July 1863, 163,000 soldiers swarmed the town of Gettysburg.
There, a woman named Elizabeth, the wife of a cemetery caretaker, was left to fill her husband’s shoes while he was away at war. After the three-day fight that determined the course of the Civil War, she was charged with the lonely task of digging graves for 108 massacred bodies.
She was six months pregnant.
That strength is the legacy of faith and courage from these and others were stories that Jocelyn Green, author and speaker shares in her fiction and non-fiction books. And it’s the encouragement she shared with women at a military wives appreciation dinner on Thursday, March 12, hosted by Regent University’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs and First Baptist Church of Norfolk.
Two hundred women from the Hampton Roads community dined together as they celebrated the victories and struggles that come along with being the spouse of a member of the United States Armed Forces; and looking back on the struggles and triumphs of the women who’d served their nation generations before.
She shared five pillars of truth for the military spouse: truths she’s experienced in her own right as a writer of historical fiction, and as a wife of a member of the U.S. Coast Guard.
1. You are in charge of your actions and attitudes
“We’re not in charge of the outcomes of our situations,” said Green. “We do our best to leave the outcome of our circumstances to God.”
Green shared a letter written by Martha Washington, echoing the words of the apostle Paul’s being “content in all circumstances,” after outliving all four of her children and bearing the weight of her husband’s service to the budding United States.
“We have to decide if it’s the seeds of bitterness or contentment that will be allowed to take root in our lives,” said Green. “This is always in our control.”
2. You are in good hands
Green shared the story of Martha Custis Lee, who after suffering the death of her husband, Robert E. Lee, wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper who called his death “untimely.”
“She knew that God had a higher purpose for the trials that she couldn’t see,” said Green.
3. You are not confined by our own strength
“We don’t know until we’re tried what we’re capable of with Christ’s help,” said Green.
4. You are not alone
“We’re not always grouped together like this,” said Green. “And it’s easy to feel like we’re doing this by ourselves. But we have a military family. We don’t have to do this by ourselves.”
5. You are on a journey that doesn’t end “in the valley”
“No one else gets to tell you that your journey is going to end,” said Green. “Psalm 23 says you ‘walk through’ the valley, you don’t pitch a tent and live there!”
Learn more about Regent University’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs.