The above statement even feels crazy to type. I’ve had some type of affiliation with the Army Reserves since 1 July 1998. For nineteen years, I’ve been carrying a military ID in my wallet, heck, I can still remember the name of my recruiter. The Army and I have been through a lot together, it has shaped me, molded me, and brought me along in my faith journey.
And before everyone gets up in arms about why didn’t I retire, in the Reserves, you must do a minimal amount of activity each year in order to have a “good year” towards retirement, let’s just say that the Army and I didn’t always have good years. If I was going to shoot for retirement it was going to be several more years, and a lot more work.
The Army sent me to places I could have never imagined on my own; Kuwait, Iraq, UAE, El Salvador, Germany, Minnesota, New Orleans, Boston, Gettysburg, Seattle, and at least another dozen other cities throughout the Midwest. More than the places, the people were life changing.
The people I got to meet in the Army were transformational in my life, and there is no doubt that I would not be where I am today if it not for the friendship, mentorship, and discipleship of those individuals.
So, now that I’ve waxed on about how great the Army is, it brings us to an important question: Why get out?
The short answer is; because you can’t put new wine into old wineskins.
In the Gospel of Mark Jesus uses this saying to remind us that when we are transformed we can’t go back to where we were. If you put new wine into old wineskins the wineskins will burst, and both things will be ruined.
That saying is the best description of how I feel about staying in the Army.
Over the last several years I have really begun to see a change in my calling, and what I think God desires of me. Specifically, I believe that God has called me to the local church, to the community, and strengthening disciple-making relationships.
As I think about all this I find myself wrestling with a word I couldn’t avoid; reclamation. Reclamation is the process of claiming something back or reasserting a right.
And so today, I start a brand-new season in my life. A season that I am calling the Reclamation Project. Reclaiming the church, the community, and the most important relationships in my life. For as long as God sees fit the focus of my writing will be on change, and what it means to claim back these special things for God’s glory.
Today, I am officially out of the Army, but my mission has never been clearer.
Welcome to the Reclamation Project.