Many military families leave a legacy that causes their children to follow in their footsteps. My journey to military service had so many twists and turns that I’m not even sure how I ended up here.
I never dreamed big. I was just an ordinary girl with an ordinary story. What was the point? Dreaming big never seemed like an option. I didn’t know how to get from my normal life to something bigger than myself.
But my life was about to take a turn into the unexpected. My parents jokingly told me I should join the military because they thought I would never leave their house. Initially, I ignored their jest, but never forgot those words. Then as life would have it I became connected to a group of friends of which many were joining the military.
And sometimes life lines up in such a way that you can’t miss the huge sign pointing you toward your final destination.
Life was about to change. That longing for purpose and doing something greater than myself was finding the answer. My eyes were about to be opened up to a world that I didn’t even know was there. That’s what happened to me my freshman year of college and a new adventure of military life began.
I had planned to join the Air National Guard, but right before I made the final appointment I heard of another plan. One where you would go to college while training to become an Officer. And as an added bonus there was no commitment required. I could join, try out this new venture with no strings attached. It seemed like a dream come true. I wasn’t 100% sure this military thing was something I could do.
The next semester, I joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the school I was attending. What I thought might be a small side track to my life story quickly pulled me in. I loved everything about the military and was learning so much. I also found someone hiding deep inside of me. Someone I didn’t even know was there.
The military training alongside my college classes turned me from shy timid girl into a leader.
My life completely changed. And as an added bonus I met my husband. He graduated and headed off to Air Force life a year before me. Eventually I graduated and headed off to meet him in New Mexico, but not before the Air Force sent me to six weeks of training in Alabama. My eyes were opened to a whole new world.
A few years after serving my name got tagged for a deployment to Afghanistan. And not just any deployment, but this deployment sent me on a mission with the Army requiring regular missions into the streets of Afghanistan interacting with the people as we built school, roads and other infrastructure.
Heading to what felt impossible
Days before I left for training they played a song at church. Take my life and let it be for your glory. Standing there I broke down, I always felt as if my life was bigger than I could have made it. God’s hand leading my steps. And now I was going to do what felt like an impossible task. The only choice I had was to lean into God’s strength.
Off to Afghanistan I went, still pretty confident they had picked the wrong person, not knowing what was in store. Somehow, I managed not only to survive 9 months in Afghanistan, but thrived. I came home with stories of my journey, military achievements and a life changed. Some days I think about who I was in high school and wonder how I ever got to this point.
But I just took one step after another. And now I have a life so different than I could have ever imagined. It wasn’t a quick jump, but a slow process. If there is something you think you can’t do, but want to just take that first step. You may not end up where you expect, but you will move forward to something new. And it is so worth it. I have done more than I could have ever imagined and you can too.