As Christian mothers, we strive to be good examples of Jesus to our children. We want to be sure they are cared for in all areas of life—that they’re educated well, that their health needs are provided for, that they learn good social skills, and that they are taught good values and to be kind, loving, and giving to others. We want to be sure they are raised with strong Christian faith and conviction and principles.
I thought that the following example of a godly mother from history, Susanna Wesley, would be encouraging for all you Christian mothers. Susanna Wesley is best known as the mother of the founders of Methodism, Charles and John Wesley. From Methodism sprang a number of today's Protestant denominations. Charles and John were tireless in their efforts to preach the Gospel, which they attributed to the faith instilled in them by their mother. They were instrumental in triggering a major time of revival and missionary work in England in the 1600s that spread to many parts of the world.
Though Susanna Wesley is most famous for what Charles and John accomplished, the greatest honor God affords her is for her great determination and faithfulness to raise all her children in the ways of the Lord. She never wavered in this resolve, even though adversity constantly threatened to overwhelm her.
The specifics of your struggles, heartbreaks and battles may be quite different from what Susanna Wesley faced. But whatever the day or difficulty, it’s always a challenge to endure and stay faithful in your fight to raise your family to the best of your ability. Godly motherhood is always demanding.
- Finances always a problem. She described her encounters with debt collectors as “living with the wolf at the door.”
- Bore nineteen children. (How difficult is that!)
- Nine of the children died, some in very tragic circumstances.
- House burned down twice. Barn collapsed.
- Family forced to be separated from each other after their home was destroyed.
- Health failed; often bedridden and needing to manage her household from bed.
- Struggled with doubt throughout her life.
- Marital difficulties, with lots of arguments and disagreements. Her husband’s nature and her own strong personality resulted in many arguments.
- Brother disappeared mysteriously and was never heard from again.
- After an accident, her husband remained weak and sickly for the rest of his life.
- It seems that some of her children were very wayward, resulting in many heartbreaks.
- She saw herself as not having any great abilities or as having accomplished anything great. She said, “I am content to fill a little space if God be glorified.”
Yet her overwhelming desire was that the little flock that she had borne would grow to know and love Jesus and do things for God. She schooled all her children, and each day before their academic studies began, an hour was spent in Scripture reading and prayer and singing of Psalms.
Nothing could deter Susanna from putting their spiritual welfare first and foremost. In spite of her not being able to provide them with all the material things that she would have liked, she gave them the most important thing. Many times all she could do was cling to God’s promises and refuse to let circumstances stop her in the task that the Lord had given her. In spite of the setbacks, defeats, heartbreaks, loss, and spiritual and physical battles, her faith and love for the Lord and her children brought her through it all.
Eventually, in her later years, she saw some of the fruits of her faithfulness, and I’m sure much more when she arrived in her heavenly home, as you will as well, if you don’t see them in this life. Nothing you give for your children will be wasted.