I’d like to introduce you to Victoria Newman. She’s married to Brent, who works for the California Highway Patrol and together they have 4 children. She enjoys coming along side other Law Enforcement families to help them through the difficulties this line of work can sometimes bring. Today, she is sharing her story of how she came to write A CHiP on my Shoulder. Enjoy!
Worth the Wait
I had a dream.
From the time I was nine I wanted to be an author. But as life moved on, my writing became self-expressive poems; prose of things I learned as I processed the hurts and triumphs of life. Then after I married my man (Brent), I worked on a book for newlyweds called The Bride’s Guide to Wife Life. It included recipes, cleaning tips and relational advice – everything from soup to sex. I just knew it would be a success!
Brent and I had four children together. We moved around because Brent kept promoting with the California Highway Patrol. There were times when being a cop wife meant giving more than I thought I should, and at times simply exhausting. I made excuses for missing family events, frequently felt like a single parent, and explained moods away. I kept my chin up, but it was hard. I didn’t know until later that the life I led was common for police families.
Fast forward to 2005 when I took Bride’s Guide to publishers. I then struggled through a year writing, rewriting, accepting harsh criticism, and learning to write for an audience. In the end, there was no published book for newlyweds. It did, however, open up opportunities to help others write their books. This was beneficial, but not what I hoped for.
During this process, a wise friend suggested I consider writing about being a police wife. I prayed about it. The idea seemed right, and soon thereafter the title came to me: A CHiP on my Shoulder. In 2008, my husband was given the privilege of commanding the Academy. We were spending a lot of effort mentoring police families, so I thought it was time to begin writing CHiP, and planned as such.
But God had another idea.
I had been in Bible studies my entire adult life. I especially loved Precepts – and eventually became trained as a leader. I had taken the previous year off, and felt it was time to come back as a group leader. But then I learned that our Precepts program was about to disappear because our director moved on and no one was qualified to take the position.
My pastor was confident the position was mine. My husband loved the idea. I, however, threw a tantrum, crying out to God.
It meant putting my dream on hold once again for at least a year, maybe longer.
I called myself Mr. Holland. I was tired of waiting. I was weary of helping other people write their books. I wanted to write my own.
Somehow I got my emotions under control and stepped into the role of director. It wasn’t easy. I stayed on for another year. It got messy. It was hurtful. And in many ways, I failed.
But I learned tons.
I learned how to lead in difficult situations. I learned how to communicate. I learned how to teach. I learned how to deal with very difficult people. I learned to lead in spite of gossip. And I learned obedience. From God’s point of view, I was finally ready.
Somehow, in that second year of leadership, I began writing my book.
I wrote out of brokenness.
I wrote out of dependence on God – not just saying I trusted Him, but really, authentically, prayerfully writing from my heart. It just wasn’t about me anymore.
At the end of that second crazy year of Precepts, we finished the book of John. The last passage we studied was after Jesus had been resurrected and was sitting on the shore cooking dinner while the disciples were out in the boat fishing, unsuccessfully. Jesus called out to them, “Put your nets on the right side of the boat, and you will have a catch.” They obeyed, and there were so many fish their nets couldn’t hold it all.
I personally recognized this passage as the long-awaited invitation to step down from my leadership role in Precepts, and run wholeheartedly toward my dream. I saw it as an affirmation for my obedience and trust in Him.
I cried again, but this time it was different. For the first time, my dream and God’s will matched. I had struggled through two years, learning, changing, hurting, not bearing fruit like I’d hoped, even though I was led to the role. It was time to throw my net on the other side of the boat.
And did I find a catch!
By the time I finished A CHiP on my Shoulder, I had a book contract and a small group of supporters. These supporters introduced me to key players who had influence within the police community, and suddenly I had several endorsements from well-known and respected people. People believed in CHiP, and carried the message forward.
The book started selling, and I held my breath. Would it be well-received? Would wives connect with it?
All I can say is I have been blown away over and over, and it continues. I’ve been all over the United States, Canada, and the Philippines. I get letters from police families every week. Some of them say my book has saved their marriage. I partner with training companies to hold seminars on marriage for police families, and that continues to grow. Then in the midst of this, I ghost-wrote a second book about military that eventually took me to the White House. We saw full-blown miracles in the writing of that book, and it has perpetuated healing in many soldiers.
I’ve begun a third book.
These last three years have been a whirlwind that has been completely orchestrated and led by the Lord. His timing, not mine. A good lesson learned.
I had the pleasure of meeting Victoria at a Chaplains meeting in Sacramento last year and currently follow her on the world wide web. I’m excited to see how God continues to lead and direct her and her family. To find out more about Victoria or to order her book, please go to http://www.how2loveyourcop.com