By Shauna Worley
When I think of living boldly for God and equipping myself and other women to do so, Paul's teaching in Ephesians about putting on the armor of God comes to mind. Paul uses a Roman soldier to paint a picture of what the armor would entail and how it would protect the areas of the body that the enemy might attack. I don't know about you, but I have never seen a Roman soldier, so the Lord painted a picture I could better understand.
At our house we love football. While our kids were in high school if the Friday night lights were on, we were there; however, as much as we love football, there is one ball field that we have invested even more time in – the softball field. Our daughter played softball from the time she was a little girl through college, and for most of those years, she played catcher. One season, the pitcher on her team broke her arm. Since they did not have a backup, the coach asked if anyone would be willing to step up and pitch so we could finish the season; otherwise, we would be forced to forfeit. My daughter offered to pitch, and why not? She had taken one pitching lesson five years prior, so this made perfect sense, right?
I was proud of her; she took this seriously. Every night, she and her dad would practice pitching in the backyard. He was her catcher. One evening, she wanted to practice before her game, and her dad was not home from work. She asked if I would mind being her catcher. Let me fill you in as to my role in her playing sports. I ensured that uniforms were clean, that she got to and from practice, and that I was her biggest fan. I do not play catch of any sort with her. Mainly because when she was ten years old, I attempted and was told by her that " I catch and throw like a girl." Even if you are a girl, this is not a compliment. You can imagine my surprise when she asked for my help that evening.
I said, "Just wait for your dad to get home."
She replied, "We won't have enough time.”
I asked, "Where is your catcher’s gear?"
She replied, "In Dad’s truck.”
I said, "Do you at least have your face mask?"
She said, "No, Dad never uses one."
I told her this was a bad idea, but she assured me that everything would be fine. Reluctantly, I headed to the backyard. She had set a bucket in front of the shed, told me to sit down, and handed me her dad’s glove. She started by standing in front of me and lightly tossing the ball to warm up her wrist. She stepped back and began moving her arm when she tossed the ball. She backed up a little further and was now winding up her arm. I began to think, what was I so afraid of? This is not hard. I am doing a great job. I don't need catcher’s gear.
She stood beside me and asked, "Are you ready?"
I thought to myself, " Of course I am; I’ve already mastered this. I got this!" She counted her steps until she was the distance of a pitcher to a catcher on the ballfield, grabbed a ball from the bucket, wound her arm, and pitched the ball. I saw my life flash before my eyes as I screamed and ducked my head into my lap.
She started laughing and said, "Mom, you have to catch the ball."
I said, "Okay, throw another one."
I stuck my glove out and turned my head in the other direction.
She said, "You can't catch the ball if you’re not looking at it."
So, I sat down, held my glove out, and put my other hand over my mouth. I must protect my teeth! She threw the ball, and once again, I screamed and ducked. She realized I was afraid and thought it was funny.
She began to pick up softballs from the bucket. One after the next, she tossed them at me and said, "Catch the ball, Mom,” “Come on, Mom, catch the ball."
I was sitting on the bucket, ducking and yelling, "Stop! Stop!"
I finally got angry, stood up, threw down my glove, and yelled, "I SAID STOP!"
I walked into the house and told her not to ask for my help again. She laughed and apologized as I shut the door behind me.
When I think back on this situation, I realize that if I’d had catcher gear on, there would not have been a reason to be afraid. If she had hit me with the ball, I would not have been hurt.
The same can be said of the armor of God. We have no reason to fear the enemy when we wear the armor daily. We are protected from whatever he may throw our way. Remember, the armor does not mean you will not be attacked; it means you will be protected.
When you think of catcher gear, you will notice nothing protecting you from behind. This is because we are not meant to run; we are meant to stay and fight for truth, and the only weapon we need is the Word of God. But how can you defeat the enemy if you are not in the Word daily?
If you do not desire the presence of God, how can you hear his voice? How will you know when he is warning you of danger?
That evening, I knew catching without the proper gear was a bad idea. I allowed myself to be talked into a situation I was unprepared for. Momentarily, I convinced myself that I did not need gear for protection when she was pitching full speed because I successfully caught while she warmed up. I had grown confident in my ability and realized how terrifying it is to be caught in battle without my armor.
How often do we find ourselves in that same situation in our daily lives? We have managed on our own, in small situations, and have been successful, then a more significant issue arises, and we find ourselves fighting the enemy without our armor on.
How do we avoid this? We must start each day in the Word. Make time for prayer; that way, we recognize the Lord’s voice when he is warning us of danger.
In Ephesians 6:13, Paul tells us, "Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground."
I don’t know too many people with a daughter as ornery as mine, and while her intention was not malicious, I cannot say the same for the devil. He comes to kill, steal, and destroy, and if we are not prepared, if we have not taken the time to sharpen our sword if we have not put on the whole armor of God, we will not be able to withstand his schemes. Take time today to get in his Word, so you can and will stand firm when the time comes.
Shauna Worley is the general manager assistant at Walmart Distribution Center in Ochelata, Oklahoma, where she has been employed for eighteen years. She has been married to her husband, Sean, for 29 years, and they have two children together. She and her family have made their home in Skiatook, Oklahoma. Shauna and her husband attend church at Osage Oaks Church of God, where she is the Associate Pastor and leads the women’s ministry.