Saturday, January 16, 2010

What it’s like


From time to time, I have become aware that there are those who are following my blog. This is truly a humbling thing that floors me. I write not to have followers, but to journal and capture our journey as it comes and goes. The Lord has called us to this ministry of Chaplaincy and I want to faithfully tell our story. My hope is that those who are considering this lifestyle will find my words helpful, full of hope, and heartfelt. There is a link on my blog site that will allow you to jump back to the beginning of our story …to get the full picture. But, let me attempt to "nutshell" it for those who are considering the Chaplaincy as a career. {I use the male pronouns by default; I understand that there are some female Chaplains in the military}. What is required of an Active Duty Chaplain is a seminary degree and at least 2 years of experience in the ministry, among many other physical requirements. A Chaplain will also have to have an endorsement from his faith group that states he is capable of adhering to the doctrines and principles of his faith group. (Basically, he's a good guy and stands by his stuff). The next step would be getting accepted into the Army as a Chaplain. This involves submitting A LOT of paperwork to the Accessions Board and then waiting…and waiting…and waiting. (If you are at this point, DON'T get discouraged!). Once the Chaplain is accepted (by the way, while there was once a critical shortage amongst Army Chaplains, statistics show that number is nearly back up to necessary levels) the Accessions Board will notify him of his start date for what is called CH-BOLC (Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course). Currently, it is held at Ft Jackson, SC. It will be up to the Chaplain to be sworn in prior to beginning to CH-BOLC, which lasts for 3 months. After completion of CH-BOLC, he will be assigned to a Post and that's when things get real.


Whew!....That is truly a nutshell version and if you are considering Chaplaincy I encourage you to read back through my blog segments for more details. The first year is truly a transitional blur for the Chaplain and his family – just trying to get bearings down and boxes unpacked. We have been in for 1 year now and Tim has been with his Military Intelligence battalion now for nearly 9 months, the first 6 of which were just trying to find which way is up, meeting faces and learning names, and figuring out how to do this "thing" which is the Chaplaincy. For the kids and I, the last 9 months have been about trying to put down deep roots fast. Finding our niche and our routine, all while supporting our Chaplain and his ministry in any way we can. While a Chaplain is in Garrison (i.e., stationed at home), his job duties will include A LOT of counseling and A LOT of meetings, as well as trying to get a plug in for all things spiritual wherever he can. Another unique duty is conducting the Strong Bonds retreats. These are Army funded get-a-ways designed to build and strengthen marriages and families, as well as build and strengthen single soldiers mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and morally. This has been my main connection with Tim's ministry so far, outside of keeping him fed and his clothes clean J


For the kids and I, we have found military life very agreeable. We live in a nice but small house in a great neighborhood. We have good neighbors, many of which we know well and are our same "boat". One good thing about Army life in post is that you always have something in common with your neighbor. Our neighborhood has a nice activity center with a great pool. There are many activities, events, and opportunities that my kids and I are involved in. Currently, the Army is changing things up in our neighborhood and they are going to relocate us into a larger (2000 sq ft!) 2-story house in the near future. What a blessing!!


I don't say all that to make light of the challenges that exist. We have NOT been through a deployment yet and do not know what that is like. I can only imagine the hardships that lie within those 12+ months of separation. But I have chosen to believe with all my heart that God has a plan and a purpose for my existence during the months of deployment that lie ahead of us. Just as God has purposed Tim's steps as a Chaplain and has great things in store for his time in Afghanistan, so He has for me on this side of the world. I also have to believe that God is going to give me the tools and resources I need to face each challenge that he ordains to come my way while Tim is deployed. I pray I can look for the 'help' he will bring me through each difficulty and use that as an opportunity to trace His hand in my life. God will not be watching from afar saying, "Well, you're husband is gone now. Let's see how you'll handle this!" Believing His words are true, I am trusting that He hasn't and will never leave or forsake me.


I would love to speak write/to any of you who may have questions/concerns about the Chaplaincy. I welcome your comments through my blog or my e-mail.

1 comment:

Sara said...

This is a huge blessing to have found your blog Jenn. I was look at "blogs" in google and just typed in Ft Bragg army wife and up popped your blog first. So why am I telling you this?! I am moving there with my family around February next year. And as the military goes I won't know anything about the area besides what I have researched online. To come across your blog is God willing for sure. As a Christian, I was reading about how you attend church on post and it's great! That is GREAT because you don't always find that on post:) Secondly I commend you for writing this blog--it's really powerful and your love for Jesus speaks volumes!! Thirdly, I am wondering if you could pray for me and my family, strangers, specifically that we are able to find a home when we get there. I have looked at what is available to us on post and they are not willing to give us a nice place due to us having only one child. They are offering us Pope-- 3 bedroom housing and they look really bad:( So we are resorting to off post as of now. I am babbling on here and you don't even know me, but I thought what the heck it doesn't hurt to try. Hope to talk to you soon. God Bless. Sara