By Nadelle Manners

Hi My name is Ellyse and I’m in the army – can you believe it? I already have an amazing belt of truth and today I get another piece of armour – a breastplate – to protect my heart!

The day started out sunny and not just because the sun was shining, it was sunny because today I get to do art for a whole afternoon at school. I love art! My heart soared as I button a crispy clean art smock over the top of my school uniform, not a paint smudge in sight. “Painting here we coming” I sing as I watch Grace also topping her uniform with a paint shirt.


Our class had been working on Paper Mache birds for weeks. Gluing and sticking, gluing and sticking tonnes of paper to a balloon to make the bird shape and now we’re at the exciting bit where we get to paint our birds. Mine is going to be bright happy colours that reminded me of the colours the Commander chose for my duty gear. I have been dreaming of how my bird would look since the day we started this art project.

The newspaper sheets covered our desks to catch any drips. My shiny white paint tray is empty; the paint brush fluffy and soft ready to be loaded with sunshine yellow. Our teacher, Mrs Thompson announced, “You may start painting!”, and with that there was lots of happy chatter as we all started to paint. It wasn’t long however before I needed to top up my paint tray with more colours. Then I saw Jack again for the fourth time today.

Jack had been frustrating me all day. First he stuck his foot out and tripped me in PE. Then at lunch, he launched his uneaten crust and it landed on my head. At the beginning of Art class, he “accidentally” on purpose splotched a glob of bright blue paint on the front of my paint smock and now I sport a purple tag on my back. What started out to be a wonderfully sunny day was quickly turning dark and stormy….well the inside of me was starting to feel this way.

“Jack is soooooooo mean! He always does things to annoy me. What should I do to get him back?” As soon as these words pop into my head, Grace could see that I was starting to get mad. I was slapping the paint on to my bird without really thinking about what I was doing. “Just remember what the Commander’s assistant told you as he helped you put your Breastplate on” she whispers. It took a while for her words to sink in to my brain. My feelings really had got the better of me.

“Don’t forget that the Prince of Darkness loves to meddle with our feelings, it is one of his favourite tactical assaults” I remembered him saying. That’s right, now I recall, the Prince of Darkness loves sucking truth from our heart and filling it with his own bad ideas. I remember more of the assistant’s words, “Be careful to ensure that you properly secure your Breastplate to ward off his attack. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).”

With the help of my cousin Grace, I am reminded of my choice to be a Princess Warrior for the Ultimate Commander. Just as the art smock stopped Jack’s paint blows from staining my school uniform and my skin, the Commander’s Breastplate stops the Prince of Darkness getting the better of my heart’s feelings when I am under attack.

I am so grateful that I hadn’t got to the point of saying or doing anything nasty back to Jack. I love having the backup of another Princess Warrior. I have definitely learned my lesson. From now on I will choose to tightly secure the Breastplate given to me by the Commander for my protection  And with all that, my papier Mache bird seems to have taken on a shimmery glow and I don’t think that is from the school paints!


“Eew! What is that?” I shrieked as a shudder coursed through my body. I am definitely not good with insects at the best of times, particularly spiders, but these little creepy-crawlies I had not seen before.

I watched with horror as tiny little crawling insects that look a little like worms with legs climbed up the side of the school steps Grace & I were sitting.


 All we were doing was sitting eating our lunch left overs, minding our own business and waiting for our mums to pick us up. The last thing I wanted was to be close to are strange icky little crawling pests.

I sprang to a crouch, grabbed a stick lying under the bushes near me and tried to push these icky little things away from me. “What are you doing, silly?” Grace said, laughing at my actions. As soon as the creepy crawlies sensed the looming danger of my stick, they curled into little spirals.

This of course made it harder to flick them out of the way. I was grossed out but these weird scaly armoured critters. “What are they exactly?” I asked, keeping my eyes on the little spirals, just in case they made a mad dash for my toes. As usual, Grace seemed unfazed by the whole scene. “Millipedes” she casually explained.
“Millipedes! What on earth are they?” I asked.

“Well” Grace said, ”I learned about these cool little critters in science last year. They are quite amazing really. They wear their skeletons on the outside of their body, a little bit like armour. This is called an exoskeleton and they aren’t insects at all, they are actually diplopods because they have 2 pairs of legs for each body segment. It is part of the arthropod family and…..”

“Will you stop with the science lesson Grace and help me get these things away from me!” I said as I inched closer to Grace. It was then that our mums turned up and I was able to make a quick getaway.

