I SMILE

I lost count of how many times I’ve purposefully stood with my wedding ring in their sight so I could maybe avoid the question asking if I was married.

I AM USED TO SHARING MY HUSBAND WITH THE WORLD. He misses birthdays, holidays, family gatherings and just regular life experiences to serve as a police officer and I get it. I make sacrifices so others can be safe. I go to family events without him. I take my boys to see the new movie at the theater without him because he’s at work. I know a lot of other families both in law enforcement and not, do the same. We usually eat supper without him. It’s all part of the job. I have had people think I was a single mother or separated from my husband when we started at a new church because my husband was either working or sleeping after the night shift so often. I lost count of how many times I’ve purposefully stood with my wedding ring in their sight so I could maybe avoid the question asking if I was married. We have chosen this life and we take all that comes with it.

The issue I am dealing with today comes after a night of a 12-14” dump of beautiful Wisconsin snow. As he backed out of our garage to head in for shift yesterday, I watched as a single snowflake lazily fluttered to the ground. Up until now we’ve had no snow that would stick and only a dusting at a time. The weather predictors told us to expect 10.9 inches and we almost wanted to laugh. They said it would start at 3 pm so at 2:09 pm I did laugh as the snow was doing all it could to tell the weather predictors who was boss. And boy did it show the city of Green Bay who was boss!

The boys and I watched out our windows as that single little snowflake was joined by every relative it could find and decided the wind should come along for a visit, too. The birds and squirrels had rushed to get their fill so they were now in hiding and by 8 pm we already had about 6 inches on the ground. I was grateful for our neighbor who had given us his snow blower to use and for the teenage son that couldn’t wait to use it. We didn’t get our White Christmas in Green Bay but it had finally snowed and as my other son had exclaimed, “At least we’ll have a White New Year!”

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So my problem comes when I texted my husband to ask him how bad it really was out there. We were down to our last bag of milk and I had considered driving to the store for a few items when he basically demanded that I not go ANYWHERE! Some highlights of our conversation included that there was a layer of solid ice under all of that snow and that people were being absolutely unsafe! Police cars were driving 25 mph to get to help people and yet other drivers felt they could handle going 50 mph and were going around the police cars!

To those drivers let me say this… Really people?! Let me get this straight…You are smarter and better at driving than the men and women that have been trained in EVOC and are working to save others in the storm? What makes you think you are so invincible, and that going around a squad car is the smart thing to do? With today’s technology, just about anyone should be able to know how much snow we were going to get and how bad the storm was…and for those who couldn’t find the time or technology to get the answer…eyes and ears are the best clue to know that when the wind is blowing snow horizontally and coming at an inch an hour, you probably don’t NEED to go shopping for non-essentials or drive to the casino! Is it so important to be at the casino that you put other peoples’ lives at risk by being on the road? Unless you have to get to work or have a legitimate necessity to drive, there is no reason to be on the roads in those kind of conditions. When you are out there you are only making the job of the police, fire, ambulance, etc. harder because you are causing accidents that could have been avoided had you just stayed home and off of the roads or you are simply in the way of them getting to help those in need. I don’t mind sharing my husband with someone that had to get to work 3rd shift and went in the ditch or couldn’t get up the hill, but yes, I do mind sharing with those that have no common sense and choose to only make my husband’s job harder, and more dangerous! To know that he was using himself and his squad to block off roads until salt trucks could come makes me proud, but to know that people don’t think and don’t care enough about others and will disregard his safety or wisdom and training and just drive around him to get to their unnecessary fun makes me angry!

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Ok, there’s my rant.

But…

…in reality, I am sharing my husband with other people every day he goes to work. Even on a bright summer day I hear about all of the different types of people police have to deal with. The ones who can’t control their children and expect a police officer to fix in 5 minutes, the mess they made by years of not parenting their children. Those that are fighting over property after the fifth boyfriend has moved out or the divorcees that can’t even do a child exchange without fighting so they need the police to come and supervise. These are the times I get frustrated. But then I stop and choose to change my focus. If I dwell on all of the bad things happening, it changes my day and makes me mad, but when I remember the ones he truly helps I am reminded why we are still in this profession…this life.

