Monday, January 09, 2006

Something I Have Learned and am Learning: Self-Denial

This is one of those rare weeks that we don't have any Dr's appointments scheduled for Judah. So, I thought I'd take the opportunity to write some quotes from a book I am reading that has been both challenging and encouraging. It is Female Piety by John Angell James. It was writtne in the early 1800's, so the language is not easy to follow, though it is not impossible or I wouldn't be reading it! :)

I wanted to include a few excerpts from a section in the book where James outlines a few necessary qualities for any godly wife and mother. One in particular has encouraged me in regards to Judah and all he goes through with the lot God has mercifully assigned to him. I trust they will be an encouragement to any woman who has the patience to read through them!

The quality James is highlighting in these quotes is self-denial.

On the subject of woman's fortitude and power of endurance, I will introduce, though it may be at some length, the most surprising instance of it perhaps on record, whether in inspired or uninspired history, and it will serve as an appropriate illustration of this part of the subject of the chapter.

The Apostle John, in his narrative of the events of the crucifixion of our Lord, says with beautiful simplicity, and without a single comment, as if he could not hope and would not attempt to add to the grandeur of the incident: "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." That the other women should have been there is less wonderful, though even their presence at such a scene (from which it would seem as if all the apostles had retired except John) was indeed an instance of the fortitude of heroic love.

To whatever length endurance may be carried by attendance at the sickbed of a dying friend, how few of even female heroes could witness the execution of a husband, son, or brother.

...standing by the cross, were those dauntless, holy women, sustaining with wondrous fortitude the sight of His dying agonies, and confessing their Lord in the hour of His deepest humiliation, in the absence of His friends and in the presence of his foes--and there among them was His mother.

Let females study this pathetic and amazing scene, and learn that the deepest love and the noblest grief are not that sickly sensibility, that emotional excitability, which are too tender to bear the sight of suffering, but that which, instead of sinking with hysterical outcries, retiring with averted eyes from agonies, or swooning at the sight of tears and blood, can control the feelings and brace the nerves to perform in the hour and scene of woe a part which none can perform except herself, or at any rate none can perform so well.

Doubtful that any of us will be called to witness our son's execution, but many of us will be called to wipe off bloody knees, cool the head of a feverish child, or even endure ER visits with horrendous broken bones. When those times come or more significant times of suffering in your child's life, may you be encouraged and equipped as you consider the position and the fortitude God's given you as a mother to be the comforter, the encourager, and the "truth teller".


Jen Clemmer said...

Bri -- so true are those words!! I've never thought in that way. It's another reason why we're so blessed to be mothers. Been praying for you! Love, Jen

Anonymous said...

KEVIN: Ahh, a fellow Peckerhead across the Atlantic. Do you fellows have meetings? porno