I think we can all agree that I've already written about today's topic here, here, and here. I don't really see a point in rehashing all of that pain and hurt because it's not going to help me heal. So, I'm going to write about another moment when my life took a turn.
I was eighteen years old and a couple of months into what I had hoped would be a career with the United States Army. I was living life to the fullest and enjoying my new found freedom. The weekends were spent at hotels where me and a few of my close friends would stay while we explored the great city of Augusta. It was also where we would go to party and where we stayed when we would go to one local bar in particular to have a few drinks to unwind and have some fun.
Shocked that a good Christian girl like myself was underage drinking? Yeah, I was too. I didn't believe it until the bartender slid a cold one into my hands. Being a retired Navy Seal, his line of thought was that if I was old enough to die for my country, I was old enough to have a beer. I thought for sure I would get in trouble and kept waiting for a Drill Sergeant to pop up from underneath the patio just to catch me in the act. I also feared that God would come down and smite me because I had gone against everything I had been taught about Him. I also questioned if this was the right thing to do. Was I following God's path or my own?
It was during this time that my beliefs were being challenged in new ways. Being raised in a Roman Catholic house, there was a list set in stone of what I could and couldn't do. I was to abide by those rules at all times, even after I joined the Army. To do otherwise, would surely mean getting cast out of God's favor.
So, I wobbled on the straight line that had been placed for me to balance on. I didn't want to fall completely out of favor but I also didn't want to miss out on the good times to be had. I constantly worried if I was pleasing God and my parents. Being under so tight a leash, it was only a matter of time before it hanged me. And, it did. Just not the way I had expected.
It was a Friday evening when I went into the hospital with Dylan. I was going in for my weekly x-rays on my hip. For six months, the doctors at Fort Gordon had been monitoring my progress...or lack thereof. After breaking my femoral neck, the doctors didn't want to do surgery unless they absolutely had to. Being so young, I shouldn't have needed a hip replacement and they didn't want to give me one.
Going in, I was happy. This was my routine and I had plans for after school. Me and Dylan (we had been married for a month) were going to spend the weekend in downtown Augusta. Our passes were completed and approved. I went in, laid on the table, chatted with the technician who had become a friend and waited to be released.
As we waited, a flood of nurses and doctors filled the tiny orthopedic room. A bed was wheeled in and orders were being shouted. I looked around the room, wondering who they were here for. I didn't have to wait long. A doctor and a nurse came up to me. Without hesitation, I was told I was being admitted to the hospital for an emergency surgery. I argued, begged, and pleaded for them to hold off on my surgery. Looking at me dead in the eye, the head doctor of surgery told me I was having surgery that night and I didn't have a choice. To them, it was a miracle I was still walking and not writhing on the floor from the intense pain I should have been in.
That was a moment that my life took a turn. The Army was no longer an option for me. Being injured and having steel pins drilled into my femur and hip socket, I wasn't fit to deploy. I was a risk to my fellow soldiers and the Army couldn't afford to employ such a risk.
My days of partying were over. I didn't have a Plan B. And the friends I had partied with, slowly drifted away from me. I couldn't spend my weekends drinking anymore or getting into harmless trouble since I was too busy learning how to walk again and completing my last month of training while pregnant with Nick. As I was doing this, I started to question what I would do with my life. I also began to wonder if this was God's way of punishing me for indulging in less than Christian like behaviors. For months, I dwelled on that question.
Finally, I had my answer.
God wasn't punishing me. Instead, He had placed me on a better path than the one I was on. He had saved me from sure destruction and brokeness. He knew all along what was right for me and even though I questioned Him, He never once wavered from my side. I got away from the bad influences and found love as well as happiness. I was shown that I did have a purpose outside of the Army. I broke away from the Church and found a non-denominational church that I ended up loving. I started working on my relationship with God and Jesus. And, I broke away from my neurotic thinking. In short, I was finally...truly free from that balance beam.
My femur breaking was the best thing that could have happened to me because God used it to show me just how precious and loved I am. We all have a purpose on this Earth. To think otherwise, would be foolish.