My front door welcome!

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It was a great weekend with the Chaplain. We drove to the Smoky Mountains where a group of seminary students and their families welcomed us. These students are looking forward to being military chaplains one day. Along with two other ‘seasoned’ military chaplains, we responded to questions as these young people inquired about what it would mean to accept a call to serve God and country.  Their questions were honest and insightful. I pray our responses were likewise.
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A Balancing Act

It can be difficult to provide the right words that speak to the balance between the joys and challenges of life.  The Chaplain and I have had a rich experience during his time of military service. As a result, we are enthusiastic and hopeful, yet we didn’t want to paint the picture too rosy and light for these future chaplains.  Military life is a challenge, but I believe if it is a call God has placed on your life there will be grace to meet the challenge.
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Welcome Challenge?

When I read Scripture it’s almost as if the Word encourages us to say welcome to challenges in life. James puts it this way:
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way (James 1:2 MSG)
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James talks about challenges again in James 1:12 (MSG): Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
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Bring it On?

I don’t want to be glib by arrogantly declaring, ‘bring it on!’ But, I also don’t want to shy away from challenges that life brings my way. I know that with God’s help I can face any challenge. These Scriptures from James remind me of that fact.
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My prayer today as I reflect upon the weekend is that we can continue to encourage the young people we met this weekend as they embrace the joys and the challenges ahead.
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How do these Scripture in James speak to you about challenge? Are you able to welcome challenges in life?
©Brenda Pace, 2010
There once was a girl, who married a preacher boy.

She was young and immature and her mother in law thought she needed to become more flexible and adaptable.

The thought must have become a prayer because the girl and the preacher boy (now to be known as ‘the chaplain’) went to ‘how to become flexible and adaptable’ school,otherwise known as the US Army.

Even though the girl was not very tall, God used the Army to help her grow.

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Fort Benning, Georgia

At Ft Benning she was blessed to have a commander’s wife named Sandra who taught her what a joy it was to support military chapels and to become involved in the chapel women’s ministry PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel).

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At Ft. Benning the girl also received a Master’s degree, homeschooled her boys and learned new meaning to make a joyful noise unto the Lord from basic trainees who shouted Hooah instead of Amen.

And she grew…

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Wiesbaden, Germany

The chaplain made the girl very happy when he shared the news they were moving to Germany. It was there the girl developed a new sense of trust as she waved farewell to the chaplain when he went to the field on a regular basis.

She also had the opportunity to serve in Christian community (Camp Pieri) and live in a German community.

Mom and Joseph take Gregory to his first day of German school.

aAnd she grew…

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Fort Monmouth, New Jersey

From Germany to New Jersey the girl and her family made wonderful memories as they explored their own country after living in another.

American History firsthand!

It also gave the girl and her chaplain lifelong friends.

This friendship has been solidified by laughter and tears and four assignments together.

Our dear friends the Bloomstrom family.

and she grew…

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Fort Benning, Georgia (Round 2)

She returned with the chaplain to Ft. Benning where she developed friendships that are still rich and deep today.

Me with Gwen and Ruth back in the day

Friends like these and a close knit neighborhood Bible study…

Austin Loop Bible Study--Such great memories!

are all part of being able to say:

and she grew.

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Seoul, Korea

When the chaplain shared the news that Korea would be his next assignment, the girl asked him whom he had made angry?  Korea ended up being a wonderful place to live—at least for 2 years. The girl tutored Korean children, served as president of the PWOC…

So enjoyed spending time with these kids!

and met two friends who would remain life long sisters in Christ.

I brought wonderful treasures home from Korea...especially my friendship with Karen.

One of these women would be a catalyst of growth in the girl’s life when she made the statement:

Let’s write a book together…and they did—twice.

Book signing with Carol after the publication of Medals above My Heart.

And she grew…

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Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

The girl followed the chaplain to Ft. Leavenworth and was surprised as she sat in chapel one day she recalled a prayer she had prayed years before when the chaplain had attended a brief school there.

Fort Leavenworth is a beautiful historic Army post.

The girl was attracted to the history, tradition and small town life and she asked the Lord if she could live there one day–and here she was. This place ended up being a good and stretching place for the girl and her family.

The girl grew …

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Fort Bragg, North Carolina

The happiest thing about going to Ft. Bragg for the girl was how happy it made the chaplain.

Richard wearing his favorite beret.

It was also the place where the girl had a home that was not a parsonage, a rental or military housing.

Teacups took on new meaning in friendship and ministry…

Time for TEA with my dear friends Shellie and Deb.

Significant service with special people added to the joy of this place.

Tish and our friend Linda made service in PWOC not only meaningful...but fun!

But the delight of the girl’s heart here was the laughter of her family.

Laughter + teenagers=worth it!

And she grew…

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Washington, DC

In DC the girl began to describe the chaplain as a slug (commuting in DC is described as ’slugging’), even though he was working extremely hard trying to make dreams come true for others. There was much ministry and continued memory making with dear friends…

Felt so privileged to serve in ministry with these women!

Lots of great ministry trips with my dear friend Victoria during this time. Here we are at the Alaska pipeline. Amazing memories!

and indeed the girl grew…

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Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Round 2)

Then it was back to Ft. Bragg and if the chaplain was happy with his first tour there, he was thrilled with this tour.

Richard's 'change of stole' ceremony for 82d Airborne Division Chaplain

Little did he know…

Here the girl learned the meaning of the word sustain, as she literally felt the prayers of others throughout the chaplain’s absence.

Destination: Afghanistan followed by Iraq

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During this time the girl and the chaplain added to their family when their son Gregory married beautiful Megan…

Gregory and Megan

and a little girl named Jolie stole their hearts.

Sweet little Jolie at almost age 2

And the girl grew…

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Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania

In Carlisle, PA the girl learned lessons about how to grow older with grace and that one can never retire from ministry.

Me and Diane with our hero Joy.

Music and mentors are hallmarks of this place for her.

The most fun singing I've had in years. Thanks Cindi!

Oh…and while she was here she spent time with some amazing

Heroes on the HomeFront in Colorado.

She and the chaplain added to their family with the birth of Noah

Precious baby Noah

and the marriage or their youngest son Joseph to lovely Danya.

Joseph and Danya say "I do"

And she grew…

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Washington DC…again

When the girl and the chaplain returned to DC the watchword was ‘simplicity.’ The chaplain tried not to brag about his 3 minute commute to work, and was grateful to not be described as a slug anymore. The little one bedroom apartment became a productive place where the girl wrote a second book with her friend, and went to school in her pajamas.

Do you have a copy?

Truly enjoyed my year of seminary at Liberty!

She enjoyed fellowship with the great friends known as the brunch bunch…

? these people!

and some great chaplain wives…

Sheryl, Sunny and Merial...women I love and admire

and a new ministry endeavor…

Judy and I work together on the conference "Strengthening the Cords of Relationship"

As the chaplain worked assignments for others, the girl wondered daily where their next assignment would be?

And she grew…

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Atlanta, Georgia

No one was more surprised when that assignment turned out to bring the girl and the chaplain to Atlanta.

Time in Atlanta was too short!

And no one was more pleased to be closer to Jolie, Noah and now sweet little Harper.

This little girl is sunshine for the soul

God has used the time in ATL to prepare her heart for the next step of the journey. And she does believe it is the next step. And with these wonderful people by her side she is ready to jump into the future.

And she does believe she will grow…

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©Brenda Pace, 2010