**This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. Any purchase of my book through this link means I will get a small commission, at no extra cost to you as the purchaser. Thank you for supporting my writing journey!**
So, in case you hadn’t read last week, I published my first book!
As a proud Army wife, I have spent countless hours of my marriage separated from my soldier-husband. Our family has only been blessed with less than a handful of deployments in the past decade of our marriage, but those deployments have taught me many things. Perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned throughout deployments, temporary duty assignments, or even the on-call, last minute shuffle into work on (another) birthday or anniversary, is that I am not in control.
Frankly, my husband also doesn’t control his own work schedule.
We are entirely at the disposal of the Army’s needs.
I could be bitter and angry about that realization. Or, I could be productive with the knowledge that I am not in control.
And, the call to productivity is what compels me the most.
As I became interested in blogging, the more I read in the Catholic blogosphere world, the more I realized there were gaps missing in the way I experience my Faith. Not too many Catholic bloggers, myself included, have discussed where they have deepened their relationship with Christ, let alone how they solidly built their foundation and trust in the Catholic Church.
But, today, let me explain my my Catholic Faith is so important to me.
While I had come back into full Communion with the Church when my son was an infant, I solidly found Christ during my husband’s last deployment. Sitting up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because of whatever worry consumed my brain, I remember heading to the bookshelves. I picked up a copy of Our Lady of Kibeho by Immaculée Ilibagiza. It had been sitting on my shelf for a couple years, and I finally had time on my hands, and strength in my heart, to engage in a little spiritual reading. I devoured the book in two nights’ time – our son would fall asleep, I would say a prayer or two and fail to fall asleep, so the lamp would get turned on, and the pages would get turned.
At the end of those couple days, I realized just how little was outside of my control. And, just how imperative it was that I place my trust in God and His will. From then on, the insomnia stayed, but instead of focusing on what was outside of my control, I focused on deepening my relationship with God. I learned how strong the Army made me – not just as a wife, but as a mother, and a friend.
At the end of the deployment, I looked back surprised at how time had flown. And, I gave thanks – not just for the safety of my husband, my son, and myself during the deployment, but also for the lessons in strength He provided to me.
Many military women – whether active duty themselves, or the spouse of a Servicemember – have some sort of moment where they realize they are not in control. It could be when they are called in off leave for an important mission, or their spouse coming home from work announcing they are moving to a new (undesired) part of the world. It could be a moment where someone is injured – whether in a training accident, or at war. Or, it could be in the moment a family vacation gets canceled because work called. It could be when the Servicemember parent, struggling to attend the parent-teacher meetings, the plays or recitals, or the medical appointments for the children, realize they can’t make that important date… again.
With the realization that they are not in control, something has to give… or, someone. In most Christian denominations, there is talk of sacrifice – and, a reminder that we are called to die to ourselves, in the effort to live for Christ. And, being a woman connected with the military puts that reality into action. We sacrifice much, so that our nation can continue to work toward safety and security.
Ultimately, our control must be handed over. Some will hand it completely over to the military. But, for many women, control will be handed over to a Higher Power. To the One whose gameplay was set in motion from the beginning of time. To the One who has displayed the model of perfect love, sacrificing Himself to save the souls of many.
It was for that woman, that this devotional was written. For the military woman – or, the veteran – who has recognized she can’t lead this transient lifestyle without a little extra support from the Creator of this world. As we know is referenced in the Book of Esther, we know we were created for such a moment as this… but, what we don’t know is how everything will unfold. And, therefore, we walk by faith, rather than using our eyesight.
Journey Through Advent: A Daily Advent Devotional for the Catholic Military Woman shares daily 2-3 sentence reflections based on the daily readings and military life. After the reflection, there is a 1-2 sentence prayer to deepen the reader’s communication with God. And, finally, there is an Action Step – something tangible, to guide the reader into not just sitting in the pew on Sundays, but to taking our Catholic Christian Faith and walking closer with Christ by utilizing many of the Works of Mercy. Each week of Advent displays its own introduction to the themes of Hope, Faith, Joy, and Love – calling its readers into deeper contemplation of how to live a nomadic, many times unpredictable lifestyle with the hope, faith, joy, and love we are called to live as Catholic Christians.
