MIA— Compassion and Respect

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

I am an Air Force Veteran. I am a woman. These two things should not be opposite sides of the time-in-voluntary-service, but unfortunately they are.

There are so many variants that shaped my personal military adventure. No two experiences are alike, but if I were standing next to my also Veteran, retired, husband— he is the one attention would shift to in interest.

I know this, because I have experienced this 99% of the time. We both can mention our enlistments, and mine is treated like it’s no biggie, but my husband— “Really! Thank you for your service!” with maybe a nod in my direction.

It’s like people don’t know how to process my being a woman in the military.

The military began “shaping” me to live in a man-shaped perspective, from day one.

I was 15 pounds under the expected weight-lifting limit to apply for a job I really wanted to do. You and I know it wouldn’t have been difficult for me to build up to that limit— I was determined and in shape to do that— but that was not an option. I believe this was an across-the-board decision, but I also believe that could, and maybe should, be changed.

The mindset of the military is always “military needs”, and volunteers are “property”.

The process for making me a military-minded person began by breaking me down, separating me into a group of 49 other women, limiting things like time to shower, privacy, time to eat, getting mail or calls from home, and dictating every moment of everyday.

Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing experience, and I am proud of myself for success in making it through that.

But, for me— coming from an abusive past, it was also an emotionally difficult experience.

Additionally, it was a lonely experience— but that wasn’t a new thing for me. I have almost never had someone to talk to, or go through things with me.

That brings me to my point in writing this.

The military comes at everything from a man’s perspective. It just does. Sure there are videos, and training once a year to learn about being professional and demonstrating polite courtesy to not offend women, or make them feel threatened.

I think that is kind of a good thing, but it’s also kind of condescending.

It also does not work. I mean, just look at scandals way at the top concerning sexual harassment towards women.

Here is another perspective:

https://m.facebook.com/200999403407041/posts/1838927186280913/?d=n

My personal experiences of working in a man’s career field as a plumber (my 10th flowery-worded choice— Utilities System Specialist), in a man’s-perspective-d world are unique and don’t necessarily reflect or match another woman’s.

I get that.

But, men, and even some high-ranking women, certainly have a long way to go towards mutual respect and fair, rational, understanding and compassionate treatment of women— as individuals that are completely unique and separate from the way men are built.

With all the money poured into “research”, you’d think by now things would have naturally “evolved” from arrogant, chauvinistic, neanderthal-like behavior.

Recently, women have finally been provided with something many have needed all along! It took decades for that to happen! Why?

Because it’s a world based on men’s perspective that women are “allowed” to become part of.

Things are getting better, and yet, the latest response/reaction by civilian men to the mere mention of the newly available maternity flight suit just proves— men have a long way to go.

In the famous words of our current President— “Come on, man!”

You can, and should, do better.

What Does Living Water Look Like, Feel Like, Taste Like?

I have noticed that women within the Church are sometimes, many times even, deficient in living water because of a lack of Spiritually fulfilling resources. Especially single women, divorced women, and widowed women. As a teenager I experienced this firsthand, and then later as a divorced adult. Maybe that’s why I feel sensitive to it even now.

This deficiency in the living water, it’s not from a lack of interaction with God, or even a failure to be filled by God’s Holy Spirit. Not at all, not all of the time. In fact, it’s easier to spend time with God in those instances of a woman’s life, because her heart isn’t so divided, her attention isn’t so fractured and distracted, or demanded.

Then, what do I think it’s caused from, some may ask?

God created women with an ingrained designed need for fellowship, a meeting of the heart and mind, a desire to be heard and cherished. That need becomes deprived when women are separated from healthy interactions. That’s why the devil has worked overtime in the Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, because he has been at war with women through the men in their lives, creating an environment where they cannot thrive well, cannot grow to their full potential without the proper nurturing, cherishing ,valuing of them, or the allowance of them to reach their full potential as healthy individuals. The devil has waged a full on war against women, with very little opposition. Because those outside of that particular part of the war have been hesitant to “interfere” (really it’s hesitant to help, withholding the needed love and compassion from them to reach out and help them rise up above this twisted mindset, effectively putting Satan under their feet), it has been allowed to continue and just accepted as “That’s just the way it is over there”. The perception that America is “the great satan” is a lie that has effectively been intertwined into cultures where women have become undervalued, abused, neglected and not at all cherished as God has created them to be. Satan lives, thrives within that mindset, not within any specific nation.

