Today we have a guest post from my new friend Pattie! I met her in a Chaplain’s Wives Facebook group, and we have since discovered that even though her husband is an Air Force Chaplain and mine is Army 🙂 we have a lot in common and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her just a little. She is also a blogger, and she is doing her own 31 Days series! It’s all about encouraging military wives.
After my husband of ten years graduated with his Doctor of Ministry degree, he began considering going into the military reserves. His good friend and mentor was a chaplain in the US Air Force Reserves, serving one weekend a month and a couple weeks in the summer. We talked about it and it seemed like a good idea, so he began the extensive application and endorsement process in the late summer of 2001.
Then on September 11, 2001, our nation changed forever.
My husband was finally approved as a chaplain and swore in on Valentine’s Day 2002. Due to job changes for both of us, we relocated much closer to the reserve unit at Whiteman AFB, and he trained, was activated for many months, and over time grew to love his job. He continued pastoring and hospice chaplaincy as well.
When he decided to go active duty, I was not on board at first. I was afraid of not being the pastor’s wife, a role with which I was familiar, even when I was stressed out with all my volunteer work there.
Thankfully, the Lord was with me the whole time I was wrestling with my husband’s decision, and it was during this incredibly difficult period that He gave me Joshua 1:9 as my military wife life verse: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I knew then that He would be with us, even though the life we were embarking upon was not the one I had envisioned for raising our two girls.
In 2006 he went active duty, and the Air Force promptly sent us to Grand Forks, North Dakota. Four years later, we relocated to San Antonio, Texas, for a year-long school assignment. After that, we moved to the Anchorage, Alaska, area.
After living here in Alaska within a joint base situation, I have learned—and am still learning—the differences between the chaplain ministry models of the Air Force and the Army. There are many differences, but the bottom line unifies us all: Chaplains are necessary. Chaplains are vital. Chaplains serve their men and women. They are the hands and feet of Jesus—with combat boots on. And I wouldn’t change this life for anything now, given the choice.
We have many obstacles ahead of us, not the least of which is the recent government shutdown and the likely inevitable budget cuts. But I know that whatever is ahead for our family, we are together, we are God strong, and the Lord is with us wherever we go.
Pattie Reitz is the proud wife of an Air Force chaplain and the proud mother of two busy teenage girls. She is the blog editor for Wives of Faith, a ministry connecting, supporting, and encouraging military wives. She is also an adjunct instructor for Wayland Baptist University’s Anchorage campus. The Reitz family makes their home in Alaska.