Just after midnight, under a mid-October Texas sky, I stood with 49 other 18-21-year-olds and attempted to focus on my “home” for the next six weeks. My fatigue and uncertainty were mirrored in the faces around me. No one spoke.
We stood. And we waited.
Hours before, our military bus had lumbered through the gates of Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, and each fledgling airman—gathered from swearing-in ceremonies across the nation—had leaned forward with a giddy mixture of fear and eager anticipation.
What’s ahead? Can we really do this?
Thankfully, there was no time for doubts to take root because the moment we stepped from the bus, we entered a season of testing—stripping unwanted “civilian” habits and building newer, leaner ones.
So began a time of intense basic military training, where we learned to dress, eat, communicate, and live according to military standards—specifically, the United States Air Force.
Years, um…decades, have sped by since my short time in south Texas, but much of the training has continued to be part of my life as a mom and as a woman who longs to live for Christ.
From those intensive weeks, three things continue to be foundational in my Christ-walk:
> I must know my Commander-in-Chief. As a young airman, when our instructors invaded our space and posed (shouted) the question about the identity of the Commander-in-Chief, the correct response at that time was, “Sir, President Ronald Reagan, sir!” It was imperative that I knew whom I served. Who was the ultimate authority in my new world?
In the day-to-day struggles and challenges of being a wife and mother (and the zillions of other roles we fill), we must know whom we serve. Who is our Commander-in-Chief? Who is our ultimate authority as we seek to prepare and train little ones for their life journeys of Kingdom work?
Do we serve the Lord Jesus? Do we daily surrender to His authority? Are our families aware of our allegiance?
> I must focus on the voice of my leader. Regardless of the distractions and manufactured chaos around us, all new recruits learned to recognize the voice of their sergeant, or leader. Focused discipline was required to wade through the cacophony of shouts and to listen for one voice.
Likewise, as women of God, we must focus on the voice of the One we serve. Are we intentional about stepping away from the constant pull of social media, cellphones, and an endless sea of activity? Are we pursuing times of stillness and quiet in His presence?
Are we teaching our children the same disciplines?
> I must remember my mission. An airman’s mission—in whatever area of technical expertise—centers around the ultimate purpose: to protect and defend. We learned that our individual strengths and abilities combined to make a strong squadron, or flight. We were stronger together, as we worked in unity for a common purpose.
As wives and mothers, do we remember our mission? Are we living with goals and purpose? Are we loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and teaching our children to do the same? As a family, do we strive to be stronger together?
At the end of basic training, after being transformed from a rag-tag crew of 50 to one unified flight, we were given new orders and assigned to bases across the country and around the world. The time had come to leave the safety of our temporary home and to put our training and discipline to active use.
Moms, we are leaders in our children’s season of basic training.
Our homes are safe zones, where we put into practice the things of God—His precepts and building blocks for authentic life. This is where our families explore and discover their uniqueness in Christ and realize who they are and how they are wired to glorify the One Who created them.
Will we stumble through times of doubt, wondering if we have what it takes to be a mom after God’s heart? I sure did. But through each moment—in fist-pumping victories and palm-against-the-forehead failures—I slowly learned to lean on another, vital take-away from those early days of training.
This directive was woven into our airman DNA:
Airman, don’t lock your knees.
The first weeks of training included endless tests of endurance. In addition to hours in the classroom, each day involved running, hiking, climbing, and then standing for extended periods of time. Locking our knees made us vulnerable to collapse and was a quick way to pass out while in formation (which no one wanted to do).
Our lives as wives, moms, and women of Christ is a race of endurance. We will grow tired and question if what we’re doing makes a difference. And we risk fainting from our efforts, if we’re not willing to bend.
Moms, don’t lock your knees. Be willing to bend the knee …
… to seek God’s heart in earnest and genuine prayer.
… to humble yourself and your attitude in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s work within you.
… to serve others with love and compassion.
… and to maintain a teachable heart as you follow this most holy of callings of forging arrows for His glory.
Moms, you are not alone. You are loved and cherished by our awesome Creator God.
Together, may we love and serve Him with honor.
Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us
• Hebrews 12:1 •
Cover photo courtesy of Zach Lucero on Unsplash