I once heard an interview with Rich Mullins. He was a Christian singer and song writer who was killed in a car accident in the 90’s. In this interview he was asked how do you know God’s will for your life? (Paraphrased) He said God cares about your heart more than anything else. He said to love God and be holy and live your life in a way that is pleasing to Him. Do what you want and what you love. If what you are doing is not God’s will, He will let you know. It was so simple.
In my throw back Thursday pic I’m 35 years old and at my Sheriff’s Academy graduation. My husband of one week had just pinned my badge to my chest. I was getting ready to start working as a deputy in a maximum security jail. I was so happy and proud.
When I was 19 I was running every day to get ready to test for deputy sheriff. When I went to apply I was told I could only have a vision that was 20/80 uncorrected. The door was closed. When I was in my early 20’s I was working as a Sheriff’s dispatcher. I was informed the department lowered the standards for vision and I met them. I started training again to test for deputy. My first husband and I moved from the area so the door was closed again. I just started having babies, never to make the deputy dream come true.
At 30, I divorced my first husband and moved back to Southern California and started thinking about testing for deputy once more. It wasn’t long before I tested, got hired, and started the academy. I was in for 10 of the 26 weeks when I just physically and emotionally couldn’t finish the program. Yep, I was a single mom driving hours for child custody pick up and drop offs, I had zero help, and was living in a rented room of a friend. I was beat up. I quit. It was the first thing in my life I didn’t finish and it plagued me for a couple of years. I was once again behind another closed door.
Then, I met Steve. He promised to help me with my parental responsibilities if I wanted to test again, so I did. I got hired and made it all the way to the end. A week before I graduated I married Steve and became Deputy Kelley Simpson. I finally did it, I finally made my 25 year dream come true. What I still don’t understand is why did I refuse to see God closing the door?
Over and over He closed the door and I would just find a window or back door to get into. The weirdest part is, way deep down I knew it wasn’t where He wanted me. I’d see my shadow on the ground seeing my cover and gun belt and I’d think, “Who is that?” I felt like a square peg in a round hole everyday. I also felt I was where I should be because I got great evals at work and felt like I was good at what I was doing. I was making a difference.
A very long story short, I had developed osteoarthritis from dispatching for so many years and destroyed the cartilage in my wrists. Three surgeries later, I was told I was no longer useful as a deputy and was medically retired. Boom, God shut the door. As a direct result I felt like I had lost everything in my life but my house and children. The retirement and loss of hand use was like a set of dominos that slowly, over three years knocked out everything I thought I knew. Including myself.
So, I have to agree with Rich Mullins. Follow Him, if He doesn’t want you to be where you are He will make it known. If you don’t listen, He will make it known again. If He makes it known and you still don’t listen, He’ll just take it away from you.
During this most trying time, I grew as a person, woman, mother, wife, and believer in a way that was bigger than I’d ever grown in my entire life. I learned who I was and I fell in love with the woman God made over the woman I wanted to be or ever was. As a deputy, I was someone I wouldn’t want to be today. I’m so thankful for all the bad because even though I was not living in the will of God, He used every ounce of it to do His will anyway. I guess the bottom line is it really isn’t about us or our decisions. It isn’t even about what job we have or where we live, but about who we are in Him and how faithful He is to completing the work He has started in us. The rest is just details.