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?
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