who’s moving where splatters my Facebook pages this time of year. Our connection through social media keeps me in the loop of their lives with their pictures, stories, and prayer requests. They live with a resilient spirit of hope, perseverance, and optimism that defines the life that comes with being a military wife and mom.
Through Just Moved Ministry, God has given me the privilege to be in the lives of military women all over the world. I am in my sweet spot of ministry when I can teach, mentor, encourage, listen to, pray for, and be with these women. From year to year, I see many of them again in different parts of the world and at different military installations. They become a part of my life, my heart, my prayers, and my memories.
They have become my friends and I have become their cheerleader.
You can do the same thing. Be a friend and a cheerleader to the military wife. Show tangible ways of love and care, pray for her, and encourage her. When a military family moves in your neighborhood or community, make every effort to meet them.
The following suggestions, in their own words, come straight from military women who shared with me how you can reach out to them when they move.
- While a greeting and a smile is always appreciated, don’t let it stop there. Be bold. Keep calling, encouraging, and inviting us to lunch, shopping, etc.
- Provide us with a list of local services: a handyman, mechanic, hairstylist, babysitters, churches, restaurants, etc.
- Offer to be our emergency contact for schools. That’s the first question the schools ask, and the one we never have an answer for.
- Offer to drive us to functions. We don’t know our way around, and that would encourage us to go.
- Invite us to church, or even lunch or dinner on Sunday. That’s a lonely day for us.
- Express your support. We appreciate hearing and reading your encouragement.
- Let us know you are praying for our soldier and for our family. Ask about our specific prayer needs. Don’t assume you know.
- Please don’t wait for us to ask or come to you. Knock on our door, talk to us at the mailbox, invite us over when we are out in the yard.
- We spend so much time making sure our children are settled in, but we don’t take care of ourselves during these transition times. I need to be included in Bible study, a girls’ night out, a lunch group.
- Accept new military families as if they are moving in for a lifetime–not just passing through. Please invest time in us.
- Include us in neighborhood parties. Wear name tags to help us learn names.
- People have picked up our check at a restaurant, or even paid for a cup of coffee. It brings tears to my eyes every time. Our family is so grateful.
- Churches can be a great help in our transitions. Welcome us and include us along with other newcomers at functions and events.
- Invite our children over for a play date.
- On special occasions or holidays at school or church, honor the dads or moms who are deployed. This means so much to our children.
- When my husband was deployed, a family in our church “adopted” our family. They helped us with house and yard maintenance, celebrated Birthdays, and included us for holidays. We will never forget them or what that meant to us.
- Be understanding and be listeners. Sometimes our needs go beyond a plate of cookies.
- Risk a broken heart. Love and support a military family even though we will eventually move and leave you. Allow your children to love ours as well, even though they may be sad when we leave.
It’s time to get off the bleachers and move from the sidelines to run with military families to the finish line!
From Susan’s updated and expanded new edition of After the Boxes are Unpacked. A Focus on the Family and Tyndale book available from Just Moved Ministry.