Guarding Your Heart by Being a Peacekeeper

I’ve debated several times in the past few days about writing this blog. The events that inspired it and the topic of it were lessons I felt needed to be shared, but I wasn’t sure that I was ready to admit my faults. I’m all for sharing my faults for the sake of others benefitting and learning; however, for some reason, these faults I was ashamed of. They are uncharacteristic of me. And, I was so afraid you all would read it as me being ungrateful. Yet, each time I tried to push the burden to share away, or I tried to bury it underneath my mountainous to-do list, I simply couldn’t. Countless times over the weekend, I found myself writing portions of this post in my head. Tonight, as I was wrapping presents, again, writing and editing in my head. And at that point, I gave in…as I’ve learned God has a reason for me sharing. Tonight, I want to talk about being a peacekeeper.

As an officer’s wife, Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God,” is on countless shirts, pictures, websites. As an officer’s wife, I could quote that verse in my sleep, and you would think after all that exposure, it would have more meaning to me. That I would have thought about it in more depth. Yet, I read it when I get a shirt, or I look at J’s police academy graduation picture, and I think, “yes, that sure is a hard job they have.” Being a peacekeeper in the police world always leaves someone unhappy. Being a peacekeeper in their world means upholding the law. And those who usually break the law, don’t say, “oh officer, you are so right. Thank you for reprimanding me and taking me to jail!” In all honesty, the verse is so often associated with police officers, I’ve never really considered how it is applicable in my own life.

A fellow blogger, and good friend of mine, wrote on this topic recently. And, given the events of last week, I read the first few paragraphs, and I closed it out. My failure to continue reading had nothing to do with her writing style; she’s really a wonderful and talented writer. It had nothing to do with how busy I was, as I was sitting in the eye doctor’s office waiting for an appointment. My failure to read it had everything to do with the condition of my heart.

Throughout the past week, I have found myself judging other people’s intentions. Labeling them in my mind as to which acts are sincere, and which are for personal gain. And, now you see why I didn’t want to admit my faults. I don’t want any of you to think that I’m unappreciative of your acts of kindness, prayers, or sweet words. I don’t want you to think I’m judging you every time you say something nice to me. That’s not the case at all…I just had weak moments. I am very appreciative; I just simply let the “bad” of the world blacken my heart. In other words, once again, I went back to the place of believing the evil of the world outweighed the good. I let my feelings of being “robbed of all my good” win out, and because of that, my view of the world was jaded.
And let’s face it people, I have plenty of reason to view the world through my jaded glasses! Sometimes I let feeling sorry for myself lure me in to judging other people’s intentions. My pity parties get the best of me.
I started wondering why people were offering to help me, what their intentions truly were, and I found myself emotionally miserable. And, I don’t even know if I was truly judging people, or whether it was me feeling unworthy of so much help and blessings. We’ve received so many, and yet with each one, I still don’t feel worthy of receiving it. It’s something I’m working on in my heart and with God, but I always feel someone else is more worthy, or has it worse than we do. Yes, there are people who have it worse than losing their husband and their child’s father. To end the week, I overreacted and misinterpreted an email from a very important group of people in my life, and added extra stress to their already stressful jobs. And so, I spent the weekend reflecting. Attempting to figure out why all of the judging kept seeping out of my brain. How could it be taking control of my life, when I really was appreciative of everything each person does for C and me? How could judging one’s intentions and being appreciative even exist within my heart? And, so I began to doubt whether or not I was appreciative. And then, after much reflection, it occurred to me that I was truly appreciative, but allowing my heart to judge was blackening my view of people who genuinely cared about us.
I found myself wrapping presents by the picture of J’s graduation, the one that so infamously quotes Matthew 5:9, and I started to ponder what qualities a peacemaker has. And what really is a peacemaker?

And, for the first time, I considered how this role plays out in my own world. I don’t force people to uphold laws; I don’t write tickets for speeding. I don’t make the world a safer place by forcing people to keep the peace. So, why was this idea of being a peacekeeper weighing so heavily on my heart?
Simply because being a peacekeeper was and will always be my way of cleansing my heart of its blackening tendencies. And the way to start being an effective peacekeeper is to change your heart.

