As we were driving down to Indianapolis today, the kids were all sleeping (they were exhausted - it has been a both busy and fun, but wild and crazy week), Tim was listening to his Ipod and I was spending some time just thinking and reflecting on the so much that has happened in the last week... and this year of home assignment. We have been totally overwhelmed by God's provision and by the love He has manifested on us through His people. This year, the Lord has truly knit our hearts together with some amazing friends, blessed us with time with our incredible families and refreshed and encouraged our hearts as we've participated in and enjoyed the ministries of over 30 different churches. As I was thinking on all these things, the Lord brought to mind two passages: one I hadn't thought about for quite awhile... maybe a few years; the other is one I return to often, but I'd certainly never connected the two before.
And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, "Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few." And his armourbearer said unto him, "Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart." ~1 Sam 14: 6-7
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God...Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints... to make known the mystery of the gospel... ~Eph 6: 10, 11a, 13-18, 19b
The function of a biblical armor bearer was to assist, even to the point of carrying the shield and other implements of war right into battle, right into the fray, with the warrior they were serving. It is those who are supporting our family with their love, their prayers, their sacrificial giving in time and in financial support... it is those folks we think of as our armor bearers and we couldn't be in Niger without them. We also strive to be armor bearers for them, in the battles they face and fight, continually lifting them before the throne of the Most High, trying to encourage with our lives, with our words, with our own sacrificial giving in time and in finances... all for the ultimate goal of glorifying the Lord in making known the mystery of the gospel.
#280 amazing armor bearers who haven't hesitated to enter right into the battle with us
#281 friends who love my family as though they were their own
#282 special times with family this past week, climbing sand dunes in Michigan before we head back to the desert (we appreciated the irony in that one)
#283 a rained out baseball game that turned into a birthday celebration
#284 laughter while canoeing down a river
#285 mischevious cousins
#286 a black cat named Victor, loved and adored by our little one
#285 safety as we traveled many, many miles
#286 text messages and fb chats that help us and our kids feel not so far away
#287 sunshine while we traveled with most of our luggage in the back of a pickup
#288 parents who are willing to let their children go... who sacrifice to make sure that we can
#289 grandparents who are willing, even though it breaks their hearts, to see their grandbabies go