The Rest of the Story, Part II

In my previous post, I wrote about how I had failed a very important weight and body fat check while entering Journeyman Instructor School. This failure jeopardized my chances to become a Navy instructor and caused me gross embarrassment.

Nevertheless, I thought that maybe God could use this as a ministry to others. I didn't know for sure, though, because this wasn't something God did to me, it was something that I did to myself. I kept eating high-calorie and high-fat meals. I didn't work out to compensate. None of this was God's doing. Still, as I sat in the holds office awaiting my fate, I prayed, "God, maybe you can do something with this. If there is any way, I give you my situation." It was a simple prayer, but it was the best I could do. I was ashamed of myself.

God wasted little time. Yes, I went through a good deal of judgement as I checked in to the holds division as a loser and a failure. The chief who was in charge of the division made no effort to hide his displeasure. I did stand up for myself, but didn't argue with him. That would have been counter-productive. I knew the truth. I knew that my hope was in God.

I met many of the young sailors I would be working with that day and the following morning. A lot of them were being kicked out because they had screwed up their lives to that point. In some ways, I understood. Despite having a number of awards and great evals, I was essentially throwing away my career, just like they were.

Another thing that they were all going through was a harsh prejudice against junior sailors/students. Once they were in trouble, the military in charge of them continued to nit-pick anything that was wrong, even if marginal. Things that wouldn't have gotten them in trouble on a ship "in the real Navy" was getting them in trouble here. I realized what God was wanting me to do. I realized my purpose.

They needed to know that not every senior leader was out to get them or drag them down. I tried my hardest to become the person that could give them hope. I counseled and mentored many of them about their futures. Those who weren't being kicked out I mentored to help them find their direction. I encouraged them to do what they were told, keep their noses clean, and push through. They would get to the fleet soon...a fleet that didn't care if they made a mistake in A School. I told them about sailors I had known who had made mistakes in school only to be great sailors in the fleet.

And I worked hard. I was losing about 4 pounds a week during this time. I was determined to show these students that I, too, was doing everything I could do to fight through my situation and the judgement I was facing as a "failure." God was using me as an example of hope and spirit for these young sailors. It felt wonderful.

I didn't get through to all of them. Many did get kicked out of the Navy. I might have made their last few days a little brighter, but the fact is that many of them were already too far gone to rescue. It wasn't up to me to make them see the hope I had, only to offer it to them. I also didn't get to outright share my testimony with many of them either. On a few occasions, I was able to share how my faith was vital to me getting through the current circumstances. On another occasion, I was able to reinforce the faith of a few young sailors, even including offering them a ride to church if they wished for it. Anyway, all I can do is pray that I left an impression.

My stay in the holding division was God-ordained. It might have been my fault that I was there, but I was in God's hands the entire time. And when it was time for me to leave...when my work there was done...God move me along. Find out about that tomorrow!


Don the Baptist said...

This is the very definition of redeemed. God always takes us where we are and redeems both us and the situation. YOU are blessed to be used of God as He redeems other lives, as well.

Demi W. said...

The faith and insight you have never ceases to touch me! I got to be close to Alicia while you were out to sea so I never had much time to see this side of you (you are a quiet person!). Reading your blog really shines a light on you and your faith and its very inspiring. I'll be praying for you!

Today I started working out at the gym I just joined because I have finally decided I need to take losing weight seriously. Keep inspiring!!

Don the Baptist said...

Dan, I've been swimming all summer. I'm up to a mile several times a week and 1/2 mile the other days. Haven't lost pound one. But my waist size is gradually shrinking. It is quite frustrating, but I believe it is the best thing to do for our families as well as our own health and witness.

The Navy Christian said...

Don, Thank you. I am blessed to have been used by God the way I was. It was amazing.

Demi, Good job! Thank you for the encouragement, and I hope you have a great process ahead of you for your own goals!