Today on Scripture Dig I have the pleasure of kicking off our November theme on Gratitude. After a focus on salvation and the Church, giving thanks seems natural. The collision of October and November stirs up several significant dates in the story of the Body of Christ. I hope you'll check out the reason why "History reminds us to give thanks."
A lot of people today feel discouraged they don't have much of a legacy to follow when it comes to examples of loving, godly marriages. But many Christians who "walked the aisle" before us carved out a legacy of love we can claim as our own. Don't have a glorious marriage history in your family albums? Let me introduce you to your Uncle Ed and Aunt Sarah.
He was actually a melancholy sort of a guy, but she matched his intensity with her bright and light hearted ways. They fell in love when they were teenagers; she was just 13. He grew into a strict young man, and she developed into a carefree woman some described as "extravagant." When they were married in the summer, she was just 17 and wore a green dress. They set good habits as a young couple, having devotions together at night. He found a position as a pastor in New England, and every day she sat and listened while he read his latest writing to her. It wasn't all work for the two lovers; they enjoyed horseback rides together in the woods. They ultimately welcomed children into their home, where their serious father set aside an hour each day to focus on his children, making one on one time for each of the 11 children. This was the love affair and shared life of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards.
Many know about Jonathan's writing, his sermons like the classic "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," his influence on missions, and his part in the First Great Awakening. But we don't often hear about his Sarah and how the carefree woman inspired and helped him. A contemporary preacher, George Whitefield, said this about Sarah: "Mrs. Edwards is adorned with a meek, quiet spirit; she talked solidly of the things of God, and seemed to be such a helpmeet for her husband, that she caused me to renew those prayers, that I have put up to God, (for) a wife."*
This is not the picture of a stiff, passionless, Puritan lady who was bound in marriage by duty. Instead, this is the portrait of a joy filled woman who had her own walk with God, approached all of life passionately, delighted in her husband and children, and was at ease in her own skin "as a woman." It's no wonder that the marriage of Jonathan and Sarah produced 80 college presidents/professors/deans, 100 lawyers, 66 doctors, 80 political leaders, 3 senators, 3 governors, and many missionaries and pastors out of their descendants.
1 Peter 3:3-6
Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
What a legacy for us as wives who first have our own walks with God and live out the overflow in our homes. Abraham's Sarah was "ancient" when Sarah Pierrepont was a 13 yr old girl, singing and walking alone through the fields, seeming to "have someone invisible always conversing with her," but the same attitude was passed on. That's a beautiful page in our spiritual family album, and we have a great opportunity to add to the heritage.
What will you do today to add to the heritage of godly wives?
*Some information and quotes are from On This Day by Robert J. Morgan.