Guest Post by Joyce
While I love to feature sisters in Latin America who have tremendous stories of transformation, this story comes from a sister here in the United States who recognized her identity as a daughter of the King. I am inspired whenever a sister steps forward to take on the mantle of rights and responsibilities that stems from right relationship with the King. Let us remember our mutual brokenness, our universal need for a Savior and our desperate need to live worthy of the calling of daughter of the King. Here’s her story in her own words:
“Good Morning, church. For those who do not know me, my name is Joyce, and I am 18 years old and have attended this church with my family since I was 14 years old. For the last six months, I was at boot camp training to be a marine. During the last six months, I went through a complete spiritual transformation. Boot camp is where the God of Joyce’s parents became the God of Joyce. Pastor’s message last week was the perfect bookend to this whole 6 month experience I had with God.
One truth that I learned, is from this Bible verse: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28
Let me explain from the beginning, Two weeks before I shipped out, I had a going away party. The two main questions were of me, “Are you ready for boot camp?” and “How is is your relationship with God?” To these questions I answered, “Yes, I am so ready for boot camp,” and “My relationship with God is great.” The answer to both of these question was a lie; I was lying to all of you and to myself. One, I was not ready for boot camp. And two, my relationship with God was pretty much at rock bottom. On August 7, 2017, I got on a plane to go to boot camp. Training is 13 weeks and my mindset was, “I can do this by my own strength.”
During week 11 of training, I was dropped from my training platoon to FRP, Female Readiness Platoon, a healing Platoon, for my right hand carpal tunnel syndrome. This destroyed me, because for the past 11 weeks my mind was set on becoming a United States Marine. That is what I put my identity in, I was on my way to becoming a Marine. But having that taken away from me, it was like I didn't know who I was anymore. I was having an identity crisis.
So from the end of October to the beginning of January, I was in this healing platoon. During this time I was exhausted; I missed my family; I was physically and mentally tired, and there were so many emotions that flooded over me during this time that I was just so overwhelmed. I wrote several letters to my sister asking her what I should do. Should I come home and go to college or stay here and continue with my plan of being a Marine. Should I stay or should I go (no pun intended). Every time I would receive a letter from my sister, she would write a Bible verse, reminding me of how good God is and how He has my back. At first I got mad, because I didn't need Bible verses; I needed an answer! As the days passed by, I kept remembering my pink Bible that I kept stored away in my foot locker. Eventually, I picked it up and started reading; I mean I had nothing else better to do. As I started reading Genesis, I noticed myself noticing little things I never noticed before when I read the Bible the first time, which was amazing! Everyday I would have this tug in my heart to read the Bible, and when I found myself thinking about nothing, like when I was in the shower, I found myself just talking to God about how my day went, and just thanking Him for not letting the medical personal send me home. As I talked to God more, all the emotions that overwhelmed me in the past couple weeks were controlled and I didn’t feel as insane.
While I was in FRP, my older sister, Rochelle, decided to spend money on a brand new devotional book. In this devotional, it was just week after week of themes that train your heart to live like Christ did. It also made me think of where my relationship with God. This book scared me. Because like I said, I was overwhelmed with emotions. But as I read a devotional for that day, that devotional was about how to contradict the emotion I was feeling that day. For example, if I was feeling anxious or worried, that day that devotional would be about relaxing. Even though I was creeped out, this goes to show how God knows what I need at the exact moment I need it.
In the month of January, I was finally back into training. By this point, I was so ready to graduate and go home to see my family. Here was the difference between when I first went to training and when I picked up for the second time: My mindset was not “I can do this with my own strength” anymore. It was: “ I can only do this because God is giving me the strength to do it.” During training, God poured his blessings over me. I was blessed with an amazing Platoon. These were the kind of girls that literally took items from my pack and put it on themselves, because they knew I was hurt, even though they were tired and their packs were heavy; they made theirs heavier so I could make it. I was blessed with an amazing Senior Drill Instructor that helped me find who I am as a person and as a leader. I was also blessed to meet such a passionate woman at church who helped me realize that I was truly loved by God and helped me find my true identity, not as a United States Marine, but as a Child of God.
They say that God allows us to go through trials so He can draw us closer to Him, or so He can teach us something. Boot Camp was my trial, and God did both of those. First, he drew me closer to Him, by putting His word on my heart, and urging me to read it everyday. Then he taught me that putting my identity in something other than Him was completely useless. In order for me to feel complete as a person, God had to become the King of my heart and I had to have a personal relationship with Him. I want to end my sharing with another Bible verse that has weighed on my heart throughout boot camp:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” -Isaiah 43:2
AMEN. Thank you.”
Well, thank you, Joyce, for that powerful story of finding who you are through that difficult season! What about you…? Has a hardship bent you beyond your comfort zone, but not broken you… yet? Maybe you’re going through a dark time now? Just remember, sweet sister, that He can make your broken story beautiful, too; just humbly invite Him to be the King of your willing heart, like Princess Joyce.
Esther's Necklaces celebrates the worthiness of each of those who are called daughters of the King with princess-inspired jewelry which supports anti-human trafficking efforts in Latin America.
Matthew Peterson says...
Grateful to continue to see the issue of human trafficking being exposed. We work with businesses addressing this issue in Asia by creating jobs in vulnerable communities and hiring survivors – www.kairostraders.com
June 21, 2018