Imagine yourself in this particular scenario; you just finished up a corporate work week at the office, and now you are at home on a weekend night enjoying quality time of rest and relaxation with your spouse and children. You just ate a dinner that you were able to spend a few hours preparing, and you shut your cell phone off for the night as you wind down with your family for a movie. You then safely tuck your children into bed while reading them a bedtime story, as this has been your routine from the beginning. You crawl into bed and reflect on the joyful moments of the day as you drift off to sleep with an indescribable smile through and through. You sleep thoroughly and peacefully throughout the night knowing you have a strong support system, few worries, and well to be honest you have taken these moments for granted and have been comfortable just settling. You know you are coming home safely every night, and you really do not consider what is happening in the world around you.
Now let us switch this cookie-cutter situation into a whole different gear; matter of fact let's take a ride in a completely different vehicle. It is 2:30 am on a weekend night, you are NOT just now finishing up the work week because your work week all runs together. Days off are just days to do more housework, errand running, and have very little room for true rest. You are standing in the pouring rain in a dark alley outside of a rundown bar in thirty-degree weather, unable to reflect on the joyful moments simply because you are surrounded by people and places that have had their happiness vacuumed out of them. Why are you there? In a place that has no fulfilling purpose or passion, where people go to drown out their problems and in turn cause even more pain. Why are you standing there amidst this all when you could be at home in a warm bed snuggled up to your 3-year-old son?
You are there because you are a protector, the one called upon to be the dispute resolver and enforcer of the laws, and the one who has taken an oath to do the absolute best work you can to uphold and preserve the peace that so many try to steal. You are the one standing in perilous places, in chaotic conditions, combative circumstances, and the one who came forth speedily gripping the wheel of your cruiser so tightly that your knuckles are white in order to provide your dedicated service to those who rely on your help. You are the one who has been called to dismantle discord of the devil himself. You are a hero. You are a police officer. That is your duty and your job, but your most humbling work and role is that of which so many often overlook and under appreciate, the role of a mother. Not the mother in the "perfect' first scenario we had you imagining, but a single mother managing a challenging life for the most selfless reasons, to give her child a life and set of core principles and values that can never be stripped away. A life that is filled and surrounded with positivity, peace, and love. A life that you have only been able to dream about. A life that is not a reality for you right now but is what you have faith in having someday, a home that you are doing everything in your power, God willing, to help your son abide in. Are we truly standing in these boots right now? Do we have even the tiniest glimpse of what it is like in the day and life of a female officer working in a male-dominant environment surrounded by overpowering arrogance and malice?
Now strip away the labels and take a walk in just a single day of this human being's world. Capture the emotions and thoughts that live inside this dedicated and determined person's mind and heart, and journey with them as we take you through an experience that the majority of us will never truly know or understand. As we search our own souls, may we find the compassion and respect that such a devoted servant of our community and even greater, a servant of our Almighty God, truly deserves. It is the least we can do to make her world a little bit brighter and her troubles a little less painful. It starts with the willingness to just take a moment to listen to someone else's story. Where we are going to take you is in a deep place that in hopes will open your eyes and hearts to have compassion for a life we so often judge, criticize, and slander. And we do this mainly out of fear and pure ignorance.
"Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God." (Romans 13:1) This is a principle that often gets lost in translation. Respect is to be given to those in authority positions. Well, respect is to be given to all humankind in all actuality. It sounds so simple and should be recognized and acted upon, but the reality is that in this spiritual war we are all fighting in, the truth gets buried in places that seem impossible to uncover. In the case of this particular police department, respect is simply not even given to certain fellow officers. Team members who are supposed to have each other's backs, to stand up for one another, to strengthen each other in preparation for the stress and fiascos of the day, and who are also to set an example to strengthen the community, are at war with each other. How are we supposed to respect the ones who uphold the law, when the lack of respect from within is leaking out onto the streets? Abuse of power and authority, along with overwhelming acts of pride, self-righteousness, arrogance, hostility, intimidation, fear, as well as other spirits of the enemy are causing strife inside this city and community and so very few are aware of it.
