Facebook loves to remind us of the past. My time hops often put a big grin on my face, for one reason or another. At times it is because the picture is of one of my children from years ago. When they were both still chubby cheeked and little tots.
Other times, the photos are of Adam and me, from our early days of dating. Those pictures make me smile too. I think back on how excited we both were as we dreamed of what life could become together. I smile even bigger when I realize our life now far exceeds every expectation we ever had!
The other day though, the reminder was more surreal then most. It was 14 years ago that I graduated from the Police Academy.
I can remember being in high school and determining that the best way to positively impact this world was to be a police officer. At that time, I was certain that I could be a light in the darkness and bring my energy and determination to each call for service. I carefully curated my life around that goal.
For starters, I attended college for Criminal Justice at Radford University. While there, I interned for an elite unit of the FBI (the “profiling unit”) and became even more enamored with the idea of a life long career in law enforcement. I also volunteered with the Women’s Resource Center; determined to advocate for other women.
I graduated from college and immediately started police academy. When I successfully graduated – after passing Defensive Tactics, firearms training, getting pepper sprayed, learning about laws and codes, and so many more grueling challenges – I went to work for a local police department. After field training, I landed on midnight shift.
It was while our daughter, Harper, was growing and preparing for her earthly debut that I realized I had a seismic heart shift and wanted a different career direction. I knew it was right but it was also terrifying. The career I had hoped and dreamed for was within my grasp and I had to release it.
In those early days I never imagined I’d find career satisfaction again. I had an incredibly narrow view of who I was and what I was capable of. I released law enforcement out of necessity and conviction but not without serious doubts and fears. Fast forward 14 years later and I have found a vibrancy within my work that is satisfying and meaningful in ways I could never have imagined. I have learned there are many ways you can positively (and creatively!) impact the world.
There is no way that 14 years ago, as a rookie Police Academy graduate, I would have known that marketing and communications could be a vehicle for impact. Or, that I would enter into entrepreneurship and experience the thrill of creating jobs, helping local businesses, and learning along the way. No way I could have anticipated working for an international non-profit that is fighting trafficking and advocating for women each and every day. I absolutely would not have seen myself as a regular on the news, sharing encouragement and inspiration with the community.
But God knew and He saw. After all, He made me and knows all the nooks and crannies of who I am. While I may limit my self-belief and expectations, He is boundless.
Don’t hold so tightly to your “today” that you fail to realize your “tomorrows” could be full of unanticipated wonder and possibilities. As my dad loves to say, “you are not who you will one day be.”
I hope you’ll lean into a faith-vision that confidently trusts that your future is full of purpose and plans – even if you can’t see them coming. Choosing that perspective is full of wonder and the air hangs with excitement. It holds space for all that God may be doing now, to prepare you for what is to come. I love that in His infinite creativity nothing is wasted and nothing is lost.
I wonder what the next 14 years will hold. When I get that Facebook Time Hop reminder of today, what smile will stretch across my face? How will the reminder provide perspective about the way God provided? What new places will He take me to, that I didn’t even know existed?
I will choose to always believe that He has big beautiful plans for purpose, a hope, and a future. I hope you’ll believe the same.