Tonight, I had a conversation with an officer. We’re working on a cause that is dear to both of our hearts, and in the conversation, I mentioned my concerns about writing this particular post. He told me to “go for it, not to worry about they think.” That’s far more difficult than it seems. Later on, I had a conversation with his wife, and in that conversation, I told her that perspective is what allows me to get through this ordeal.

That choosing to see the good is how I survive, and how I find the strength and courage to share my story and to give back to others. There’s no possible way to be the type of peacekeeper I desire to be when my perspective is controlled by a blackening heart. You see, the type of peacekeeper I desire to be is one that keeps peace by giving back. By allowing others to benefit from my life, story, and abilities, I keep the peace because hopefully it inspires this person to do the same.

I can’t do that if I’m judging other people’s intentions. Really, it’s not my place anyway, and what does it matter why they are doing something? That’s between them and God. What matters is that I am sincerely grateful, and I look for a way to continue the pattern they started and to give back.
Tonight, I sit typing this realizing that there are two vital parts to that verse, and they are dependent upon one another. “Blessed are the peacekeepers, (part 1) for they are the children of God. (part 2.)” Those parts can’t be split up. I can’t be judgmental and have a pessimistic view of the world and continue to be a peacekeeper. And the reason why is….because then I would have no peace within my own heart.

We have so many people and blessings to be thankful for. Tonight, I’m thankful that God gives me the ability to smudge my heart, but also the ability to give me a fresh start or a swift kick when I need it. Yes, I was robbed of a husband, and C was robbed of his daddy. That’s NEVER going to change. One choice changed that forever, but what can change is my heart. So, tonight when I once again debated forever before posting this, I chose to post it because I vowed to be honest with each of you. I vowed to let you read about my journey, and to hopefully learn from it. Please know that you are my reason for continuing to see the good in the world. Each of you. Just this past week alone, so many of you have reaffirmed my belief in humanity, and it’s only Tuesday! In the past two weeks, an amazing landscaping company donated lights and their services to light up our house for Christmas, and I’ve had the privilege of watching sweet children enjoy the true magical feeling of Christmas by participating in shop with a cop. Each like on Facebook, positive comment, each prayer, each “I’m thinking about you guys.” All, every single one, is more affirmation and more armor for me to use to guard my heart from its blackening tendencies. Thank you for not forgetting about us, and thank you for continuing to stand by us until justice is served, and even then after! Thank you for reminding me to continue to guard my heart, and to continue to be a peacekeeper. We love each of you!

6 thoughts on “Guarding Your Heart by Being a Peacekeeper

  1. proverbsandpacifiers says:

    Beautiful. The hardest post to share are the ones closest to our hearts. Thanks for stepping out in faith. It was a blessing!

  2. Michelle Warren says:

    So funny you referenced this scripture. Jana & I were just discussing this the other day. Keep on keeping on. You can only take one day at a time. You are way to hard on yourself.

  3. June Gentry says:

    Dear Friend, The Lord allows everything in our life to happen with great purpose in His heart! It is certainly human to question, “Why Lord?” I stand in amazement of your process of healing (one-day-at a-time!)
    Our LORD keeps good Books and there will indeed be a great price for the terrible crime that was, so senselessly committed! But even GREATER is the possibility that through this tragic LOSS, some one will come to know our LORD! Thank you for sharing from your HEART! Our LORD is FAITHFUL and HE will continue to turn your Sorrow into JOY! A very Merry Christmas to yourself and your precious son!! In Celebration of GOD sending HIS only son to this earth to die for us that we might have the opportunity to spend eternity with HIM!!! Be BLESSED!!!!!!!!

  4. Dee Sweeden says:

    Stephanie, although we do not know each other I want you to know that each police wife, well, any wife period, can only fear the pain and grief you are going through.
    You are truly an inspiration to me, a perfect stranger yet so connected. Grief, to me, has many stages. Layers if you will and I know you may not realize it but I watch as you go through your phases and handle it with honesty and grace. I believe we are an extension of our husbands, the right hand to the real men behind the badge. You are a continuation of Jason’s legacy for not only little “C” but for us all.
    I hope to someday meet you and share with you. Made God continue to bless you and your family and thank you for sharing with us your path.

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