Called the “Mother of Methodism,” Susanna Wesley is famed for being the mother of Methodist Church founders John and Charles Wesley. But she gave birth to twenty-two children in all, many of whom died as infants. For those children who lived, she determined to spend individual time with each throughout the week, and she dedicated herself to their spiritual and scholastic education – even the girls.
What a woman! I’ve often wondered how she maintained an attitude of such selflessness, day in and day out. But I recently read that, as a young mother, she determined to spend as much time with the Lord as she did with entertainment: for her, that meant two hours a day in prayer and Bible study.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. – Matthew 6:6
With such a houseful, Susanna must have found it difficult to retreat to a quiet place for her devotions, or even just a private moment with the Lord. So, she created her own space by flipping her apron over her head. When she was under that little tent, even her youngest children knew not to disturb their mother, for she was communing with God.
I only have three (may I say, rather wonderful) children, but I can empathize with Susanna. Even such a godly woman as she must have occasionally felt tired, overwhelmed, irritable, hormonal, or all four at once – or she wouldn’t have needed to retreat under her apron. But instead of releasing her negative emotions, she turned inward, to the Holy Spirit. She must have found, as I have, that he has a way of tenderly transforming all that angst into peace and patience.
The key is to retreat under one’s apron before frustration and anger spill over. Sometimes, my “apron space” is my master bathroom, and it’s there that I go for a few deep breaths and silent prayers when I feel my mercury rising. Unfortunately, as my family could tell you, I do not always make it there in time.
Thank God, I am his work in progress.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6
Do you have an “apron space?” I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.