Hello, friends! It has been quite some time since I posted anything. I have been writing and creating, plenty of reading and reflecting, but I decided it seems most fitting to give an update on my current journey. I’d love to read comments or emails on what’s new in your life!
- First off, I am almost done with my military training! I graduated from Basic Combat Training (BCT) on October 15, 2020 and I plan to graduate Advanced Individual Training (AIT) on February 25, 2021. I am completing my training as a 68W, Combat Medic Specialist, at JBSA Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX.
- My dad and step-mom got a new puppy while I was at BCT. His name is Bailey and he is the Yorkie she has been dreaming of.
- You guys, I have a boyfriend. Meet Sean, a man whose heart is occupied by the sweet Lord, Jesus Christ. My heart sure is captivated by him!
- I was able to spend two weeks at home for Christmas. I spent my days wandering the snowy trails alone (we are never allowed to be alone here at Ft. Sam), eating real and raw foods (not allowed produce in our barracks), and embracing quality time with family and friends.
- Upon Individual Entry Training (IET), I will move back home in the lovely state of Minnesota. I will be working as a full-time paraprofessional at my local high school. I have a few ideas as far as schooling and the Army will go, but those will be shared at another time.
Aside from the most obvious changes since we last met, I wanted to share a bit about how God has been involved in this new military lifestyle of mine over the past 6 months.
- Basic Training was full of fast-paced procedures each day. Communication from Drill Sergeant (DS) to trainee was mainly yelling and swearing without encouragement or any real answer as to why we “suck”. This wasn’t typically emotionally draining for me, and I thank the Lord for the strength and resiliency that my parents raised me with. As for some of the friends I made, or even random people I encountered, they needed an anchor. I was able to lead a Bible study a few times between some of my closest friends and others (about 7 of us) that lived in our bay (a total of 63 females). We shared our personal stories and we read short passages of the Word together. Because of the bonds I built with these ladies, I was able to pray for them every single day. They entrusted me with their doubts and fears, whether that was failing the ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test) or letting down their parents or even a DS. I prayed for physical strength and mental courage. I prayed for physical healing as one of my closest battle buddy’s was injured and in desperation for the pain to go away. The Holy Spirit moved my heart as I witnessed the weak souls submit to the lies in their head, “You’re not strong enough for this. You won’t finish in time. DS is right, you’re a let down and you don’t deserve to graduate.”
- One of my most intimidating prayers was, and is still being, answered: “Lord, expand my range of emotions. Let me feel what it’s like to be angry, upset, distraught, distressed, broken. And most importantly, Lord, grant me the strength to not hold back these feelings.” When a circumstance truly pained me, I put aside my fears of being perceived as someone who doesn’t belong here. I cried in front of my battles when I failed assessments, a method of admitting it hurts me that I’m not “perfect”. I allowed them to see that I, too, am flawed and broken, fragile and in need of fixing. Ultimately, this points to Jesus, He was the only way I passed Basic. Another prayer He heard in my desperation was for me to pass our shooting assessments– I had to shoot at least 23/40 targets, and I failed many times. I needed divine intervention because I had no hope in myself or my DSs anymore, and time was running out. I put complete trust in the Lord, and He faithfully blessed me with a score of 23!
- After the first couple weeks at AIT, I noticed I wasn’t reading His Word anymore. I wasn’t spending intentional time getting to know God’s heart. I started waking up earlier, minimizing my time on social media, and even reaching out to my college friends. These three changes helped me gain back my pursuit of the Lord, and my desire to spread His love started to blossom again. I noticed myself praying more often, like while marching to the DFac (Dining Facility) or while sitting on the barracks hall floor before bed checks. These short prayers usually consisted of giving thanks or for a specific person I felt like needed a little extra lovin’ that day. The Lord’s presence has been apparent to me each and every day since I intentionally started pursuing Him again. I could feel Him giving me a glimpse of insight for a moment just long enough and just strong enough for me to obey whatever He was pressing me to do or say.
- With His Spirit overwhelming my soul, I started to reach out to soldiers in my platoon and in my hallway. I became open and proud that I was a follower of Christ. Slowly but surely, I met friends who acknowledge Him as Savior, too. And those who didn’t quite know him yet have started to ask me about what I believe. From conversations at breakfast chow with a soldier’s whose name I didn’t know, to friends one room away from mine asking for resources to help understand the Bible. The Lord has blessed me by showing me that the seeds I planted are starting to grow. One of my best friends, who was originally Atheist, from home has now started attending my church, even when I’m not there to go with her.
I could share many instances where the Lord has outdone my expectations. I encourage you to reflect on how God has been present in this current season of life that you’re in. If you’re like me, He can feel far away at times, but that distance and separation is due to our lack of intimacy with Him. We must sacrifice the time and energy to rebuild our relationship with our Creator. A moment spent with Him is never wasted.