Alone… But Not Alone: Jeremy’s Story

Posted by Jeremy Wade
On February 28, 2024

This article was originally published in Law Enforcement Today Nov. 27, 2023

How do you cope with the realities of law enforcement? My career in the Seattle Police Department quickly became a reality check when I was faced with this very question. It didn’t take long before I hit really high highs and really low lows, and although I enjoyed most of the 13 years in the department, the reality was, the job had changed me. 

As a young police officer in a major city, I grew accustomed to responding to the critical calls, but when the danger of the job hit close to home, it became real. In 2009, Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton was ambushed and murdered in my assigned patrol area just hours before my shift began.

Then, one month later, four Lakewood Police Officers were ambushed and murdered in a coffee shop south of Seattle. The suspect was later located while attempting to ambush another Seattle Police Officer. These tragic incidents confirmed my calling into the profession, but it was coming at a cost.

I struggled in my faith, there was tension in my marriage, I was rarely around for my kids, and I was losing hope that any of these would improve. I felt isolated and alone in these struggles, and while my faith was important to me, I had come face to face with my problem. My identity was in the badge. I had allowed this job to take priority over everything else in my life. 

Serving in law enforcement was difficult. The critical incidents were overwhelming, shift work was exhausting, and I didn’t have anyone I could turn to. As I questioned my purpose, the Lord was gently asking me, “Jeremy, who are you serving?” The reality was, I was only serving myself.

The Lord was showing me I had a decision to make. Who was I going to serve? 

When I fully surrendered my life to Christ in 2011, I made a decision to put my identity in Christ, to stop pursuing my desires, and instead say, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8). I had this new hope and identity but who could understand and relate to the things I was seeing and experiencing?

I struggled to find other Christian officers in law enforcement to follow, and when I searched for resources, I found very little. I had officers tell me, “I don’t know how anyone can be a police officer and be a Christian.” To which I replied, “I don’t know how anyone can be a police officer and not be a Christian.”

How do I balance and prioritize my life in this profession, when the pressures of the job are relentless? This was the defining moment, and as I prayed and asked the Lord for help, He began to open my eyes to see I was not alone. My mission had become clear, and a new burden began to grow (Galatians 2:20). I found rest, peace, joy, and purpose in my life again. 

My resolve to pursue the Lord changed how I related to those I served alongside, and it changed how I saw the community I was serving. I no longer desired promotions or career advancement opportunities, nor did I serve for awards, accolades, pay or benefits.

The Lord had changed my heart and given me a burden for something much greater: A burden to share the real hope which can only be found in Christ.

I began to see every 911 call as an opportunity to share hope with the community I was serving. I started to recognize that other first responders around the country were struggling in the same way. Feeling hopeless and alone. They didn’t know who to turn to. The Lord began to open opportunities for me to share hope with them.

Through this journey, God was growing me to step into His greater plan. He was sending me and my family into the first responder mission field.

First responders are mission driven. They serve selflessly and sacrificially. These qualities were attractive to me when I applied for the Seattle Police Department. But early in my career my mission was clearly defined in the job, and not in serving the Lord. Something was out of balance.

When my heart changed, my mission changed. I began to live Mission First for Christ.  When we live Mission First for His Kingdom, He can sustain us through the challenges of the profession. There is nothing in this world that can carry the weight of this career. If we attempt to put our trust and identity in anything other than Christ, it will fail us in the end.

When the Lord says, “Go,” are you willing to listen? The Lord had clearly opened doors and opportunities for us to encourage and unite isolated ministries around the country, bring awareness to the pressing officer wellness issues, challenge the chaplain status quo, walk alongside churches to better understand the culture, and disciple other first responders.

He had given our family a burden to love, support, and reach our nation’s first responders, and their families with hope in Christ. When the riots hit the Seattle Police Department in 2020, we understood our mission. When the City gave up the East Precinct, my former precinct, we understood our mission. When the vaccine was mandated as a condition of employment, we understood our mission and our family stepped out in faith to “go.”

All of this led us to move to Tennessee, and in 2023, we launched a national, nonprofit organization called Mission First Alliance.

There are around 4.6 million first responders serving our communities. How do we support them all? We realized we can’t do it alone.

We see ministries and chaplains working independently from each other. We see churches struggling to understand and connect with the culture. We see first responders and their families struggling to find any supportive resources. We need to come together as one and be unified in the effort. We need a gospel-focused first responder alliance.

Through Mission First Alliance, we are uniting and equipping all who have a heart for our nation’s first responders. They need hope, just as I needed hope. Together we can have a greater Kingdom impact. Now is the time to support them in this meaningful way. We invite you to join us!

If you feel alone, you are not alone.

Jeremy Wade
Jeremy Wade is the Executive Director of Mission First Alliance. He served for the Seattle Police Department for 13 years, but struggled with his identity in Christ vs his identity in the badge early in his career. After a few years on the department he fully surrendered his life to the Lord, which started an amazing journey that the Lord has been blessing along the way. While not free from challenges like the Seattle riots, and many critical incidents, Jeremy could see God’s hand in directing his paths. On the Seattle PD, Jeremy was awarded Officer of the Year, and Medal of Valor. He worked in patrol, in the training unit, as a peer support coordinator, and assisted in developing the department’s first wellness unit. He co-founded the SPD Beds for Kids Program with Ryan Gallagher, which continues on today. Jeremy also served as the executive director of the Seattle Police Chaplains Association and came alongside many other local and national first responder ministries. In 2021, Jeremy, his wife Ketryna, and four kids felt God calling them to move to Tennessee and step out in faith to do full-time ministry, supporting first responders nationwide. This led to serving as the Training & Development Coordinator for the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers- USA until God started directing his path and opening doors to start Mission First Alliance.

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