Rebecca Duvall

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Playing

PlayingThis past week I’ve had fun, and at times laughed out loud, while watching Lip Sync Challenge Police videos. If you’re on Facebook, I’m sure you’ve seen a few. I live in a community filled with Police Officers that work in surrounding cities and counties, so many people around here know Police Officers and their families.

It warms my heart to see them playing and having fun, especially when the work they do is extremely stressful; physically, emotionally and mentally.

Definition of Play – Engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation. To spend time doing enjoyable things.

I don’t know about you, but I like to play. Although, there was a time when I was so busy getting things done that the thought of ‘playing’ overwhelmed me. Getting what done you may ask. Who knows! Probably the dishes, laundry and cleaning whatever needed to be cleaned. Perhaps it was helping the kids with whatever they needed help with at the time. Or maybe it was helping with a school or church event or task.

I always thought I would do something fun when I got everything done that had to be done. But that day never came. There is always something or someone that needs my attention. Thankfully, God has surrounded me with some wise and encouraging women who have helped me find my playful side.

 

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

I try, but don’t always succeed, to ‘play’ a little every day. It might be watching fun videos on Facebook, going to a movie, out to lunch or for a walk. Playing doesn’t have to be a big production. It’s simply taking some time to do something enjoyable. For me, what I find enjoyable changes depending on the season I’m in and the weather outside. For today, I’m enjoying sitting outside in the warmth of the day while writing.

When was the last time you ‘played’? What do you enjoy doing? Is there someone you know who could use some help finding their playful side?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of laughter and dance. Thank you for the joy we experience when following Your Son and seeking Your will for our lives. I pray our work, rest and play would bring You honor, glory and praise. Amen.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did. Which Police Lip Sync Video is your favorite?

Chaplain

ChaplainHello again friend! Remember about a year and a half ago I asked everyone to pray for me as I embarked on a new adventure. I was beginning an online Emergency Chaplain course and had no idea where it would take me. Then, I pretty much disappeared from the world of blogging. Sorry about that. It was harder than I expected to add a class to my routine and I completely underestimated the amount of mental exhaustion it would cause.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for me! Your prayers gave me courage to walk into the unknown, trusting that God would be there every step of the way, guiding me and helping me through the Holy Spirit. Your prayers helped me to be in the moment, seeking God where I was, not worrying about what I was to do with what He was walking me through. Your prayers helped me focus on all the information given to me, without many distractions…..SQUIRREL!

I began the journey of studying to become a First Responder Chaplain because that’s what my husband is. He was a paramedic before I met him and a Deputy Sheriff when we met. I thought it would be nice to come along side him to help the spouses of the First Responders he assists, especially because I have been one for 18 years.

God has not chosen to use me in this capacity, yet, but wow, has it given me some great perspective. I believe God used this part of my chaplain training to teach me compassion for my husband and what he does. I was seriously lacking in this area. I have always believed that his ability to help others as a Chaplain was a gift from God, but now I have a deep love and respect for him and what he goes through each and every day, regardless of the pain and agony it may cause him.

If you have any interest in becoming an Emergency Services Chaplain, I highly recommend this online program run by Robby Jernigan.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~Hebrews 13:20-21

Let me back up a bit. I had my first taste of Chaplain training in February of 2016 when my husband suggested I take a 3-day class taught by icisf (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation), which was being sponsored by KLOVE at no cost. It was on Assisting Individuals in Crisis and Group Crisis Intervention. I really didn’t think I belonged there amongst all the Nurses, Fire Fighters, Police Officers and Counselors, but found the information extremely helpful with everyday interaction with people. I’m not a Counselor, Nurse, Fire Fighter or Police Officer and I come across broken hurting people everyday.

July of 2016 is when I began the Emergency Services Chaplain Training courses. I studied Emergency Services, Christian Chaplaincy, Emergency Services Chaplaincy, Death Notification and Related Issues (this is what my husband does quite often), Psychological First Aid, CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) and Ministry to a Suicidal Subject. There are many more classes offered through this training center that will take you deeper into the life of a Police Officer, Fire Fighter, etc. but I hear enough first had from the work my husband does, so I didn’t go any further.