This devotional is written to be doable, with many, many children in the home and not a lot of time. It’s designed to reach across vocations – married, single, widowed. It’s written to span the multitude of roles women take – from active duty herself, to the spouse of, or even the wife of a retired Servicemember.
This project was completed out of love. Love for my Faith, love for my community, and love for our God.
Advent is only two and a half weeks away, beginning on Sunday, 2 December. This is one of just a couple ways I am contributing to help Advent Like a Boss! And, I am excited to announce that not only can you purchase the book via Amazon – allowing Prime members to have it shipped free of charge – you can also enter to win the giveaway I am hosting. What is in the giveaway?
A Rugged Rosary combat Rosary with a St. Michael the Archangel medal;
Remember Everyone Deployed (RED) women’s t-shirt – size XL;
Autographed copy of Journey Through Advent
The Giveaway closes at midnight this upcoming Sunday – the Solemnity of Jesus Christ as King (a.k.a., Christ the King Sunday). It will be shipped out in time for the kickoff of Advent.
To enter for a chance to win, be sure to click the link below.
We all find ourselves in moments of our lives where we realize we are not in control of the situation – or, in the outcome. The question I pose to you, dear reader, to ponder is this: in those moments, where do you turn?
I am so excited to give away this Beautiful Camouflage Advent Bundle! I hope you will enter, and spread the news with others you may know. If you aren’t sure whether or not you should enter, or purchase the devotional, here are what some other reviewers have shared…
Desiree from Green Catholic Burrow, acknowledged she doesn’t have a personal connection with the military. However, she writes this devotional is good for three different groups of people: “You’re a Catholic military woman; You have military connections, or want to support those who serve; You don’t have any connection to the military, but your life is crazy.” Click here to read her more in-depth review!
Alicia from Sweeping Up Joy actually inspired me to try my hand at writing this devotional. While she didn’t directly say, “Anni, I see you writing an Advent devotional,” she did mention once that she could see me doing a devotional. It started the wheels turning. Therefore, I was thrilled when she said she would review it, even though she didn’t have any military connection. Her takeaway? She would tweak some of the language to fit her own lifestyle as a homeschooling mama of littles, and use the devotional anyway! Click here to read her review!
Aleesa from Life, Love, & Sacred Art is also running a Giveaway, but it is only open for another day! While not connected to the military as a current military wife, she is the daughter of a veteran – therefore, the military holds a spot in her heart. Aleesa’s favorite part of this devotional are the Action Steps, “a little push to get going,” as she puts it. She has pared the devotional with a beautiful Camo Rosary that she has made. Click here to read her review and to enter her giveaway for another chance to win!
Kate, writing for CatholicMom.com, reviewed my devotional from the perspective of an active duty Air Force wife. I have never met Kate, and truly wondered how this would stand the test of another military person with whom I had no connection. She admitted being skeptical about the lack of Bible passages in the devotional, since the readings for the day are simply referenced, rather than written. However, she admitted she grew to appreciate the way in which the references made her spend a little more time with her Bible. To read her take as a fellow military spouse, click here!
Casey Bustamante, Air Force Reservist and Young Adult Coordinator for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, writes:
“In Journey Through Advent: A Daily Advent Devotional, Anni has done an excellent job challenging the reader, whether the service member themselves or the spouse, to consider their military life and discover the presence of hope, faith, joy, and love in their daily experiences. The Lord’s faithfulness rings true through the prayers as well as the focus on the daily readings in the reflections. I pray this brings abundant fruit to all its readers!”
My end goal with this writing project is to lend support to a Catholic military woman, perhaps one I have never met, through the powerful reflections and prayers, and the simple ways to live their Faith in Action. I felt God’s whisper in my heart and responded to His call. All I ask is that you spread the word to allow as much exposure as possible. Will you help by sharing this resource?
Thank you, dear reader, for reading and supporting my writing endeavor.
Thank you for supporting the Catholic military community.
Thank you for joining me in praising God – today, and every day.
And, let me know below – how will you grow closer to God this Advent season?
For another convenient link to enter the giveaway, I’m ending this post with one more easy link (it doesn’t give you multiple entries, though… only Tweeting about the Giveaway earns you added entries…)
Or, to simply purchase my book, you can also use this convenient link right here at the bottom of the post: