Right when we thought we could open up movie theaters and gyms, we took a few steps backwards and ended up stuck in Phase 2 in North Carolina, with a mandate to wear masks in public.
At work, I’m still seeing patients outdoors, either in their cars or on our front porch.
I drape the white gown over me, tying it at my neck and my waist.
I squeeze on gloves, which overlap the gown at my wrists.
I snugly fit the N95 mask over my face.
I lower the plastic shield onto my forehead, with just enough distance to cover my face over the N95.
Then comes the hair net and shoe covers.
I check my equipment.
Otoscope with ear piece. Check.
Notepad and pen for my nurse. Check.
Blood pressure cuff. Check.
Coronavirus test and swab. Double check.
I’m ready. I have my armor, my shield, and my weapon (the covid test).
I take a deep breath in and out, then walk outside in 95 degree summer weather towards the car with the sick patient.
I ignore my sweat mustache, the sweat burning my eyes, the heat around my body, the irritation of the elastic bands and ties around my body, and focus on the patient.
I take an in-depth history of what’s going on with them, perform a physical exam, perform the covid test, come up with a plan with the patient, then carry all of my equipment back inside.
Once inside, I place the test in the freezer and very carefully de-gown and place all of my armor in the biohazard container. Then I wash my hands up to my elbows and I wash my face too.
And sometimes, this occurs a dozen times a day.
When I become tired and frustrated from this process, I remind myself that my patient must feel more uncomfortable then me at this point and time. Then, I’m thankful that I’m the one testing instead of the one being tested.
I remind myself that I’m putting on full armor to protect myself from our current war with COVID19 and that I am at the front lines of this war for my patients.
These reminders then raise an internal strength and compassion within me, continuing forward for the good of my patients.
My pastor reminded me that we put on armor everyday. COVID19 isn’t the only war we’re facing right now.
My patients and I may be facing the COVID19 war but maybe our families are fighting a war on anxiety about our safety from day to day.
Maybe someone is fighting a financial war because they haven’t been to work since the pandemic started.
Maybe someone is fighting a marital war because of unmet expectations during quarantine.
Maybe someone is fighting a war on infertility, addiction, parenting, isolation, and/or depression.
We can wear physical armor to protect us but what about the internal wars that we can’t see, only feel?
The book of Ephesians answers this for us.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:14-16 NIV
Put on truth, readiness, faith, salvation, and the holy spirit.
In other words, take God’s word, strength, power, grace, and love and wear it like armor so that when your external and internal wars begin, you are covered from head to toe.
When I put on my gear, I’m putting on the truth of medicine, the readiness to help my patients, the faith that God will protect me and help me, the salvation of God that will save me from all infection, and the holy spirit to guide me with my decision making.
From head to toe, I am covered.
No matter how you feel at this very moment of reading this blog, I want you to literally stand up and imagine putting on armor, piece by piece. I want you to imagine that you’re facing your current war head on. But this time, your armor is anointed with God’s power. This time, your war will be won because the One who is with you already claimed the victory.
Right now, as a medical provider, my war is COVID19 and everyday, I pray for protection and for the ability to help my patients.
Right now, as a Christian, my war is the internal anxiety, stress, and exhaustion due to the pandemic. Everyday, I pray for rest at night so that I can be ready for tomorrow.
Put on your armor. Face your war. Hold the sword of the spirit in hand and in your heart. And let God give you victory.
Friends, I pray that you feel God’s power after reading this blog. I pray that you find confidence in knowing that God will fight your battles for you. And I pray that you feel strengthened and renewed when wearing the armor of God. Because, my friends, you are covered from head to toe by something mightier and holier than anything in this universe. You are covered by God, the almighty.