Friday, March 8, 2019

The Caregiver's Armor

This morning I was reading in Ephesians 6 about the armor of God. In verse 11, Paul tells the believers to put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm. As I read through his brief descriptions of the armor and the benefits, I thought how applicable it is to us as believers and caregivers. I think it's safe to say we live in the thick of the battle - furnace walkers. The fire is always reaching toward us. Every day can be a battle. Sometimes, every second of the day is spent trying to catch our breath. Breathe.

As I read over the familiar pieces I realized how relevant each piece is to our struggles. Also, at the front of my mind was the truth that we are not disqualified from wearing the armor just because we are caregivers. As a matter of truth, we were not stripped of any of our promises when caregiving came along. We are still just as much of a believer and still covered by His righteousness and filled up with Him as we ever were. Actually, sometimes we press into Him more because of the difficult circumstances and became stronger in the faith. So let's look at the armor from a caregiver's perspective.

Put on the belt of truth. Lies can dig away at our sanity day after day. Lies I hear a lot include that I'm not "worth" the effort or that I have no value to offer relationships. I don't deserve friends. The truth of God's word tells me that I am deeply loved by my Father. As a caregiver, I didn't "give up" my spot in the family of God. I still matter. I am still loved and I still need Him!

Put on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate protects our heart. We are covered by His righteousness. Caregivers and non-caregivers can never be righteous on our own - we need Him to cover us. We did not become un-righteous when we became caregivers. His righteousness still keeps our heart right before Him and allows us to present ourselves before Him holy and complete. I'm thankful for that.

Put on the shoes of the gospel. Shoes protect our feet and allow us to go many more miles. We still have opportunities to share the good news with others. I have a constant flow of medical professionals and health care workers through my home. I can say there have been numerous discussions about the good news - God is still faithful. He is still near. Let's keep the "good news" on our feet to protect our daily walk by reminding ourselves and others of His constant pursuit of us!

Carry the shield of faith. I have said many times my faith has been redefined by caregiving. Here, Paul points out that it's the shield of faith that stops or quenches the fiery darts aimed by the enemy. Our enemy really hopes to get us to stop believing. But wouldn't that be a dumb thing to do now? Faith protects us in the trial - it doesn't prevent the darts from being shot - but it protects them from damaging us.

Put on the helmet of salvation. I am so thankful my salvation is not impacted by life's trials. When we are saved - it's a done deal. The fiery darts of the enemy cannot touch it. The trials and struggles we face each day cannot weaken it or separate us from Him. We must protect our heads and thoughts with the truth that our salvation is untouchable.

Take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The word of God should be in our hearts, minds, and hands constantly. When we start to consider the lies of the enemy - it's like we lay down the sword of the word and pick up his words. We must keep the word in our hands - it's our weapon and method of navigating through life's difficult circumstances.

Today, I'm going to think about the pieces of God's armor. It's what He has provided to protect our hearts, heads, hands, feet, and loins. My meditation will be on how He has protected me well. My job is to put it on and keep it on. I'll turn my thoughts to what a wonderful spiritual provider He is! I'll be thankful He doesn't change due to my circumstances. And I'll trust Him for this one more day. Will you join me?

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