I am many things…but I happen to be a wife to an incredible man and a mama of three sweet, wild, little boys. I am also a sister, daughter, and friend, but most importantly…I am a child of God. Oh, and let me be totally transparent…I am also completely overwhelmed. Ha!
I find myself spinning a lot trying to understand what my significance is here on earth. Over the last couple of years, through my time with the Lord, He has given me some specific words or phrases. The first phrase the Lord gave me three years ago was, “Be still.” Anyone else a Type A Control-Freak? No? Ok, well, I am. What an incredibly hard phrase to grasp!
I will be honest…I have struggled to be a stay-at-home mother as I loved being a valued employee in the workplace. I thrived in the chaos as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. So, when I came home three years ago to stay home, I felt that I had lost part of my identity. I started feeling like I was a slave to the needs of others. The “normal chaos” I once thrived in became a dark depression of identity crisis. Can anyone relate?
My husband is a First Responder. We met and fell in love in the Police Academy. His job is hard. It’s thankless. The hours are never-ending. He is a SWAT negotiator and really good at it. He is a driving instructor, ACT instructor, assists with CNT (mental health calls) and a variety of other things. He is our hero. Honestly, I love listening to his stories and still vicariously like to live through his wild nights in my own mind.
But all of these things, coupled with my own chaos when I was working, put our marriage in major jeopardy. We were in a horrible patch in 2017. I was pregnant with our third son. His job was hard on him and his bosses were awful about allowing family time. We were in full-time marriage counseling (or so it felt). So that’s when we decided to go to a Billy Graham Law Enforcement Retreat in one of our last efforts to save our marriage. Wow! Obviously, the Lord knew what we needed. What a redeeming weekend that we will never forget! The Lord is good. He moved. He healed. He restored. Mostly, He redeemed. That is who my God is!
Little did we know that a couple months after we attended the retreat our marriage would be tested even harder than ever before. My sweet husband would be on the worst calls of his life that led to the loss of a close friend and three of his fellow officers being wounded in the ambush attack. He was there for it all. It rocked our world. It completely changed the course of our lives. There was no way that two months prior (had we not attended the law enforcement retreat) that our marriage would have survived this horrific incident.
It was due to this incident that we really leaned into the Lord about me leaving my job and coming home to three little boys full-time. We really had to trust the Lord with our finances, our relationship and the newness of what our family dynamic would look like.
Then in 2018, I came home permanently with a newborn and two toddlers in tow. We decided to homeschool after me telling the Lord, “No thanks, I’ll pass” multiple times. His conviction was stronger than my will at that point. Then 2019 showed up – a pandemic. It was hard then. It is still hard now. In 2020 I was learning to follow government rules and being kind when nobody wanted to be. Then 2021 was filled with so much heartache after losing many loved ones. And now 2022, WAR. I mean, really….
The Lord gave me the word HOPE for 2022. I thought, of course, “Hope!” Of all words. God is hilarious like that sometimes. Oxford Dictionary gives this definition for hope: “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; a feeling of trust.” I get caught on the word EXPECTATION. We usually think that expectations shed a negative light, but not so when it comes to Jesus. We can EXPECT so many things with Him by our side. That, my friends, gives me hope!
Hope feels so distant some times when we see the world as it is. That is why I am so thankful for a Savior who came and walked the earth to stand in our place to see the world in its sinful nature. He didn’t just come and live a perfect life then die on a cross. No, he was tempted by Satan, He stood with the broken and loved them. He walked in our shoes well before we did. He saw the world for what it was and that is why He sent His Son. We are so blessed to have a Savior who loves us, grieves and rejoices with us and already sees what lies ahead.
All of these things I say to tell you that the Lord always has a plan. If He can take my broken marriage and put it back together, then take us through a horrific tragedy, restore my identity in Him (instead of my job or title as mama), then He surely can carry you through your valley, too!
One huge lesson I’ve learned on this side of heaven is that God does everything for His maximum glory. No “thing” in our lives is too small. And whatever part your life plays in His story, it is for His glory. As He intricately weaves our lives together, no detail is missed and that gives me HOPE. Hope in knowing that some days will be filled with pain, some with joy, but He’s been there for it all and He still is. As we look ahead with so much uncertainty, we can have absolute hope that our Father is with us and going before us.
I challenge all of us to put our HOPE in the Lord in the coming days. It may not be easy or “feel” that way, but remember, Jesus has already “been there and done that.” Have hope that He knows best. That He loves you unconditionally. And, that no matter what comes next, He is there waiting for us. Romans 5:3-5 says:
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 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.”
God’s love given to us…We have all we need in Him! So, cheers to 2022 as we hope (expect) great things from the Lord.
By Rachel Burek