Retreat: Susanna Wesley

Retreat: Susanna Wesley

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It is in the quiet moments you draw your strength; the moments where you breathe deeply, refocus on what is important and move forward with confidence. One of my heroes of the early church is Susanna Wesley. Susanna was the youngest of twenty-five children. Susanna and Samuel Wesley had nineteen children, only ten lived past the age of two. Susanna spent a lot of time without Samuel, as he was in debtor’s prison a few times, and he and Susanna did not get along and they had a few separations. Her life was less than ideal any way you look at it. They had two fires, losing all of their material possessions. One of her children was smothered accidentally by a nursemaid. Can you imagine all of those things happening and still her legacy was her writings, her children and their accomplishments.

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How did she do it? She had a routine she followed with the children, but when she needed to regroup in their little house, she would flip her apron over her head and pray. That is much better than putting the flat of my hands over my ears to think…same idea though.  She taught her children about God, family and duty. She lived what she believed. Many of her arguments with her husband were about politics and religion. If she felt she was right, she thought it a sin to say he was right just for peace in the house. She felt she would answer to God for her choices and her husband for his, a very unique thought at that time.  She spent individual time with her children: on Monday one child for an hour, on Tuesday another…She wanted to know them, who they were and what they were thinking. When they left home, she spent “their hour” writing a letter to them. Each of her living children made their own decisions as adults. One got pregnant out of wed lock and was forced to marry another man. A second daughter married a womanizer and ended up raising two of his children with other women, treating them as if they were her own. Another of her daughters married an abusive man that she ran from and refused to live with him again. She had three famous preacher sons: Samuel the younger, John and Charles. But, Susanna loved them all…

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 There is something fundamental in Susanna’s story. Hardship; yes, but there is an overwhelming sense of survival, refusing to be a victim and taking your life and making it a blessing, making it count, regardless of what everyone else does or what your circumstances are; you can do the next thing, do what is right and try your best. It was in the moments she had in quiet and concentration that she was able to refocus. Her apron over the head moments and her time after the children went to bed (bedtime was 8:00pm) that she was able to answer the big questions: Susanna Wesley, Her Collected Writings.

Do you see the shadow figures in the trees?

  Give yourself time to answer the big questions, and it will add focus to your day and a peace and calmness that carries over into the hectic/stressful times. The time is not wasted, it will help you leave a legacy…

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:28-29 NIV

 

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