Ketryna’s Story: Face-to-Face with My Fear

Ketryna’s Story: Face-to-Face with My Fear

From our Spouses Perspective Series

When Jeremy came to me and asked, “What do you think if I pursue a career in Law Enforcement?” My immediate response was “Absolutely!” It wasn’t difficult to see myself as the spouse of a first responder since I had grown up in a first responder family. My father was a firefighter, my mother was a 911 dispatcher and my uncle was also in law enforcement. So saying “yes” seemed like an easy decision. But little did I know, the Lord would begin to do a work in my heart that would forever change my understanding of identity and trust. A work that would ultimately draw me closer to “Him who is able to do far more than we can imagine.” 

After months of filling out paperwork, interviews, background checks, and polygraph exams, we finally received the notification, “Congratulations! You have been accepted and are scheduled to start the State Police Academy.”

My excitement for this good news was met with both joy and fear. Jeremy’s career in Law enforcement was about to begin. This offer of employment by the Seattle Police Department was going to bring a whole new set of struggles. We were drowning in debt, we only had one car, and I had left my previous employment with my due date fast approaching. In fact, our second child was born just one week before Jeremy headed off to the academy with our only vehicle. Would God be trustworthy as we began this journey?

With Academy training underway, I was left at home with our brand-new baby, a toddler, and no way to leave the house. We were fortunate to see Jeremy every night, but he was exhausted and didn’t have much to give the family. His evenings were filled with studying and sleeping. It would have been easy to be frustrated, but the excitement of being part of the “blue family” kept me going.

Jeremy graduated top of his class and was now sworn in as a Seattle Police Officer. Early in his Field training, we were met with the realities of a dangerous career in law enforcement. Jeremy began to respond to SWAT call-outs and bank robberies which led to shootouts. I would sit at home and watch the aerial shots of the news’s helicopters showing live footage of the active scenes. Jeremy would call and say “I’m here, I’m safe, but I’ll call later when I can. It will be hours, though, so don’t wait up for me.” These calls left me filled with both anxiety and pride. That was my officer catching the bad guys, but that was also my officer putting his life on the line to protect people he didn’t even know. I was so proud of him. So proud of his hard work.

Real danger, real fear.

There was one call that would forever change me and leave me asking a critical question. “Where am I putting my identity as the spouse of a law enforcement officer?” This call changed the Seattle Police Department and left a hole in all our hearts. The ambush and murder of Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton, shot and killed in the line of duty on Halloween night. Timothy and Jeremy patrolled the same beat in Seattle’s East Precinct. Timothy, the night shift, Jeremy, the morning shift. This easily could have been Jeremy. Hours separated them. It was like a gut punch that had me asking the Lord, “What if it had been Jeremy, what if he had been the one killed in the line of duty?” 

Shortly after Timothy was killed, 4 Lakewood officers were gunned down in a local coffee shop. All 4 murdered while enjoying their morning coffee. Then another Pierce County deputy was wounded and flown to Seattle’s major trauma center in the East Precinct. Jeremy stood on hospital guard for this officer for days until he finally succumbed to his injuries and died. 6 officers dead, all within months of each other. 6 families are forever changed, and our blue family is mourning.

When I said “yes” to Jeremy pursuing a career in Law Enforcement, I didn’t really mean “yes” to all of this. How was I supposed to support my officer when I was walking in fear of losing him? Did I really trust the Lord with his life? Did I really trust the Lord with his career?

If the Lord requires my officer to put their identity in Christ, what does He ask of me?

I called my aunt, who was married to an officer and asked her a critical question. “How do I walk this road as an LEO spouse and trust in God’s plans for our lives all at the same time.” Her answer would leave a lasting imprint on my heart. She said, “Ketryna, your identity has to be in Christ above all else.” She was absolutely right! I couldn’t walk this road if I didn’t put my trust in a God who was sovereign over it all, including my husband’s life and career.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

This truth from Proverbs allowed me to walk in confidence. It has given me the ability to support Jeremy in good times and difficult times. It was calling me to step into a deeper relationship with my sovereign Lord. And it had me asking, “where was my identity?” I couldn’t change the calls Jeremy went on. I couldn’t show up on scene when the call was all over the local news. But I could pray and I could trust.

The more I trusted Christ, the more peace I experienced – the kind of peace that surpasses all understanding. This trust and peace would come into play over and over again as Jeremy advanced in his career. God’s hand was in everything we did, including stepping out in faith and going into full-time ministry to bring the hope of Christ to our Nation’s first responders. We want all our first responders and their families to walk in the peace that can only come when they put their identities in Christ.

So my challenge to you: no matter where you are in life, is to put your identity and trust in the One who is above it all?