I love to hike and worship God on the trails in Ventura. On one of my hikes, with my earbuds in, I couldn’t resist singing out loud to one of my favorite worship songs. I should mention I wasn’t blessed with a great singing voice. With my fists pumping overhead and hiking up the trail, I rounded the corner to find two women smiling and giggling at my private worship concert. I had a good laugh too.
“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving” (Ps. 28:7, NLT)
This passage means a lot to me. God loves me and protects me, as a shield, causing my heart to overflow bursting with love and joy for Him and others. I can’t hold it in – I live to share the love of Christ with everyone. With the Lord as my shield, I am safe to pursue His will for me, trust Him, and accept the invitation to His adventures.
I picture this shield as a huge steel ornate six foot tall shield, not a wimpy small hand held one. It is impenetrable, the armor of God, on all levels; physical, emotional, and spiritual. On one of God’s adventures, He asked me to care for my favorite great aunt, my second mom, while she was on her way to Him. My husband and I had been inviting my aunt to live with us and she finally accepted after 5 years, now at 85 years old. She moved in on St. Patrick’s Day and we celebrated with a big corned beef dinner. The next morning she wasn’t feeling well; I was hoping it wasn’t my cooking. My husband took her to the ER and they did a scan that revealed bone cancer in her from head to toe. They released her home to us on hospice. Our journey of caring for her began and boy did I need that shield! My aunt believed in Jesus with all her heart, which made this a heavenly experience. Jesus brought her home to heaven thirty days from diagnosis. During that time we sang at the top of our lungs, prayed, played games and watched “her boys,” the Los Angeles Dodgers. During her last 24 hours, with her eyes closed, she called out to go home. In the stillness of the night she went to Heaven and there was no doubt Jesus was in the room, His shield all around us.
This experience was one of my greatest losses, but also one of my greatest joys. My Aunt Jean was an angel on earth for me and I thank God for giving me the gift of the ability to care for her. I could never have done this without Him, “my strength and my shield.”
Prayer – Lord Jesus, surround us as a shield and protect and guide through everything you have for us. Strengthen us and fill us with joy for all the people we meet and adventures you call us to. We trust in You. In Jesus’ Name Amen.
Emily Stevens is a wife to Craig and mother of two amazing teens. She is a high school teacher. She loves to camp with her family, read, worship, and be active. Emily and Craig serve on the greeting team at the Ventura Campus.
Emily Stevens (pictured above right with her aunt and sister) is a wife to Craig and mother of two amazing teens. She is a high school teacher. She loves to camp with her family, read, worship, and be active. Emily and Craig serve on the greeting team at the Ventura Campus.