Show Your Love and Say Thanks to Military Wives

In thinking about Project HELP: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, I thought it might be a good idea to plan a retreat for military wives. We honor the enlisted men and women who defend our country, but what about their spouses and the sacrifices they make? Little did I know that some of the military wives who came would share that their husbands have PTSD or were wounded and they needed this time for themselves so much!

To provide this time “away” was a blessing as I watched them connect with each other and our leaders. The retreat was beyond anything I could begin to explain—it was a God-appointed time just for them and they “soaked” it up.

Our purpose was to provide an opportunity for them to be refreshed and renewed. Using my military task force and my special PTSD task force, I had great resource people to help me think through this idea. I applied for a grant for military ministry, wanting to be able to use some of those funds to provide this retreat for the military wives so they would not have to pay anything to come.

We wanted the military wives to be able to get away from their homes and responsibilities. We wanted them to have time with God and be able to be with other military wives to share freely and openly. We wanted them to “have fun.”

The retreat was held at North Carolina WMU’s camp, which is a very peaceful place where the military wives could reflect in the beauty of God’s great creation. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

During the retreat, the women experienced Bible study and sessions led by a military wife and military mother. There was time for laughter with fun and games. We had a Christian comedian come and share a skit with them. They enjoyed crafts and a time of actual “pampering” with facials, makeovers, manicures, and hair styling. There was even an afternoon for swimming. We had good food, good conversations, and times for worship and reflection.

Comments included things like “I needed this so much,” “I enjoyed getting to talk with other military wives who understand my life,” “I was so glad to have a leader who has been a military wife and is a military mom,” “I haven’t been away from my family in 6 years,” and “I can’t describe how this retreat has helped me personally and spiritually.”

As you think about PTSD, think about ways you can minister to the families of those who have PTSD.

Margaret Harding is associate for adults, North Carolina WMU.

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