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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reflections on Solitude, Part Five (final)

This last entry will be quick (relatively) and simple. Spending two days alone on a “spiritual retreat” was a profitable time in many, many ways. Turning off the world for awhile, slowing down, listening to God’s Word; it’s something I urge others to do and look forward to doing again myself. However, two days away from my wife and children reminded me just how much they mean to me.

I have friends in the ministry who have had struggles in their marriages. One brother had a wife who never wanted to be a pastor’s wife but thought she could change his mind about his ministry calling. When she didn’t, she left. Recently, it seems there has been this surge in pastor’s I know whose wives are leaving them for various reasons, or who are otherwise struggling with marriages that are anything but a blessing to them and their ministry.

Praise God for Cheryl Weldon! That woman is a gift from God. I don’t know what I would do without her. She is my best friend, my biggest supporter, my most honest critic, and the love of my life. She is godly woman and an extraordinary mother. I recently read a post over at Brian Croft’s Practical Shepherding which reminded me again just how difficult the job of pastor’s wife is and how important she is as well. Two days away from that wonderful woman was enough to remind me how little I want to be away from that woman.

Likewise, God has blessed me with four extraordinary children. I’ve already been dealing with the separation issue now that our oldest is in her second year of college. I miss her every day, even though she calls me almost every day. In fact, sometimes the calls just make it worse! The other three are just as precious, and I’m already trying to prepare myself for the heartbreak when they abandon me, too!

I know there are all those stereotypes of PK’s, and I’ll be the first to admit that our kids aren’t perfect. But God has done amazing things in their lives, and He is building them to be godly men and women, for which I am so grateful. Again, being out of contact with them all for 48 hours reminded me just how much a part of my life they are. Sure, I’ve been away before, for a week or more sometimes; but this just reminded me how precious those kids are to me.

I realize I have to be careful. Family can become an idol in this life just like anything else. And I’m thankful to say that missing my family wasn’t a distraction at all during my retreat time. That time alone was very helpful, very meaningful, and I need to do it more often, I’m sure. Yet, it made me appreciate the gift God has given me in my wife and children.

So, final lesson: My family is a great blessing.

Response: Make sure they know that! Treat them as the blessings they are, let them know how much I love and appreciate them, and never make them feel like they are second place to the “mistress” the church can sometimes be.

Well, that wraps it up. As I said earlier, this may not benefit anyone but me. I just needed to write all this down, to get it “out there” so I can be reminded myself of the value of this time with God. Again, I highly recommend it for anyone who has never had the opportunity. You won’t regret it. And if you happen to be close to the St. Louis area, check out the Vision of Peace Hermitages. It’s a wonderful place to spend a little time alone with God.

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