As a police wife for over 20 years, I've often commented that God made those who He chose to be the spouse of an officer, to be strong and independent. It seemed to be a necessary characteristic to thrive in the mess and mix of shifting schedules and middle of the night call outs. Missed holidays, empty chairs at dinner, lonely pew seats on a Sunday. Personally these weren't the challenging parts for me. But why were the kids only sick on his night shifts? Doctor appointments and dentist visits only seemed to be on the days he worked. The sink is leaking all over the kitchen and through to the level below - and I am home alone! These were the things where I needed to dig deep into my independence rather than pout that my Officer was working.
Recently, I heard a sermon based on Creation. Genesis 2:18-25. I've read the creation story many times, I've read it to my children, taught it to kids classes at church. But this time, the word Ezer stood out for me. Perhaps it was the first time I saw the foot notes. But it was this word that jumped out at me, and felt like the perfect word to describe the potential of police wife life.
The Hebrew word Ezer is found 21 times in the Old Testament. Depending on your upbringing, you may have been taught that the woman was created to be the helper, the helpmate, etc. The richness of meaning behind this word though does not just mean "helpmate" in terms of raising children, keeping house. No, Ezer is much richer than that. The word Ezer is the picture of armies fighting for Israel, the word Ezer is God as our helper. There's a military context when the word is describing God, He describes himself as Israel's Ezer in time of conflict. (Psalm 115:9, Exodus 18:4 are just two examples) This paints a picture of military battles, swords and shields. The meaning of Ezer describing Eve is not to be a subordinate to her husband, but to come along side and battle for him. To be a warrior for him.
So while needing to be the primary parent, and carrying the household load alone some days, that is not the strength God has called you to as a police wife. While your husband is out literally staring down the face of evil on his shift to protect and serve your community, God has created you to be your Officers Ezer. To battle the darkness on your knees, with your hands lifted high. Sometimes it means laying awake in the night, praying for his safety. It might mean praying for a hard call he's on, even while you are running children to appointments, or in the middle of your own work day. It means knowing who will go into the battle with you. Over the last number of years having a network of other police wives willing to battle in prayer with the quick drop of a text message brings the image of many woman warriors holding the line together to mind.
And then I would challenge the local church to be your officers Ezer. Reflect God's act as Ezer for Israel to the police in your community and your congregation. They are the physical representation of the front line in battle. They are the human form shielding and protecting us from acts of sin being carried out in our communities. Are you in battle for them? Be their Ezer.