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God’s Intervention in the Wretched Life of a Medically Discharged USMC Lance Corporal

God’s Intervention in the Wretched Life of a Medically Discharged USMC Lance Corporal

by Rachel Nickerson

I grew up in a culturally Christian home—submission to God's Word was not emphasized, just thoughts of "doing good." We went to church, and that was a part of doing good. To me, it seemed as if the Bible was just a wise book of sayings that we sometimes referenced if we wanted to know what would bring us a happy, good life. This was a difficult view to continue holding (by the grace of God, since it is a view that is completely damnable) because we were going through many trials and hardships and none of them could be explained by the view of life or the Bible that had somehow grown in me. So we hid our flaws and our sin from the church, distanced ourselves from friends, and slowly we became more broken and dysfunctional as a family.

Fast forward to my teenage years when my family went through some more hard situations. Lots of broken relationships and hurt, and the church thing wasn’t really working for us anymore. It was just a burden, and we were burnt out from "doing good." This was at the time when gay "marriage" was a hot topic, and our church was split over it. My parents chose the conservative side of the issue, opposing gay marriage, and I was deeply offended because it seemed hypocritical and random considering other "respectable" sins being accepted and even encouraged in our circle (for example, pride, selfishness, gluttony, slander, and unbelief). That led me to great bitterness and a complete renunciation of this seemingly hateful and inconsistent religion. Subsequently, my family was driven further apart, and I caused a lot of family grief through sin that I pursued in light of my newfound "freedom" from the yoke of religion.

I became a feminist and grew to hate men more and more as I continued in sin and had multiple traumatic experiences. I joined the Marine Corps out of high school to prove my superiority to the male sex and render their existence and my "seeming" need for protection and care unnecessary. I wanted to be my own savior. God gave me up to a debased mind, and I eventually pursued romantic relationships with both women and men and indulged in substance abuse and any other sin that appealed to me in the moment.

I was humbled by the grace of God through a significant brain injury in the Marine Corps. From that injury, I grew lesions on my brain, leading to a plethora of health issues and then to a medical retirement. Unfortunately, this was not a 180, but a journey of consistent humbling and a long road of suffering self-inflicted by my own love for sin. I finally came to an understanding of my tremendous sin against an infinitely Holy God.

As soon as I got out of the military, I moved across the country on a whim for a guy I liked, but we broke up shortly after. I began to attend church to make connections and get established because that’s how my parents had always made friends, and it was the only way I could think of at the time. I wanted to be around "nice" people again. I was invited to a ladies’ Bible study where they were reading The Reason for God by

Tim Keller. Through reading that I was convinced that there had to be a God—and that reality shook me. I had always been "spiritual," but I had assumed that God had made me the way I was and He would understand if I wasn’t the best person.

The following three to four months I desperately tried to be "moral" again, attempting to appease this God I had so greatly offended. I was fearful and alone, trying to discern what moral code to live by. A guy noticed me at a youth Christmas party I was invited to, and he invited me to another Bible study. Right when I walked in, the wife of the man who led the Bible study was sharing the gospel and explaining how she had witnessed to another person by comparing our lives with God’s standard, and how nothing short of perfection will be excepted. None of us can get right with God apart from Christ because we are all incapable of keeping the law in our sinful flesh apart from accepting Christ through faith in His finished work. And that is when I beheld the glory of God in the gospel and fell in love with Jesus. I humbled myself before the Lord and submitted myself to His Word. I was baptized two months later on Easter Sunday, 2018.

The Lord blessed me abundantly and redeemed my life in such incredible ways! I met my husband, Patrick, during this time and I attended the Bible study he led. I fell in love with the message he preached more and more, and the man who preached it. We were soon married, and then were pregnant with a beautiful baby girl, Eden Grace. I am pregnant again now with our second baby girl, Anastasia Hope, due December 25, 2021. I am so grateful to the Lord! What an incredible God we serve. He truly works the impossible! He not only parts seas and raises the dead, but He brought my dry spiritual bones to life, and this heart of stone has become a heart of flesh.

