Sunday being Veterans Day, I wanted to take this week to profile my friend, Laura Eubanks on Sam’s Dream Blog. Laura served in the Marine Corps from 1985 to 1989, finishing with a rank of corporal. Thank you to Laura and to all veterans who have served and are serving our country.
Sam's Dream Blog: Why did you serve in the Marine Corps?
Laura Eubanks: My younger brother and a very close friend from work both joined the Marine Corps. I had an apartment and was working full time but did not really have a goal of how to improve my life. I was feeling the emptiness of life at that point and needed to do something valuable.
SDB: How did your time in the military change your perspective on life and what you hope to accomplish?
Laura Eubanks: I joined the military from a situation in life of great brokenness, (the sudden death of my mom when I was 11 and my father’s re-marriage, feeling rejected, rebellion, drug use, lack of hope and vision for my life.) Joining the service was a resolute personal commitment and challenge to turn my life around and to invest it in a place of service.
SDB: What were some of the high and low points of your military service?
Laura Eubanks: A high was the process of joining and then graduation from boot camp. It was huge occasion of facing fear and overcoming. A low was the initial discovery that I was assigned to food service, which meant losing opportunities to use and develop my artistic talents.
SDB: When did you take up artistry, and did your time in the service affect that area of your life?
Laura Eubanks: I have enjoyed and pursued creating art for as long as I remember. I was not disciplined in high school with standard studies but excelled in fine art and music. It was my desire in joining the service to be able to be assigned to a field that would use these talents, but that did not happen. I still created art on my own during those years and continued to carry the desire to do more with it.
SDB: When did your artistic dreams come to the fore?
Laura Eubanks: After I had gone through separation and divorce, I was a single mom. I just wanted to be home with my son. Off and on through the years, I continued to pursue doing artwork. Although art was still very much a part of my identity, knowing it was a God-given talent, I never really had a whole lot of breakthrough or freedom and enjoyment in doing it until after I started going to the mission field. I started pursuing a few classes initially in 2006 or 2007.
SDB: What was it about the timing that allowed you to have breakthrough in your dreams?
Laura Eubanks: The timing of it coincided with a couple things. I had an older sister who died in 2004. In her apartment, she had tubes of paint she had never used. I brought those home with me. Shortly after, during that same period of time, I made my first trip to Mozambique in 2005. All of that was a culmination of stepping into desires of my heart and getting past a place of just living a life of existence and survival.
SDB: How have you learned to get past survival and aim at thriving?
Laura Eubanks: I have seen God do miracles in my life, but I still struggle with trying to get past survival. I think we really have to believe that God has something for us, that there is more than just survival. If we are willing to believe Him for that, He will make the way. I don’t know if it ever comes easy. Part of it is our desire, just being willing to dream and go with our dreams. Part of it is having to walk things out in faith, even when they look ridiculous or impossible. For those who are unsure about God, all I can say is I have been able to do a lot more than I ever would have dreamed back in the day.
SDB: Any ideas how we can encourage vets?
Laura Eubanks: I am sure there are many practical ways, but the first thing that came to mind is trying to identify with and understand the sacrifices they have made - especially those who have fought in wars and have experienced all of the trauma that goes with it, including the long separations from family - then making opportunity to thank them, and to taking the time to listen to them share their experiences and emotions.