August 28, 2013
Hidden Hardships Behind Closed Doors
"On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul." Psalm 138:3 (NASB)
Hidden behind the door of many homes is the reality of hardship. A devastated home isn't always apparent on first impressions, is it?
Take Susanna Wesley's life for instance. A quick glance reveals she was married to a preacher in the late 1600s. They had 10 children, two of which grew up to bring tens of thousands of people to Christ: John and Charles Wesley. Sounds like a sweet story, doesn't it?
But if we look behind the door of her home, hard conditions were the norm. Her husband, Sam, couldn't (or wouldn't) manage their finances well. They disagreed on everything from money to politics. This couple actually had 19 children; sadly, nine died in infancy. Sam left Susanna for long periods of time—sometimes over something as simple as an argument—leaving the duty of raising their children to her alone.
One of their children was unable to walk. Another couldn't talk until the age of six. Susanna herself was desperately sick most of her life. Their home burned to the ground twice; everything they owned crumbled to ashes. One of her daughters became pregnant out of wedlock. They had no money for food or necessities. Sam even went to debtor's prison.
Long before Susanna had an inkling of how difficult her married life would be, she made the Lord a promise. When she was young, Susanna committed that for every hour she spent in entertainment, she would give the same amount of time to Him in prayer and in the Word.
Taking care of the house and raising so many kids made this commitment nearly impossible to fulfill. She had no time for either entertainment or long hours in prayer! This wife and mother worked the gardens, milked the cow, schooled the children and managed the entire house herself.
It would have been understandable if Susanna reneged on her promise to the Lord. But she didn't. Instead, she gave the Lord two hours a day in prayer!
As you can imagine with 10 kids, she struggled to find a quiet place to get away with God. So she advised her children that when her apron was over her head, that meant she was in prayer and couldn't be disturbed.
Susanna was devoted to her walk with Christ, praying for her children, and growing in the knowledge of the Word ... no matter how hard life was.
This dedicated woman's story may have never been known to anyone but the Lord and her children, except for the fact that her example greatly inspired two of her sons. They both said that their mom influenced them more than any other person.
John and Charles Wesley became powerhouses for the glory of the Lord. John preached to nearly a million people in the 1700s. He brought revival everywhere he traveled and taught the Word of God! Charles wrote over 9000 hymns, many of which we still sing today.
In the middle of great hardships, Susanna consistently tapped into her source of strength. She connected intentionally with the Lord every day. It's amazing how her choices influenced not only her family, but also countless individuals, families and worshippers over the years.
Hidden behind the door of my home, I want my children to see a mom who prays, no matter how busy I am or how hard my circumstances. I'm going to continue letting Susanna's example influence me. How about you?
Dear Lord, I need Your wisdom, peace and strength. Help me to rely on You and not myself. In Jesus' Name, amen.
Do You Know Jesus?
Visit Sharon Glasgow's blog for more encouragement through hardships.
Life is full of obligations, emotions and relationships. Some are life-giving, yet sometimes the weight of everyday life is heavy. We long for someone who understands. You'll find that friend in the pages of Encouragement for Today: Devotionals for Everyday Living.
Reflect and Respond:
How much time are you spending with Jesus every day in prayer and in the Word?
Make a plan for how you can increase your time with Him. When your kids grow up, how will they describe how you handled hardships?
Proverbs 31:28a, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed ..." (KJV)
1 Chronicles 16:11, "Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually." (KJV)
© 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.
Originally published Wednesday, 28 August 2013.