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I am a Veteran

My family and I were visiting a church right around Veteran's Day.  Wouldn't you know it, the pastor wanted all veterans to stand.  I did not want to, I was embarrassed, because I am a woman and I am a veteran.

Let me share with you my military story.

I joined the Air Force in 1993.  My father was all for it, of course, my mother was skeptical.  Being an Air Force veteran himself, my dad thought that it would do me good.  I was, at the time, a little rebel, a believer nonetheless, but not right with the Lord at that time.  I quit college and since I was/am always up for a challenge, I joined.

I was an athlete so basic training was not much of a challenge, but it was very humbling to have a TI screaming in my face!  My first call home, I cried like a baby!  Graduating from basic was something I was proud of.  I then went to technical school to become a medic.

My first base was at Langley AFB, Virginia, 1st Fighter Wing.  I had quite a few airman upset that I was going to such a nice base.  Everyone else was going to less than desirable places!

During all of this, I was trying to find my way.  I joined a Bible Study at Langley, only for it to break up later because of doctrinal issues.  I did not have very many Christian friends, and, peer pressure got the best of me.

Life was fun.  But my friends were just that, fun.  I met a Navy man and we eventually got married and had my beautiful daughter in 1995.  I was very naive and had no discernment, but I had my baby girl!  I worked in the OB ward, so taking care of her was like second nature, thank God!  She was a wonderful easy going baby.  Unfortunately, I had to detach myself from her to go back to work, or I would've been miserable.

Unfortunately, my marriage was a mess.  My husband was not who I thought he was.  I was alone, even when we were married.  He was a lost, wicked person.  So, the marriage ended and he left me with a four month old baby to take care of on my own.

I had to grow up.  I was humbled.  God was changing my thoughts and desires.   I do not regret the immense pain and confusion that I went through, for He was molding me into who I am today.

Almost 3 years later, I transferred to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.  Talk about being depressed!  From lush greenery and a beach down the road, to brown grass that hurt to walk on was just a little disheartening.  But, my sister and her husband lived near there, so I was happy, after getting over the shock!  To all of the Oklahomans out there, I do like Oklahoma, but I like having 4 seasons and soft grass better!

To make a long story shorter, I met my beloved husband in Oklahoma, and we have been married for almost 13 years!  God has changed our hearts in so many ways along the way.  What a ride it has been!

Now, back to church.......

My husband, wanted me to stand with him when the church was honoring veterans that day.  So, I slowly stood.  I just knew those people were looking down on me, for I know they do not believe in women being in the military.

But, my fears were short-lived.  Most were friendly to me and I did not feel judged for my past.  Honestly, I am not ashamed of being in the military!  Yet, I certainly would not want my girls to join.  I was exposed to things that no one should be exposed to.  Yet, I have no regrets.  I was forced to grow up and think other than self.  It was good for me.  Does that make sense?  I have to dwell on the blessings, the good things.

Besides, I never would have had my wonderful husband and five beautiful children with me now.  I might not have been as conservative as I am now.  Who knows where I would be if it weren't for the military.  If we put our trust in Him, He can bring beautiful things out of mud!

As conservative Christians, we have a tendency to look down on those with a shaky past. That is who I am, and although my views have changed considerably, I would not have changed my life experiences for the world.  They happened for His reasons.  We shouldn't be ashamed of it, for He is molding us into who he wants us to be.  He never said it would be easy, especially if you are somewhat hardheaded like me!

I encourage you to talk to a fellow Christian and share your less-than perfect past.  Yes, it is humbling, but aren't we all to be real and humbled?  Aren't we all to glorify God by sharing our hearts with one another, even the stuff you aren't too pleased about?  If we honor Him and do this, others will be blessed!

Let's be real, shall we?

Now, drop and give me 20!

Or you can leave a comment:)

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  1. Wow! Your story is amazing!! Praise the Lord for His transforming grace in your life. What an incredible testimony of His faithfulness and how he works ALL things out for good!

  2. Your story is like many others-not perfect but yet perfect because it shows how God worked in your life and brought you to where you are today! Praise God!

  3. Love this post, Susie! Yes, I think God's transforming power is evident when we share our stories of broken lives and realness. We always witnessed that when we lived in Chicago attending New Life. We would hear testimonies of gang-bangers getting saved as they broke down crying and we would just be in tears as the stories just pulled our hearts closer to Jesus!

