My husband and I recently celebrated 20 years of being married. It was a sweet day, filled with little things that have become some of my favorite parts of marriage. Just a short 24 hours after that day, several life challenges came our way. It seemed like we could not catch a break. From car troubles to kid troubles, it seemed like the husband and I were at the end of a losing streak. It all came to a head last Saturday, when I could take no more. I searched for my two tiny places of solitude in the house to no avail. Both were taken over by children or laundry, and I was quickly losing it. Unfortunately for the rest of the clan, my need to control something in my life erupted. Being a godly husband, Brook quietly said that he knew I didn’t want a sermon, but that maybe I should pray about how I was feeling. I had already tried to do that, but there was just no quiet place in the house.

For the rest of the day and into the next, I allowed the enemy to stir up discord in my heart. He whisper-yelled that we would never make it through these struggles. And because my house had no quiet place to talk to God at the moment, I could continue making everyone as miserable as I was. How could I ever end up on the other side?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
— John 10:10–11

The thief was stealing what the good shepherd had so abundantly blessed in my life, my marriage, and I was letting it happen.

Ephesians 6:10–17 tells us to take up the whole armor of God. Each day we should carefully dress ourselves in this armor. We need to remember that Jesus is our truth. We must wear his righteousness as we walk around in our lives. The shoes of peace are an important item for worriers like me. Our shield of faith helps defend us against attacks from the enemy. The sword and the helmet are a must, because the Bible is full of reminders of our salvation.

Putting on armor takes time and requires help. I realize now that I had been forgetting to arm myself each day with the quiet study of God’s word and the much-needed time to talk to God through prayer. My soul thirsts for this special start to my day, and it was evident by the way I had reacted to struggles that just come along in life. Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” This verse reminds us that everyone will have times of trouble. This means that how we lean into the Lord in those times shows whose we are. Missing time with the Lord left me easy prey to the enemy. The NIV version of Proverbs 4:23 says it best: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Living life abundantly requires that we intentionally guard our hearts, don our armor, and pray. When we do this, the darkness cannot live in his light.