Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a proud wife of an Army veteran. I love the time that we shared together in Abilene, Kansas, a short distance from Fort. Riley Kansas. Being in the military is a proud profession indeed, but that does not mean that being in the military doesn’t come with its own pitfalls and demons.
Joining the military means that you are destined to be reprogrammed into what it means to be an American soldier. To many soldiers, this is an honor that is taken on willingly while some are not even prepared for the “joys” of basic training and rigidity of military life. Some struggle with this reality and this causes difficulty throughout their military career, whether it be long or short. The sad truth, it is a necessary evil to go through this programming, to be able to follow directions and prepare yourself for what is to come. It can lead to stress on the military family and cause a lot of distance between a soldier and his family. Sadly, this is a massive demon when it comes to a soldier and PTSD. The ability to remove programming after military service is often very difficult to nearly impossible.
I firmly believe that the American military has done a terrible and reckless job at helping soldiers reacclimate to civilian life. They do little to nothing to help soldiers in their marriages and as parents. You may disagree, but there are plenty of statistics and experiences to suggest that what I have stated is true. You may be one of the fortunate ones; you might have transitioned into civilian world without any issues. You might be strong in your relationship with Christ and feel strongly that you have transitioned without any issues and you might be right. However, the sad truth is that many individuals have some or a lot of difficulty transitioning into civilian world. The American military has a lot of work ahead of them to aid in transitioning soldiers into civilian life and this should include way more than just job transitioning, but mental health and substance abuse transitioning too. I cannot say that the American military will be able to catch all of the issues present in soldiers as they transition into civilian life. There is no way to know what soldiers have what protective factors and measure each soldier’s risk factors, but not trying is certain to leave soldiers behind.
This post is about Christianity and the American soldier. How can one even justify being a soldier of America or of any country for that matter? Afterall, isn’t the kingdom of God the only alliance that should be given any clout? True, the kingdom of God is and should be the only reason one does anything at all. Below are some scriptures that support God’s plan for us as we live on this earth. As I have often said regarding one’s employment, “well, someone’s gotta do it.” That pertains to the trash person, the accountant, the therapist, the doctor, the pastor, the lawyer and all other professions on this earth. Being a solider is worthy endeavor and I would be proud yet scared to have one of my children be a soldier. God has plans for our lives, but I also believe that God sets certain people apart. There are some who are better at being doctors, lawyers and some better at being protectors like police officers. I think that this flows into the American military too. Civil service for your country is a proud profession, but even this can be clouted by sin and this is why we see civil servants behaving badly. This is why we see horrible doctors who molest patients and lawyers who could not maintain the law for the benefit of good if they tried.
1 Peter 2:13-17 states, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
If indeed what we do is to honor God then listening to his instructions for us on the earth is vital. We might not like what our leaders do, but as followers of God and true believers in Jesus’ resurrection, we know that following rules, laws and regulations are what we should be doing. How do we know that we are the one's that should be on top, hold power over others. America is no greater a country than said France or Great Britain and we should not act against what God has set forth in how we should act as a Christian, but we need to remember to abide by God's calling for us. Part of the greatest demon in PTSD is the serious fear of loosing God’s love or being a sinner beyond saving. People loose their sense of safety and feel pain, fear and remorse for what they have done. We need to act to help and save others, to pray and allow God to lead us to righteousness. Trouble is, this line can and has been blurred by sin.
Psalm 82:1-4 states, “ 1 God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”: 2 “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? 3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Proverbs 24:1-12 states, “Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; 2 for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.3 By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. 5 The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength.6 Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.7 Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.8 Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer. 9 The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker. 10 If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! 11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?”
Submission to Governing Authorities
Romans 13:1-7 states, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
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By the time our family started to go to a church regularly and become members, encouraging us to delve deeper into our faith, 2 out of our 4 children were already in the teenager and preteen stage of life. This meant they had a much different outlook on church as their younger siblings did. After all, our 3 year old's familiarity with church was going to the nursery where she was able to play for about 45 minutes to an hour, our six-year-old who was familiar with school went to children's church where she was educated with movies, crafts, singing and different activities geared towards children.
A little back story, while my husband was deployed/ out of state at school when the older two children were little, they had the same interest in church as the younger children. They were happy with games, movies, stories, activities and treats they didn't mind going to church with me every once in awhile on Sunday. I was nowhere near ready to go to church full time without my husband. So, when it came time to start to go to church again after a long hiatus (2 additional children, a mother who needed my full time care and lived with us as well as my husband now home for good), I decided that it was time to go back to church. I knew I was a Christian and I was in the need for support from an outside source.
The problem, I felt bad about dragging my teenage son to church. I often let him sleep in or he would graciously accept my mother staying home with him, so I could enjoy church without having to drag around additional person with me. I was bummed, I wanted him to share in the experiences that I was having. Then came the time that my husband was finally able to attend church with us on a full-time basis. He normally worked 12 hours on Sunday, so going to church for him was completely out of the question. I still felt bad about dragging my older two children to church.
Our oldest daughter seemed to find her way around going to church, she became familiar with church leaders because she was part of the GEMS program on Wednesday night. She also, quite often, helped me with vacation Bible School and Sunday school, but our son was something different. I truly felt like I was forcing him to do something that he just did not want to do. He told me that he was not even sure he believed in God. I was okay with this (sorta), but I just wanted my son to share in the experience that I was having. I wanted him to be with me
So finally I asked another couple, who had teenage children. ”How do you get your kids to go to church,” I asked
Their answer was simple,”they go whether they like it or not.”
Now, I know this doesn't seem fair when you're trying to give your kids autonomy, but the fact of the matter is, while you were under my roof, you are going to go to church with me. This is not because I want to force you into believing what I believe, but because I want to be with you. I also do believe this, how are you to make an educated decision if you do not get the chance to go to church? If you choose that God is not something that you believe in then let that worldview come from educating yourself, not a whim.
Lastly, I laid it out on the line for them. I am your mother and I do a lot for you. I love doing a lot for you, I love driving you to and from your boy scouts, your band practices, your Choir concerts, your GEMS activities and any other activity that includes you finding joy. I have no issue doing these things, so the least your can do for me is give me part of your morning on Sunday to be together as a family, listen to the preacher’s sermon, if you have questions ask your mother and father. If we can't answer, we most certainly will allow you to ask a question of the pastor. We do not want our children to blindly follow in our faith, but seek God on their own, through their own choices.