    Thank you for sharing this story. Yes, we should never look down on eachother. We ALL have a broken past without Christ. I am thankful for His grace in my life. One day perhaps I shall share my "broken" story with you.

    I am so grateful for our friendship. May God be glorified!

    (PS--it is a little hard to type when you are doing pushups!:))*giggles*

    Many blessings...

  4. I loved reading this, Susie! My parents are both veterans, too. They met in the army. My mom is a very feminine woman (and yet very strong), and most people are shocked when they find out that she was in the army. One lady recently said, "It's like...Barbie being in the army!"

    I was born at the Air Force Base hospital in Colorado, and my mom said she had to get up after giving birth and change her own sheets (the following day, I think)!

    I so agree with you that we shouldn't look down on each other for our past lives. I have my own story that I used to have posted on my previous blog. I'm thinking of re-posting it on my new blog, just to give God the glory for all He brought me out of.

    Thanks for your transparency and sharing your heart!


  5. Your story reminds me of Jennie Chancey and how God used circumstances in her life to make her what she is today.
    Yep, God is in the transforming business--I am so thankful He changed me! And I'm glad for our friendship too:)

  6. Thank you for your comments, Ladies! I am blessed beyond measure for what He has done and will continue to do in my life.
    I appreciate your words of encouragement! I was almost afraid to read them if you know what I mean!

  7. Beautiful testimony! God works all things for good!!

  8. Susie, thank you for sharing this with us! God is amazing! So thankful you let Him do the work in your heart He wanted to do. :)

  9. WOW!! I love reading your posts!! This one answered so many questions I had. I love to hear stories that have such a happy ending.

    Tracy Wylie

  10. Thanks for sharing your story Susie! I think we all have things in our pasts we would do differently if we had the chance to make different choices. I know that I do. But I am so acutely aware of what God has taught me and where He has brought me through those circumstances. He is truly sovereign, and who are we to question that?

  11. I love this! My husband was in the Navy for 6 years and I really enjoyed that time of our lives. I often worried about his female shipmates because it just seemed so foreign to me & I couldn't imagine them being genuinely happy being treated like men. I enjoyed reading your candid view of what it was like for you.

  12. I am so discouraged by this post!! Having been a female veteran does NOT constitute even an iota of a 'shaky past'! I am a proud Army Nurse Corps Veteran. Although I too surprise most people I meet when they discover that I was once Active Duty, I would NEVER be ashamed. I'm just so saddened that your church would promote such a view. Female nurses and medics have been part of the American story since the Revolutionary War. This is just so disconcerting.

  13. Haha, I wish I could still do 20! I was in the Army for a short 2 years. I got out after I married my husband. I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom. I stand when they ask veterans to stand, because no matter how long you served, if you served, you are a veteran. Blessing my friend!

  14. To Christine,
    As you know, I never regretted being in the military. But, my life was not right with the Lord at that time and I lived a sinful life while I was in. I will never be ashamed of being a veteran, but I assure you, I would NEVER allow my daughters to join. My views of women in the military have changed considerably since then. But, at the same time, my point, which I think you missed, is that I do not want others to judge me or you for being a veteran. My life in the Air Force was without a shadow of a doubt, shaky! We must respect one another's views and not judge. Hope this helps!

  15. Gosh, Mrs. Shock, I'm certainly not judging you. It just saddens me immeasurably that you belong to a church that doesn't respect the contributions of women in the military. I also must agree to disagree with you about my own daughter's goals and dreams. When my daughter is a grown woman, although she shows no signs of being a future soldier, I would never limit her in her choice of career. I will not force her to remain an at-home daughter. She's wanted to be a school teacher since she was 4. I'm sorry you seem to have a negative view of women in the military, but I can assure you that we are not all lost and sin-filled. Many of us have saved the lives of servicemembers who went on to live good Christian lives themselves.

  16. Christine, Actually, it was a church we were visiting. I encourage you to take a look at Vision Forum's website and research what they say about women in the military. Very interesting! I appreciate your insights! We are all at different walks of life and none of us have the exact same views on everything. What a boring world we would live in if that was the case! Oh, and I do not look down on women in the military! I was there. I also know what it was like and what I was exposed to as well as most other women. Many pregnancies out of wedlock, abuse, rape, partying, it was prominent. Towards the end of my career, I was a little bit more level headed and unfortunately, I was the only one who did not do any of these things. It might have been different for you, though. Just speaking from first hand experience!

