Give Me Faith

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving.  We had such a wonderful time.  My kids were in good spirits, and everyone got along.  I had all my chicks here, and my table was full along with my heart.  After dinner, William taught his cousin Domi how to play Catan Jr.  It was amazing to watch him do this after such a rough year.  I knew that in my list of things to be thankful for, William being here with us is high on the list after his diabetes diagnosis earlier this year.  Side note: if you haven’t played Catan yet, I highly recommend it!  I had heard many good things about it and we finally bought Catan Jr. for William for his Birthday.  We decided to start there and learn the basics before diving into the full version of Catan.  I think that was a good choice, and we really love the game. It was a good, good day.  We have such a busy life, filled with uncertainty with what tomorrow holds that these moments of just being together as a family are water for my soul.

Being together on a holiday is never promised to a first responder family.  Any holiday we get to spend together I am thankful for.  This one was no different.  But as we wound down for the night we saw that there was a Texas DPS Trooper who had been shot to death while conducting a traffic stop and they were looking for the person who had done it just a few miles up the road.  I have very real fears about my husband while he’s at work, and at this moment I was very thankful he was home.  However, I learned long ago that my only fear is not that something would happen to my husband and take him from me, but that with each officer lost I lose a small piece of him.   And, if it’s someone we know it will take more of him from me still.  But this evening, I took a few breaths before mentioning it to my husband because he has a very dear friend who works for DPS in this area.  I asked if he had talked to his friend and he said no, why?  I told him there was a DPS officer killed and I saw the life come out of my husband’s face.  I watched the range of emotions come through him and ravage him like a violent storm.  Thankfully, it wasn’t our friend, and we didn’t know the officer personally.

But the reality is we do know him.  He is in each officer who has dedicated their life to the safety of others.  He sacrificed many hours and missed birthdays, special occasions, and holidays.  Including this one.  He put that badge on each day with special care, just in case.  He went to work each day not knowing what to expect, but going anyway.  He stood always ready, even when not on duty- just in case.  He was continuously watching, always protecting those around him.  There was not every truly a feeling of “Off Duty”.  They are always on.

His wife was likely going about her holiday as she has many other holidays, making the best of it without her husband.  This was not that unusual, and they likely either celebrated Thanksgiving before hand, or had plans to do it later.  As their 25th Anniversary approached (it’s today) they may have had plans to do something special to celebrate such a milestone.  She likely pushed where he was out of her mind and reasoned that it was just inconvenient to be without him this holiday.

But it wasn’t just inconvenient.

As he kissed her that day it would be the last time.

How many times have I kissed my husband and watched him drive away as the fear took over me for a moment?  How many times have I taken a good inhale while hugging my husband trying desperately to store the moment for ever in my mind and heart?  I know the fear, but I don’t know the realization of that fear.  I know the ups and the downs, some days I’m totally fine with him at work, others I can barely make it through a shift.  I know how precious each moment with him is, as did Trooper Allen’s wife.

In times like this, it’s so hard to understand and reconcile with peace in my soul.  Part of me wishes I knew Trooper Allen’s wife so I could circle around her.  But I’m sure she has people doing that.  I hope she knows that there are thousands others who they don’t know personally who are praying diligently for her as she walks this road.  Today on her Anniversary, another special occasion she will spend alone, she must learn a new normal.  It’s not ever going to be ok.  But I hope she can at some point come to peace knowing that her husband is as the altar with the other martyrs.  He was received a saint, and told, “Well done, Good and Faithful  Servant”, and his community knows that he dedicated his life to the good and safety of those around him.  We will never be able to repay the debt we owe to him or to his family.  But I will not let today go by without acknowledging his sacrifice.

I hope that his coworkers and any other officers who are emotionally effected by his death will consider going to the C.O.P.S. Co-workers retreat next year.  The truth is, even those who are left behind have lost pieces of themselves with this death.  Their spouses have lost pieces of their officer.  In April, there is a C.O.P.S. Co-Workers and Spouses retreat, and my husband and I will be there.  We will cry.  We will mourn.  We will laugh.  We will be in company with others, in an exclusive club we don’t want to be in, but one where our hearts can feel safe, if even for a moment.  I want you to know if you are an officer or a spouse of an officer that you are not alone in your feelings.  And, for me, the answer is to look to Jesus and try to keep my eyes upward.  But it is also to be there for others, and help where I can, and allow others to minister to me too, because there is healing in helping.

Today I will do an extra act of kindness in Trooper Allen’s name.  Maybe I’ll buy someone’s coffee at Starbucks, or help one of my neighbors somehow.  I’m not sure what it will be, but I will not let today go by without at least one.  If you would like to join me in this effort, I’d love it if you would share what you have done to honor him.

Give Me Faith

 

I need you to soften my heart
And break me apart
I need you to open my eyes
To see that You’re shaping my life
All I am, I surrender
Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life
I need you to soften my heart
And break me apart
I need you to pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me
All I am, I surrender
Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life
‘Cause I may be weak
But Your spirit strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God you never will
I may be weak
But Your spirit strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God you never will
Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life
Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life
‘Cause I may be weak
But Your spirit strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God you never will
I may be weak
But Your spirit strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God you never will

Love, Semalee

 

 

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