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God's Bootcamp
10/23/2018 8:35:00 AM by: Dee Lundgren MA, LPC

The military accomplished in 8 weeks what I could not accomplish as a Mom in 18 years.

No one joins the military for boot camp. My youngest son, Ryan, enlisted in the Army National Guard while attending college. As a new recruit, he was stationed at Fort Knox for eight weeks of basic training.

The purpose of boot camp is to be physically and psychologically intense--preparing soldiers for the demands of the military.

My husband and I flew to celebrate Ryan’s graduation from basic training.  We sat on the bleachers as a few hundred recruits marched into the large auditorium. We were near the entrance door looking for Ryan. The last guard filed in and I still didn’t spot my son. Actually, I did see him but I didn’t recognize him with a shaved head and crisp uniform.

 

One of the drill sergeants spoke to the audience of family and friends.  He said, “I’ve taken your whining kids and made them into soldiers who make their beds in the morning.” The crowd applauded. “Get up before dawn.” Louder applause. “And speak up when spoken to.” Even louder applause.

 

Ryan hadn’t eaten much in eight weeks so after the ceremony we bought pizza. Previously a slow eater, he was able to inhale a large pizza in minutes. The only other time I saw someone eat that fast was when I watched a disgusting hotdog eating contest.

 

Ryan told us stories about boot camp—the anxiety from having to enter a gas chamber.  Having to eat a meal in less than four minutes and then do a rigorous hike causing many to vomit. Drill sergeants who had perfected the art of humiliating recruits.

 

The soldiers endured because they knew that basic training would prepare them for the real thing—combat. It wasn’t wasted pain. It was forced hardship designed to build character.

 

No one likes boot camp. But no one would want to serve next to a soldier who had not gone through boot camp.

 

Pain has a way of forging character in a way nothing else will. Sometimes God allows trials from a world that is fallen to help grow us up. There can be a positive outcome to the suffering we go through.

 

Victor Frankl, the psychiatrist who survived the Nazi concentration camps, discovered that the prisoners who no longer found meaning in their pain did not survive. Finding a purpose in their suffering was a life and death issue.

 

Loss and heartache hurt. But knowing that God can redeem our pain to make us stronger and more resilient gives purpose to our hardship. And He will even use our suffering to bless others beyond what we could imagine.

 

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. 1Peter 5:10

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Comments

Dawn Villanovs From Glenside At 10/23/2018 12:50:33 PM

Dee, your words are a refreshing encouragement to me. Thank you for taking the time to share these tidbits of wisdom. ??Dawn

Reply by: Dee Lundgren

Dawn glad you were encouraged. Thanks for your kind words.

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