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“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well” Psalm 139:14 (NIV).
I’m a military brat. I grew up with free movies, swim lessons and coast-to-coast moves. One might argue relocating nearly every year is detrimental to a child. I lump the experience into the benefit category because God placed me in specific circumstances to uniquely mold me. I am blessed to have been a military child.
Growing up in the military gave me a wide scope of the world. Every time my father received transfer orders, the family planned stopping points during the move. I appreciated the variety and splendor of forests, parks and seashores. I learned the difference between the ear tassels of the Kiabab squirrel and the ear-tufted Abert’s squirrel of the Rocky Mountains. I explored the waters of the Blue Ridge that ran cold and clear and the Mississippi that ran dark and muddy. I have seen the red mud of Louisiana and the sandy soils of North Carolina. I discovered the difference between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Each experience shaped my personality and emotions.
I’ve learned to make friends easily and say goodbye when necessary. Each time we’d move, I’d wave goodbye to a best friend but look forward with the excitement to making new friends at the next location. I learned to converse easily, became outgoing and grew comfortable talking to anyone, no matter how different.
That’s why I don’t mind walking over to say hello to a new visitor at church. I know how they feel. I’ve learned to bring a person into an established group by introducing her to a third person. There’s nothing worse than entering a room of strangers and not feeling welcomed.
When my father retired from the Marines in 1968, I admit part of me was saddened. No more safely hopping on my bike to explore the military base with friends. No more walks to the outdoor theater a few blocks away. No more cross-country trekking with stops at state and national parks. No more neighbors who weren’t afraid to tell you “stop that” when you were up to no good. On base, no mother hesitated to step out her front door and tell you to stop throwing a football around the cars. Okay, maybe that wasn’t a benefit at the time. But as an adult, I see it that way now.
It wasn’t until I went to public school that I realized there were people with different colored skin. There, I saw segregation. Black children sat together at lunch. Asians hung together at recess. That was an odd thing for me after growing up on bases where this didn’t occur. It wasn’t that everyone was one ethnicity on base. I just never noticed the difference. We were all kids, all friends. There was no separation. I’d learned to accept others’ uniqueness, recognizing that I appeared different to them. It never mattered. One hung out with another kid because they were fun or had a similar interest. Race was not part of the equation of friendship on military bases.
We are all different. We may think we’re the norm, but we’re not. No one is. God made each of us unique – physically and emotionally. He chose a specific nation, region, state, city, school and family for each of His creations. Every choice He made for my life makes me unique for His glory.
Questions: What experiences contribute to your uniqueness? What event in your life does God plan to use for His glory?
About the Author Gail Morris