by Jean Wise, Guest MOMtor
Ok, I will admit it: my three kids drove me crazy. There were times I was sure I had three too many kids for my heart to carry.
I can’t even begin to imagine the chaos, noise, dirt, and work of 19 kids. How could a mom ever find time with God?
Susanna Wesley lived in the early 1700s, long before washing machines, baby swings, epidurals, and microwaves. Even today, she serves as a spiritual model for moms especially knowing she gave birth to 19 children. Two of her sons, John and Charles, established the Methodist Church and composed many of our favorite hymns.
What did she do to find intimacy with God within the craziness of motherhood? Her story, full of lessons, shows us ways to find God by praying with intention and by paying attention.
Susanna just didn’t let happenstance rule her house; she set up rules that created boundaries for behavior. She established 16 rules for running the house, such as teach a child to pray as soon as she can speak and children were to be still during family worship.
She sought order, even in her spiritual life. I love her story of when she needed a few minutes of prayer; she would flip her apron over her head. Her kids knew then not to disturb mom.
With her apron, Susanna intentionally took time to be with God. The apron triggered a moment for her and served as a sign for her children to honor her space with God.
I know sometimes the only time I could be alone was in the bathroom. What a great solitary spot for a devotional or quiet prayer time. Other moms find time for prayer while washing dishes or rocking babies to sleep.
Pray as we can as we go – precious snatches of time intentionally spent with God.
Throughout her life, Susanna read deeply the works of great writers like St. Teresa and Thomas a Kempis. Then she shared her knowledge with her children and others. Isn’t it amazing how much we learn when we teach?
While her husband was away preaching, Susanna adopted the practice of reading sermons from the library aloud to her family. Word of the weekly meetings held in her kitchen quickly spread and soon many gathered regularly in the parsonage.
As children left home, Susanna composed letters filled with wisdom, not only about family news, but also about life. She also wrote in a journal, paying attention to her own spiritual journey.
I know during those crazy days of juggling everyone else’s schedule, I would intentionally take an hour on Sunday afternoons for time with God. I wrote in my journal, studied my Bible, and prayed. These intimate times with God didn’t happen every week, but looking back now I know they happened enough to keep me in touch with our Lord.
Susanna Wesley served as a spiritual guide to her family and an inspiration for us today. She was intentional and paid attention to her faith. She said, “There are two things to do about the gospel–believe it and behave it.”
Jean Wise is a freelance journalist/writer and Christian speaker at retreats and gatherings. She lives in Edon, Ohio with her husband enjoying their empty nest. She invites you to explore her blog where she writes four times a week: http://www.healthyspirituality.org