There are those who genuinely need help and I have no problem knowing he is out there helping people in real need. When he comes home all amped up and I find out it is because he saved a man’s life by holding pressure on a wound until the paramedics arrived and then helped even more, I SMILE. When I hear he found a child wondering all alone and was able to keep the kid safe until the parents were found, I SMILE. When he glows as he tells me about how he visited with a group of kids that wanted to say hi and see his squad car…how he handed out Packer cards and made a connection with a neighborhood of kids, I SMILE. When I hear that he stopped something small that was beginning to bubble into something potentially dangerous from becoming a fight, I SMILE. But mostly, whether it is the menaces out there with a desire to cause trouble or the good citizens that just need help, when I see my husband walk in the door after his shift, I SMILE.

He is home. He is safe. He will wake again tomorrow to fight the good fight for another day. I don’t know what he will face each day that I have to share him with the world, but no matter what he winds up dealing with I know he loves what he does and he is making a difference in the world. The bad need to be dealt with and the good need him to help them. It is because of this, and because of his response to the calling that I continue to share him with the world, and…I SMILE.

Christmas is December 25?

This year we almost don’t know what to do. My husband got to watch everyone open gifts and then STAY. We are spending time with both his parents and mine. We are actually doing Christmas on Christmas Day! How does this work?

As I sat at church last night for the Christmas Eve service I couldn’t help but think about the fact that this is the first time in four years that my husband has actually been off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For the past 14 years we’ve squeezed in our gift opening to a slot of time before he had to leave for work or the day before.  The kids played with their toys and my husband left for shift. Occasionally he gets the day off but it is not a yearly experience.  Christmas is always celebrated but rarely ON December 25.

This year we almost don’t know what to do. My husband got to watch everyone open gifts and then STAY. We are spending time with both his parents and mine. We are actually doing Christmas on Christmas Day! How does this work?

I’ve gotten used to either staying home or traveling with just me and the boys so we could be a part of the Christmas Day traditions.  This year we are all together and it feels weird to be celebrating on the actual day that the calendar tells us is Christmas.

Family is starting to arrive here at Nana’s house. Aunts, uncles and cousins will fill the house. We’ll eat turkey and ham. We’ll exchange gifts. We’ll play bingo with 35 people and have our yearly wrapping paper ball fight that one uncle is sure to start. Everyone will leave but us, and when I get packed up to head to my parents’ house for the evening my cop will come with me this year. I won’t be worrying about if he’s safe and being so far away. I’ll have him by my side. I think that is why I’ve found myself holding his hand, walking arm in arm and snuggling just a little closer when we sit on the couch to watch It’s a Wonderful Life with everyone. It’s been four years and this opportunity probably won’t come again for another six years so I’m taking it all in while I can.

So on this Christmas Day 2015, if they are off, hug your LEO a little tighter. Snuggle a little closer. Just watch as he/she gets to spend time with family and cherish it. And if your LEO is working today, Thank You for your and their sacrifice. Know that you are not alone. Hold on to those memories of the Christmases you DO have together and stay strong. It is your turn this year but we’ll take the shift next year. This year we’ll absorb our hugs so we have them next year and we’ll be praying for your safety today. Stand strong. Be safe. And Merry Christmas.

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Christmas balls image found at:

https://www.planwallpaper.com/static/images/Choose-One-FOr-Celebration. jpg

John Piper and Jerry Falwell, Jr. – Christians and Carrying Guns

When browsing Facebook today I came across an article a friend had posted, written by Chancellor and Pastor John Piper, about whether Christians should be encouraged to arm themselves. Having sat through video recorded Sunday School lessons by Mr. Piper, and finding this article right up my alley as a LEO wife I decided to read it and then share my thoughts. I can tell you right now that I have a very strong opinion on it but I invite you to read it for yourself first if this is a topic that at all interests you. Please feel free to read my response and reply or discuss, but most of all please do your OWN research before just taking someone’s advice. (including mine) After all, we all are entitled to our opinions. That’s what makes life interesting…

Mr. Piper’s post…

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/should-christians-be-encouraged-to-arm-themselves

