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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Second Chances

So,  have had a Second article purchased and a third on the way.  So I am posting the second one here for every one to read.

From the moment I was sworn into the U.S. Army to the moment I was discharged was just over two years. Less than your average enlistment, four years. And a couple of decades less then I had planned since I wanted to make the military my career. I started at, “where do I sign,” and went to “what happened?” My entire career was set in stone for me and I charged full steam ahead. That is, right off a cliff. All these years later I understand that old saying,”If you want to see God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
I originally enlisted to become an artist for the Army. Yes, they have artists in the Army. It was difficult to get into the Art Corp, but I wanted to serve my country, and do it using the talents God had given me. It meant I could have retired in 2005 at the age of 43. With gusto, I looked forward to a few years of regimented life, then taking the rest of my life easy. That ideal, though, lasted a few short months.
All these years later I can look back at my mistakes and shake my head. Many of my habits got in the way, being head strong and lazy, and yes, I rushed into marriage. If you asked anyone in my old unit what had led to my discharge they would say it was that last point. My ex-wife and I did get into many fights and several times the military police had to step in. It happened enough times that my commander kicked me out.
For a short while I was bitter. Everything I had planned had been derailed. I blamed her, my commander and others, but never myself. My ex-wife and I separated and I moved to Texas to be near family. They gave me the support I needed at that time to get get my head together. That support, of course included getting involved in the church – and more importantly with God.
Over time He helped me understand that the crash of my career had been my own fault. The other factors in my fall were just symptoms of one thing. I had put myself ahead of God. My relationship with Him was,”Lord, I want,” not,”Lord, I am here, what is your will?” Once I realized that, I came to God and asked for forgiveness. As soon as I did He reminded me of my trashed record. Why He did, I could not understand. It was in the past. But, He did, so I prayed for a way to remove it.
When I was done I felt at ease. My life was His and somehow a part of my past would be wiped clean. What makes me laugh, now, is that the next day a friend of mine and I had plans to go to an air show. When we arrived there were military police directing traffic and performing crowd control. Both of us were prior service and noticed that their uniforms were a bit different. We asked one of them who they were. He said “Texas State Guard,” and directed us to their table inside the show. As we talked to the officer there it dawned on me that God knew I would be here.
Of course, that table was there for recruiting. So I took my time to learn everything about them. In turn I told him everything about my military record. By the end of an hour the unit commander said,”If I can get the Governor to sign off on the paperwork, would you be interested in enlisting?” I said yes, filled out what I had to, then shook hands and left to enjoy the show. Two weeks later he called back. My enlistment had been approved.
That next Saturday I was sworn in as a corporal. It was an instant promotion since I had been demoted to private when I left the Army. Over the next seven years I attended every course I could. I held positions as Commanders' aide, Personnel, Recruiting and Training Sergeant for that unit. In that time I advanced three ranks. Where ever I could help the Division I did. But, in the end, I gave it up to follow Gods' leading.
As I made that decision to leave I was happy. God had come back to the center of my life and He gave me my hearts desire at that time, just as it says He would in Mt 7:7. It was His will for me to be in the military, but not as I envisioned it. It did not become my career, but a facet of who I was. It is a part of my life that someday I believe He will use for His glory.
God knew that my love of country was a part of me, He made me after all. He wanted me to live and express it. But, I had to learn the “HE” was above that, as it says in Col. 1:18-23. Once I lined up correctly to Him the rest simply fell into place. Now, that isn't to say that everything I have asked for I have gotten. He knows me better then I know myself. Every good and wonderful thing for “MY” life He wishes to give. But, only if it is right for me and only if I am right with Him. Though all of this I have learned to be content with what He does or does not give me. He may still give me what I want, but is His timing, not mine. What they say in the Army fits well here. “Hurry up and wait.”

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