In this interview with military wife and author Sara Horn, Grace Clausing shares some helpful tips for making a difference in the lives of military families. Think through what you can do as we celebrate our freedom this weekend!
If it’s not your own family member serving in the military, chances are, you know someone who has been affected by the war in Iraq. It can be difficult to know just how to support those whose loved ones are serving, but military wife Sara Horn has some firsthand experience. Not only has her husband, Cliff, served in Iraq, but as the first denominational religion reporter to cover faith from the war zone for Baptist Press, Horn has an acute awareness of life on the front lines:
"The thing that struck me hardest was that when you’re in the military, it doesn’t matter what denomination or church you ascribe to or belong to; it’s whether you know Jesus or not," Horn says.
So as you approach the admirable task of reaching out to military wives, let these 4 easy tips help you get started.
1. Be a friend.
For Horn, life as the spouse left behind was tough at times, especially when it came to hanging out with friends. "When your husband is deployed, you suddenly find yourself alone, which can be hard because typically the friends you have are couple friends and you’re suddenly without your [other] half," says Horn. Finding other women to do things with can be challenging. According to Horn, "The friends you do have are already busy with their husbands and families, so it’s hard to find time to do things together."
2. Be specific.
"I was frequently told to let people know if there was anything they could do to help. I know people were being well-meaning, but I can’t tell you how hard it was!" says Horn. She recommends calling the military wife and telling her a specific task you’d like to do and asking when a good time would be to do it. It may be tough for the military wife to ask for help, so volunteering to do a particular chore allows her to feel like she’s not asking someone to do something they don’t necessarily want to do.
Most wives want to talk about their husband, so don’t be afraid to ask about him. Horn encouraged their friends to email her husband, but she noticed that out of sight, out of mind often came into play. "If you want to support a military spouse, be willing to support and do things for the deployed spouse," says Horn. "My husband and I are still a couple even when we’re apart."
4. Don’t talk politics.
If you don’t agree with the war, don’t share that with a military wife. Keep your political opinions to yourself. Simply thank them for their husband’s service. "None of us wish for war or hope our spouses will be deployed, but when our spouses are called to serve, they go, and they need all the support they can get," says Horn. "So do their families."
Above all, a heart of service is the best gift you can give a military wife. Pray for them and their families. Offer to baby-sit or mow their lawn. Be a friend by investing time and energy into a relationship with them. Don’t let fear of rejection hold you back. Serving the wives whose husbands are bravely serving our country is one small way we can be Jesus’ hands and feet.
Great Website for Military Wives
Her second website, Wives of Faith, is Horn explains that both websites are works in progress and are constantly being updated, so she encourages people to check back often.
With her husband having served in Iraq, Sara Horn’s passion for military families has increased. To channel that passion, she founded Wives of Faith geared toward military wives whose husbands are currently deployed. The website encourages wives to get together and share with one another. It’s a source of community for the spouse that’s left alone at home. Sara is also the author of GOD Strong: A Military Wife’s Spiritual Survival Guide and the Bible study, Tour of Duty.