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And my response…

I can honestly say as the wife of a police officer and a Christian woman I am boiling mad at the statements made in this article. I have felt for quite some time that Mr. Piper is listened to because of his long standing time in the church. He has written some very good books and created some wonderful Bible studies. He does have some very good teachings on Biblical truths but I have taken issue with several over the years that just did not sit right. None have hit me so personally until now, and in this one I wholeheartedly think he is very misguided. I can see how he could take such a stance, coming from his position as a Pastor and Chancellor of a Bethlehem College and Seminary, but coming from mine and what I have seen and lived through being the wife of a cop, I almost could not read past number two. I was getting very frustrated and even angry that so many people are going to not arm themselves simply because Mr. Piper says he doesn’t think it is a good idea. I am glad he makes some of the statements he does, especially when he talks about the sheep and the wolves, but let me tell you about the one very important element he has left out, the Sheepdog.

At the very end of his article Mr. Piper references Luke 10:3 where the Bible talks about Christians being “as lambs in the midst of wolves”.

In the law enforcement community, the police officers who are willing to lay down their lives for others are sometimes referred to as Sheepdogs. This is a term I first heard of from my husband after he read a book written by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who talks about the Sheepdog’s role in being an intermediary between the sheep and the wolves. Lt. Col. Grossman writes…

“If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizen, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath–a wolf. But if you have the capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens, then you are a sheepdog.”

He goes on to say,

“The sheepdog lives to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”

Sheepdogs are the ones who keep the sheep safe by guarding them and keeping watch for dangers they may not even know exist. I find it interesting that my husband and I just had a discussion on this topic today, well before I even knew about Mr. Piper’s post. In reading Mr. Piper’s article I do agree with one thing, the sheep are not meant to fight the wolves. That is what the Sheepdogs are there for. If you do not feel you are equipped with the skills or knowledge of knowing when it is appropriate to use a handgun then do not use one.  But God has given us Sheepdogs; law enforcement officers, military members, but also regular people with the heart and soul to fight the evil that is among us. I personally am one of those Sheepdogs. I have taken the class and been trained. I carry a concealed weapon and I am rarely without it. I am not willing to watch as a mass murder kills innocent people when I have the ability to do something about it. If faced with the unfortunate occurrence that I need to pull my gun I will not think twice about defending myself or anyone I am around to stop the “wolf” that is attacking. Not everybody is a Sheepdog. The majority of people on this planet are not equipped to fight the wolves. The wolves prowl around looking for the weak and if there are no Sheepdogs, who is going to protect the sheep? I understand the need to love one another and let God take vengeance into His hands. I do not walk around with my gun in my hand letting people know that if they mess with me they are going to pay, but let it be known, if someone shoots at my family, friends, fellow church goers or even a stranger at the mall who I happen to be by, I WILL PROTECT THEM. I WILL LAY DOWN MY LIFE FOR THEM.

The thought of being able to stop a murderous gunman simply with love is preposterous to me. By the time you are facing a gunman who is killing people indiscriminately, that time has passed. Now is the time for action, to defend innocent lives caught in the crossfire. By protecting those innocent lives you are showing Christ’s love by giving them the chance to live another day.

I understand Christians are told we are going to be persecuted. The reason we are talking about this topic at all is because of what has been happening in our own country by both those who claim to be fighting for their religion and by others who just simply are doing it to kill people. If I ever happen to find myself in either of these situations with a chance to defend myself with my gun, I won’t think twice. That is what makes me different from Mr. Piper. According to the definition above, he is a sheep, and that is ok. There are very few inside and outside of law enforcement that are called to be Sheepdogs. Unless you ARE a Sheepdog you probably cannot understand what it is like. Few are called to fill that role but those that are get it. I am honored to carry that burden within me, for when that day comes that someone pulls a gun I will be ready to defend myself and anyone around me. As Mr. Piper quotes in his article, “God is our refuge and strength.” (Psalm 46:1). If the time comes when I have to use my gun, I know He will give me the strength to stand firm and take out the wolf that is attacking the sheep.

