How do you live out some of our core values at work?
One day, as a young child, I lined up all my stuffed animals and began preaching to them. Somewhere in the middle of my sermon, I ran to my mother who was washing dishes in the kitchen. I said “Mom, what do you call those people that tell others about Jesus.” She said “Missionary” I said; “that is just what God told me He wanted me to do.” I ran back to my animals and resumed preaching. Throughout my life, even when I veered off course, I always felt like one day, I would be serving the poverty stricken in the jungles of some foreign country in Latin America. Funny how I end up serving as a police officer on the city streets of Cleveland, TN. However, my work is just as important here as it would be in some jungle.
My greatest leadership achievement has been the ability to share my story with a very diverse group of people, thus influencing a wide range of people groups. Locally, I have stood in our jails speaking to men and women inmates about their purpose. I have addressed self-identity, gangs, and abstinence issues in our middle and high schools. Local churches have allowed me to occupy the pulpit to share my testimony. On the streets, I have shared with the prostitutes, crack dealers, domestic violence victims, their offenders and the children who are left with nightmares because of what they are exposed to, homeless, special needs, drug addicts, the sexually abused and violent offenders. He opens the doors for me to share my story with a banquet hall full of businessmen and businesswomen so that a pregnancy center tucked away in a ghetto of Albany, New York can continue serving abortion minded clients and unwed mothers who find themselves in desperate situations. I am humbled that God could use me to accomplish His will in others.
My greatest frustration and disappointment would be the inability to see immediate change in people I mentor. Frustration and disappointment stem from expectations that people will respond or change quickly.
I desire to “fix” people and situations, but my calling is not to “fix”, but to plant seeds through my transformative leadership. Due to the transformation I have experienced in my own life, I have seen the harvest and the greatness of God’s transformational power and wish that for others who find themselves stuck in dark places.
These achievements and frustrations force me to take my eyes off myself and what I desire and understand that leadership is servanthood. Ultimately, it is through the work of the Holy Spirit that men and women come to know God and experience Him fully. It is my job to have relationship, be patient, encourage, love, lead and motivate throughout the process.
Reminding myself of this makes me want to be used to the fullest and to walk in my purpose to fulfill God’s destiny for my life and the lives of those around me.
How do you live out some of our Behavioral values at work?
November 24, 2014 was a cold day. I was headed to lunch when I heard the call of a possible hostage situation. Two co-workers went on scene and after intently listening to the radio traffic, “shots fired” came across in clear tone. Several hours later, the last investigator left the scene with evidence to process. But that was just the beginning for the victims and the family the suspect left behind.
It was a few months later when I met her. She was his wife. Now, she was a widow. But after spending a little time with her, I understood her to also be a victim of every kind of abuse. Sure, she was hurting. It took everything within me to step out of my police officer mindset and step into my role as a sister who had no inkling of understanding what this woman had endured over the years at the hands of her husband. I remember, quite vividly, the first meeting. She hung her shoulders and her head. Her hair was straight and she didn’t mind that it covered half of her face. She wasn’t great at making eye contact. She was quiet, in fact, sometimes, it was hard to hear her words. It’s been three years since the shooting and I have seen her bloom and blossom throughout the years. We meet monthly for breakfast at a quiet place downtown. We sip coffee and talk about our lives. Now, she sits up straight. Her voice carries as a graceful woman. She uses me to practice on when she’s asked to speak. She is kind, confident, compassionate. She has come a long way and because she is my friend, I get to watch the transformation take place.
Does any particular Scripture inspire your approach to your job / craft?
John 15:12 says “Love each other as I have loved you.” To the “normal” person, it may seem easy. Love others….because Jesus loves us. But, for me, the “not so normal” comes out because I’ve answered a call of a 19-year-old who has bludgeoned his grandmother because she refused to give him money for his drug addiction. So I’m supposed to love him? The answer is yes. What about the man who has raped his 7-year-old step daughter. I don’t want to love him. Do I have to love him? The answer is yes. How about the man who beat his 8 year old daughter, broke her ribs, because she told someone at school her address was outside of the school zone? Or the man who murdered his girlfriend and shot her 5 year old son while the little boy was in the bathtub? Surely God wouldn’t expect me to love him? But, this is our Father, the One who leaves the 99 to rescue “that one”-the black sheep, the molester, the murderer, the abuser….He loves us all. And when I look back at my life, I see that I’m not much different from them, because we have ALL sinned and it is His deepest desire that ALL should repent and be free by His grace which redeems us and draws us to our Savior.
Do you have any stories of how Jesus has used you to impact your co-workers?
Police work is a tough job, not just physically, but emotionally. Police officers experience, see, hear and feel horrible things. Some things are branded into our minds and are hard to erase. Listening and praying are two of the most important actions to take. Its important to listen to the hearts of those who hurt, ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand them and pray for healing.
Questions by: Todd Stevison
Answered by: Evie West