Dear Kathy: Praying for My MIL
I know that having a child in the military must be difficult, but I don’t understand all the emotions that are involved. How can I pray for my mother-in-law during my husband’s enlistment and especially when he’s deployed? ~ Anonymous
I thought this was a very good question and it shows a lot of love and concern for her mother-in-law as well as for her husband.
Looking back on my son’s enlistment and his two deployments, there are many thoughts and emotions that still surface for which I would’ve appreciated prayer. In talking with many Blue Star Moms, listed below is the top 10 ways a daughter-in-law could pray for her mother-in-law.
1. That she’d be able to daily entrust her son into God’s hands, especially when the uncertainties are so apparent (Having no control of a child’s well being is extremely tough.)
2. That the fear regarding her son’s situation is replaced daily with God’s peace. That she would remain steadfast and not “lose heart”, but continue in prayer causing her to grow stronger in the Lord. (When communication is minimal anxiety is at it’s highest.)
3. That she’d be able to physically rest and restore herself in order to function on an everyday basis. (Insomnia is common for Blue Star Moms).
4. That she’d experience joy in each day in the midst of the unknowns. (Severe depression is also common with Blue Star Moms).
5. That she’d find creative ways to support her son, emotionally and spiritually, from a distance, and for wisdom to know how to encourage him throughout each stage of his enlistment.
6. That she’d love his family with the unconditional love only God can give. That she would be able to encourage and support his wife and children, if he has them, in positive ways. That she’d be able to look past her own struggles and see things from their perspective as they live the military life 24/7. (Many times this doesn’t happen because the mother-in-law just doesn’t know or understand her role and what to do).
7. That she’d accept, respect, and honor her son’s family’s needs and desires, putting them above her own. (This comes into play for R&R, homecomings, holidays, etc. It’s really hard for a mom not to spend time with her son, especially after not seeing him for months).
8. That she’d adapt to and accept the changes in herself as well as those in her son that have occurred during his enlistment. (Changes may be positive, like after boot camp; or negative, like after a deployment. Either way, life will never be the same for any of them).
9. That she’d seek the Lord for guidance regarding her current and long-term role as a mom. Pray she be able to find fulfillment in life as she adjusts to being the mother of adult child(ren).
10. That she’d be led to other Blue Star Moms to find the support and encouragement from those that ‘get it’. (Because moms don’t live on or near a base, it’s can be very lonely if they don’t have others in similar situations to share their hearts and the everyday uncertainties.)
I hope the above is at least a starting point as to how to pray for your mother-in-law.
I realize not all mother in laws are easy to communicate with or pray for, but I remember a pastor years ago telling me that it’s really difficult to dislike someone that you are earnestly praying for. So I believe if your heart is pure and the desire is to truly pray God’s grace, love, and truth into your mother-in-law, He will guide and direct your heart as well as your actions and reactions to her.
I will pray that God will unite military wives and Blue Star Moms in a way that is evidence of His love.
Kathy Guzzo is the mother of four adult children and the author of several articles for military families, including the brochure, “Deployment: What’s A Family To Do?” Her son served in the USMC from 2004-2008, which included deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. She is the coordinator for Hope at Home Ministry in Rockford, Illinois, serving women with loved ones in the military. She also writes a bi-weekly newsletter sharing encouragement and resources with women across the country. Kathy and her husband of thirty-two years, Mickey, live in Rockford, Illinois. She welcomes your questions at email@example.com.