The following was written in 2015, after attending my younger sister’s graduation ceremony on Parris Island in South Carolina:
My sister recently graduated from Marine boot camp. After boot camp, the new marines are given 9 days of leave before their next phases of training (which, for my sister, is a month of marine combat training followed by three months of occupational specialty training).
I have been all kinds of emotional these past ten days. I can’t put into words how proud I am of her for becoming a Marine. I am proud of her because she has accomplished something that not everyone can. I am proud of her because as a woman she will train and be tested the same as the men in her company. I am proud of her because she is not afraid. I am proud of her because she does not let her size hold her back. I am proud of her because she desires to serve others and not only herself.
Knowing we had only a short time together, I wanted to soak up all that I could about her experiences at recruit training. I craved the stories. I wanted to hear about everything. What happened? How did she feel? How did everyone react? How many didn’t make it through? What was the best part/the worst part? "Tell me everything!", I insisted.
While there were so many stories and so many things worth noting and sharing, there was a theme that developed in our conversations that really got me thinking.
When recruits first arrive at the depot, their personal belongings are taken away. From then on, recruits must shout responses to superiors at all times and never in the first person. (A recruit can never say 'I', but ESPECIALLY not ever say 'I want' or 'I need'.)
A recruit will shower or use the restroom only when an instructor says they can. By the way, there are no doors on restroom stalls. Recruits must follow all orders. Recruits do not cry or display emotions. Recruits eat and sleep if and when given the time and resources to do so.
After telling me about these and even more recruit training realities, my sister said, “Basically, you have nothing. You are nothing.”
You have nothing. You are nothing. Is this not ourselves apart from Christ? 1 Timothy 6:7 says “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” Does Psalm 103:15-16 not say, “As for mortals, their days are like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more”?
There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the life. Because it is so natural it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is; but its outworkings are tragic.
We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.
My sister says the Marine philosophy is one which seeks to break a recruit down as an individual in order to build the recruits back up as a unit. And so our God reveals our depravity and sin-stained selves. Once we know this truth – that we have nothing and are nothing – that is when He gives us everything.
We are now being built back up into a community of believers - like living stones, being built up into a spiritual house. We are members of one body – we have a common head and common end. Praise God!
A short note from Lisa Brittain:
Thank you, Lisa Tweedy, for drawing our attention to one of several aspects of military life, which paint a beautiful word picture of our calling as God's people. He calls us all to be ambassadors for His Kingdom for sure. Additionally, as Kingdom citizens we are commanded by Jesus to submit our very lives under the authority of God, our King.
Furthermore, I want to thank your sister, Hannah Tweedy, for her sacrifice and service to our country and on behalf of all Americans. Thank you, Hannah, you are truly a beautiful example of courage and strength.
As the fourth of July holiday approaches, let us be mindful of our servicemen and servicewomen on duty around the world, as well as the veterans in our midst. May we lift a prayer of protection, provision, and gratitude to God, our Father, on their behalf and for the benefit of our country and all our citizens.
We give thanks to You God, for You are good and Your steadfast love endures forever. Thank You, Father God, for Your tremendous patience, grace and mercy. You have blessed us more than we deserve. Father, may Your people turn our eyes to You, listen to Your voice and obey Your every command for Your glory and for Your Kingdom. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
~ Meet Lisa Tweedy ~
"I am married to my husband of eight years, Andrew. Together we have two sons, John (now five) and Nathan (now two). I love serving the Lord with my local body of believers in Lilburn, Georgia."
Connect with Lisa Tweedy:
or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org