01 November 2008

Family Maxims

Striving to be a godly woman and to rear children in a godly way in today's world is no small challenge. Then again, it has obviously never been easy!

"It is certainly true that I have had large experience of what the world calls adverse fortune... Yet I dare not presume, nor do I despair, but rather leave it to our Almighty Savior to do with me both in life and death just as He pleases, for I have no choice."

~ Susanna Wesley (1669-1742), mother of Charles & John Wesley

I've been reading a biography of Susanna Wesley and am absolutely transfixed by her excellent example of Christianity, womanhood, and motherhood. Just a few tidbits:

- She bore 19 children and lost 9 to stillbirth or early childhood illnesses.

- She homeschooled the other 10 from the Bible-based, rigorous curriculum of her own creation. She regularly spent individual time with each child questioning them about their personal relationships with God, encouraging them to dwell upon the principles of their faith and to pursue a thorough understanding of the Word.

- She lost most of her possessions and her home twice to fire.

- She wifed a very challenging man who abandoned her for almost a year over an argument and relently worked towards any means of reconciliation for that entire separation.

- She remained faithful throughout every trial, determining to serve Christ no matter what her circumstances. She worked every day to become more and more like Jesus!

What an example!

Mulling over the challenge of motherhood and how I want to be changed by Christ, I realized that I've never shared our family maxims. (I wish I could remember where we got the idea of creating a family credo. If it pops into my head I'll edit this post and add the credit.) Here they are:

In Our Family, We...

1. honor God. All our behavior is measured against this standard.

2. keep our priorities straight which means that we serve God first, then each other, then others.

3. love one another. That means we treat each other with gentleness and kindness.

4. value and respect other people's feelings, wishes, personal property, and boundaries. We take care to build and maintain lifelong, loving relationships.

5. tell the truth no matter what the situation or the consequences.

6. work towards excellence in every area of our lives to please and glorify God, even when there is no visible reward.

7. value and celebrate each other's strengths and have grace for and help each other in our weaknesses.

8. assume good intentions from others.

9. forgive and forgive and forgive. We do not return unkindness with unkindness, but exchange it for mercy and love. We turn the other cheek.

In case you haven't guessed already the list grew from the things we bomb out in regularly and for which we've asked God's grace! I personally fail at most of these daily, but I'm working on it.

Reading about the excellent woman, wife, and mother that Susanna Wesley was has been incredibly inspiring. I want to be like that. I want to be more like Jesus every day!

This is our family coat of arms (which Michael has tattooed on his shoulder) which is emblazoned with the motto "Hold Fast" meaning never ever give up! I think that message of endurance, perseverance, dogged pursuit of Christ-likeness is so inspiring. Susanna probably had a similar tattoo. Hmmm, maybe I do need one after all...


The Roberts Family said...

Wow .... her testimony is indeed against the grain of modern day culture, isn't it??!!! How blessed our families are when we pursue Christ and His ways, rather than the world's. How we need HIS help to do just that. Sadly, I often get distracted by the world and lose my focus. What a merciful Father we have to set us back on track.

Thank you for sharing what you're learning.

JourneytoFamily said...

The thing that struck me the most about her, was that with so many children, she still made it a priority to spend 1:1 time with each one of them.

I have trouble remembering that with just three children, but I think it's so important for our kids.

I'm all for you getting that tattoo!

Tish said...

LOVE THIS POST! i cannot tell you how unsettled i am...how i long for more of Him and less of me. great timing by you...as usual!

you should post about how you are teaching yourfamily values to the little girls. any tips would be appreciated!

M. P. Hausam said...

You are talented, brilliant, and HOT. I am the luckiest man alive!!!

Kristi J said...

Such a great post!! Love what your family is standing for!! Thanks for sharing, Kristi

Erica said...

Wowsa. You never cease to amaze me. You've challenged me. David and I were discussing this subject yesterday. You've given me something to do. ;) Love the coat of arms tat. Susanna Wesley has been my hero since my home school days and she was some of my required reading.

Love it. Thank you.

darci said...

thanks for sharing your own family maxims. i could just copy that list straight-we are really seeking to teach our kids (and learn ourselves) so much of what you said. love the tat, my hubbys is a cross, open Bible, and fish. i'm too chicken..although i DID pierce my eyebrow. :)