In a recent devotional reading I came across a statement that Ellen White made several times in her writings (paraphrased): God’s workers are the special object of Satan’s attacks, and also the recipients of God’s special protection and care (see General Conference Daily Bulletin, vol. 5, Jan. 31, 1893, p. 67, par. 1).
Recently I pondered the question, “As pastoral spouses, do we need to care for the spiritual aspect of our lives differently from the way others do?” If so, why? Is it possible that the devil knows that when he can cause harm to a pastor or the spouse, he can “multiply” the damage throughout the congregation or the community they serve? Are we more at risk because others sometimes look to us as role models, and because we live in an “aquarium” where church demands and accompanying criticism are the price we pay for living in the limelight?
Regardless of the “why” answer, I am so thankful that we are the object of God’s special love and protection, but obviously we are not immune to disappointment and despair—amplified by the “target” Lucifer has put on our backs! God’s wonderful provisions notwithstanding, I do believe that pastoral spouses need to be that much more intentional in partnering with God in order to more readily welcome His presence in our lives.
Yet, let’s be honest. Do our devotions sometimes get stale? Does our walk with the Lord at times seem to be at arm’s length? At times does it feel that our prayers go unheard? Can we find ourselves going hours, if not days, with little if any time spent in communion with Christ?
How do we keep our relationship with God fresh, real, and alive? Here are some ideas from my experience and from others:
First, ask Jesus to grow your relationship with Him. I KNOW that He delights to give good gifts to His children—especially gifts of character and relationship. This leads into my next thought of CLAIMING His promises. There is so much power in His Word, and we can literally pray Bible promises boldly.
Another beautiful way to grow is to find other women who want encouragement in the Word and in prayer and GROW together with them. More than likely they will bless you abundantly with their thoughts, insights, and prayers. Maybe you could buy a new book that will give fresh perspective and help in your Bible study. Here are a few great resources:
• Daughters of God, by Ellen G. White (Review and Herald Publishing, 2007).
• Women’s Study Bible (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2014). Available at the ABC.
• Women Living Well, by Courtney Joseph (Thomas Nelson Incorporated, 2013). Available on Amazon.
• Pressing Into His Presence, by Shelly Quinn (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2010). Available at the ABC.
• She Reads Truth, plus a Bible and devotional app. Available in app store.
• IVP Bible Background Commentary, The Old Testament and IVP Bible Background Commentary, The New Testament, by Craig S. Keener (Intervarsity Press, February 3, 2014). Available on Amazon.
Or ask the Lord if He wants you to be part of a small group ibleB study. There are likely many group Bible study options in your church.
• Journaling with Jesus: How to Revolutionize Your Devotional Life Through the Discipline of Journaling, by Laurie Denski-Snyman (ebook). Laurie Snyman, LMSW, September 2014. Available on Amazon. She states, “It wasn’t until I started journaling that I started to grow and think about God throughout my day.”
• Women in the Bible and Me, (Review and Herald Publishing, 2009). Available at the ABC.
• Amazing Grace: A Bible Study Course and Surprised by Love, both by Elizabeth Talbot (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2013). Available at the ABC.
I challenge each of you to draw close to God, and He will draw close to you. It’s a promise that I am claiming for each one of you.