  17. so proud of the women in our military. As the wife of a soldier i would say they are often forgotten. I agree i would never want one of my daughters to serve but would have a hard time telling them no

  18. I'm stopping in from Women Living Well Wednesdays. I'm so glad you stood to be acknowledged, and I thank you for your service. What a blessing that what we have in common is how God has worked in our lives to redeem our pasts and change us. Thanks for sharing your testimony with us!

  19. Susie,I was absolutely spellbound reading your wonderful post...so authentic and real. My story is similar, and If I thought the Lord had wasted the time He allowed us to wander and be humbled, well, I wouldn't be His servant today!! he has brought glory to His name, and we continue to grow! Besides it makes me think of the Scripture in 2 Corintians 1:3-4: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." I am so glad to know you!! DO keep sharing these wonderful posts rich with the love and thanksgiving to God which characterizes a believing heart!! We love your family...I just looked at the photos form Thanksgiiving..WOW...I didn't know you all played music :0

  20. Hi Susie!

    Thought you might get a kick out of John Piper's thoughts on women in combat ... :)


    "If I were the last man on the planet to think so, I would want the honor of saying that no woman should go before me into combat to defend my country. A man who endorses women in combat is not pro-woman; he's a wimp. He should be ashamed. For most of history, in most cultures, he would have been utterly scorned as a coward to promote such an idea. Part of the meaning of manhood as God created us is the sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of our women."


    Love you!
    It was good seeing all of you! Loved seeing the pictures of you and Tony on the post - brought back lots of memories! :)

  21. I found your website while browsing another. What a beautiful find is was though! I could have written this post myself and wholeheartedly agree about how being a female airman changed my life and made me who I am today, while at the same time not wishing my daughters to go through these same things. I also can relate the jitters when people find out for the first time that I was in the service. It seems so foreign to them....especially when they see the quiet, submissive and God loving woman I am today. Thank you again for this wonderful post!

  22. I am ashamed to say that I saw this post on several link-ups last week and didn't click to read because of the title. Though my oldest daughter served in the National Guards (and I know she did grow through that experience), I am one who doesn't believe women should be in the military. That said, the Lord has been dealing with my ugly, sinful pride and this is just one more way He is showing me the wickedness of my heart. I'm thankful Jacinda highlighted this post, otherwise I would've missed out on this beautiful testimony. Please forgive me for judging you (with my "shady past", you'd think I'd be a bit more humble) and thank you for sharing this post.

  23. Cheryl, I wondered if the title would throw some people off! I appreciate your honesty and thank you so much for sharing!

  24. Thank you all for sharing! I did not know that this would be such a popular post, but I am glad it was a blessing to you all! I want to share my heart with you all, my journey, and this was a big part of why I am who I am and where I am today. But, I have a long way to go....

  25. Hello Fellow veteran!! Well I did 20 years in the Air Force-- and yes I am still trying to figure out how... You give up a lot being in the military. Large part of cause of our divorce. I have seen stuff that I cant erase from my memory. I am blessed to have made it through 9 deployments (6 Army and 3 AF) without being raped sadly i am one of few. LOL ever since my first deployment they always had me talk to the wilder girls about not being promiscuos, being aware of their surroundings, etc... Would . I was where God needed me to be and the end result was I have STRONG bond with God and with my family, good health benefits and retirement check :) But also in my final assignment God graced me with a gift from heaven my son Jacob and I would do it all over again to end up in Montana adopting him. On that note after having been in combat I dont feel women should be in combat it distracts them from the job. They tend to worry about us and get distracted. I also dont want my niece to join for that reason.

    1. Completely understand and hats off to you! Thank you for sharing your story!

  26. I just wanted to thank you for serving the country! Don't be embarassed, you did what you thought right at the time. We all have those moments to look back on and grow from!


  27. Love this post! Thank you to you and your husband for serving! We just finished our barn quilt http://thechickncoop.blogspot.com/2012/07/our-barn-quilt-is-finished.html. and would love for you to 'stop by' and see it! I did not mention this in my post but one of the stripes on our barn quilt is for my mother-in-law and her service in the Vietnam War. She went instead of her brother since it was during the draft. She knew he would have been killed being in the front lines so she went instead. He was eventually called up to go again but I believe the war was ending at that time so no harm came to him.

    Happy 4th!


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