THE PRAISE OF A MOTHER
When my children were very young I came across a biography of Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley. I was thinking about this book the other day, and how that when I read of her life I was truly inspired. Susanna birthed possibly nineteen children, schooled them all herself, (homeschooled) and raised her children to be devout Christians. She kept a well-run household by herself, without the help of servants, (if I remember correctly). She ran this household strictly and orderly with the older children helping with the younger ones and each given responsibilities as soon as they were able. The children made bread, sewed and learned to do many other necessities from an early age. This was all done in the days of growing and preserving their own food, making everything from scratch, making their own candles for light, making their own clothing, usually after making their own cloth! All without modern conveniences, of course!
John and Charles Wesley, as adults, gave much credit to their mother as the molder of their character and of their souls. It is said that John and Charles Wesley together won tens of thousands to the Lord, preaching the gospel of the grace of God. And thus, Susanna Wesley lived to see the fruit of her labor.
Proverbs 31:28 says of the virtuous woman, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her." I, personally, have always seen this passage in Proverbs as future tense. Mothers, you may not receive much affirmation for all of your labor and sacrifice right now. Children, because they are born with a sinful nature, are selfish, and they do not always truly appreciate all you do for them. Just remember the Lord's promise in Proverbs. If you do the things the Lord would have you do, someday they WILL arise up, some time in the future, and praise you. Our husbands will do the same. "...her husband also, and he praiseth her."
We should all be asking ourselves, "Am I being the kind of wife and mother who will someday receive this kind of praise?" An even more wonderful truth for us, who live in the dispensation of grace, is that we will receive our praise from the Lord Himself at the judgement seat of Christ! When we do, it will be worth it all!
The scriptures admonish us, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; "Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24. Our prayer should always be that we would be worthy of the Lord's praise, while not seeking the praise of man.
"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. "Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." Proverbs 31:30-31.
Our "own works" will praise us in the future gates of heaven!
The following is an excerpt from the Christian Heritage Institute's writings about Susanna Wesley. The link is found at the bottom.
Oh Susanna: Model of a Christian Mother
>>When Susanna Annesley, the 25th child of Dr. Annesley, was born to his second wife there probably was not much discussion about her or her future. Little could the family dream that she would become the mother of John and Charles Wesley, the founders of worldwide Methodism. Susanna was an "old lady of 19" (almost a late marriage in those days) when she became the wife of Samuel Wesley, an Anglican minister.
The Wesley family traced their lineage to the 10th century, but ancestry did little to help the problems of their forty-four year marriage. They suffered illness, disease, poverty, and the death of children. Fire twice destroyed their home. But through it all Susanna accepted the will of God and placed herself and her family in His hands.
Susanna bore between seventeen and nineteen children; ten survived. The frequent absences of her husband on church business left the management of the household in her hands. Through it all she remained a steadfast Christian who taught not only through the Scriptures, but through her own example of daily trust in God. She once wrote: "We must know God experientially for unless the heart perceive and know Him to be to be the supreme good, her only happiness, unless the soul feel and acknowledge that she can have no repose, no peace, no joy, but in loving and being loved by Him."
The children were raised strictly. They were taught to cry softly, to eat what was put before them, and not to raise their voices or play noisily. Physical punishment was used, but confession of faults could avoid it. All but one of the children learned to read from the age of five, including the girls. (Susanna made it a rule for herself to spend an hour a day with each of the children over the period of a week.) After the fire of 1709 family discipline broke down, but Susanna managed to restore it later. She paid special attention to John, who was almost lost in the fire. He referred to himself as "a brand plucked from the burning fire," and his mother said that she intended "to be more particularly careful of the soul of this child that Thou hast so mercifully provided for, than ever I have been, that I may do my endeavours to instill into his mind the disciplines of Thy true religion and virtue."
It is said that at the age of six or seven John thought he would never marry "because I could never find such a woman as my father had." After Samuel Wesley died in 1735, Susanna lived with her children, especially, in her last year, with John. She died on July 23, 1742 and was buried in London's Bunhill Fields, where John Bunyan and Isaac Watts are also buried. Her sons won tens of thousands of souls to Christ. She would not have wished for more.<<
Ladies, if you have a mother who deserves your praise, call her this week and give her that praise. Or write her an email! It will mean so much to her and you will both be blessed. She may not be with you this time next year and you may lose the opportunity in this life to give her this joy.
Thanking God for our mothers,
wife of Steve Atwood, pastor ofGrace Bible Church, Chattanooga, Tn
[GLIMPSES is published by Christian History Institute, Box 540, Worcester, PA 19490. Tel. 610-584-1893, Fax 610-584-4610. Prepared by Ken Curtis PH.D., Beth Jacobson, Diana Severance Ph.D., Ann T. Snyder. Photo credits. 1 top - Diana Severance, p. 4 top - Data Foto; others - CHI archives.
Link to life of John Wesley: http://search.gospelcom.net/chi/GLIMPSEF/Glimpses/glmps038.shtml
Link to life of Charles Wesley: http://search.gospelcom.net/chi/GLIMPSEF/Glimpses/glmps029.shtml