Michelle Bilkes, wife of professor Dr. Jerry Bilkes, gave the last talk for us this semester. Our theme this semester focused more on the seminary wife and her personal development--her devotional life, her character (modesty in dress, actions, etc), and contentment. We try to have one talk of the semester focus on a historical figure that best illustrates the topic of the semester. Michelle chose Mary Winslow, mother of pastor Octavius Winslow, as the historical figure this semester because of the wonderful devotional quality of her letters. What a blessed evening we had, first learning about her life and background and then breaking up into groups to read her letters.
Last Friday night we closed the semester with a social gathering at the home of Dr. Michael and Sandra Barrett, the new academic dean. Interestingly, Dr Barrett was in Iowa deer hunting with a friend from Greenville, SC. We all brought goodies to share and Mrs. Barrett provided beverages and her beautiful home. I enjoyed visiting with some women that although I knew who they were had really never had a conversation with. The one I appreciated the most was with Roberta whose husband Breno will be done at the end of this semester. They will be returning to Brazil in just a few short days. (Russ helped them pack their container. They were amazed that after they were done they had filled only 2/3 of it. Not that amazing if you have ever watched Russ pack). I am glad/thankful I had the opportunity to discuss their ministry in Brazil and how the Lord has led them on their seminary journey.
Next semester our topics will all relate to the topic of "The Pastor's Wife and Family." If you are looking for good books to read, the Puritan Seminary website has posted a list of books as recommended reading for seminary wives. This is a list of books that would be appropriate for any Christian woman, not just soon-to-be pastor's wives. Click here for the list.
I will close this post with just a sampling from one of Mary Winslow's writings:
The Christian Journey
Life is a journey, often a short one, and always uncertain. But there is another journey. The believer is traveling through a waste howling wilderness, to another and a glorious region, where ineffable delight and happiness await us. The road is narrow, the entrance strait, so strait that thousands miss it and perish in the wilderness; but true believers, under the teaching and convoy of the Holy Ghost, find it and walk in it. The King, in His infinite love and compassion, has made a hedge about them, separating and defending them from the many beasts of prey that lurk around them; and although they hear their howlings and behold their threatenings, they are safe from their power. But their strongest foe is within themselves--a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. From this there is no escape but by constant watchfulness and earnest cries to their best Friend and Guide for protection. And were it not for this faithful Guide, how often, discouraged by reason of the way, would they turn back! But He watches over them by night and by day, strengthens them when weak, upholds them when falling, encourages them when cast down, defends them when attacked, provides for them when in need, leads them by living streams, and causes them to lie down in pleasant pastures and on sunny banks. And as they advance they obtain brighter views of the good land they are nearing, and they long to see the King in His beauty, and the land that is yet very far off, and to meet those that have already arrived on the happy shore."
If you are interested in more wonderful devotional nuggets, but do not have a book with her writings, I recommend a website "The Octavius Winslow Archive". You can access it by clicking here.