CHAPTER Thirteen:

Armor

We put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shoes of the gospel of peace. We take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit.  We are fully strengthened and fully alive.

And once we’ve dived into this great wonder of marriage and covenant, beginning the beauty of art and vulnerability and of support and honor in one another, becoming aligned personally and within our families, our collective calling starts to make much more sense.  It becomes more than just about our own lives because there is now more room for new life.

And new life can look like more children or jobs or ministry, it can look like simple peace or moving or buying new land, and it can look like surprises and plans that God had for us that we didn’t even know about. There’s so much we don’t know we’re preparing for that we’re actually preparing for.  He’s a good Father, and He’s always looking ahead of us and guiding us instead of us lacking anything.  He is the Good Shepherd.  His ways are always perfect.

And in this place of peace and alignment, He’s also preparing us for war because though the inside of our house might be calm for the moment, the outside world is not.  Instead we live in a continual place of peace and war, and also war and peace which means that our covenant must always grow instead of stay stagnant or idle.  We can’t stay idle because there is too much at stake and too much to care about.  If we already have kids, it’s embracing those kids and continually helping them grow into these new places of development and full life.  If it’s starting a family, then it’s the topsy-turvy curve that it takes to begin the new journey of what might feel like upside-down living.  

And that’s why we need armor.  Armor in the sense that we need to protect these areas that we have stewarded in our hearts and in our growth.  We need to know that the outside world is not naïve and that what we work for is valuable, and value needs boundaries.  It also needs room for solitude and prayer, for the space of holiness to stay holy. It needs the full aspect of healing and reconciliation to have run its course so that as we go out into the world, we are filled up and covered and not put into a place of defeat.

Because even in the exchange of marriage with one another, we are still reconciling and healing and bringing areas of our lives to fullness. There is rest and grace and work in each place.  When we carry another person with us, we can’t go rushing around to the next stop without finishing the work of presence.  If we do, we lose part of the blessing.  We lose part of the favor.

But when that presence has made its way fully into our being like a big meal satisfying our hunger, we then get prepared.  Almost like a cup of coffee after a meal, this place of armor is like picking up our self to carry on.

Rest and alignment is good for healing and satisfaction, and then movement is needed for completion.  The armor protects us and gives us sturdiness in the battles to come. As we go into the next level of the good fight, we are prepared.  And in that preparation, we can go to war from a still spirit and not a hasty one. We can have full confidence in every step we take and in every form of our story that God presents us to walk in. Because there is a lost world waiting for answers, for helpers, and for guidance.  There is a lot of work to do, a lot of people to help, and a lot to partner with God in to make this earth a better place.

There is beauty in the gospel being shown through this communion with God.  He can now make Himself manifest through us as the work of the Trinity is divinely orchestrating our lives.  He is three-in-one, the complexity of full communion and also diversity.  He can fully be our Father, heal us with His son, and helps us share His Spirit.  Because community within this context is the richest we desire; it’s the wholeness we crave, and it’s the design in which we were created.  When we start to know each of these three parts with new fervor and grace, we then are positioned to interlink with others who are doing the same. It’s difficult to go to war alone, though at times we are called to.  It’s a lot easier when multiple people have on their armor and their communion, locking arms to move forward in grace and in wholeness.  It’s easier when each of us has picked up this prophetic mantle of our calling to reconcile with God, ourselves, and then others.  We speak in order to be heard at times, yes. There is deep value in that.  The world is a place in need of correction and also of grace.  Jesus came not to be of the world but to save it. Speaking out is a great necessity and is of utmost importance; the prophets of the Old and New Testament did this.  They warned, they encouraged, and they set forth the standards that God calls society to. The Proverbs 31 woman also does this but first in her personal life and then for her community.  She does this in reconciliation of herself, binding up the lost and broken parts, asking God to help her create a life for herself, one that brings good and not harm.  She is putting on armor that perhaps wasn’t available to her before or also possibly what needed a lift in her community.  She then gives that with generosity and grace, keeping her family safe while also making it known who her husband is.  He is respected at the city gate, full of leadership and the ability to govern.  This is armor.

And then the Shulammite takes it a step further when she’s looking for her lover.  She’s now adding the armor of intimacy and the union in marriage.  She’s adding the divine gift of sex with the art of romance and surrender.  The myrrh is dripping from his head as a testament to the fact that he has laid down his life and in surrendering that, he receives the full gift that is woman. She is more armor.

