Hope Past the Battlefield – A Veteran’s Perspective


Zachary Bell with his wife, Christie, and their daughters, Audrey and Elisa

Zachary Bell is a husband, father, and veteran. He served as an infantry rifleman in america Marine Corps, and did two fight excursions in Afghanistan. Zachary discusses his time in service to his nation, the way it affected his household, and the way the Journey Dwelling Mission helped him efficiently navigate his post-military life.

The Journey Dwelling Mission

Narrator: Welcome to the Expertise Jesus Calling Podcast. The Journey Dwelling Mission is a corporation that assists veterans who’re coming back from energetic responsibility to civilian life. Their mission is to attach donors to veteran organizations that do essentially the most good to assist with this generally troublesome transition. Nation music legend Charlie Daniels is Chairman of the Board for the Journey Dwelling Mission and talks about why this group is so essential.  

Charlie Daniels: I realized very early in my life and I say this on stage each night time “Solely two issues defend America. It’s the grace of almighty God and america army.” It’s that method in 1941, it’s that method this yr, subsequent yr, the yr after; so long as this nation stays free, it is going to be that. It’s part of who I’m to respect and help the army.

That’s what Journey House is all about. We attempt to soften the touchdown for our army women and men who come again from service, most of them from battle areas, fight areas.

Meet Zachary

Narrator: Zachary Bell is a husband, father, and veteran. He served as an infantry rifleman in america Marine Corps, and did two fight excursions in Afghanistan.

Zachary Bell: My identify is Zachary Bell, and I used to be an infantry rifleman, and once I left the Marine Corps, my final job, I used to be a infantry squad chief. My job was simply to guard the individuals wherever I used to be at, and to try to present some type of steady authorities by helping the individuals in Afghanistan, and in addition to struggle enemy combatants.

Zachary Bell serving in Afghanistan

I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, in West Tennessee, and rising up, I used to be a troublemaker. I’d say the factor I did most was trigger hassle. I used to be simply all the time “wild at coronary heart,” is what my grandmother used to say.

My mother and father acquired divorced once I was actually younger, and I began to comprehend the totally different ranges that individuals had of earnings or financial standing some individuals have that I didn’t have.

We had been poor rising up…so It actually was exhausting. I keep in mind my mom all the time working, however I additionally developed at a extremely younger age this concept of independence and wanting to offer for myself.

Me and my little brother would stroll to the college bus cease, which was simply down the road, and I keep in mind my mom referred to as me and she or he informed me that we wanted to remain residence, and to activate the TV, and she or he didn’t know what was happening, however we simply needed to keep residence, and I turned on the TV. I used to be like, “Okay,” and I used to be like, “What would you like me to do?” And turned it to a information channel, and I simply turned it to the primary one I discovered, and I keep in mind simply wanting on the first tower being on hearth, after which I noticed the second airplane go in reside. I simply keep in mind being shook to my core, and it simply terrified me.

All these items had been taking place, and it was terrifying, however I keep in mind considering I needed to do one thing, and we watched it for days and days like everybody else did, and I keep in mind President Bush got here down there and he’s strolling round Floor Zero, and so they stated, any person yelled one thing at him and stated “we will’t hear you,” and he stated, “I hear you,” and I simply do not forget that second, being like, “I need to do one thing about this.”

The Determination to Serve

I used to be a practice that was off the tracks, that didn’t even want tracks. I used to be simply going. It was nothing that was actually nefarious. It was simply that I really feel like younger boys at the moment are kinda loopy slightly bit since you’re attempting to determine what it means to be an grownup, and a person, particularly me rising up and not using a father within the family.

After I graduated highschool, I simply needed to go to varsity. I used to be one of many first individuals in my household to ever graduate highschool, positively the primary to ever discuss school at the moment, and I had a cousin who was within the Marines on the time. He joined about 4 years earlier than I did, and I keep in mind wanting as much as him quite a bit, however I simply needed to try to make one thing of myself, as a result of by that point, I’d determined I needed to type of blaze my very own path, and discover a new path.