While doing the dishes with mum later that evening, I shared about the not so very cute millipedes. Mum laughed at my antics of the afternoon and suggested that we should do some research about these little things after our jobs were done.

After doing quite a bit of investigation, these creatures still grossed me out a little bit but I did start to think that they were quite cool. You see, a millipede’s back is made up of hard plates that overlap each other and curve much of the way around its body. This protects is its soft underside. And because they can’t move very fast….(yes it was at that point that I did feel a little bit silly about my antics on the steps that afternoon) they really weren’t going to scurry up my legs at all. Instead, they are protected from predators (that sometimes comes in the form of me, Ellyse), by coiling their bodies into tight spirals.

It was at that point that I remembered the bible study text from our family worship the night before, “In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil”, Ephesians 6:16. I got it, God gave millipedes an inbuilt shield of protection and by putting my faith in Jesus, He gives me a special shield protection too. By Jesus covering all of me and the fiery arrows (the bad stuff) that the Prince of Darkness throw my way bounces of my Jesus shield. I may still feel the Prince of Darkness as he tries to get at me however, I don’t have to be afraid because God, my shield is the first line of defence. He is the power that saves me and puts me in a place of safety (2 Samuel 22:3). All I have to do is hold up my shield and let all see that I am a Jesus girl.

Next time I come across millipedes, I won’t be reaching for the closest stick, I will just let them be and instead I will be reminded that all this Warrior Princess needs to do is look to Jesus for protection every day.


Shoes, shoes, glorious shoes. What girl doesn’t love shoes!

I’m on my way for a shopping date with my cousin Grace and my Mum. We’re off to choose shoes for us to wear with our special dresses for our Aunty’s wedding. And depending on how our afternoon goes, we may even have time for afternoon tea with just the three of us….and no brothers this time!

Oooh, I wonder if Mum will let us buy some high heel shoes. It is for a very special occasion so maybe she will. I daydream about all the new fabulous shoes we will get to try on as we spent the next twenty minutes in the car heading toward the city.

We had done our research. We knew which shoe shops were going to be the best for the type of shoes we were looking for. It certainly wasn’t school shoes or runners or footy boots that we needed. What we wanted was shoes with a little “bling” and hopefully with at least a little bit of a heel.

Throughout the afternoon Grace and I tried on so many pairs of shoes we eventually lost count of them all. Too tall; too babyish; wrong colour, right shape; wrong size. By the end of the day, the fun shoe shopping bubble had burst.

My daydream was becoming a nightmare. Who would have thought that shoe shopping would turn out to be so hard? My feet hurt from walking, my toes hurt from being cramped in shoes that weren’t the correct size. The pair that Grace and I loved, Mum said wasn’t great for an outdoor wedding where we would have to stand for a long time or for climbing over the rocks at the beach where the wedding photos were to be taken. What were we going to do?

With a tired voice, I turned to Grace and Mum and said “there certainly wasn’t anything about the shoes that we tried on that made for peaceful feet. Can we have afternoon tea please?” And with that, we all agreed that a break was a very good idea.

“Peaceful feet?” Grace questioned after taking a sip of her hot chocolate, “what you do mean by that Ellyse?”

“Well” I said, “trying on all those shoes reminded me of the shoes that the Commander gave us with our Duty Gear. Do you remember, the Commander’s Assistant told us, ‘for shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared, armed for action, ready to move?’

I was puzzled by this but after trying on all those shoes that didn’t fit well and hurt my feet, I get it. Well, I think I get it. By getting to know the Commanders Son, Jesus, and what he did for us – this is the Good News, we have nothing to fear (John 16:33). This makes me feel at peace and gives me the courage to walk the rockiest path because the shoes the Commander gave us fit perfectly and they never wear out.” Popping my last marshmallow into my mouth I said, “The other good thing about wearing the peace of the Good News as shoes is that we can always be ready to move quickly and share with others this peace.”

With the last sip of my delicious hot chocolate, I announce, “Now, back to the shoes for Aunty R’s wedding, I have decided that I am going to stick with the comfy ones that I have at home. They are flat but still sparkly silver and more importantly they help me remember to have peaceful feet.” Grace agreed.

Peaceful feet were indeed far better than wearing the cute high heels I had daydreamed of earlier in the day.


Written by: Nadelle Manners

Special effect editing: James Wagner

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