“In the last analysis, home happiness depends on the wife. Her spirit gives the home its atmosphere. Her hands fashion its beauty. Her heart makes its love. And the end is so worthy, so noble, so divine, that no woman who has been called to be a wife, and has listened to the call, should consider any price too great to pay, to be the light, the joy, the blessing, the inspiration of a home.”
I remember a day one winter that stands out like a boulder in my life. The weather was unusually cold; our salary had not been regularly paid and it did not meet our needs when it was.
My husband was away much of the time, traveling from one district to another. Our boys were well, but my little Ruth was ailing and at best none of us were decently clothed. I patched and re -patched, with spirits sinking to the lowest ebb. The water gave out in the well and the wind blew through the cracks in the floor.
The people in the parish were kind, and generous too, but the settlement was new and each family was struggling for itself. Little by little, at the time I needed it most, my faith began to waver.
Early in life I was taught to take God at His word, and I thought my lesson was well learned. I had lived upon the promises in dark times until I knew, as David did, who was my Fortress and my Deliverer. Now a daily prayer for forgiveness was all that I could offer.
My husband’s overcoat was hardly thick enough for October, and he was often obliged to ride miles to attend some meeting or funeral. Christmas was coming; the children always expected their presents. I remember the ice was thick and smooth and the boys were each craving a pair of skates. Ruth, in some unaccountable way, had taken a fancy that the dolls I had made were no longer suitable; she wanted a nice large one, and insisted on praying for it.
I knew it was impossible, but, oh! how I wanted to give each child his present. It seemed as if God had deserted us. But I did not tell my husband all this. He worked so earnestly and heartily, I supposed him to be as hopeful as ever. I kept the sitting room cheerful with an open fire, and I tried to serve our scanty meals as invitingly as I could.
That morning before Christmas, James was called to see a sick man. I put up a piece of bread for his lunch–it was the best I could do–wrapped my plaid shawl around his neck and then tried to whisper a promise as I often had, but the words died away upon my lips. I let him go without it. That was a dark, hopeless day. I coaxed the children to bed early, for I could not bear their talk. When Ruth went, I listened for her prayer. She asked for the last time most explicitly for her doll and for skates for her brothers. Her bright face looked so lovely when she whispered to me, “You know I think they’ll be here early tomorrow morning, Mama” that I thought I could move Heaven and earth to save her from disappointment. I sat down alone and gave way to the most bitter tears.
Before long James returned, chilled and exhausted. He drew off his boots. The thin stockings clipped off with them and his feet were red with cold. “I wouldn’t treat a dog that way; let alone a faithful servant,” I said. Then as I glanced up and saw the hard lines in his face and the look of despair, it flashed across me that James had let go too.
I brought him a cup of tea, feeling sick and dizzy at the very thought. He took my hand and we sat for an hour without a word. I wanted to die and meet God and tell Him His promise wasn’t true–my soul was so full of rebellious despair.
There came a sound of bells, a quick step and a loud knock at the door. James sprang to open it. There stood Deacon White. “A box came by express just before dark. I brought it around as soon as I could get away. Reckoned it might be for Christmas. ‘At any rate’ I said, ‘they shall have it tonight.’ Here is a turkey my wife asked me to fetch along and these other things I believe belong to you.”
There were a basket of potatoes, and a bag of flour. Talking all the time, he hurried in the box and then with a hearty good night, he rode away.
Still without speaking, James found a chisel and opened the box. He drew out first a thick red blanket and we saw that beneath it, the box was full of clothing. It seemed at that moment as if Christ fastened upon me a look of reproach. James sat down and covered his face with his hands. “I can’t touch them,” he explained. “I haven’t been true, just when God was trying me to see if I could hold out. Do you think I could not see how you were suffering? And I had no word of comfort to offer. I know now how to preach the awfulness of turning away from God.”
“James,” I said, clinging to him, “don’t take it to heart like this. I am to blame. I ought to have helped you. We will ask Him together to forgive us.” We poured out words of praise–Bible words, for nothing else could express our thanksgiving. It was eleven o’ clock; the fire was low and there was the great box with nothing touched but the warm blanket we needed. We piled on some fresh logs, lighted two candles and began to examine our treasures.
We drew out an overcoat. I made James try it on–just the right size–and I danced around him, for all my lightheartedness had returned. There was a cloak and he insisted on seeing me in it. My spirits always infected him and we both laughed like foolish children.
There was a warm suit of clothes also and three pairs of woolen hose. There were a dress for me and yards of flannel, a pair of arctic overshoes for each of us and in mine a slip of paper. I have it now and mean to hand it down to my children. It was Jacob’s blessing to Asher: “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days so shall thy strength be.”
In the gloves, evidently for James, the same dear hand had written: “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” It was a wonderful box and packed with thoughtful care. There were a suit of clothes for each of the boys and a little red gown for Ruth. There were mittens, scarf, and hood, and down in the center–a box. We opened it and there was a great wax doll!! I burst into tears again and James wept with me for joy. It was too much! And then we both exclaimed again, for close behind it came two pairs of skates. There were books for us to read–some of them I had wished to see–stories for the children to read, aprons and underclothing, knots of ribbon, a gay little tidy, a lovely photograph, needles, buttons, and thread, a muff, and an envelope containing a ten dollar gold piece.
