Humbled by the sacrifices of military families…..

I have had a lump in my throat all day.  There have been jumbled thoughts about two children in our preschool who have lost their dads while serving our country….one of them recently.  I have been thinking about another new child who has BOTH parents deployed.  I have been thinking about those families I have come to know better and others I know well that are keeping down the fort while their spouses are deployed.  I have been thinking about ways we can help. I have been thinking about the 2 1/2 year old who has paid attention at chapel time and knows the pledge of alligiance by heart and is beginning to know what it means to respect God and country.

I have been working on a grant proposal for a few months that will help us serve military families better.  Today, I have wanted to put it to bed and added Pastor’s letter of support to the grant.  That did it!  The emotion has been on the surface all day and in a few lines the letter made the everyday challenges of military families so real.  I am so grateful to be part of this team and part of this community of faith. So grateful to be part of this school where we teach children how to respect God and country.  I am inspired to put more effort into being part of that education. I am inspired to pray for those military families I know a little harder.  I am inspired to hug the children I get to see everyday a little longer.
—-Melissa

Here is pastor’s letter:
People in trouble or under tension are often more receptive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially when Gospel words have been preceded by Gospel actions. That’s the premise behind Concordia’s outreach to families of deployed military.

The nature of military life is that families are usually stationed far from home. When a spouse is deployed, that fragile support system becomes even smaller. Imagine having several small children, a deployed spouse, and no one but yourself to turn to for help when you needed it. Imagine having several small children, a deployed spouse, and no one but yourself to turn to for help when someone in uniform showed up at your door to give you the news that your spouse had been injured or killed. What would you do? Where would you turn? Who would you look to for help if you were far from home?

Now imagine this. What if the CHURCH could be that support system? What if the CHURCH could be the one who helped these military spouses in need? What if the CHURCH could be home for people all alone and separated from their families? Would people touched by that sort of caring, authentic, and tangible love be more open to the Gospel?

We are in a community with a large military presence where long deployments are commonplace. We have direct contact, through the 175 children in our preschool, with many of those families. And through those families, we have contact with many more deployed families.

With your help, we can help them. We can do good, and we can also have a direct impact for God. That’s why we’re asking you to partner with us in pioneering this new outreach to military families with deployed spouses.

 

Rev. Richard Schmidt

Concordia Church and School

Life Lessons

What a delightful birthday I had on Thursday.  Even before breakfast I got a hug and a present from a special family at the preschool. Then I enjoyed breakfast with my sweet son, Andres who took the photo below of me.  We had a great time talking about life, love, culture and other such things.  Lunch with my wonderful daughter Elizabeth and dear friend. I was serenaded by a class full of four year olds and got the most delicious group hug from them!  Then serenaded by my sweet mom and daughter in the evening and finally a flower delivery late at night!  I loved the texts, emails, phone calls and facebook messages wishing me a happy birthday. I love the life God gave me and how He whispers to me to absolutely revel in it!  And I do!

A while back I read an article by a 90-something year old woman who wrote down life lessons equal to half her age.  They were humorous, home spun and quite profound and witty truths.  I thought I wanted to try my hand at something similar (although whether they are profound or witty will certainly be up for debate).  They are unique to my life journey but maybe something will resonate with you.  I wanted to write them down because I am always looking for ways to document life for my children.  Mothering them has been my sweetest task and the truths in this list I hope mean something to them and hopefully to the rest of my family also.  Let me know in the comments below if you find something true for you!  We may have walked a similar path at some point! Now, that’s a cool thought!

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In honor of my 57th birthday, I came up with the number of 24 life lessons.  Here they are:

Life lessons
1Trust God. He is good.  When life doesn’t make sense you might be tempted to think He is not.  He still is.
2Lean on God in the good times. Its good practice for the bad times
3You will have bad times. The good news is they won’t last forever. The better news is that God is by your side through every second of it.
4When things are hard celebrate the small victories, like: “I got out of bed this morning. Yeah!”
5Never pass up a hug or a good laugh. In fact, seek them out. Every day.
6Figure out a way to spend time with children. They have more wisdom and share love easily and teach you to live fully the present moment.
7Never cut church out of the equation. It’s how you show God you love Him by being around people who aren’t perfect (like yourself). Oh, and you need others who are in the same struggle as you are. It’s called life.
8Let the beauty that is in you show every day and behave as one who is beautiful no matter what the mirror may say.
Do a kindness every day.  That makes you beautiful.
9Do something creative every day as if it was a complete necessity.  It is.
10Err on the side of kindness. Think the best of others especially when it is hard. You will fail every day. Seek forgivness and start fresh the next day.  This is important because your biggest regrets will be failures of kindness.
11Use sweet words in your everyday life to anyone you meet. It may seem weird to some, surprising to others, but they will all love it. (except maybe the guy at the take out window who gave me my order and I said: “Thank you, hon!”)
12Be intentional about doing small kindnesses to others. This does not come naturally.
13In a weird reversal, your toughest times will also be the best of times. When you look back, you would never have learned so much any other way or seen the kindnesses of God and others so clearly.
14Life is full of delightful surprises. Always expect them. They will come.
15Look for someone everyday that you can encourage. It doesn’t cost anything to share a smile, a kind or encouraging word, a pat on the back for a good effort or result. It will make a difference in their mood and yours.   It’s a good day when you have done this.
16Do hard things. You will feel satisfied when you accomplish them.
17Remind yourself to listen more. Just because you may have the right answers doesn’t mean you should offer them.
The greatest thing you can “do” for someone is to sit and listen to them.
18. Act and respond in a way that reflects YOUR character not your circumstance or what OTHERS deserve. Your response is always under your control and says more about you than anyone else.
20. Write notes. Be encouraging by telling others the good you have observed in them. Be specific.
21. Remember you have the power to inspire others. Someone is always observing you and learning. Inspire them without trying to,  just by your living.
22.  To love God and lean on God you have to learn from God. You can do this in many ways but it wont be complete until you read regularly from His life instruction book … the Bible.
23. Love God. You can only really do this by loving people. That’s the hard part. (See above about “Do hard things”)
24. You have no individual achievements. All achievements are as a result of a group effort. Thank the people who were on your team even if they didn’t know they were on your team.
25. Grace is what made whatever good you have done effective. Extend grace …. Especially to those who you or others think do not deserve it. (yes….I know that’s the definition)