Then in January of 2017 I took an online class through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), an Introduction to the Incident Command System. Why? I honestly couldn’t tell you, but I did find it very interesting.

Cupcake ChaplainAs I was busy processing all of this information and trying to figure out what I would do with it, if anything, God opened a door, for more training! I signed up for a Church Compassion Team Chaplaincy Class put on by Educational Ministries in Rocklin, CA. This class was once a week from 6:00 – 10:00pm for 8 weeks followed by a Graduation Ceremony. This class was about an hour away, but I signed up with a friend, so we made it into a weekly fun and educational outing. We took turns driving, which was nice, and started each trip with dinner and dessert before heading to class. Dessert was the highlight of each trip, oh and of course the silly conversations that would come about each week.

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. ~Philippians 2:13

I’m thankful God has given me the opportunity to train as a Chaplain and trust God will enable me to use this training when He sees fit. It was an amazing and fun experience bulking up my brain. More importantly, it’s helped me gain a greater respect for all First Responders; Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Paramedics, Dispatchers, Nurses, Doctors and Counselors. They have extremely difficult jobs and are on high alert 24/7 with your well being in mind. If you know someone in one of these positions, please find a way to express your appreciation of who they are and what they do.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the amazing men and women you call into the roles of First Responders. I pray we would see them through Your eyes and treat them with respect, compassion, kindness and love, Amen.

 

Forgiveness

forgivenessDid you know that 1 in 9 American adults have Kidney Disease and 1 in 3 who don’t already have it, are at risk to get it? There are currently over 101,000 Americans on the Kidney Donor List waiting to receive a donor. Of that 101,000, twelve of them will die each day while waiting.

March is National Kidney Month and Thursday, March 10th, is World Kidney Day. It’s all about bringing awareness to the world how important the kidneys are, and different ways to keep them healthy.

The National Kidney Foundation lists 5 easy things we can be doing today to help keep your kidneys healthy.

  1. Find out the condition of your kidneys with an ACR urine test or GFR blood test. Go to www.kidney.org/KEEPHealthy to find out how you can be tested for free.
  2. Reduce your intake of over the counter pain meds with an anti-inflammatory component (NSAIDs).
  3. Eat more foods rich in nutrients and less that are processed. They suggest the DASH Diet
  4. Exercising at least 30 minutes per day.
  5. Manage your blood pressure and sugar levels. High blood pressure & diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure.

So what about those who already have kidney disease and are in kidney failure? There are many ways you can help them as well.

  1. Cash donation
  2. Donate an old vehicle
  3. Give a stock gift
  4. Join a kidney walk
  5. Participate in a NKF Golf Classic Tournament
  6. Volunteer
  7. Become an organ donor

You can go to the National Kidney Foundation Donate page for details.

The kidney is near and dear to my heart because over three years ago, God gave me the opportunity to save my husbands life by giving him a kidney. Since doing this, God has also given us many opportunities to share this story; a story about God saving my husband, as well as renewing our marriage. This video, from The 700 Club, is a peak into our story and how forgiveness played an important roll in how my husband received a new kidney.

Another way God has allowed us to share our journey to a renewed marriage is through the book I have written, In His Way, which is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Christianbook.com.

Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.

God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.

Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.

My prayer for us today~ Father God, thank you for the forgiveness we receive through Your Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins. I pray we would extend forgiveness to everyone in our life that has, or will, hurt us, Amen.

First Responders

26 first responderI’m thankful for Firefighters, Law Enforcement and Paramedics that come to our aid when we are in need. They see us when we are at our worst, but give their very best. They train long and hard to make sure they are prepared to help, no matter what the situation. They put themselves in harms way to keep us safe. They go toward the problem, while we run away from it.

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. ~ Hebrews 13:17

I’m thankful for the many ways First Responders keep us from harm. I’m thankful for the ways they help when tragedy, of all kinds, hits. How has a First Responder helped you or a loved one this past year?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the wisdom, strength and courage you equip all first responders with. I pray we would show our appreciation and support for their service to the communities, Amen.

