5 weeks, 6 days… again 

If you’re going to read this (and anything else I write), please read it thoroughly without typing a response only halfway through. This is my heart and if you’re going to respond, you should at least hear what I actually have to say (not just what you might presume I’d say). 

Twice in 2 weeks. Once is torture, but twice in 2 weeks. I have so much to say on this. This is just one small piece of it. 

Oh, my. I have hurt and worried, and wondered and asked, and lamented and burned inside with this incredible confusion and grief. Once was enough, but over and over and over again with this roller coaster that had the doctors puzzled was too much. When they don’t know, life gets a lot scarier. I’ve been trapped in an isolated hell I’d wish to see sentenced on no one. 

I have felt betrayed, tortured, beaten and (as of yesterday, finally) hopeless.  Never faithless. Just at the end of what strength I had. I asked my LEO to put me in an institution where I might  be medicated to the point of oblivious bliss. Instead, he put me to bed and later fed me carbs. Equally effective and cheaper.

I have to tell you, the phrase “Just give it to God” was almost painful during this journey. My immediate thought, as I tried to politely thank the well meaning advisor, was, “You think I haven’t prayed? I have spent more time in prayer the past 2 weeks than I have in 29 years.  Just give it to God? Honey, I slapped a bow on it and shipped it out special delivery. You know what? It kept showing back up on my doorstep, unwrapped and grinning  back at me.”

Tonight that phrase has latched to my back like a rabid monkey. Chewing on my neck and brain until I finally clawed it off to stare it in the glazed eye.  

What do you want? This phrase that Christians serve on a ready-made platter? A regular in the Christian rolodex.  What is it you want me to know? Where are you rooted, and why are you the Kudzu of comfort phrases?

So, I went digging. Ruthlessly ready to shred this colloquial serving to pieces and spread its ashes in an unknown place, never to be heard again. Ready to file it in my subconscious to be censored every time it lit upon my ears. “Just give it to God.” This flippant, piercing, seemingly empty calorie sentence.

Rabid monkey of a phrase. 

WHAT IS IT?! 

The Bible verses that I believe have poured the foundation of this statement are as follows:

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22), & “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Ok, but that still doesn’t clarify what I’m supposed to do.  So easier said than done. What does that even entail? 

Well, this. I think this is what we are actually saying.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Give it to God means to be strengthened by His promises. Casting my cares on Him means to let His wind direct my sails.

Maybe I kept writing my own address on that package and not God’s? A big “return to sender” in my own stamp?

But why? What purpose for my good could this possibly serve? How is God glorified in this? I’ve had my heart ripped out, and explored the darkest parts of my inner being. What good can come of that? I kept telling Chris there had to be something. That every life is created fearfully and wonderfully. That He knows us in the womb and that isn’t something I believe God takes lightly. He certainly doesn’t see us as disposable. Every heartbeat matters. I don’t believe God *does* things to us, but He’s definitely not going to let it go to waste.

Why?

In Romans, I finally found a sense of peace. Not a complete answer, but peace.

“Knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

“Give it to God” means to grow closer to Him and His promises. Find strength in His strength. Be free in His direction. All of those concepts could take a novel in themselves to clarify, but it’s more thorough than the four words we so easily hand out. My weary search for some sort of understanding in this dark place came from Romans. That doesn’t mean I’m not sad, or worn, just coming to terms with it all. I think we have to be careful not to discount people’s experiences by blanketing them with comfortable phrases. Hurting hearts need a little deeper sowing of hope. Not tossed like a wildflower, but cultivated as an orchard.

I don’t believe I’m done writing on this topic. This entire piece is certainly unfinished.  It’s all so fresh that I’ve not completely gained my entire perspective. I never know what I actually think until I write it down. This is just my heart tonight.

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Warship

I’ve always thought when our pastor says “worship,” it sounded like “warship.” Maybe it’s like that when everyone says it, I just hear him say it most often. Maybe it’s just my ears.

You know what? There’s something to that.

Per Wikipedia, “…a warship typically carries…weapons, ammunition and supplies for its crew. Warships usually belong to a navy, though they have also been operated by individuals, cooperatives and corporations.”

Sometimes they carry the troops. Individual, cooperative and corporate worship does give us the weapons, ammunition and supplies we need for our spiritual battles. There are so many forms of worship (beyond the music on Sundays). It also often carries the troops to face their personal battles.

I need to do some more digging on this idea, but I’m starting to think he does it on purpose. Haha! Thanks, Bro. Chris!!

He May

thin_blue_line
Today, there is a police officer who went in service.
 
He will likely pull someone over for speeding, cite someone for a seat belt not worn, help change a flat tire, visit a school to read to children or answer a call for service by someone needing to report a stolen dog.
 
He may comfort a son who has watched the last moments of his mama due to a heart attack, work a car accident wherein injuries were sustained by someone going to work, breathe life into a man who was no longer breathing on his own because he didn’t want to face another day of not making ends meet, arrest someone for possession of stolen prescriptions he took from his grandmother’s cabinet, be met at the door by a little girl at a suspected meth lab (and be able to tell the suspicions were well founded by the smell when the door is opened) or be in the right place to intercede in a tense moment between a married couple arguing about a wayward text message in a parking lot.
 
