Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest Post: Service Before Self

Let me introduce you to a fabulous couple...Josh and Colleen Ogburn. They are passionate people, driven to succeed, and currently in week seven of a thirteen week separation, as Josh completes Officer Training School with the United States Air Force. 

Their dedication to each other and to their country is an inspiration to me. I love to see them together, and the way they support each other's endeavors. They are beautiful people,
and they happen to be my sister and brother-in-law!

As I take time to remember the events that took place 10 years ago this weekend, I am also reminded in a real and personal way of the sacrifices so many men and women make each day as they serve and protect our country in the armed forces.

Colleen has been blogging about this time in her life and you can check out more of her story here. She's visiting us today to share a little bit of what's on her heart...enjoy!


Integrity First ٠ Service Before Self ٠ Excellence In All We Do

Loving someone means sometimes having to let them go. Letting go is a challenge, an every day calling to putting someone and something else before yourself and your needs. Letting go, for me, means inspiring and supporting my husband to discover who God has created him to be – no matter how difficult the answer may be. When I saw the desire in Josh to serve in the military, there was no question in my mind – he needed to pursue it. The last thing I want is to wake up in twenty years filled with “what if’s” and regret. I could have easily kept him from this path – there have been so many times in this process where with the right words, he would have given up. But where would that leave me? In a marriage with someone who was defeated, unfulfilled, and restless. I couldn’t be the reason he spent his life in the comfort zone, and to be honest, I don’t want to live my life there either.

Josh had to write a personal statement as part of his application package for the Air Force. Reading it today, I am again reminded that we have found God’s calling for our lives. The following are some excerpts from his statement:

“The United States of America was built by the determination of ordinary people who devoted their lives to a cause that they believed in. Whether it was the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the storming of the beach at Normandy, or the first man stepping foot on the moon, individuals felt the need to commit, and sometimes sacrifice, their lives in order to make America the greatest nation in the world. Every generation must produce these types of patriots to insure America’s continued greatness.

I believe that anything can be attained through hard work, dedication, and a confident spirit. Throughout my life, I have striven to be the best at whatever I do. I feel that while family, community, and circumstance all influence people, each person is ultimately responsible for his or her actions and achievements.

I come from a family rich with military heritage, and have always had a deep sense of patriotism and love for my country. I am deeply impacted by stories of my ancestors serving in the Civil War, World War II, and Vietnam. It is my intense desire to wear the uniform of the United States Air Force and to be counted worthy to stand for the same ideals that so many men have given their lives for.

The Air Force is defined by a high standard of excellence, and I eagerly anticipate dedicating my life to the continuation of that tradition while protecting my country.”

I may be idealistic to a fault, but I truly believe that this is our calling, our place in history. We both have it – a yearning for something greater, something that pulls us out of ourselves into the bigger picture of reality. It’s an urge to fight against the mundane, to buck at settling for the norm, to never be satisfied with the status quo. It’s a restless heart that knows that God has something amazing out there for us to uncover. I truly believe it’s the same spirit that early American settlers had, that our Founding Fathers had, and that Western Pioneers had. A different time, a different place, may have found Josh and I forging across the Atlantic or cutting our way across the plains of Kansas.

Given the chance, I would have added a few things to Josh’s personal statement. Which, I suppose would have made it Josh’s Wife’s statement and maybe the Air Force should look into accepting those as part of the selection process. I would have told them that my husband is a living example of the Airman’s Creed:

I am an American Airman. I am a Warrior.”  
Josh has the soul of a warrior – he has the “ability and will to fight to protect himself, his friends, his family and his ideals. Yet at the same time, he seeks the perfection of his own character through a life lived with honor, integrity, and an unflinching dedication to what is right.” (Bohdi Sanders)  

So here we are, seven weeks into Officer Training School and I know this is just the beginning of our wild adventure. There have already been ups and downs, adjustments and frustrations. More than anything though, there has been peace and excitement as I watch my husband grow and find fulfillment in his calling. Letting go gets easier as I realize the beauty that is returned to me – a husband that is fiercely dedicated to our marriage and who will fight to make us the very best that we can be. That warrior spirit not only drives him to service in our military, it drives him to protect me and love me with everything that he is – and for that, I can not thank my God enough.


hannah singer said...

what a sweet sister and brother-in-law!
so grateful for your selflessness and sacrifice for others with your time.
with your lives.
thank you!

katie said...

Wow. I am so inspired by them. Their willingness to seek God's will for them in this direction is amazing. I am so thankful for his willingness to protect us and her willingness to support him.