Katelyn Houser | Solid Rock

Katelyn Houser | Solid Rock

Armor of God

Hello from my friend, Morgan’s, sweet, new coffee shop called Living Beans in Hildebran, NC. Yes, you read that right! I’m back in NC for the majority of the summer. I had some pretty big things planned this month & next month that I had already committed to before having the opportunity to move to the DR last September. I really hate that I’m not there for the VBS teams because I live for VBS and even helped plan the themes & create the crafts. 

One of the VBS topics is the armor of God. This is something that I feel like we reference a lot, but for me at least, doesn’t get put into practice as often as I’d like. I am a person who thrives off of routine and a predictable schedule. With my guest house duties, I had gotten into a really good routine of intentionally spending time with the Lord every day whether it be 5-10 minutes or over an hour when we have teams. However, when we don’t have teams and every day looks different, I really struggle to be intentional with my time. Especially now with traveling home for a day, then to Spain for a week (I’ll tell you more about that later!), and now being back home, I’m very out of my routine and spending time with the Lord has been very lacking. 

One thing I have been loving for the past year is the Daily Grace Co. Podcast. It’s something I can listen to and reflect on while cleaning, prepping food or desserts, or doing different things around the guest house. It’s a great way to fill my mind with gospel-centered truths when I can’t sit down and study my bible. 

Recently I listened to episode 127, called You’re in a Battle: Engaging in Spiritual Warfare. While listening to this episode, I was really convicted about my apathy in my relationship with the Lord over the past couple of weeks. I have done a terrible job of remembering to put on the armor of God and preaching the gospel to myself regularly. However, it also reminded me of the grace of God & the power He has given to all who are in Him. 

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. When I think of spiritual warfare, I tend to think of big things such as fatal diagnoses or strife and division within the family. But we have to remind ourselves that the devil doesn’t take days off and he wages war in the mundane. He loves it when we feel comfortable and forget that we need saving. He loves it when we put our relationship with the Lord on the back burner because of busy schedules. He loves it when the noise of this world distracts us from seeking the Lord. This is exactly why we must intentionally put on the armor of God each and every day no matter what we’re feeling or what our schedule looks like. Because the devil is not waging war in only the big moments. 

For me, when I am not regularly spending time in the Word or not praying throughout the day, anxiety can quickly consume my mind or I can start to focus on the things of this world. Ephesians 6:10-20 reminds us that we are daily in a spiritual battle and that we must first be aware of it and then rely on the Lord’s strength to withstand it. We cannot wear the belt of truth if we don’t know the truth and we can’t know the truth apart from God’s Word. But if we immerse ourselves with the truth, we can easily discern the lies and twisted realities the devil tries to get us to believe. When we know the truth, we know what righteousness looks like. We know what aligns with the will of God and can pursue it. He has given us the strength and the freedom to pursue righteousness over anything we could be tempted by. I think it’s really interesting that the imagery of righteousness is a breastplate. Just as an actual breastplate protects a soldier’s heart, so the breastplate of righteousness protects a believer’s heart. When we pursue righteousness and holiness, our heart is protected from the emptiness that comes from pursuing worldly things. 

We are also called to be ready to share the gospel. This is another convicting one for me. We can’t be ready to share the gospel if we’re not preaching it to ourselves and allowing it to transform our daily lives. And that’s hard to do when you feel like it’s the most basic thing of your faith and you feel like you’ve graduated from that level. A few years ago, I did a study with a women’s group and we read the book “Because He Loves Me” by Elyse Fitzpatrick. It was such a good tool to help us meditate on the gospel no matter how long we’ve been a Christian, look for the gospel throughout the entire bible, preach it to ourselves daily, and to help us allow it to transform our lives in light of it. I’m actually about to start reading it again, so I’ll let you know how it goes! When it comes to actually sharing the gospel, I feel like it’s so easy to share it with people who are in bad situations, but it’s extremely difficult sometimes to share it with the people closest to us. People who see our not-so-good sides. So, I could definitely use some prayer in living out and explicitly sharing the gospel to the people who are closest to me that haven’t yet met Jesus. 

Next, we are to take up the shield of faith. We are to choose to trust in God’s Word and in His promises over what we think, want, or feel in the moment. We are to choose to remind ourselves of who God is and what He’s already done so that we can walk by faith and not by sight. Lastly, we are to wear the helmet of salvation, meditating on the fact that our salvation is secure and protecting our minds by taking every thought captive to His Word. 

I once read something that said, “You may be the only bible some people ever open.” It’s a great reminder that we are the ambassadors for Christ. We are called to represent Him in all that we say, think, do, and how we live our lives. However, the thought of possibly being the only bible some people ever read can be really daunting when we feel like the fate of others’ eternities rest on our shoulders. We can’t carry that weight by our own strength, nor does the Lord call us to. We’ll crumble quickly under that pressure. But He’s so gracious to give us His full armor and all we have to do is put it on. 

Now that I’ve shared what I’ve been learning and meditating on lately, I’ll give you some life updates! 

At the beginning of this month, the Buchers, Zimmermans, Kelsi, Sarah, and I went to a resort for the weekend in La Romana. This was my first resort experience & I loved relaxing by the pool & reading all day! It was so nice to take a break from our duties and be all together for one last hoorah!

During our 2 weeks without teams, we organized a few things around the guest house and planned as much as we could for the summer teams. Adia & Monchy hosted a dinner at their house to celebrate the Buchers. We had some really yummy sancocho and arepitas de yuca made by Santo’s sweet mom and many of our ministry assistants shared fond memories and their gratitude for all that the Buchers have done during their time in San Juan. 

When I left a week and a half ago, it was really weird to think that I was saying goodbye to the Buchers and won’t see them in person for a while. However, I am really excited to have them in this new role and I know they’ll do a great job! 

I came back to the states on the 15th and left for Spain on the 17th! When I was teaching, I had signed up for the opportunity to go to Spain for an educational tour with students. So, I went for 8 days with a group of 5 teachers from the county I used to work for and 31 students from 4 different schools! We toured Barcelona, Zaragoza, Madrid, and Toledo. It was SO GOOD to see some of my former students & get to experience Spain with them! It was also fun to get to know the students from the other schools! It was such a good group of kids who traveled extremely well. We ate lots of paella, gazpacho, jamón ibérico, and patatas bravas! Some of my favorite parts of the trip were touring the gothic quarter of Barcelona, taking a flamenco dance lesson in Madrid, touring the Prado museum in Madrid, and touring the medieval city of Toledo. It’s so surreal to be taken back in time through the architecture of these cities! I would really love to go back and spend a week (or ten) in Toledo! 

I’m thankful to be home for a few weeks and excited to spend lots of time with family and friends, but I am already really missing the DR. I just love life so much there and it has really started to feel like home. 

Prayer requests: 

  • Intentionality in spending time more regularly with the Lord & putting on the armor of God
  • Continued spiritual growth 
  • Fulfilling time with family and friends 
  • Peace in the Buchers’ transition 
  • Strength for Kelsi, Sarah, and Riley as they cover my duties along with their own until I’m back
  • Open hearts of those that are being served this summer & that lives would be changed
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