Let's stay in this second scenario we mentioned of the single mother whose livelihood is a police officer. Step into this role. You woke up from a restless night of sleep that was filled with more dreams of terror and darkness than of peace, had a few rushed moments to get your son fed, dressed, and ready for the babysitter's, and as you drop him off, you take a mental photograph of his precious smile and big, blue eyes that have "I love you mommy' written all over them, and you store that in your mind fully aware that that may be the most joyful thing you see all day. You miss him. You do not get to take the time you wish you had to spend together with him. You know what needs to be done in order to provide for your family. You have to juggle not only these thoughts along with your police duties, but you must also juggle the daily duties of motherhood and maintaining healthy friendships. You do not want to settle for a life that is less than what God has planned for you though so you keep pushing through. You believe in a brighter future and a more prominent picture. Although it is not all gruesome and negative and there are moments of smiles, waves, and gratitude, let us focus and walk in the darkness so we truly have a comprehension of what the daily struggles for this incredible human being are like. We must remember that it is not our circumstances that define our character, but our response to those situations that show our true colors. It is the intent of the heart that can make or break a person, organization, community, and even country. It starts with our leaders. Back to this picture, you are walking in to your station to report for duty and you receive unwelcoming looks, bickers of bitterness, remarks of resentment, and immediately the atmosphere for your shift is set from a soul shattering pile of poison. Yet, even with the gut wrenching feelings of despair, you somehow gracefully and diligently hold it together. You are wise, you are mature, you are compassionate, you are dignified, you are patient, and as much as it drains the life out of you, you keep those beautiful, big blue eyes of your baby right on the surface of your mind and refuse to trip and fall into the trap set by the ones who are trying to tear you down... Why are they trying to destroy you? You are a respected officer of the law within your community, you are excellent at your job, personal issues are not to be used against you, and your business is your business, so why are they doing this to such a strong team member? Simply because you are a strong force of power and might, holding God-given greatness and gifts, and you are a female which sadly even in today's society, is a threat to the male reputation of dominance and ego. You now are getting into your patrol car to go out and patrol the city. You never know when or where you will get called to, but you anticipate even the worst scenarios at this stage in your career. You are no longer a rookie, you are advanced, professional, possess a level of intelligence and logic far beyond your years and your peers, and your attention to detail is prominently sharp and keen. Although the public seems calm at the moment, you are always in the line of danger, simply because of your position to respond to situations that would make the average person run and hide from. You have your bulletproof vest on, your uniform is perfectly pressed, you are worn out and tired from working two back-to-back shifts the night before, but you put on a smile the same way you put on your shoes today, and your appearance is still neat and your posture and stature are always straight and upright. You do not have room to fall apart, to breakdown, to cry, or to show your true emotions. Not on this job, not today. Imagine what it would feel like to be locked inside a prison with no freedom to run outside in the sunshine and no way to express yourself. Now imagine feeling like that with never having committed a crime. Emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually you feel like this because the demands of this job and maintaining a safe and pleasurable environment at home are weighing heavily on your body, mind, heart, soul, and spirit. You enjoy serving your community to help ensure safety, and you hold a status that is commendable, but the trauma, tension, and tragedies you see and absorb throughout the day must dissipate at some point in order to experience some peace and balance in your life. Do we know what that is like? Do we understand what these calls and situations truly consist of and the level of self-control it takes to deal with them? Your radio suddenly has activity, and you hear the sound of your dispatch center calling you to a heated argument between a mother and her son. Your stomach drops because you are just appalled at how two people who should be so bonded together can turn against each other, when you are so desperate to spend even just a few more moments with your precious son. You are taken back to how committed you have been to your son since the beginning. Returning to work after six weeks from his birth and so faithfully coming home to him everyday to breastfeed him for nine months is a very admirable, selfless act in itself. You have the strength and loyalty to put your child first, and I personally do not know of a working mother that has been able to work in these conditions and still make this effort to nurse her child so adamantly. This memory makes you smile. You then respond to your duty call. You handle it. You handle it well. At least on the surface it appears that way. All you want is to go home and have that loving, gentle support from family members whom you love dearly. You are adjusting to the new life of being single and having to share a home with your mother in order to receive help with your child and financial obligations can be challenging and overwhelming at times. You care about her. You care about her well-being. She is your mother. She is your child's grandmother. You appreciate all she does. You love her. You just want her to be kind and tenderhearted as you walk in the door. You yearn for a warm embrace from your son whom you missed severely today. You don't want to be reminded of the poverty of people's spirits and poor choices you had to deal with through the day. At this point, even with the positive moments throughout your day, unfortunately the negative ones are being triggered by more negativity. You can not seem to escape the lack of peace. Reality strikes. You have a picture in your mind and are crying out to God to soften the hearts of those around you in order to smile through and through again. A real smile. You know without doubt that the only thing getting you through what is feeling like a nightmare and in blunt terms hell, is GOD Himself. It is your faith that is keeping you afloat. Unwavering faith that there is light in this period of darkness. Change. You seek change. You need change. This must change, for you are far too valuable to lose this fight. Your own family seems against you. You are getting blamed, harassed, judged, gossiped about, and plain out disrespected by so many that the majority of your day is filled with. It is unfair. Injustice is screaming louder than your sirens that you had to blast on and off and can't seem to get out of your ears from earlier that day. The pain is becoming more persistent than the pages over your radio intercom from all the calls you responded to with honor and integrity during this long