“It has to be a calling.” I remember hearing those words from my pastor as he spoke to me about his profession. Several years later, his amazing wife would utter those same words to describe my husband’s 16-year profession as a police officer. Yeah… she’s right. God’s calling on our lives takes any number of forms and paths, and is certainly not exclusively reserved for those in full-time ministry.
Without a doubt, law enforcement has been Scott’s calling. There was a time in our lives when I was absolutely certain that God had placed my husband on this earth for the sole purpose to protect and serve. He has the heart of a protector, and it has always been in his nature to step into harm’s way, if necessary, to accomplish the task.
The police profession has changed so much in the past decade, even more drastically in the last 5 years. Men and women in blue are paying very high prices to earn a living today.
Three years ago I began praying a new prayer, in addition to my usual one for Scott’s protection. We were perplexed and discontent, experiencing many closed doors (professionally), and sensing that we no longer had a clue which direction he should go. I wanted my husband’s spark back –the one that you have when you are operating within your calling. So we began to pray for direction, help, and strength, admitting that God’s ways are higher than ours. And we waited. More closed doors came and went, often painfully so, as our path was being refined. Then, the unexpected answer…time to move on.
This was a shocking revelation, as it’s a path rarely traveled in law enforcement. Historically, veteran police officers don’t leave the job; you “suck it up” until you reach the magic pension age. But as we evaluated every aspect, our priorities became crystal clear. With that, the decision to stay became much harder than the decision to leave.
Moving on is a calling too, when you think about it. All of Scott’s experiences these past 16 years have intersected to bring us to the beginning of a new chapter.
I’ve been feeling a flood of emotions, with excitement and astonishment being the most dominant. As I process how all of the upcoming changes will impact my family, I’m anticipating a moment when tears will flow. These tears will appropriately mark the end of an era along with the beginning of a new chapter, both of which deserve space to process and celebrate. It’s an odd experience for me, putting aside one of the many hats that I’ve worn for the past 16 years.
You see, this was my chosen “profession” too. Sure, I didn’t go to the police academy, shoot a gun for qualifying, wrestle weapon-wielding drunk idiots into submission, hold a scared child as they watched their parents succumb to the consequences of their monumentally poor and selfish choices…I didn’t weave together intricate drug conspiracy cases that would ensure successful prosecution…I didn’t drive along the streets at some ridiculous hour searching for a perpetrator who had been burglarizing tax paying citizens’ homes, or have to notify a family of a loved one’s senseless death. The list goes on. I didn’t physically do those things, but every single moment, my heart was with the man who did. With every hit, both physical and mental, I took it on the chin with him. With every false and baseless citizen complaint filed against him, borne out of some systemic hatred for the men and women in blue, I stood by him and longed for the truth to prevail. I symbolically held my breath every night as he walked out the door, and didn’t exhale until he returned safe and sound the next morning. The holidays missed, birthdays, kids’ events, and the general upheaval that his crazy schedules caused…that was on me, too. But, I was a proud police wife. It took a strength beyond understanding to do it. I didn’t have a physical badge, but I wore a badge of honor, intensely proud and protective of my husband and his profession.
As this chapter of our lives comes to a close, I’m thrilled and thankful, but I must acknowledge how it feels to say goodbye to the people we leave behind. Police officers and their families possess something unique and special. There is a sisterhood among wives, a brotherhood among officers, that can’t be rivaled… and I will miss it. We have had the privilege to serve among some of the most hard-working, caring, strong, morally fit officers and their families. To you all, I say thank you for fighting in the trenches with us, and I hope that we can keep in touch. Keep fighting the Good Fight. You will be in my prayers, just as you have been for so many years.
Finally, I want to encourage anyone who is struggling with closed doors and NO’s in their life. Scott and I have had so many of them over the past 16 years, and no doubt there will be more. We have had some low points, times of discouragement and questioning God’s plan. But, we’ve had some monumental, eternity-impacting, life-changing YES’s too. Rejections are hard, but believe and trust that God has a bigger opportunity for you on the horizon. His no’s are merely making room for much bigger yes’s.