You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse is a book of 30 daily readings, all valuable and trustworthy written by a seasoned experienced military spouse whose been through the trials of single parenthood, deployment, and all the opportunities and challenges inherent in the lives of families dedicated to the service of our country. Jen is a sensitive writer, mother, military spouse, and an experienced woman whose marriage has forced her, like so many who serve our country to live apart from friends and family and play the role of single parent while her spouse is deployed in the service of our country.
Jen’s 30 readings focus the reader on a short story from her family’s life experience, a basic training section that provides concrete suggestions for anyone facing a major change or challenge, a scripture of reflection, and a challenge to contemplate. I found the structure to be comfortable and friendly, not preachy or prescriptive. Jen’s message is warm but strong, and does not soft-pedal the trials of deployment, single parenthood, and the loneliness of making the best possible decisions while her spouse is on duty elsewhere.
My favorite lessons were Searching for Beauty, a story about Jen and her family visiting the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and Tapestry of Grace, when they visited Holland and learned the story of Corrie Ten Boom, a woman whose family hid Jews from Hitler’s army during World War II. I learned both of these stories as a young woman but when I read them in Jen’s daily readings, I was brought to tears again. Jen’s book reminds us of our humanity, commonality, and service to our country over the years. Once someone we love has served in the military, we are family.
I lost my husband during the Vietnam War and though it’s been over 35 years, I found Jen’s words, her experiences, and her insights to be comforting today. In some unusual kind of way, reading Jen’s book felt like a coming home and an understanding from a friend from the past, though we were just recently introduced.
I’ve learned that our experiences as military spouses have not really been that different, that the men and women who serve and have served our country have so much more in common than differences, and we have so much to learn from one another.
I truly appreciate Jen’s book and am grateful she wrote it.