I am a staunch promoter of peppering love on the lives of others through simple acts of kindness, which I call simple acts of blessings.
John 15:13 tells us “There is no greater love than laying down one’s life for one’s friends.” Spreading God’s love through caring for another human being, friend or stranger, can be illustrated in simple acts like sending someone in need a gift card for groceries, bringing blankets to a homeless venue, or dropping off a casserole; to more acts of grandeur like joining the military or becoming a police officer or fire fighter and literally laying down your life for the welfare of people you have never met and probably never will.
There are countless men and women living in dreadful places in the world, under dire circumstances; away from their homeland, church, friends, and families in order to protect our borders and keep us free and safe while their own lives are in constant unrest. A simple act of kindness? Doubtful. Heroes, definitely! A momentous act of blessing—you betchya!
Our soldiers are away on deployment for months and years at a time. Babies are born in their absence, family members die in their absence, their kids grow up in their absence, spouses change in their absence, and they change in their absence. They are living, breathing specimens of John 15:13, and they do it all with no expectation of anything in return. As a matter of fact, even the smallest gesture seems to humble them.
Rightfully so, we use words like courage, bravery, respect, and pride when we speak of them. We ask the Lord to bless and protect them and bring them home safely during our prayer time. We have red, white, and blue parties and picnics to honor them, yet they are seldom spoken of at these events. What can we do to show them our gratitude in a more personal way each and every day?
Red, White, and Blue Blessings
If you live near a military family who has a deployed service member, their biggest challenge, if they have children, is childcare. If you’re a parent, you know running errands with small children can be somewhat stressful. Getting a night out with friends, attending weeknight worship or Bible studies, or doing some personal shopping is greatly needed and coveted. Simple household management, while being a single parent and possibly working a full-time job, becomes near impossible! Here are a few suggestions how you can lend a hand, share God’s love, and show your support.
- Offer to watch their children for a couple of hours each week to give them a break. Remember, they also have the stress of their spouse being deployed; some time to themselves or to run errands would be a great blessing.
- When you make meatloaf, make a double batch and bring dinner – uncooked so they can have a nice hot meal with little fuss and clean- up. Another option would be to have them over for a family night of dinner and maybe play games or watch a movie together once a week.
- We all know our military are underpaid; this can be a challenge for a single parent at home without a second income. Buy groceries or leave an anonymous gift card from your local grocer at their door. Maybe give movie tickets for the whole family, passes to an amusement park, a restaurant gift card, or a box of diapers.
- If the dad’s away, play ball with his son or mow the lawn. If the mom’s away, take the daughter shopping for clothes or, if age appropriate, for a special treat - a mani-pedi - while dad has some alone time. Teach the kids something new that the deployed parent might do, such as how to cook, how to fish, or how to study their Bible.
- Volunteer to drive the carpool once a week or take the kids to practice.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to live close enough to a military family to be able to help in these ways. However, there are still many ways in which you can bless our service members directly.
- Send care packages or letters to deployed military personnel. This used to be a much easier blessing to execute. Today, there are many USPS restrictions and guidelines in place to ensure your package or letter reaches its destination. Be sure to follow them to the letter.
- Volunteer at a non-profit organization which supports our military.
- Donate to a non-profit program that supports our military; there are over 300 of them!
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few of the organizations that do amazing work in support of our military and would love your support!
- Operation Gratitude sends 100,000+ care packages annually - filled with snacks, entertainment items, and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions, to their children left behind, and to veterans, first responders, wounded warriors, and their caregivers.
- A Soldier’s Best Friend aids veterans afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury, and the pet overpopulation problem as well, by matching veterans with trained service dogs that have been rescued from local shelters - at no cost to the veteran.
- Operation Homefront provides emergency financial assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors.
- Wounded Warrior Project provides unique, direct programs to meet the needs of injured service members.
- Operation Kennel Mom Don’t forget our heroic and brave dogs on deployment - they love care packages too! Operation Kennel Mom provides support and spreads awareness for deployed Military Working Dogs serving in Afghanistan alongside U.S. and NATO forces by supplying care packages filled with healthy dog treats, food, and toys.
More resources can be found at Military.com
Do you have a story to share about supporting our military? Are you a service member or military family member who has been on the receiving end of a simple act of blessing? Please share with us so others may be inspired by your story. Thank you, and Godspeed.