Furry Friends

20 KittyI can’t remember a time I didn’t have a pet. Growing up we always had at least one cat and on occasion a dog. My mom was a softy when it came to puppies, so she would often come home from the grocery store with one. We never had the puppy for long. It would either chew up everything in sight or my brother and I wouldn’t help take care of it, so it had to go.

I’m a cat person myself. I think dogs are high maintenance, and there’s only room for one thing that’s high maintenance in this house, and that’s me.

A few years after our last move, my family decided the only thing missing was a dog. We had three cats, which seemed like more than enough animals to me, but they insisted they needed the comfort of a dog. Of course I was promised everyone would help take care of the dog and I wouldn’t even notice it was around. I knew, in reality, I would be the main one doing all the work. I soon gave in and within a few months, we had Layla, a yellow lab from Canine Companions for Independence. She was meant to be a breeder dog in their program, but flunked out due to chronic ear infections. The day we brought her home, she was two and fully trained with over twenty commands. She’s now eleven, and continues to bring us comfort.

20 Layla

Recently, we welcomed a black lab into our family. Her name is Kepi. She’s also from Canine Companions for Independence. She didn’t flunk out of the program. She’s a facility dog and works with my husband, who’s a Law Enforcement Chaplain, as a Chaplain dog. She lives with us and goes out on chaplain calls with him. She brings a smile and comfort to those who are hurting.

20 Kepi

 

This is a difficult time of year, when many of us mourn the loss of our loved ones. I’m thankful for the way our animals bring us comfort. I think they can sense when we aren’t well or when we’re feeling sad. How do your pets bring you comfort?

Emma and Kitty, two of our cats, are sisters. Emma’s a princess, tiny and petite, and Kitty is a scaredy-cat, fluffy and squishy. Earl, a stray black cat my daughter found out in the country hanging on to life, is the only male pet we have. He follows us around, like a dog, and is quite the talker. I’m thankful for the different personalities each of our pets have.

20 Matthew 5-4

I’m excited to see how God will use my husband and Kepi to bring comfort to the community. How has God brought comfort to you and your family this year?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the comfort you bring us through the animals in our lives. I pray You would protect them from those who wish to bring harm to them. Help us to see that animals are part of your creation, Amen.

20 Emma20 Earl

Elderly Wisdom

23 Elderly wisdomProverbs 23

Saying 7

When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.

Saying 8

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Saying 9

Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments.

Saying 10

Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

Saying 11

Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; he will take up their case against you.

Saying 12

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

Saying 13

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.

Saying 14

My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.

Saying 15

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Saying 16

Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Saying 17

Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth and do not sell it—wisdom, instruction and insight as well. The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!

Saying 18

My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways, for an adulterous woman is a deep pit, and a wayward wife is a narrow well. Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men.

Saying 19

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?” Vs 1-35

23 18

Punishing those who do wrong is a necessary action. We are not to refrain from punishing someone who has done wrong. Punishing someone will not hurt them. It will help them not to do it again. If we put off punishment because we are worried about the backlash, then we cannot be surprised when the wrongful action is repeated. Punishment is to help the one who has done something wrong realize they have indeed done something wrong and also that it effects the people around them. Unpleasant consequences and/or punishments are necessary to assure it doesn’t happen again.

I find verse 18 to be very inspiring and encouraging. It’s nice to hear your future is filled with hope. To hear it tells me that no matter what your current situation is right now, good or bad, it will be better in the future. It also tells us we will have hope to look toward. It will always be there for us. I find that comforting.

We are to listen to the elderly and respect them. They have wisdom and an understanding of things we do not have. Do not be upset at the elderly because we are needed to care for them. They have given us much and have been there for us in our times of need.

The last section of this chapter warns against alcoholic beverages. (Side note and confession: I had a margarita last night while on vacation. I rarely drink, but have to admit, it was oh so scrumptious!) It causes sorrow, strife and bloodshot eyes. It seems to bring us laughter and fun but actually causes us to hear and see things that are not there. It causes confusion. Then when it leaves us we are left wanting more.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the wisdom you offer us through the elderly. I pray Lord we would willingly give them the love and respect they rightfully deserve, Amen.

Worth The Wait

Vicki NewmanI’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.Chip on my Shoulder

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.