At last we cried over everything we took up. It was past midnight and we were faint and exhausted even with happiness. I made a cup of tea, cut a fresh loaf of bread and James boiled some eggs. We drew up the table before the fire. How we enjoyed our supper! And then we sat talking over our life and how sure a help God always proved.
You should have seen the children the next morning! The boys raised a shout at the sight of their skates–Ruth caught up her doll and hugged it tightly without a word; then she went into her room and knelt by her bed. When she came back she whispered to me, “I knew it would be here Mama, but I wanted to thank God just the same, you know.”
“Look here, Wife, see the difference!” We went to the window and there were the boys out of the house already and skating on the crust with all their might. My husband and I both tried to return thanks to the church in the East that sent us the box–and have tried to return thanks unto God every day since.
Hard times have come again and again, but we have trusted in Him–dreading nothing so much as a doubt of His protecting care. “They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”
Reprinted by permission from Lizzie at A Dusty Frame. She typed it up from a very old book, The Sword Book of Treasures by Dr. John R. Rice, published in 1946 gem.
All our thoughts, words, and acts are seeds. They have in them a quality which makes them grow where they fall, reproducing themselves. This is true of the good we do. The mother’s teachings enter the mind and heart of her child as mere germs; but they reappear in the life of the son or daughter, in later years, in strength and beauty, in nobleness of character, and in usefulness of life. Not only is this strange power in the mother’s words; her acts, her habits, her tones of voice, the influences that go forth from her life, are also seeds, having in them a vital principle. Where they lodge, they grow.
You never can lose your mother. She may die, and her body may be borne out of your sight, and laid away in God’s acre. You will see her face and hear her voice no more; no more will her hand scatter the good seeds of truth and love upon your life’s garden. But you have not lost her. Your mind and heart are full of the seeds which fell from her hand along the years. These you never can lose. No hand of death can root them out of your life. They have grown into the very tissues of your character. They reappear in your habits, your dispositions, your feelings and opinions, your modes of thought, your very phrases and forms of speech. You never can lose your mother; the threads of her life are woven inextricably into your life.
The Seeds We Scatter
I had the great privilege to see my daughter, Emily, lead worship Sunday morning with her good friend Chelsea. It was a joy to see the girls as they gave their attention and adoration to the Lord.
Music fills our home. Someone’s usually singing; Michael, Emily, and Amy are all learning to play guitar; Emily is learning to play piano. There’s just a lot of making a joyful noise in our house. Along with all the talk and noise that kids make, I call it the sountrack of our lives.
Last week we watched the musical, Annie Oakley. That set off a whole new set of songs. Here’s one of the kids’ favorites. I hope you enjoy it!
I know we’re all busy with Christmas preparations and celebrating. I invite you to take a break, grab a cup of eggnog or hot tea and spend a few minutes reading my Christmas writings. I have two blogs, Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage and Harvest Lane Cottage. I have Christmas writings on each of them. The links to the Christmas writings are below. Happy Christmas Friends!
Enjoy your Christmas preparations!
Happy and Blessed to Be at Home with Family
I saw this quote on a sign from The Country House.
“Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect. It means you decide to see beyond the imperfections.”
How true is that? I’m absolutely amazed at how happy I am overall in spite of our circumstances. I guess I’m reaching a level of contentment day by day. Some days are better than others, of course. My ideal is certainly to pay all the bills on time and even to get out of debt. I’ve grown to hate debt with a passion. Getting a call from a bill collector who hasn’t read the notes about how long your husband has been out of work can be discouraging. Lowell and I have been listening to Dave Ramsey, a Christian financial advisor. He says to take care of house, utilities, food and transportation first. He is so right. A few years ago, we didn’t pay bills in that order. We were worried about credit and really messed up things. We’re going to get it right this time.
God has been good to us. We are living day to day, depending on the Lord, instead of paycheck to paycheck like most people. I actually think it’s been good for our faith. It’s been sobering. I don’t think that we’ll ever view money and things in quite the same way again. I know that this is temporary. I thank God that we live in a country of many opportunities.
God bless you all as He has blessed us and more,
Happy When Everything’s not Perfect
God has been so good to bring such good Christian friends into my life. I’m so blessed to have friends that I can be completely open and honest with. I can share my heart, the joys, the fears, the frustrations, the victories, the hopes and dreams. They can do the same.
NO HUSBAND BASHING allowed! Usually, we’re talking about the ways that we are trying to change, praying to change, and changing. We talk about loving and submission, teaching and disciplining kids, recipes and what is working for us around the house.
WE PRAY TOGETHER…for our families, ourselves, those that we know that are suffering in some way or in need, for healing, for the body of Christ, for others’ salvation, for our country’s leaders and our country itself.
Thank You God for my good friends!
Blessed Among Women in my Own Generation