To be fair…No, I do not completely agree with the quoted statements of Liberty University President, Mr. Jerry Falwell, Jr., encouraging EVERY student to go get a gun. This is not smart thinking. Many of them are not equipped and it is very dangerous to start arming people just to be armed. On that point I agree with Mr. Piper. But if you are, like me, a Sheepdog, please join the fight we fight against evil. I do not believe God calls for us to just stand there and take it when we are attacked. Love has its place but I will choose to show my love by protecting the sheep against the wolves. I do not expect everyone to understand or agree with my opinion. But I know that you are either a sheep, a sheepdog or a wolf and I don’t think a sheepdog would be doing a very good job if it just let the wolves have free reign over the sheep. The wolves would just grow stronger and braver. The pack would grow even larger. The Sheepdogs are already outnumbered. The battle is already hard enough. By asking the Sheepdogs to just try to love the wolves and then think the wolves will leave the sheep alone doesn’t make any sense to me.

I am a very strong Christian myself, but I take issue with the words and advice of both of these Christian leaders. I applaud their efforts to guide their students and congregations. We need Godly leaders in these troubling times. We need pastors to help us, I just don’t think advising people on whether or not they should choose to carry a gun is within their realm of expertise. (And please, by all means correct me if I am wrong). Mr. Falwell, advise them to carefully consider the choices, the responsibility, and the consequences of the choices that come with arming oneself. Encourage them to take a class, handle a firearm and see if carrying is right for them. Mr. Piper, encourage them to read the Bible and see what it says for themselves about loving their enemies. But do not make blanket statements to large masses of people who do not understand the big picture of carrying a weapon. People listen to you Mr. Piper and Mr. Falwell. Remember that and choose your guidance very carefully. It will affect more people than you think.

 

Grossman, Lt. Col. Dave. “On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs.” Killology. Web. 23 Dec. 2015. <killology.com>.

Piper, John. “Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?” Desiring God. Desiring God Foundation, 22 Dec. 2015. Web. 23 Dec. 2015. <http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/should-christians-be-encouraged-to-arm-themselves&gt;.

HOW IS IT BEING MARRIED TO A COP???

I immediately knew my answer but had to think about how to put it into words for someone who can’t understand the life from my perspective.

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HOW IS IT BEING MARRIED TO A COP??? Last week a man at church asked me how it was being married to a cop. He wondered how I was handling the thoughts of danger in life as a LEO wife, especially after the events that happened in the past year to make police officers not the most popular people. I immediately knew my answer but had to think about how to put it into words for someone who can’t understand the life from my perspective.

First, I thanked him for his concern and support of my husband. I admitted that it is becoming a different world for police and their families but then went on to explain something to him that brings me peace. When we lived up north and my husband worked in the small town we lived in, he would often be on the road by himself. One officer for the entire town of 1500 plus 1 or 2 deputies working for the County meant if he needed backup it could take a long time to get support. Now, living in Green Bay, he is, of course, never alone. Whether staffing is at minimum or there are a full number of officers on the road, I personally know that his backup is never that far away. In fact, I know that the specific group of people he works with have been together for years now and can tell by the slightest change in tone of voice over the radio just how fast they need to go to get there to back up my husband. Most times he doesn’t even have to specifically call for backup. They just keep an eye and ear out for each other and know what type of calls warrant extra support and which ones are likely to be able to be handled alone. He has told me how he has driven past other officers just to make sure everything is good and to be close by just in case things would go bad. Just knowing that this is how they operate makes me know that he is not in this alone and in turn I can be at home with my family knowing he has the best of the best watching out for him. They have gotten to know each other. They are brothers and sisters in blue and they are there for each other. I am able to go on with my day knowing that my husband is in good hands, and he is one of the good hands helping keep his LEO brothers and sisters safe. That is one of the reasons I can kiss him goodbye with peace in my heart. His job is dangerous, but when danger comes and the fight is on, he is not out there alone.