Except me.

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 a dream. Now I’m living that dream. It was well worth the wait.Vicki Newman Casual Pic

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

The Chaplain’s Role

I would like to introduce you to Terry Morgan.  He’s an ordained minister and currently the Chaplain/Executive Director of Gold Country Chaplaincy and Press4hopeMy husband, Robert Duvall, met him at a Chaplaincy Recognition Dinner in Sacramento. Terry’s passion is teaching various ministries how to help their own parishioners through critical incidents, crisis, and traumatic events, while exercising good stress management techniques and preventing compassion fatigue or burn out in their ministers. I asked Terry to share about his passion and journey writing.Chaplain Terry Morgan pic

The Chaplain’s Role – the Birth of a Book; By Terry Morgan

My first book is called “The Chaplain’s Role how Clergy can Work with Law Enforcement.”  It took about ten years to write.  There have been two more since then, “Life Celebrations”, a handbook on conducting funerals, and “When Grief Kidnaps Your Soul”, a book on dealing with various kinds of grief.

When someone asks me why I write, I answer, “I write because I need to write”.  My first book bounced around in my head for years before finally being released onto paper.  It was like the idea for this book was trapped in my head and needed to get free.  Putting the thoughts and words on paper offered a huge release.  It was no longer pent up inside, and now it has a life of its own.  This was similar to the experience with my other two books.  The thrill of birthing them is still the same, but it has gotten a lot less painful.

The inspiration to write the Chaplain’s Role was partially from my life experiences and training as a law enforcement chaplain.  The passion to serve law enforcement and the community was a big driver for me.  Training is one of my passions.  At the time of writing this book there was no books to be had on the subject.  There was and is a real need for the material.

My greatest challenge in writing this book was committing to do the work.  We all live very busy lives, and quite often, this book would be put on a back shelf to collect dust.  A few months later it would be picked up again, only to be re-shelved a few days later.  A good friend of mine and Christian counselor, Martha Smalley encouraged me to finish the book.  I had to set aside a few hours every week, and commit to writing in my spare time.  It really surprised me how fast it came together after that.

?????????????????????????????????????????????The cover was a bit of a challenge in itself.  Another friend of mine is police officer who also happens to be a really good graphic artist.  I explained to him I wrote a training book on how to do chaplaincy and he agreed to help with getting a cover that would pop.  We vetted several cover ideas.  When he showed me the “simple” photograph of his gun, badge, and the cross, I knew immediately that was the cover.

My advice to other aspiring writers is to write on a subject you know a lot about, you are very interested in, and you enjoy writing about.  That is probably the key for anyone who wants to write a book but doesn’t know where to start.  Start with something you love.  Then commit to writing at least a few hours every week.

You can find out more about Chaplain Terry Morgan and all he has to offer the community and Law Enforcement at http://chaplainmorgan.wix.com/chaplainsrole.  You can also find his books there as well as in bookstores.

Second Chances

By Robert Duvall

second-chance sign cloudsMost of us have had second chances. In relationships, friendships, jobs and the list goes on. I have had so many second chances that I really can’t remember them all. But I do remember all the details of the most significant second chances of my life. First was when my wife forgave me for being unfaithful in our marriage. Second was the grace, mercy and the miracle of healing that God gave me.

For most of my life I have been blessed with good health. When you’re young you really don’t think about stuff like good health. You think more about material items you have acquired, status at work and so on. Working in Emergency Services for 20+ years was really hard on my body.

It all caught up to me in July of 2008. I was working 24 hours shifts, same as Firefighters, as a Deputy Coroner. On my shifts, it seemed that I never got any real sleep and was up most of the 24 hour shift. I was also supervising a county-wide DUI grant on my days off. My wife will tell you that I was working every day, and she was right.

I had a busy 24 hour shift and when I got home at 11 am and I didn’t feel well. I should heart-with-bandaidhave gone to bed then but I was restless and had some chest pain and sweating. I blew it off and told Rebecca that I was fine. I was up the entire night and when she woke up the next morning she told me I looked awful. She called the hospital and gave them my symptoms. She was told to take me to the hospital right away. I knew she was right.  I went even though I argued with her the entire 30 minute drive. When we got into an exam room and the tests came back, I was told I had had a heart attack.

