Friday, February 5, 2016

Bringing Good from Tragedy: Wives of Warriors Make a Difference

It was December 23, 2013. A news alert popped up on my phone. There had been a bank robbery in Tupelo and two policemen had been shot point-blank. Sargent Stauffer was dead.

Murdered? Someone had murdered a policeman?

The image of our policeman in Blue Springs came to mind and I suddenly understood how fragile life can be for the men, and the families, behind the badge. 

I hit my knees, wept, and prayed for those who had been shot and for their families. I begged God to protect the officers in our area. 

Like I always do when I'm upset, I wrote about it. Tragedy in Tupelo is my most-read blog post of all time. Today might be a good day to read it again. 

When given the chance, our Lord always brings good from evil.

 It should be no surprise that He brought good from the terrible evil that marred the Christmas season that year, as well.

Kim Rushing is the wife of a policeman. As you might expect, the shootings were terrifying to her. When she attended Sargent Stauffer's funeral and looked at the faces of the other officers wives, it was clear they were just as scared and sad as she was. 

It was a seemingly small thing that triggered her next action, but the shift wives had ridden together on the bus over to the funeral. Kim said, "I want a wives' bus. I want to be on it." In that moment, Wives of Warriors began. It didn't have a name. It wasn't even a clear picture in her head, but Kim texted her friend, Darla. "Do you think we could start a wives group?"

Darla replied. "We can try!"

They didn't expect what happened next. 

What they expected is that the wives would get together and complain about life as an officer's wife. What happened was more than 200 women signed up. They meet regularly, averaging 25-60 women per meeting. 

They don't waste time complaining.

The Wives of Warriors are committed to bringing good from the evil that was done, and they aren't fooling around about it. 

They assist when there is an officer in need, when there is sickness or tragedy in the ranks. They love each other. They help each other. They demonstrate support to all law enforcement, throughout this nation.

They aren't alone, and they know that now. 

They play together and they work together. They've made pottery angels and sold them to raise money for a home for high functioning autistic and traumatic brain injury adults.

Together, they have begun an annual Blessed are the Peacemakers Law enforcement Appreciation and Remembrance 5K race. They raised $16,000 at the event this past September. There were lots of ideas about ways to use the money, but the Wives decided to buy bullet proof vests for area officers. 

Every officer needs a bullet proof vest, and they want to help provide them. 

Bullet proof vests aren't cheap. The ones they have provided are custom-made and can cost as much as $1000 apiece. They've provided sixteen for area officers.

My friend, Annette, is married to Brandon. He's the young officer in Blue Springs who received a bullet proof vest because of the generosity of the Wives of Warriors organization. 

I can't imagine the fear Annette must feel when Brandon dons his uniform, straps on his gun, and goes to work. Life, as she and their boys know it, is on the line every single day, just as it is for all the officers and families in our area.

Brandon does it because he feels called to it. Annette does it because she loves and honors her husband. 

It's hard, but the bullet proof vest, I would imagine, has made it a little easier.

When tragedy comes, we can react in a variety of ways, many of them destructive and non-productive.

Two women faced tragedy head-on and chose to make a difference because of it. More than 200 women choose to join the effort.

This week, the families, friends, and coworkers of sixteen men will breathe a little easier because of the good that came from the shootings that cold December day.

Kim and Darla made a choice to make a difference, and we can, too. It started with a simple text message and grew into something that will bless families for years to come. 

Just one person like you. Like me. One person is enough. 

We can make a difference, if we will.

"And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." Genesis 50:20 nasb

In case you missed one of this week's posts, here are the links:  Cutting Down a Tree and Praying for Miracles, and The Tree That Preached a SermonThe Wounded Deer and the Unsaid WordsBeing Angry Without SinStarting Over: It's Not as Easy as It SeemsBehavior That Demonstrates Belief, and Answered Prayer: The Bulletproof Vest.

#makeadifference #WivesofWarriors #policeshootings #JesusChrist #Christian