shift. You do not complain. You just know when enough is enough. You need out, you need the key to that small cell door, you need answers, you need support, you need people to hear your voice of reason and truth, and you need to stand up for what is simply right. What do you do? You are in those shoes of this wonderful, amazing, and beautiful human being, and you are at a pivotal moment in your career and life. Again we ask, what do you do? Do you continue to allow your sponge to keep absorbing toxins, poison, and pollution? Do you allow this build up of burdens to break your back? Or do you carry your head respectfully like you carry your weapons and fight for what you know in your heart is the truth? Do you wear your courage with honor as you wear your badge, and move forward seeking a better and fulfilling life that you know God has created you for? Do you let those that are simply miserable and weak trample you? Or do you follow the truth that in retrospect has been concealed like the gun you carry? If you are built and designed anything like this courageous, humble, admirable, and loving individual, then you do what so very few do. You do what is against the odds, what is rarely heard of, what is so held back by fear instead of being mastered by love, and you break through this barrier and you take back through your rights as a human, what your enemies have stolen from you. You do not seek revenge, for your wisdom and knowledge remind you that there is no need for that. You do what is opposite of those who judge, condemn, and persecute you do, and you simply reach out to God and let Him avenge. A police officer's creed, a mother's creed, a human being's creed, you simply follow the law written on your heart the same way you follow the laws you uphold in your community every single day. You are your child's protector. You are your child's role model. You are your child's hero. You not only think and speak of righteous ways, you walk in them. You set this example that will influence everyone around you in a positive way. Only you can make this choice to allow your voice to be heard. If you truly took this journey and walked in the shoes of this person whom we so respectfully and humbly tried to show you in words which do not do her near the justice she deserves, just how inspirational she truly is, then you just walked in the ways of Christ. There is a story beneath the surface of every single one of us, a story that will stir your soul. The question is, are you adding value to another's pot or are you adding poison? We are all authentic, unique, and special in our own way. Together, we all add flavor to this magnificent recipe called life. This is more than just food for thought, this is pure water for a life worth living. If we are dumping unclean water on another human being, then we must look within ourselves to be cleansed first. "This person is wonderfully and fearfully made by the marvelous works of our Lord whom her soul knows very well." (Psalm 139:14) We all need to take a closer and deeper look at our own souls and walk and learn from this young, brave woman of GOD, and hold our tongues if we do not speak uplifting, positive words of life. We need to ask ourselves if our actions are aligned with God's before we administer them into effect. We need to scan our very own thoughts and test them alongside the truth before we accumulate the ones that are taunting. And we simply need to remember "to not judge others lest we be judged." (Matthew 7:1) "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3)
Another truly commendable quality and attribute about this individual is the fact that she has conquered these highly stressful situations that take place internally within the department as well as in the community, without turning to self-medication and harmful substances. Along with the added stress and frustrations of her home life, it is absolutely worth recognition to point out that she simply does not fall into the same category that the majority of people that work in this line of service do. Her strength and self-control are very admirable, and I personally do not know of any individual that could set a better example of how to stay positive in tests, trials, and times of tribulations and weakness. The pressure of riding with male officers who cowardly gossip behind her back along with constant attempts to slander her name and bring forth unnecessary disciplinary action against her, is something we can only try to imagine what feels like.
I do not believe this is retribution, I believe it is simply retaliation strung from a chord of jealousy, intimidation, and cowardice. I have had the absolute honor of watching this person grow and miraculously thrive in such a hostile environment, and I truly feel in my heart that she does not get the recognition she deserves. Although all the glory goes to God, if her superiors, coworkers, and even closest family members put effort into focusing on more highlights of her career and life, then I believe the negativity and tension would decrease drastically. Do her superiors even know about how she went completely out of her way on one of her lunch breaks to help a struggling teen mother by picking this girl up and taking her through her closet and freely giving her part of her wardrobe? Are they aware that the same officer and person they are maliciously slandering, who in all actuality has a noble reputation, is the one again, who went out of her way during many midnight hours to help lead a struggling drug addict away from his addiction? Do they understand the heart of this champion and warrior is filled with generosity, gratitude, mercy, grace, and other reputable God-given qualities? Even in times of deception, this officer has reached out to those whom she was misguided into thinking needed true funds, and personally took it upon herself to give monetary donations. I simply share these things fully aware not to cast our pearls in front of swines and not with the intent to receive glory from men, but in hopes to magnify this brave woman's heart so it is very clear as to what those who are against her are trying to shatter. Her heart is pure, and that is worth defending. I am taking this upon myself to freely write the truth as I know it, and to help her find restitution in all these trampled on areas.
With one final point to leave you with a new outlook, new attitude, and new revelation about what someone else is battling, going through, walking in, and dealing with, so you may have a new understanding that our hearts are fragile, simply close your eyes and ask yourself would you want to be treated like this fellow human being who is living her life in honesty with the right intent to serve God in the simple way we were created to serve Him? We all want to be surrounded by love, and in order for that to happen, we each on an individual level need to remember the suffering of this police officer and single mother and remember her sacrifices to follow the Lord's greatest commands, ""You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39).
I personally am willing to be the first person to stand up with her and commend her and reassure her that her good deeds and positive spirit and attitude of gratitude are counting for something and will work in her favor. Jesus Himself set the example of how to act accordingly even during His walk of suffering. I offer her these encouraging words of truth, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you." (John 15:18).