I began going to the recruiter, and I believe it was December I made my resolution. I needed to enlist. That was once I did it. I left in February.

I wanted to be accountable. I wanted to develop up.

There’s a Navy Seal who has a podcast, and he has this saying that I actually, actually like, and it’s “self-discipline equals freedom,” and I’ve spent a few month currently excited about it, as a result of I used to be attempting to determine what that meant, however while you do have self-discipline, you do even have freedom in it, since you’ve supplied your self construction and bounds in methods you didn’t suppose that you simply had beforehand, which is absolutely what I wanted. I wanted to be accountable. I wanted to develop up.

It’s simply because I had this factor to show to myself. I needed to show that I may stand by myself, and as time went on, I began to actually discover my groove with it, and I don’t keep in mind when it occurred precisely. I simply keep in mind being like, “I’m fairly good at this.”

They’re instructing you courses and stuff, and it simply clicked. The items simply fell in place, and I can do not forget that second, not what was taking place. I simply keep in mind being “this involves me.” It nearly felt like I used to be born to it in lots of methods.

So the challenges had been shortly after leaving boot camp, I went to the college of infantry for about 12 weeks, and you then go from there to a unit, and there have been just a few pals of mine who went from boot camp; all of us went to the identical unit. And by that point, I used to be married, and my spouse had truly conceived our first baby, and so they informed us our unit wasn’t going to Afghanistan. I keep in mind being disheartened about that. However February of ’08, after coaching the entire time, they got here to inform us, “Hey, you guys are going to Afghanistan in like a month, not even a month, like two weeks, and so that you guys acquired to get your stuff collectively,” and so my spouse was absolutely pregnant, packing the automotive, attempting to get every little thing again residence. My unit truly ended up leaving, and I ended up touring late, as a result of the day they left, my spouse had began to enter labor and my daughter was born, and two days later, I used to be leaving for Afghanistan.

The Egocentric and Selfless Selection

It was exhausting, as a result of till that second, I had selfishly needed to go the conflict, after which I’m holding my first baby, and I couldn’t care about the rest than that, proper there, and it was exhausting.

We simply cried. We had been on the Nashville airport and it was the one time I ever traveled within the army and acquired upgraded to firstclass was as a result of so many individuals noticed us crying proper on the gate and safety, and I’m in my uniform and I didn’t know if I’d ever see them once more, however I knew I used to be going to do no matter I may to try to make that occur, and it was terrifying. I talked to her just a few instances travelling over there, however as soon as the mission began, I didn’t speak to her for a greater a part of three months, till I used to be in a position to inform her “I’m okay, I really like you and the way are you doing?” That was solely like a 15-minute telephone name, after which after that, we acquired to name each month for like 30 minutes, however outdoors of that, it was simply writing letters to one another and to my daughter, and she or he would ship packages and photos and stuff.

Zachary Bell with his wife and two daughters

My success, my army profession was all the time a factor that was there, but it surely didn’t matter as a result of my final objective was to be a profitable husband and father. You are able to do each, however for my part, it’s very, very exhausting. Somebody as soon as informed me that being within the army is without doubt one of the most egocentric and selfless factor you’ll ever do. It’s very egocentric as a result of lots of what you’re doing dictates what your loved ones does, the place you progress, the place you go, what life all of them get to reside, but it surely’s additionally selfless since you’re giving your self to a lifetime of service that you simply’ll finally received’t be capable to make the final resolution on, and that’s how I really feel about it to this present day, too.

I’d say that the largest affect to me in my army profession was the time throughout my second deployment, so my first deployment, I’d needed to be in fight, and we had been in fight, but it surely all the time felt like we had been profitable as a result of we all the time had superiority always, like we by no means felt stunned or something. We had been proudly owning the battle house, because the phrases they might use, however they informed us we’d go to Iraq for 90 days, so me and my spouse, Christie, we stated, “Okay, we’ve our daughter, Elisa. Let’s strive for a second baby,” and, fortunately, we conceived our second baby, Audrey.