That is the answer I gave when talking to that man at church, but I want to also share that getting to that point in my life did not happen overnight just because we moved to a bigger department. It definitely took time…a lot of time. It wouldn’t have mattered where we lived when my husband began his job in law enforcement. It is a scary world we live in. There are still days that I fear for him and when I see things on the news like the happenings in Ferguson I do feel some fear in the pit of my stomach. We get a little bit more on edge and hug a little tighter before he walks out the door. I sigh a little bit deeper in relief when he walks through the door at night after a shift. But I am to the point in my life as a LEOW that I had to give up my fears to a higher source. The first several years of life as a law enforcement wife were some of the scariest I have ever lived and he wasn’t even on the road for all of those. Looking back I think part of it was that our kids were younger at the time and being home alone a lot with two young kids, especially at night, brought thoughts of fear and anxiousness at even the little things. Strange noises, having to go into the dark basement or outside all alone, voices of people outside that seemed closer than normal all brought on fears like they would for some other people. But I began to think about all of the things that “could happen”. What if I’m home alone and there’s a fire and I can’t get both kids out by myself? What if I fall and get hurt and nobody is around to find me and help me but the boys? What if I let him and one of the boys go somewhere and they get into a car accident and I’m left to live life alone? Somehow I thought that being with him could prevent the bad things from happening. Being a young mom and new to the law enforcement world brought on fears and I was letting those fears take hold and affect how I lived my life. I realized some of them were possibilities, like the getting out of a fire, so I ran scenarios through my head and tried to prepare myself as best I could. I did things to protect my family but it was those irrational fears that were getting to be too much. That’s when I started to pray for the Lord to just take them away. I couldn’t live in fear. I knew if I was going to make it as a LEOW I was going to have to get over those fears or they were going to make me go crazy!

I prayed and over time things slowly got easier. They boys got older, my husband showed me how to make safe choices that every LEO family should learn, but most of all I prayed. I prayed for peace. I prayed for my husband’s safety. I prayed for OUR safety. I prayed for wisdom. But most of all I prayed for God to calm my fears. I will never forget the night that I finally realized all of those years of praying had helped. I needed something out of the basement so I went down and found it and after returning to the main floor it hit me…I never thought twice about going downstairs, even late at night in the dark. The fear didn’t consume me any longer. My prayers had finally been answered. It had taken SEVEN long years, but my fears were finally gone. In those years I had learned many things to do to help keep our family safe, ways to prepare for emergencies like fires or tornadoes, and most especially not to worry about things that I never had control over anyway! From that night forward I was a new woman.

So, back to the beginning question… How is it being married to a cop? Well, it definitely isn’t easy but I can say that over time it gets easier. Fears that come naturally, fade as you learn ways to be smart and protect yourself and your family. News stories happen and emotions rise but they also fade and you learn from whatever it was that happened in the world to make those fears try to creep back into your mind. You find friends and people to help you talk through the hard times and you above all, always remember that no matter how hard you try to plan, YOU ultimately aren’t in control. I can’t stop the criminals from doing bad things. I can’t stop car accidents from happening. The only thing I can do is remember that God is in control and HE knows so much more than I do. Living a life of fear is no way to live, in fact it is miserable. Even though we now live in a city with more criminals and more crime, I know that we need good men and women out there on the side of the “good guys” and that is what my husband was born to do so I can either ask him to stop doing what God intended him to do or roll with the punches and learn to give up my fears. I can tell you that the second option is working so much better than the first and I am honored to live with my officer through the good days and the ones that scare me half to death. Fears still come but now I learn from them and move on because usually along with those scary days come some totally amazing days that make it all worth it. So, how is it being married to a cop??? It is an HONOR and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

YES, NO or WAIT

Today I learned that not only was God using that time to shape my husband, but he was using my husband to also shape me.

YES, NO OR WAIT.

I have heard it said that when we pray, God has one of three answers for us…Yes, No or Wait. Sometimes He grants our prayers and we are happy. Sometimes He says “No” and we wonder why He is being so mean. Still other times we don’t get an immediate answer and we have to Wait. This was the case for my husband and me as we spent years trying to find a way for him to become a full-time police officer.

He started his law enforcement career working in the smallest county jail in the entire state of WI. We hadn’t really thought about this field but we were both working low-paying jobs and since we were expecting our first child my husband decided to seek a job that would pay better so I could stay home to raise our son. Being hired in the jail was more about the money at the time. Little did we know it was just the start for us and would change our lives forever.

His working in the jail brought on many emotions for me that I’m sure I’ll get to in future posts, but today I am thinking about all of the times I heard about the conversations he had with his inmates. I didn’t know the names or the specifics of what was said but I heard many times how the way my husband treated the inmates made a difference in how they treated others.

