Life Lessons From My Time At Edwards - Chapter 1

 


When we reached Edwards Air Force Base we were coming off of a tour where most of life hit us - 1 Birth, 1 Ectopic Pregnancy, 1 Miscarriage, 1 Birth, and 1 death in the span of 3 years. I had this deep desire to change the spouse community that I had witnessed during the death of my roommate and throughout the years being married to someone who is active duty. I wanted to eradicate the gossip, drama and bullying that I saw within the few weeks there and at each base we had gone to.

So I started down that path of where I knew I could help make changes. I was placed in to the right positions & just happened to meet the right people politically in the spouse realm even quicker than planned. In return for being placed in specific positions it made jealousy rise and rumors start to swirl from other spouses who didn’t know me. I would like to say it all ended well, but it didn’t in fact it ended with me learning some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life to date. One of them being When you’re new and you’re trying to change something that’s been cemented into a community it has the possibility to not well. I spoke my mind respectfully and honestly - I was the girl who wouldn’t say anything behind ones back and I was the girl who was always willing to help without any questions not ever expecting repayment.

At the six month mark I hosted a going away party for someone, where my then 2 year old daughter was physically hurt due to someones immature actions. It was then in that moment that I realized that things needed to change and change quickly. Hosting socials or being on a team where gossip was being spread about me was not going to be the way I changed things, they were actually counterproductive. So I resigned from one position and I continued with the other after realizing that you cannot change anyone's opinion about who you are, even if their version is untrue. A few months later I was nominated and elected into being the president of the other organization and so were two of the women who had been tied into flaming the rumors about me. I didn’t care or give it much thought because I was ready to do the work (even with them) because I had ideas, (big) dreams and many things I wanted to do to make that organization more active and supportive of the fellow spouses and community than it was. Since I am a strong believer that actions speak louder than words I thought this would be the a great way to show them who I really was. A few weeks later before getting started they quit - although they both quit I was able to reach out and form a relationship with one so that we understood each other.

We replaced their positions with those who were interested and just a week later, my life there at Edwards started to change drastically in a way I didn’t or ever foresee. As one of the women who joined the team started to collect women and have others join the organization so they could vote to have me removed. Why? Well, because “I wasn’t liked within the community or by other spouses”. It became such a sore and dramatic issue with this woman that she took it to the extreme and starting visiting multiple base agencies and leadership to see what all she could do to have me removed from my position. Upon finding out about it, I tried to talk to her and understand where she was coming from and after a bit of listening I realized that this woman was playing the role of “the voice” with supposed women who had issues with me. There were 1 & 2 I knew of that stemmed back from the original issue, but they weren’t portraying anything remotely close to the same version of the problem to her and many of the others she brought up I knew nothing about or had never met. I kept asking that we discuss this at the next general meeting, but my request wouldn’t suffice. She continued to drag my name through the mud for an additional 3 weeks to everyone and anyone who would listen. I, well, I didn't really know what to do to solve it or stop. During that mud sling time I realized that I needed to talk to someone to help me with all that I was contending with, not so, I would be victorious, but so that I would still be sane and know who exactly I still was or what my hearts intent was. There was something about hearing about how crappy of a person you are and how much you sucked that just did something to me mentally. I started to believe these things and I would constantly beat myself up about - I would tell myself things like I was unlikable, I was unreasonable, people hated me, I was unworthy of true friendships and unworthy of having value to friendships.  

As the weeks went on, her, the board and myself were mediated by a Chaplin. There I sat listening to everything about how cruddy I was while continuing with my stance of “if they have problems with me, they should come talk to me, not to others and not behind my back because it didn't allow for solving of whatever the issue there was.” My thoughts were similar to what it says in Matthew 18:15-16 (If Your Brother Sins Against You “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.) After many stressful hours there was no budging on her part - she wanted me out, so she could “repair” what I supposedly damaged in the 1 month that I was in charge. 

After sitting with the Chaplain and explaining my stance about wanting to make a change and about how if others had issues, then they should come to me not to someone else who doesn’t know the facts. He agreed but then he mentioned if it’s making me this unhappy and it’s not bearing fruit than I am wasting my time, especially since she was not going to give up on getting me out. It wouldn’t be good for me, nor would it be good for my journey with God. 

Life Lessons - If It Doesn't Bear Fruit or bring Joy Let it Go

So I stepped down and tried to maintain friendships that I had but after a while it became a battle with being singled out and rumored about making many feel as if there was a side to choose for whatever friend I made. After experiencing physical threats and after threats being made towards my safety in my own home, I retreated into my home and eventually cut ties with everyone in the community, my motto was "drive in, drive out, and go to a grocery store at least 30-40 minutes away". For the next 5 months the proper authorities took reports and eventually many people got involved in helping stop the bullying and threats. It was a hard season of my life - I felt unapproved of and like everything that I stood for meant nothing to anyone. I started at a church in “town” and I started driving off base every night to find community, whether it be at a coffee shop or at the playground at the mall, I was desperate for it and desperate to have a friend who hadn't been touched by the wrath of those women.    

Although, I was desperate for community and community with other women I could no longer trust anyone or their intentions, nor did I feel real hot about being me. Unworthy, unlikable, unvalued, and unlovable was constantly on repeat on the microphone in my head to the point I found myself weeping in a counseling office of a Major. There she sat attempting to rebuild my heart, my self esteem and how I looked at myself...every single week for what felt like months she poured into me not only items of faith about how loved, how worthy, and valued I am by the King. She focused on my strong suits and areas that might always need tending to...but she did it...she walked through the mess with me. She helped me realize that keeping joy in my heart no matter what the mess is was key to pushing forward and bringing glory to the King. Not everyone will like me, nor will I work well with everyone, but the intentions of my heart are what matter and just because it does not work out it doesn't take away from who I am.

After this experience I've learned quite a few things such as waiting on the Lord, how to stop myself from feeding myself negative thoughts and how to run like a marathon runner and not in the sense that I like running but in the sense of once I start to feel any type of conflict I shut down and run. It is the least attractive thing about who I am and it's something I struggle with especially in seasons of new. I am always hyper aware of my actions and my words almost to a fault mainly because I don't want to go through other situations like above because it really hurt when I went through it. However, with that I am going to say this I would go through it again if it was for the truth and for change. Some have joked that I should stay away from having community with spouses or being apart of organizations and although that is the way to live life unscorned I am not, I want to get messy with others and live life - I will not allow the devil to use one situation (that I learned from) in my life to control me. I might be like a skittish dog when it comes to friendships and I might really suck at it, but I know that God is teaching me to learn how to trust again, how to love people unconditionally and see them how he sees them. My word of 2015 is intentional and this is one area of my life I am focusing on so that I can grow and be used to show the glory and love God. 

Stay Tuned for chapter 2 & 3!

Jusika Martinez

Tucson, Arizona, USA