So when the president went to announce the troop surge in 2009, that was truly … that was after they informed us we had been going again to Afghanistan.

Zachary Bell with his infantry squad

You already know, they made films about it and stuff, it was referred to as The Battle of Mars and all these various things. It’s bizarre as a result of individuals hail it in Marine Corps historical past, due to all these various things that occurred, and I’m very happy with my time within the Marine Corps, and particularly that.

We’d go on what had been referred to as fight patrols, which signifies that each time we left our positions, it was not if we noticed the enemy, it was after we noticed the enemy what would occur. They had been, you already know, we misplaced lots of people. It simply actually shaked me in a method that I wasn’t ready for…

It was exhausting…it was exhausting. When somebody will get harm that you simply’re in control of, or various things like that, it shapes issues about you that you simply’ll by no means actually absolutely perceive till past that second. That was once I determined that I’d given all that I’ve acquired. I’ve acquired awards, I’ve reached this job and this rank that none of my contemporaries have. It’s simply time to hold it up.

No person in control of me was joyful, as a result of they had been attempting to get me to re-enlist, and I informed them no. You’re immediately out of the membership, as a result of they really feel betrayed. I get that, however it’s a must to make the most effective resolution for you and your loved ones. You may’t be a gunslinger ceaselessly. That’s what I informed all my guys, and that’s what I used to be all the time informed. You already know, it’s simply that I needed … I couldn’t hold leaving my household.

I’ve acquired awards, I’ve reached this job and this rank that none of my contemporaries have. It’s simply time to hold it up.

Returning Dwelling

Narrator: Although the army taught Zachary beneficial issues about teamwork and communication, his transition again to civilian life wasn’t seamless.

I used to be in control of twelve, fifteen individuals once I left. I had a extremely good profession. We had been residing with my mother-in-law. All of us, my 4 individuals in my household, are in a single bed room. My mother-in-law modified round her complete home to make one other room right into a bed room for her so we may reside there till we acquired our lives collectively. It’s exhausting to not really feel like a failure in these moments, since you’ve decided you thought was finest on the time, which it was, but it surely doesn’t imply that it’s not exhausting.

Zachary Bell giving water to a little girl in Afghanistan

The Journey Dwelling Mission was one thing I’d heard about, and I used to be going to a unique faculty in Center Tennessee on the time. I used to be going to Center Tennessee State College. I wasn’t actually certain what I needed to do with my life, however I’d heard that there was this Veteran’s Program at Lipscomb, then I discovered concerning the Charlie Daniels scholarship, and all these various things, all these totally different sources that they’ve that they join you to, to get you again into a unique place and an atmosphere to succeed as a result of in my finest estimation, I really feel like the toughest half about transition out of the army is being fully not sure of what to search for and how one can search for it. Simply working with them made that seamless.

We’ve achieved all types of stuff since. I used to be in a position to get my undergraduate diploma at Lipscomb College, and I simply completed in Could with my Masters. Issues I didn’t suppose would ever occur I’ve been in a position to do. Working with them, I’ve seen the affect they’ve had on my life and lots of others simply by giving individuals within the army … truly, individuals all around the nation now, giving veterans and their relations the chance to be linked and to find out about sources which are on the market. It’s superior.

Giving Again to These Who Serve

Narrator: Charlie Daniels explains why he’s dedicated, by means of The Journey Dwelling Mission, to assist women and men like Zachary, achieve success of their return from the army again to civilian life.

