How We’re Learning

by Kristin Goodrich

I’m military. To tell or not to tell, that is the question. You know, when you wrestle to tell a “friend candidate” or a local person in your civilian community that you are part of the military.

I hope for a pleased and excited expression that will be followed up with, “Me too!” or “How cool!” rather than a sadly shaking head or heavy sigh that tells me my military culture is “too hard.”

The purpose of the military is not to kill people or break things; the purpose is to serve and protect America and its people. Christians serving in the military have individually wrestled with such challenging issues as death, pain, consequences, loyalty, and sacrifice.

Rather than focusing on the challenging parts of military life, I am so excited about how my Christian faith is stronger because of, and not in spite of, being military!

I’m a Navy veteran who served in Panama during Operation Just Cause after Gen. Manuel Noriega declared war on the U.S. On Dec. 20, 1989, the U.S. invaded Panama – and I reported for the very first time in my career to assume duties as the Duty Officer for the entire U.S. Naval Station Rodman. The Senior Watch Officer said, “Well, if you can handle this, Kristin, you can handle anything.”

And then he left and I watched him walk away, with my mouth hanging open and my eyes bugging out of my head.

In that moment, I knew I was in a situation beyond my personal ability.

How to Survive Crazy Situations:

  1. Pray! – I’m pretty sure my prayers sounded like this: OhLordOhLordOhLordHelpMeOhLord.
  2. Read the manual – I sat down and read the instructions on “Bomb Threats” and “Drunken Sailors,” and realized that I wasn’t going to find a how-to for handling an “Invasion On Your First Duty Day in the Navy.”
  3. Look for more written instructions – I looked for more written guidance. I didn’t find anything.
  4. Find someone more experienced – When a salty, senior Marine Warrant Officer stepped onto the quarterdeck (where Navy watches are stood) and asked how he could help me, I knew that the Lord had indeed sent me help in the form of CWO4 Charlie Rowe, USMC.
  5. Celebrate the victory – The invasion was over in a matter of days. More importantly, I grew in my confidence that God would show up, and that sometimes He sends Marines to young Naval officers.


Your Turn:

Maybe there’s a reason that things worked out for me during that duty day and beyond during Just Cause. Maybe it’s because the way to live through the cray-cray is because God’s in control.

When you have your next personal cray-cray moment this week, why not try the same steps?

  1. Pray!OhLordOhLordOhLordHelpMeOhLord is an awesome prayer!
  2. Read the manual – Take a moment to search for the situation you’re dealing with.
  3. Look for more written instructions – Search another word, check out, or pick a number between 1-150 and read that Psalm # in the Bible.
  4. Find someone more experienced – Sometimes these folks just show up or are in line with you at the Commissary. You can always send Planting Roots a PM or post in the comments section.
  5. Celebrate the victory – Laugh about what you’ve learned. Give thanks for the ways you were blessed or protected.


My prayer for you today and this week is that you would see that this military life is crazy beautiful and that God is right there with you in every situation.

Additional Resources:

For written wisdom, request your free copy of Journey of a Military Wife by Brenda Pace who has experienced the military life fully, at


Join Kristin in San Diego at our next Strength2Thrive Conference on October 28!

Find more information and register here.

You don’t want to miss it!