I wanted to begin with my testimony to humble myself before the reader and God . . . to make clear that the main point of my story is not the military, but Christ . . . and to give you some background so you can more fairly evaluate what I want to say next.

From my experience, I have never been in a more vile, twisted, openly sinful place than the Marine Corps. I say this with a broken heart and incredible anguish, wishing that brothers and sisters in arms would be saved as I have been from my abominable sins. Unfortunately, they not only do these sins but also give approval to those who do (see Romans 2). Zooming out to focus on America as a whole

(because that is the pool from which the military primarily draws), our country has abandoned God's perfect law and purpose for our lives and sexuality.

Nobody really knows what it is to be a woman or a man approved by God alone anymore. We have done this with gay "marriage," pride, transgenderism, BLM, materialism, fornication, abortion, and much more. All this is simply an outworking of a rejection of God. We have made ourselves like God in our minds—not submitting our lives to His will but imposing our will onto our lives.

We have butchered the practice of philosophy, so we think like Friedrich Nietzsche. We have butchered the study of sociology and psychology, so we think like Sigmund Freud. We have butchered the study of science, so we think like Charles Darwin. And now we have brought the butcher’s knife to the Bible, and even some so- called "churches" have chosen to forfeit Gods law. What could ensue but chaos? The salt and light have become tasteless and dark. Our culture cannot find the hope of the glory of God even in most "churches" anymore.

But God will preserve His church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. This does not free believers to rest solely on the sovereignty of God to keep his church—this is an exhortation for Christians to be obedient to God‘s Word and therefore be woven into His sovereign design to save the lost and sanctify his people. For this to happen, Christians cannot be biblically illiterate. You are not a Christian because you’re American or because you are moral. You are not a Christian because you prayed the prayer when you were five years old. You are not a Christian just because your family holds Judeo-Christian values. You are a Christian if you believe that Jesus Christ is God who came in the flesh and that He paid the penalty that you deserve for your sins when He died on the cross in your place and rose again on the third day. And from that belief, you will seek to serve Him and exalt Him in and through your life—and you can find the way to do this only in the Bible. It is of the utmost importance that you know it well. Until then, your life will be characterized by the idolatrous society we all live in. Your "worldview" cannot honor or please God because it is faithless.

I cannot give an exhaustive explanation of the path of sin in the hearts of men that brought our society into the darkness we are now experiencing. I am unqualified and hard pressed for time and space in this article. But I would like to recommend some resources for anyone who wants to dive in deeper to understand the heinous direction our culture is going: The Consequences of Ideas by RC Sproul[1] and Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Truman.[2]

In my personal experience, I was told by instructors in bootcamp and consistently by higher ups for the rest of my short career that there were three roles a female marine can play: a B****, a slut, or a lesbian. Pick your poison. To my shame, I played each role at different times in my military career. I would like to talk about the second two personas mentioned because of the awakening of such strife and confusion in our world today about sexuality, and how the military has not only embraced it but also encourages it.

Being a man or woman doesn’t mean anything anymore other than feelings and genitalia, and the occasional stereotype. That is the first issue I would like to address. Being a man biblically means to be a man chasing after God’s presence and Word. It means being an intercessor for your family, and it means protecting them and assuming God-given responsibility for them. Many men in the church have forsaken these roles, and it shows.

What it means to be a woman is to tenderly love her husband and respect his authority as given by God, submitting to him out of reverence for Christ. It also means to know his goals and to be his helpmate in his plans to serve God in his life. It means to nurture children and build up in truth. In the book That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis explains how the gender of a person is so much deeper than their feelings and genitalia. He makes the point that the deeper you go into a person (the "higher up" he says), the more feminine or masculine they become. It’s who we are as creations through and through. And when we rage against that—even in women taking on a man's role such as protector, or a man taking on a woman’s role in submission—it is harmful to one's self. It is similar to fitting the square block into the round space in a children’s toy—you can do it, but at great expense to the square block or the round space. Not to mention that in the same action, you dishonor God by this rejection of His order in His creation. There will be damage and hurt.

My mind and body bear scars that are a testament to this truth. By God's grace, He has made me a new creation, and I look forward to the day when my mind and body will be made perfect in the resurrection because of Jesus and His finished work on the cross, defeating death.