Charlie: I’ve been amongst these guys. I’ve been into conflict zones with these guys. I’ve seen them. They spend their time in locations you don’t even need to go to the place there’s nothing. Some individuals appear to suppose for some motive or one other that our army individuals have an additional gene that isolates them from lacking their households and loneliness and that type of factor. It’s not so, they miss their households simply as unhealthy as anyone else does that’s away from them. They go and try this as a result of they’re patriots and the least that we will do is respect and help them. I’m there. I respect them. I help them. And that’s what Journey House is all about.

Zachary: Don’t be afraid to achieve out or to ask for assist. There’s many sources on the market, you already know, to know that anyone can do it. As a result of if I can, anyone can.

I respect them. I help them. And that’s what Journey House is all about.

Jesus Calling is an incredible guide. I believe what appeals to me most about it’s that it’s … I’m all the time looking for time, even the place I can’t discover it, and it’s simply … It takes only a second to faucet in and you’ll actually simply re-center your self and get some knowledge and keep it up.

Lots of devotionals generally I really feel may be too imprecise or discuss ideas in such a big method, however that is simply speaking about simply having fun with peace in His presence and what meaning in your life.

Narration: Zachary is happy with his contributions throughout his army service and is dedicated to serving to different veterans who could be having a tricky time returning to civilian life, by displaying them that there’s hope past the battlefield.

Zachary: A very powerful factor I’ve gained from it’s that I acquired to actually share components of my life after the army with my household. They get to be part of this too and we proceed to function a household with the area people.

It’s one thing, I’ll miss it all the time, however you already know, I’d a lot somewhat be front-row heart at a cheerleading or a gymnastics competitors, and that’s simply extra essential to me as a result of that is what I needed to do. That is what I need to do.

Narrator: Subsequent time on the Expertise Jesus Calling Podcast, we speak with Diane Cunningham, the President and Founding father of the Nationwide Affiliation of Christian Girls Entrepreneurs. Diane can be an artist, airplane crash survivor, marathon runner and writer. She candidly talks to us about reaching a number of “all-time low” locations in her life and the way she will look again now, and understand how God was drawing her nearer to His aspect.

Diane: I believe I used to be afraid about cash, I used to be afraid about “am I gonna make it, is that this all gonna work, what’s gonna occur, what do I must do,” simply all these fears would stand up once I acquired achieved with my so referred to as “work day,” and I didn’t know what to do with them, I didn’t know the place to place them. They usually nonetheless stand up, I imply, let’s be sincere. However I’ve a spot and a method, and a toolkit now that’s totally different. I don’t should drink over them. I am going to my conferences, I meet with my sponsor, I meet with different girls in restoration, I ask for the assistance that I want and I do know that each one I’ve to care for is at some point at a time.

Narrator: Our featured passage for in the present day’s present comes from the February seventh entry of the Jesus Calling audiobook.

Come to Me for relaxation and refreshment. The journey has been an excessive amount of for you, and you might be bone-weary. Don’t be ashamed of your exhaustion. As an alternative, see it as a possibility for Me to take cost of your life.

Do not forget that I can match every little thing right into a sample for good, together with the stuff you want had been totally different. Begin with the place you might be at this time limit and house, accepting that it’s the place I intend you to be. You’re going to get by means of in the present day one step, one second at a time. Your fundamental accountability is to stay attentive to Me, letting Me information you thru the numerous decisions alongside your pathway.

This seems like a simple task, however it’s not. Your want to reside in My Presence goes towards the grain of “the world, the flesh, and the satan.” A lot of your weariness outcomes out of your fixed battle towards these opponents. Nevertheless, you might be on the trail of My selecting, so don’t surrender! Hope in Me, for you’ll once more reward Me for the assistance of My Presence.

Narrator: Hear extra nice tales concerning the affect Jesus Calling is having all around the world. Remember to subscribe to the Jesus Calling Podcast on iTunes. We worth your critiques and feedback so we will attain much more individuals with the message of Jesus Calling. And when you have your individual story to share, we’d love to listen to from you. Go to JesusCalling.com to share your story in the present day.


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