He told of days he came into work and something happened to make an inmate angry. Some jailers would treat the inmates as they saw them, criminals behind bars, doing their time. But my husband always tried to see them for what they really were…people. People who had made a mistake, but still were people. He made connections with his people. When you spend 8 or sometimes 12 hours on a shift checking on someone at least twice an hour, taking them their meals, letting them in and out for work, dealing with their problems, etc. you inevitably start to get to know people. One of the things he would always tell me was that they still were people and deserved to be treated respectfully. If they disobeyed or were disrespectful that was a different situation but when they cooperated and followed the rules it was a different place. When certain inmates got riled up, my husband had a way of talking them down. After reading a book about it we found out it was a term called “Verbal Judo”. You can use words as your defense and often times do not need to use physical means to handle a bad situation. Often times the words even calmed them down enough that what was expected to become a bad situation just fizzled back to calm cooperation. Over time this became a skill he was known for and the inmates would ask to talk to him if there was a problem because they knew he would listen. What I took away from those years was that humans are much more than what their current situation may seem. When you get to know people or look at the big picture you often times see why they act as they do and how you treat them really does matter.

Now back to the Yes, No, Wait. It took several years, and a LOT of patience before we got to the point from wanting to be in fulltime law enforcement to actually getting the chance. Opportunities that we thought were a sure bet fell through and it actually took four years longer than we expected before my husband landed his first full-time job as a police officer. We would get to the final process in a location and then be turned down. We would apply somewhere we dreamed of living. We found places that we thought were perfect but time after time we just didn’t get the job. Then came Green Bay. After going to Law Enforcement academy here one of my husband’s classmates asked him to apply here. We had never considered it but apparently God knew best and after about a year-long process we accepted a job working for the department. Along the way we never understood the No’s that we thought should be a Yes. We grumbled and complained and began the search for a new location but the whole time we were seeking what we wanted instead of what God had in mind and it wasn’t until we listened to His will that we got our “Yes”.

During those years working in the jail all we wanted was to move on and to have him become a police officer but now when we look back we agree that the time he spent inside the jail talking to inmates and building personal communication skills were actually preparing him for a better and ultimately safer time on the road. What he learned in the jail both about himself and how to talk to people in stressful situations has helped him so many times in his job now in the city that I am grateful for the time we spent in “Wait” mode. We even had some No’s during the Wait and weren’t exactly sure how long the Wait would last but God knew and I have learned that He knows so much more than I do. When I tried to force things and pick where I was sure we were going to get hired, it only led to built up hope and then a rollercoaster ride down to the valley of disappointment. The whole time what we thought was mean was actually God equipping him and even teaching me about the value of waiting.

Today I learned that not only was God using that time to shape my husband, but he was using my husband to also shape me. That lesson about troubled people still being people has been a key part of several discussions we’ve had lately. We have talked about how you may see someone who is crabby or rude but you don’t know their circumstances. You don’t know what their life is like or what just may have happened two minutes before you saw them. Maybe they are just mean but maybe they are actually hurting and the way you treat them may just make a difference in their life. Just as the way my husband treated his inmates affected their behavior and actions, we need to think about the people around us and consider that we don’t always know the big picture.

I was able to pass this along to my students today when I was substitute teaching. While talking at the end of the day with a group of students they began to complain about a teacher and how mean he was. One of the students made a comment that the teacher must be having problems in his marriage because that’s what he would suspect if he acted this way at home. The rest of the class froze in amazement that those words actually came out of the student’s mouth so I saw this as an opportunity to talk about what I have learned about how we treat people. I shared with them the story I just wrote about above, how my husband used to work in the jail and how he learned to treat the people with respect. How we don’t always know the full story and knowing the story isn’t necessarily the important part. The important thing I wanted them to know was the difference we can make by choosing how we are going to treat people. If we treat even the meanest person with respect it just might make a difference. I had spent 20 minutes listening to my class talk about how their teacher needed to change but after my heart-to-heart with them there was a silence and a change of attitude… and maybe a change of heart in the kids. I may never see those kids again but I am sitting here tonight thinking back to the almost 15 years ago when we were waiting for our Yes to come.  It came, but God used the Wait for so much more than I’ll ever know and today the “Wait” lessons I learned were passed on to a whole new group of students.

Going through a “Wait” can be one of the hardest things we have to do but knowing what I know today, and feeling how I feel right now I am becoming more and more willing to walk alongside my husband through our “Waits” because the benefits we get on the other side are more amazing and wonderful than I could’ve ever imagined while I was inside the wait zone.

