Search Apartment37:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Susannah Spurgeon: The Wife

As we've been preparing to go to Jackson Hole, and as we settle more into our marriage, Adam asked me to look into reading books on being the wife of a husband in ministry. I facebooked Patty Ardavanis and asked her if she had any favorite books on the subject. Yesterday at church she sat me down and gave me several books. The first book is a biography of Susannah Spurgeon. Three things have already jumped out at me and I'm only halfway through the book.

1. When Susie and Charles were engaged she would accompany him on some of his speaking engagements. He, being passionate and overcome with what he would be speaking of would forget about her. In one incident they arrived together in the same cab. There was a big crowd so they got a little bit separated from each other in the walk to the room and Charles shut the door behind himself and didn't realize he didn't have Susannah with him. She was angry and got back in the cab and went back to her mother's house. Her mom gave her this to think about;

"..that my chosen husband was no ordinary man, that his whole life was absolutely dedicated to God and His service, and that I must never, never hinder him by trying to put myself first in his heart."

Impactful to Erin. I need to not hinder Adam. I need to help him be freed to do what God has for him. I definitely have allowed myself to think I have 'rights' to Adam at times when I probably really don't. I know this has then taken Adam's focus and attention away from where it needed to be. Because I felt that I should come first. I pray I will know and practice keeping myself second in Adam's life.

2. The book says this after their honeymoon:

"...the happy couple..returned to their first united home -- a modest house in New Kent Road, London, where as in all future homes, the best room became the library." Susannah also writes, "..because the 'best room' was always felt to belong by right to the one who 'laboured much in the Lord.' Never have I regretted this early decision; it is a wise arrangement for a minister's house..."

Impactful to Erin: Adam has often commented about how he needs an office. A space where he can be undistracted (pretty sure I just made that word up). A place of quiet where he can gather his thoughts together and focus. Not only spiritually but also for his work as a graphic artist who needs to provide for our family. I understand that having that space is important but this definitely drove the point home. I love that they chose the best room in the house and made that the library where Charles would work. I would be willing for us to do that for Adam.

3. The book says:

"What times of happiness were spent in the little home on Sunday evenings after the duties of the day were done. On his return from Chapel tired by his labours the preacher would enjoy a light repast and then throw himself into an easy chair by the fireside, while his wife sat on a low cushion at his feet reading to him from the pages of George Herbert or some other Christian poet. Or, if the young minister felt that he had not been as earnest in his preaching as he should have been, the poet would give place to Baxter's Reformed Pastor, and as the solemn words were read, husband and wife would sob and weep together, he "from the smitings of a very tender conscience towards God," and she because she "loved him and wanted to share his grief.""

Impactful to Erin. I always want to read out loud to Adam. Granted it is Harry Potter that I want to read out loud, but if there was something else more meaningful that Adam wanted me to read to him, I would love to do that. I think it's a sweet thing and a great and purposeful way to spend time as a couple. But what struck my heart was that Susannah sobbed with her husband because she "loved him and wanted to share his grief." Love that. I've cried with Adam before, but there are times when I've been really passive about his grief. He, like Charles, has a heart that is tender and burdened and there are times that I really am not very considerate of the fact that that is the way the Lord created Adam's heart to work. I pray that I will be able to share Adam's heart in every way. So that I cry when he cries and laugh when he laughs.

1 comment:

  1. I remember that first story from a book I read that was a biography of Charles Spurgeon. I was newly married at the time, and that really hit home with me, too. Omar may not be in a paid ministry position right now, but I still consider myself a minister's wife. And while I often do well in action in allowing him the time and resources to do his ministry, I often fail when it comes to the attitude of my heart. Sometimes I feel resentful of time he spends away from me and the kids; I try not to let it show, but I need to keep praying and working on those feelings in my heart so I can learn to support him more cheerfully.

    I also like your last point about wanting to share in his grief. Omar is very passionate and tends towards extremes in his emotions, and I don't like to let my emotions get out of hand, so I don't share his griefs very deeply. In one sense, it helps to moderate him, but on the other hand, sometimes he just needs me to invest my whole self into what he's feeling.

    Thanks for sharing and getting me thinking.