With all that being said, the lies about womanhood and manhood out there right now make for a very dangerous environment. The obsession with sexual perversion that has been ushered in—largely owing to the Freudian psychology movement—has made male and female interactions all the more degrading and hostile. Compounding that with the fast spread of the death work called pornography, and you have very few options in interaction between the sexes. Specifically, it leaves three options: 1. Uninterested. 2. Off limits. 3. Willing and complicit party. The way these options are twisted into the previous statement of a B****, a slut, or a lesbian is easy to explain from here.

Uninterested becomes B**** easily, thanks to sexual desires of a person becoming the essence of a person's being (this idea stems from the teaching of Freud). If someone's sexual desires are rejected by another person, it is not just a disagreement. Instead, it is perceived as a rejection of the deepest part of the person. We see a similar phenomena happening in the LGBTQ+ movement. It is completely unacceptable and seen as utterly hateful to disagree with their sexual desires.

Off limits becomes lesbian for quite a few different and heartbreaking reasons. Marriage means absolutely nothing anymore. It is not seen as a holy picture of Christ and the Church to be reverenced and respected. It is a trap to be avoided and escaped. I wore a fake engagement ring for about a month when I was first sent to Twenty-Nine Palms, California. I hoped it would keep me from having to always give a reason that I wasn't interested. This quickly taught me two things. First, this tactic doesn't actually keep men away; it just keeps a few at bay—maybe the few who have reverence for marriage, or maybe they just weren't interested or didn't want to look immoral. The second thing I learned was that people you don't even know, and who don't know your spouse/fiancé, will beg you not to ruin your life by getting married. How sad it is what marriage has become! I had so many married men proposition me for sex, it is heartbreaking. I say heartbreaking because marriage is a privilege and a gift from God to be a picture of Christ and His church. Few things can be more beautiful and more honoring to both parties when it is done correctly. I have experienced this greatly in my own marriage to a godly man.

On another note, it is convenient for the military to encourage homosexuality in younger enlisted people because they won’t get pregnant. I was told multiple times (by higher ups again) that it's better to be a lesbian in the military because then you can "get it whenever you want it" and "you won’t get pregnant and ruin your career." So very few things make you off limits, but being a lesbian is more honored in this way than being married.

Third and finally, a willing and complicit party turns into slut. I don't think this one takes much explanation. Many times rumors fly, and if you have a boyfriend and are committing the sin of fornication with him, there will be stories that are much worse. I can't tell you how many laughable rumors I heard about myself, and how many sickening rumors I also heard. But that being said, I was very far from being an innocent party.

How do we fix these tremendous issues—namely, the transgender surgeries that are supported, homosexuality that is encouraged, idolatry of self-image that is promoted, worshiping of human achievements, worshiping of a nation, and all the other sins that are prominent in the military? Is there hope for the future military despite their perversion and idolatry?

Of course, there is hope. There could be a revival in the military. God could see fit to save and humble these stiff-necked leathernecks and jarheads (and all other branches) from their love of all that is evil. My heart aches for that to become a reality. After all, they are risking their lives on the front lines, but unfortunately, that doesn't make them right with God. If they die before they are born again, they will die in their sins and suffer for eternity in hell—whether or not their death was valiant or noble. That reality needs to create an overpowering urgency for Christians everywhere to be more evangelistic. Ezekiel 3:18 says, "If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand."

If you believe the Bible and you do not evangelize or agonize in prayer for the lost, you will regret that on the final day. What is the hope the military has? Jesus Christ, and He works through His church. It's the Christians in and around the military who need to take their faith seriously. It is more than life or death—it's eternal life or death. "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for." - Charles Spurgeon

Read the whole Bible, submit to it, and take the actions that it demands of you.

by Rachel Nickerson

National Latina Symposium" by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0 and include the link per the following directions: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/20a838cb-c969-4ef2-ab11-2c3e4b5723db

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[1] R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas (Redesign): Understanding the Concepts That Shaped Our World (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2018).

[2] Carl R. Trueman and Rod Dreher, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia,

Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2020).

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