I have had the pleasure of knowing author Jennifer McDonald for a number of years. When I first read one of Jen’s essays, I instantly fell in love with her candor, her humor and her patience. A military spouse of over twenty-five years, Jen has raised her family all over the world, from duty stations in Europe to the Pacific. During that time, she has homeschooled her four children, worked as an editor, written for a variety of publications, including Military Spouse, Good Housekeeping, and Redbook and moved thirteen times!
Today she is a military spouse, a military mom and a published author. While I’m not certain which order she’d list herself, I can tell you that through reading her words, we’re all equally fortunate to have the voice of Jen McDonald in our community.
This is why I was so thrilled to pick up my copy of her newly published book: You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse. This book is as authentic as it is inspiring and I firmly believe that no matter what station in life, military spouses can benefit from reading Jen’s book.
Let me tell you why.
You will relate. Have you ever experienced one of those, “He/She is so me!” moments in a book? They draw you in as you find yourself laughing with, crying with and nodding your head alongside the protagonist of the book. After reading the book, I shared the “relatable test” with a friend and she completely agreed! Even though my friend and I have drastically different military spouse experiences and our spouses serve different branches, we still found ourselves relating to her words, her stories and finding ourselves in some of her more challenging moments and those uplifting, as well.
You will find comfort. Listen, most of us have been there when Murphy is in full effect the moment our spouse steps out the door. And even though it’s a straight up cliché, in those moments, I find that the most overwhelming feeling I have is that I am alone. Though logically I know that there are others in my very exact same shoes, my heart never seems to fully accept this thought. These are the times I find myself fighting against self-pity, loneliness, fear and even bitterness.
Even the BEST of relationships have those moments when it seems the odds are stacked against a couple. Even those of us who love our spouses until the end of the earth might find ourselves in situations where we’re trying to temper down pure and unadulterated rage. For me personally, I found these situations happened most often when my spouse gave me little information and I was left alone to navigate the sometimes-unfriendly environs of an unfamiliar base or military function. “I’m going to murder him,” the normally upbeat Jen hums in her head, and I found myself laughing along with her. In this circumstance she is describing an alternate route her husband suggested she take to a job interview which leads her into rather dangerous neighborhoods, I am reminded of my own foray when I my spouse gave me directions down an unfamiliar San Diego freeway and found myself barreling straight for the US/Mexico border, not knowing how to turn around. I’ve been there, I think. I’ve been there. And in some ways, I’m comforted by the fact that we’ve all been there, no matter what the situation looks like at the time.
Her encouragement is uplifting and inspiring. The purpose of Jen’s book is not simply to act as a memoir. In fact, the intention of this wonderful novel is to lift you up through her stories, through scripture she has chosen and devotionals to practice that let you know that you are not alone. Even if you are not particularly religious, the lessons found within the book are universally applicable, her openness and encouragement so vulnerable and human you can’t help but find some peace or reassurance within the text.
I have enjoyed getting to know Jen over the years, just as I know you will enjoy getting to know her through You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse. Today, we are thrilled to giveaway a copy of her book to one lucky reader.
Jen is also hosting a giveaway on her personal website! Click here to enter: https://jenniferlmcdonald.com/2016/02/15/book-giveaway-for-military-spouses/
We’ve linked to a bunch of Jennifer’s essays in this post! Feel free to click the highlighted links to read more about her journey.