And from this place, we start to understand this greater gift of authority in the communion of God, how He is three distinct entities of shepherd, and savior, and mystery.  It’s a sacred work and a divine level of understanding His good gifts to us.  He has fullness inside Him because He enjoys and created communion.  He has covering and leadership, He has healing and humility, and He has counsel and joy all within Himself.  This is His gift of intimacy to us.  

The practical and intimate work of marriage helps us get there; it’s safe space teaches us the boundaries needed to experience this fully. And as we grow our families, we teach these same principles to our children so that we live lives of quality over quantity.  Who is stronger? The minimalist with God and some creative expression or the hoarder riddled with fear, clutter, and chaos? 

This is where the rubber meets the road. What is it that we want to do with this gift that God has given us as women? Where do we want to spend this type of anointing? It is precious and extremely worthy of high calling and esteem. Being a wife and a mother is a sacred honor, working with the depths of the identities of our family members.  We give first to our husbands and children; we protect these spaces of intimacy and honor.

The world has placed an upside down mentality of giving out what we don’t have.  We’ve placed an emphasis on getting acceptance from others in order to fuel a machine of performance and illegitimate behavior.  Let’s not sell ourselves short; let’s live lives worthy of the callings we’ve received.  He’s given us everything we need to be godly, and He’s done it for free! It doesn’t require permission or a hefty job title, it doesn’t require stardom and big influence, and it doesn’t require a degree or a plan.  Those can support the message, yes.  They can propel this initial type of favor, but they cannot provide us this type of favor.  Only those who can lay their lives down, protect the innate gifts of the people they are responsible to, who can grasp the beauty of God’s presence before they are advantaged by His hand understand that this is where the armor is strengthened. No one wants to be sent into war with a shield made of Coke cans; it cannot hold up.  We need the sturdy and devoted work of the master craftsman, one who has the skills and the anointing to create what is needed for the hour.

And so in this place of more surrender also comes more armor.  As we give ourselves the gift of time, we also give ourselves the gift of strength.  We put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shoes of the gospel of peace.  We take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. We are fully strengthened and fully alive.

It’s been interesting to me the times I thought I was ready for something but God simply asked me to wait longer.  And it was in those times of waiting longer, that He gave me His strength in a new measure.  I don’t know if the work in me wasn’t as complete as I thought it was or if I simply just got an extra dose of His grace to carry me through, but the time I spent putting on my battle attire seemed to make all the difference to me.  Not only in my physical strength but also in my attitude.  I hate being rushed; when I get rushed, I also get overwhelmed. And when I’m overwhelmed, I either shutdown or explode. It often feels quite opposite of twirling and instead like curling up on the couch or also like a war dance in all the wrong places.

It’s not the life I’m called to live.  He’s given me grace to be more covered than that.  And so especially since motherhood, I’ve decided that I need that extra space to be strengthened and revived day in and day out. Motherhood is a battle; it is the front lines of fighting for your family. Being a wife requires strengthening and armor.  It’s a lot to give yourself away daily while also staying true to who you are daily.  Putting on our armor makes us remember ourselves, too. We are not just wife and mom, but we also have a name and a destiny and a design independent but interlocked with those in our tribe.  It’s what makes life beautiful, the delicate balance of laying down our life to receive the full reward.  It’s the laying down of our subtle dreams in order to receive the abundance of fulfilling them with our people instead of leaving them on the sidelines.

We don’t lose ourselves here, we gain ourselves fully. We become prepared, anointed, full of faith and full of restful strength.  We decide that life is worth living, all of it, and in the embrace of all that is present before us, we can look ahead and have hope for the future. He is good, and He calls us forward to completion.  Run your race with vigor.  Give it all you’ve got.  Be reconciled to God and reconciled to yourself, loving both the vulnerable and deep-rooted places in your spirit, soul, and body.  Be filled with the Spirit and allow His grace the space to fill you to overflowing. 

It’s the armor He graciously gave us in His death and in His rising.  Every day is a new battle; we get to go in fully alive or barely breathing.  Let’s clear a pathway so that our sound is pure when released, and our voices are riddled with truth and grace.  Let’s be dressed with dignity and honor, laughing at the future and full of strength.

Twirling Tips for Chapter 13:

Put on your armor daily! Pray during your morning routine.

What are your most valuable responsibilities in this season?

What are your most valuable resources to share in this season?

A Prayer:

God, thank you for your gift of the Armor of God. We put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shoes of the gospel of peace. We take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit.  Thank you for the fullness of the Trinity; your gift of community to us every day. Thank you that you prepare us for peace and also for war. Amen.

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