I was in the hospital less than a week and back to full duty in 30 days. About a month later I was at home reading my son a bedtime story when all of a sudden my heart start racing. I began to sweat uncontrollably and couldn’t catch my breath. I called 911 and when the Paramedics arrived and got me hooked up to the heart monitor, the medic said,”Oh SH**.” I was rushed to the  hospital, lights and sirens. My heart was going over 260 beats a minute.  I spent another couple of days in a hospital.

It was during these events that the doctors told me I had become diabetic, had extremely high blood pressure and there were signs of damage to my kidneys. Over the next 2 years I would suffer near fatal Pancreatitis, have a stroke and eventually go into complete kidney failure. I had to medically retire from a career I loved. By the end of 2011 I started dialysis and literally had to live one day at a time. I opened my heart to God and came to grips with the possibility that my life was coming to an end. God told me that he had more work for me to do on earth, not as a cop, something else.

Romas 8 28In June of 2012 I had open heart surgery. We then found out that my wife was a perfect match for a kidney transplant and in October of 2012, we both went into surgery. She gave me a kidney, saving my life. It was through the grace of God that I had all these second chances. I now serve as a Law Enforcement Chaplain for several Law Enforcement agencies and I know that God saved me so that I could serve others. God is GREAT!!!!

My Prayer for us today ~ Lord I thank you for loving us unconditionally. I pray we see the good in each day that can only come from You, Amen.

Restored

As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, Communicating = Talking + Listening, Robert and I had problems communicating.  When we first met, we talked all the time about everything. Which I think is normal, since we were getting to know each other.  If you’ve met either of us you know we’re both ‘talkers’.  After time the talking became boring, same old same old, or we just didn’t have time.  We certainly didn’t make the time to talk.  We thought everything was great because we never argued.  How could we, we never talked!  We thought we had a wonderful marriage.

Why didn’t we talk?  Well, I think we just didn’t see the importance of it.  What was so important about listening to Robert talk about his day anyway?  I didn’t have time to find out what it was like to be a police officer. I wasn’t a Police Officer, so I didn’t think I needed to.   I had my own important things to get done.  Like do the laundry, give the kids a bath, clean the kitchen, help with homework and plan for the next school event.   If he wanted to talk, then he needed to follow me around while I did my important chores.  Of course when he did I expected him to help.  Don’t just stand there while I’m working, help!  Robert was exhausted from his work so he didn’t want to come home and work more.  He wanted to talk and relax.

That became another problem.  Robert wanted to talk, not listen.  Why would he want to hear about what I did all day?  I did boring mom stuff all day.  Nothing I did all day compared to the excitement that filled his day.

Over time we grew angry with one another.  I wanted him to stop talking about his work and care about me and my day. He wanted me to listen to him talk about his day because that meant I cared.

Our biggest problem was we both assumed the other could read our mind.  We never told the other what was bothering us.  Well, I shouldn’t say never.  We did, it was usually during a screaming match when we would list off all of the others faults.   We couldn’t hear what the other was saying because we were busy trying to get the other to hear what they were doing wrong.

In my post, A Gift from God, I told you about Martha Smalley, who led a Bible Study I participated in.  She was my counselor and is now a dear friend.  Martha helped me see our destructive path of, incorrect or lack of, communicating.  She helped me realize the importance of communicating and how to communicate with Robert lovingly and respectfully.

I was recently a guest on Martha’s radio show, Plank Eyed Saint.  We discussed how my marriage began to fail, due to a lack of boundaries when communicating.  We also talked about adultery in my marriage and how God restored it, even after I kicked into hyper control mode.  I encourage you to listen.  If you know anyone who has dealt with adultery in their marriage, this would be a great show to forward to them. 

There’s a song, by Chris August, I absolutely love, called Restore.  I think anyone married or soon to be married should listen to this song.  There’s a verse in the song ‘Give it up to the Lord & He will restore’ that is so powerful and filled with truth.  I hope you take a few minutes to listen.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I pray we step aside and let you guide us as you restore our marriage and relationships, Amen.

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