Spouse Calls: Devotionals for troops, families
January 25, 2009
Yellow ribbons are ubiquitous as a reminder of military members at war. Often they appear the backs of on minivans, but one showed up in my mailbox recently — on the cover of a new book by two Army wives, Brenda Pace and Carol McGlothlin. A friend sent me a copy of "The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional" (Tyndale House, 2008) for Christmas.
After the New Year, I had the opportunity to talk to Brenda Pace about the book.
"The One Year" series of Bibles and devotionals includes editions aimed at children, teens, boys, girls, men, women and even sports fans. Each provides 365 readings dated for each day of the year.
Brenda said the "Yellow Ribbon" version is not exclusively for the military, but it is created to meet needs in that community.
"It’s a book that would offer them encouragement and would be a companion through a year of deployment," Brenda said. "Carol and I felt like we wanted to speak a word of encouragement and a word of hope to families going though the weariness of this war."
She said the book has a purpose in the civilian community as well, a reminder that troops are still in harm’s way.
"People have forgotten. There’s a complacency that slips into our culture, if you will," Brenda said. "We just felt like it was a necessary thing to remind people."
"The publisher, while they wanted us to address military families, also wanted every day to include a prayer for the military in general … to remind people outside the military that there still is war going on and there are still prayers that needed to be prayed on behalf of our military," she said.
Much of the material in the book comes from the lives of the two authors, who are longtime friends, having crossed paths on various military assignments. But Brenda said the book is not just for women.
"We are women and that’s our voice, but we tried also to get outside that," she said. "I interviewed my husband, and there are quite a few devotions directly from his experience while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan."
"Quite a few focus on patriotic holidays and national symbols and that kind of thing," said Brenda. "It’s not just a spouse voice, but clearly that’s our experience so that comes through for sure."
Brenda and Carol have 25 and 22 years of Army wife experience, respectively. This is the second devotional book they have written together. The first, "Medals Above My Heart," (Broadman & Holman, 2004) was especially for military wives.
"Carol approached me and said ‘I would really like to write a devotion book for military spouses,’ " Brenda recalled. "Well, I had never told anybody this, but I had always wanted to do something like that … Writing was in the back of my mind."
Until then, Brenda said, her writing had been limited to her personal journals, which became a source for the published books.
"I will be real honest," she said. "Those stories would still be in those journals if not for Carol. We’ve been a good team."
Both their books offer support for the military community, Brenda said.
"I think a key to resiliency in times of crisis is having spiritual needs met, so I look at this as a tool in that arsenal of developing resiliency," she said.
"Resiliency is a word that is important when you look at what military families are experiencing right now."
For more about Brenda, Carol and their books, see the Spouse Calls blog.
Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives and writes in Germany. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and see the Spouse Calls blog here.