Just before the final bell rang today I watched the posture soften and the complaining words of my students change into Thank Yous. The last boy to leave my room today, the one who had done most of the talking but also seemed to change the most actually said, “Mrs. L., thanks for being a top notch substitute.”

I had shared with them that being a substitute meant I was at different schools, in different classrooms all the time and this may be the one and only time I ever see them, but if I could leave one thing with them it is that even if I only ever know them for one day of their life, I hope I make a difference in that one day. I hope that in my one day I taught them something and not just off of the lesson plan, but something about life and how to be a better person. I truly think today was one of those life changing days at least for one boy and if I have to wait another 10 years for a “wait” to become a “Yes”, I am willing to do it. Days like today don’t happen enough and I am hoping that as I learn to wait I can pass on my experiences and change more lives.

Isaiah 40:31

“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

TEACH ME LORD, TEACH ME LORD…TO WAIT.

Almost

MY HUSBAND ALMOST HAD TO SHOOT A MAN TODAY.

MY HUSBAND ALMOST HAD TO SHOOT A MAN TODAY. Not even logged onto the computer yet, he received a call that my family and I actually saw him responding to. We had just pulled into the ice cream shop, hoping to catch a few minutes with him when we saw the red and blues go darting by. It was not until he stopped by after the call, but never got out of his car, that we found out it was him.

“Was the really HIM?” asked my mom. Yes. What has become a natural observance for me was fresh in her mind seeing him racing into action for the first time. I’ve been there for the missed dinner dates, or the times he just sat down and had to race off, never finishing his meal, to back up a Brother in Blue or come to someone’s aide. But she had just witnessed for herself a tiny piece of what my life is like.

So much happened that I will never know about but the words that I walked away with and that are still ringing in my ears right now are, “I almost had to shoot a man today.” I’ve heard it before but it has always been after he finished shift, changed back into his regular clothes and came home. I had never been there by him right after it happened. He texted later to apologize for the lack of words when my parents, boys and I came out to his squad to say hi and goodbye and wish him a safe night. But I understand. I am the one that stays up after shift to watch a movie or just talk until the adrenalin of the day tries to leave his system. I am the one that hears the “I can’t go right to bed when I get home, I just need a little time.” My other family members know I am married to a cop but I don’t think anyone else really knows just how much being a cop affects him to the core. Today I saw what it was like to be there with the adrenalin still fresh in his body. The way it changes who he is and the emotions he is feeling.

I watch the news and I see the stories about the shootings that DO happen. I can only imagine what those officers are feeling when they DO have to pull the trigger. But I don’t think people stop to think about how many times a day the word ALMOST comes into the picture. The shootings that happen are major events and are publicized so the media can have their day but what if we knew just how many times the word ALMOST happened. How many times do our men and women in blue choose in that split second, with the adrenalin flowing fierce and hard, to NOT pull the trigger? Something happens to let them decide that it’s not time to pull. Somehow they come out of the call safe and sound and go on to the next call pending on their screen. Sometimes they catch the perp and sometimes they get away but that decision, with adrenalin flowing and lives in the balance is one I cannot being to imagine having the responsibility to make.

I saw today what it was like when the word “ALMOST” had just happened, and with the way the world is going I will not be completely caught off guard if I get the call saying he had to pull the trigger. My point in writing this today is to share the story of this “ALMOST” and to ask people to stop and think about what it must be like to have to make that choice. There are consequences to both decisions and seeing how he felt after the ALMOST, I pray he never does have to pull the trigger. BUT, if I do ever get that call that he did have to make that choice I will know for sure that it was the right call, for I’ve seen what he feels after the ALMOST, and the wisdom, courage and strength it takes to not pull the trigger. If the call does come, I’ll have his six because I know he knows what he’s doing and has had to make the choice so many times. He walks the Thin Blue Line with honor and I have all the faith in the world that he was born to do this job. I love my cop with all my heart and am proud to be his wife.  I’ll continue to sit up late into the night to watch a movie, or just talk or hold his hand after the ALMOSTS. I’ll never know what it feels like to have that adrenaline slowly leaving my system, but I’ll always know what it feels like to be by his side and will always think of him as my HERO.

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