He may see shots fired at him for being behind a badge, sit with a driver who can’t be pulled from burning wreckage, be the first to discover the remains of a daughter who had her last round with a heroin addiction, be the answer to prayer when someone hears their back door being kicked down, see a child delivered into the arms of a social worker because she came to school with lacerations from daddy’s last drunken rage or be part of a team working to see a family let go safely from their own home when they were taken hostage.
 
But before he left today, that same officer helped find tiny socks. He tied the shoes of his 5 year old, gave hugs to his family, made a mental grocery list and loaded that same child onto a school bus. He carefully pulled out of his driveway towards whatever unknown hell awaited him. In the back of his mind are bills due, an upcoming dentist appointment, paperwork needed at the office, court dates and how to creatively make ends meet while his salary is less than $15 an hour.
 
Today he will go and be involved in numerous moments of life change, while leaving his own behind. Every instance in which he is involved with a citizen, from a ticket to a news worthy event, will be discussed by those affected for years to come.
 
Tonight, God willing, he’ll return to be father and husband.
 
Tomorrow, he’ll be thankful to wake up and do it all again.
 
BG 2016
To our LEOs:
Thank you for your service and sacrifices. The world will thankfully never know what sort of chaos you keep at bay. We are grateful.

5 Minutes to Change the World

Do you know why the world stops and stares when people are unexpectedly loving and forgiving, but doesn’t bat an eye when we see hate on the news? Doesn’t that scream something about our culture?

Please- take 5 minutes today to do something for someone that doesn’t benefit you. A small random act, even if it’s just holding a door for someone and smiling. Pray with someone if they’re hurting. Pray for them, even if you’re sitting in your car and they have no idea you’re there.

I PROMISE you’ll be blessed. I promise.

Then, don’t post about it on Facebook or brag. Take it to Jesus and say, “Thank you for the opportunity to serve in a world that desperately needs to see You.” Let Him keep score.

Do it every day until it’s habit, and you don’t even think about it anymore. It doesn’t have to cost a dime. Seek out ways to do good. They’re limitless.

Matthew 5:44 is hard.

I’m working on praying for people I don’t like and, especially, those I know don’t like me. It’s been a really big challenge for me. At first, it was like I had my mama standing over my shoulder telling me to “say something nice.” At least, in prayer, I’ve come to realize God knows my heart and sometimes I just have to put out there what I can.  I can’t pretend it’s with a joyful heart if it’s not. Prayer isn’t “fake it ’til you make it” business.

I’ve found a big theme for me has been to just pray that these people are overwhelmed with the experience of Jesus this week (or that day). I don’t have to say I like them, or expect that we will ever get along, but it’s one way of loving them. I hope they’re praying the same thing for me.

I’m also working on trying not to characterize people by what they do, but to view it as being caught in sinful habits. I have my own, for sure.

It’s all a work in progress, but I guess that’s kind of the point.

Glint

It’s been my theory, for a long time, that officers are…human, which breaks the rules society

Underneath the Kevlar, lies an impeding unrest. The kind you get from hearing the cries of abused wives and children, holding the hand of the dying while they’re unable to be pulled from the wreck and the biting of tongues while being lashed by the public. The kind of stress most people will never understand, past what they “witness” in the movies. One person’s hell gilds an officer’s existence, encountering the worst of humanity through the eyes of the Badge. Not only do they breathe it, the weight of being a Saint is crowned upon their shoulders. A small crack, wherein a glint of humanity shines, is blinding to those who expect our officers to be living incarnates of St. Michael.

Coming home means being who they’re expected to be; not by the public, but by those who know them by their first name.

To leave the hell they’ve trudged in the hands of Cerberus, like a jacket they hang on a hook when they punch out by the gates.

It doesn’t work that way. Not always. Not really.

Entering the doors of their home means that the calls are perhaps done (unless…), though they can’t scrub clean the soot of the flames that crawled beneath their uniforms. Questions of how they’ll afford to keep this life in the budget (while their pay is often less than they could be making at the factory down the street or at a department store), ring so loudly that suddenly the pool of peace from which they draw to be a Peacemaker seems barren.

The ringing of this reality reminds them of the lack of blood they’d witness at the department store. Quickly, their inner calling sings of how it would never let them do anything but be a cop.

And, still, they smile. They help with homework. They love.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Tomorrow is a new day but, again, not really.

The determination of seeing justice served, and perhaps being the answer to hope, will bring them back to the gates tomorrow. Picking up their sword, and finding the courage to face the flames for one more day.

-B.G., 2016

1989

In my quest to find out who, exactly, Jerry Hall is (as she’s trending for her engagement to Rupert Murdoch), I found myself watching an episode of David Letterman from 1989 and, subsequently, 1989 commercials.