In our Western Christian mindset, there are denominations who also do not value women or allow them to become all God intends for them to be. In the church mindset (and, not every church, not every church in any one denomination, and not any one denomination overall), women are limited in the roles they can serve in. Why is this? Different interpretations and applications of Scripture create specific “doctrines” that lock churches into mindsets that are not always accurately Scriptural-based. In Galatians 3:28 it specifically states “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

So, often, there is a distance already placed and understood between single, divorced and widowed women within the church. They aren’t often given the special considerations they need, that God desires for them to have. The fellowship that provides that refreshing living water is not always available for them. It forces a deeper reliance on God, but it also can place a wedge in their heart keeping them from effectively being ministered to. It creates a wall that blocks them from the resources that God desires for them to have.

The Church desperately needs to seek God to begin learning and teaching how to help women in various stages of life, to be helped and encouraged to grow to their full potential. There has to be a culture within the Church of both humble submission to Church leadership and then a healthy trust relationship and covering for women in all stages to reach the full potential that God has placed within their lives and hearts.

We have yet to see many women reach the full potential, but I believe that God wants to supersede that, and make some deep adjustments in mindsets and attitudes.

The well of living water within the Church should always be readily available through fellowship and healthy interactions with others. Then we will experience an even greater outpouring of the living water from Heaven that God will continually pour out upon us all.

If anything scares the devil, it’s the stronghold over women being broken.

When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan women at the well, He broke the strongholds over her life, her mindset, and the mindset of those in her city. He did that by speaking the truth to her, by knowing her, by interacting with her. We can do the same, just by getting to really know the women in our own lives, by listening to their stories, by helping to foster an environment that allows them to reach that full potential God has for them. ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+4&version=NASB )

Christians: we are the Church. It’s not a building that enforces doctrine and teachings, or creates environments. We can make all the difference that God wants us to.

Irregular Frustration With Realistic Expectations

In the civilian, real world, when you go to the doctor and get told you need surgery, you schedule the date, make the necessary preparations, work things out with your boss and loved ones when you schedule the date, and you go get your surgery done.

In the military, under normal circumstances, you discuss things with your supervisor, fill out necessary paperwork to be sent up your chain of command to be either approved or disapproved, then schedule accordingly. So imagine our frustrated surprise that it’s after 4 p.m. the day before my husband‘s surgery has been scheduled, and his convalescent leave still has not been approved. His Chief is still talking with people, trying to get someone to step up and fill my husband’s shoes, so he can get what he needs done. His commander is risking losing my husband completely, because of the pain he’s in and the screws in one foot can break at any time. I see the pain he is in, and it makes me both very angry that his leadership cares so little about him, and it makes me cry.

So, I’m not a bit afraid to say: fireworks are about to go off. I am going to explode in a fit of frustrated concern on someone who can make a difference. At this point, weighing the consequences: repercussions because his leadership will have no question of who is stirring stuff up, versus my husband’s crippling pain: I think I honestly just don’t even care. Someone needs to be informed of what is happening here. This will be the third time his surgery is being put off, because of “Air Force needs”. Well, the Air Force NEEDS to fix my husband, or they are crippling their own mission.

Ok, now the Christian part of me is kicking in. I have prayed off and on, I have trusted God to help make the way for this to happen. My husband is humble and kind. He puts others before himself. He has put the Air Force before this need for years now, but now it’s their turn to make his well-being the priority. He has given and given, and he can’t keep being the only one to give.  His leadership obviously does not have anything of God in them, or they would be listening to the Holy Spirit on the issue. I trust that God is concerned for my husband, and He will provide for all of his needs.

I just wish the Air Force would live up to their end. Things have really gotten rotten in the past 4 years.

Update: As of about 6:45 p.m., our God has indeed come through for my husband!! So very thankful for the Chief God has put in place at this time. She fought all day to get his command to sign the convalescent leave form. He is getting the surgery.

Some battles are worth fighting for both in prayer and in action, we can’t give in and give up the fight, when the need is so great.