While I believe I’ve got Jerry Hall figured out, here are a few notes I took about life when I was 3 (from a very small sampling of additional commercials and this ONE episode of Letterman):

-Norm Abram was a legit celebrity. If you ask my dad, he still is.
-Cocaine specific commercials were as commonplace as the marijuana commercials we see today.
-Declaring a city as “nuclear free” was newsworthy.
-Almost every ad had that 80’s glow around it.
-The word “sensible” in advertisements
-6 packs of soda = $.59
-Sealy Mattress= $300-$800 depending on where you buy it.
-You don’t see as many department store ads anymore. Thanks, Walmart.
– I was very surprised at the lack of cosmetic commercials.
-Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
-Food ads. So. Many. Food. Ads. (specifically junk food, and how they’re really healthy for you)
-Bill Cosby
-Hardees commercials were about food, and not sex appeal.
-Not McDonald’s. There was no mention of food on the commercials, but focused on their characters and toys.
-Robocop’s gun had caps, and you assembled it all (including the car) yourself..
-Disney Double- A VHS and Chip or Dale stuffed toy- $2.99
-What ever happened to cereal sweepstakes?!
-Ford Ranger- advertised to be (new) $6,766
-Join the US Armed Forces to get high tech training (also, as a whole, rather than individualized branch ads)
-Kid mullets on Hot Wheels Commercials
– “I am Batman”
-Bottled water. I was a little surprised to see bottled water in 1989. It wasn’t individual bottles but, rather, the kind you see in the fountains at offices.
-Show hosts actually hosted. Now, it seems, the guests dictate the direction of the interview. That wasn’t the case here. Letterman would cut guests off in the middle of a story, and they wouldn’t finish it when they came back. I won’t touch on my thoughts about the ratio between that happening with female vs. male guests. I’ll leave that alone for now. However, I felt there was a stark difference (maybe it was just the specific guests).

Well, that’s all. I have a sudden craving for Hi-C and Poptarts. Gonna go add some volume to my hair, and dig out my brightest lipstick.

A Reminder from Kari Patterson

Really loved this piece from Kari Patterson. Sometimes we all need a reminder :).

 

http://www.karipatterson.com/because-sometimes-we-just-cant-remember-2/

A Police Wife Christmas

As a police family, holidays rarely come “on schedule.” I sometimes feel like we should have our own “Blue Line Calendar,” as we never seem to line up with the Hallmark life.  Birthdays come a week late, Christmas is celebrated a week early and anniversaries? Well… maybe next year.

Next year.

I told my husband today I feel like we’re our own sports team. “Maybe next year will be our  year.” Maybe next year, when my son is old enough to realize what the 25th of December is supposed to be, we’ll all wake up on Christmas morning together. There will be tags with all of our names (I shrugged when I was asked what I wanted this year. I knew we’d do well to see that little man had a handful of gifts under the tree). We’ll rush to the tree in anticipation, and share our memories with those closest to us.

Of course, that would have to mean it fell on an RDO or that my LEO is working something other than dayshift.

Today, he will total 15 hours.

He left at 0700, and will return around 2200. His regular shift + 8 hours of Walmart security duty. We appreciate the overtime, and little man unwrapped presents yesterday… but there’s just something hollow about a holiday when all over Facebook are pictures of families together. I’ve tried my best to escape the Christmas music on the radio. Even Sirius let me down.

Little man told me earlier that today is really just Christmas Eve.  He’s sensed it was supposed to be special.  We took my LEO his lunch he left at the house, but couldn’t really visit. You see, Christmas for officers always falls on one extreme end of the activity spectrum. Today was the busy end. He quickly grabbed his bag, and left to save the day. Who knows if he actually got a chance to eat.

I keep reminding myself how blessed we are, however. Here in Kentucky, there are multiple families who lost their heroes this year (five in the line of duty, on the blue side). Several of those hung memorial ornaments on their trees from The Siren, and I was thankful to make them. I know they’re not a joyous marker, but I do hope they’re seen as symbols of the prayer wrapped around their families from those who mourn with them.

Before I tuck in little man tonight, we’ll talk again about the real meaning of Christmas. It isn’t presents, or Santa, or elves, or magic. Truly, it isn’t anything we can fit in a box. I want to instill in him the real reason for the day we set aside.

I’ll probably have a Netflix date with the dog (might get real wild up in this house, and even pop popcorn. Watch out, now!), before lying down and preparing for the New Year.

Merry Christmas.

The Birth of Jesus

Luke, Chapter 2

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Underneath

I have a 5 year old who has been anxiously waiting for daddy to get home, so they can put up a Christmas tree. I wish I’d taken a picture of him staring out the window, then turning with disappointment when he doesn’t see his vehicle outside.

I know, however, the minute the door swings wide and daddy is home, Christmas spirit will reign.

I’m thankful my officer, who is late due to an arrest at the end of his shift, is usually able to leave his day in the cruiser and come home to be dad/husband. The contrast between “Officer” and “Mama” and “Daddy” is a fine art that many have mastered, but rarely see the recognition they deserve.

Though it’s not always possible, shaking off the badge and being who they are, Heroes in a whole other sense, is honorable.

Thank you for all you do, LEOs.

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