If I Could Have Just a Little More Free Time…

This Christmas trip “there and back again” (home, that is) was similar to the past several trips home in this particular way–I went away with some books. I can’t help it! When I was younger, the family room held its appeal largely because of the T.V. But as I’ve grown, the T.V. has faded in importance (though I still love me a good Bleak House movie marathon), and the gem of a library in the family room has become more and more precious. It’s a well-hidden treasure, folks. Admittedly, I have a stockpile of books, which belong to that library, taking up residence in my PA room. I need to start bringing them back soon. I hereby declare, here and now, that I will return at least one book during my next trip home. I promise, Mom and Dad!

The book that gripped me this time was The Prayers of Susanna Wesley. She is the mother of John and Charles Wesley. It is clear her rich faith led the way for her sons. This prayer has been particularly on my mind since I read it. It has to do with busyness, which has been my companion during graduate school life. Though I anticipate the busyness will ease a little after school, it will still be there, for work and toil accompanies life in this world. So Susanna, take it away:

(c) Epworth Old Rectory; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

O God, I find it most difficult to preserve a devout and serious temper of mind in the midst of much worldly business. Were I permitted to choose a state of life, or positively to ask of Thee anything in this world, I would humbly choose and beg that I might be placed in such a station wherein I might have daily bread with moderate care and that I might have more leisure to retire from the world without injuring those dependent upon me. 

Yet I do not know whether such a state of life would really be the best for me; nor am I assured that if I had more leisure I should be more zealously devoted to Thee and serve Thee better than now. Therefore, O Lord, show me that it is undoubtedly best to keep my mind in habitual submission and resignation to Thee, who art infinitely, incomprehensibly wise and good; who canst-not possibly err, but dost certainly know what is best for Thy children, and how and where to fix the bounds of their habitation; who has given to us Thy word, that all things shall work together for good to those that love Thee. May that word support and calm my mind in all adverse or uneasy circumstances of life. Enable me to take courage and to suffer not my mind to faint or grow weary, knowing that Thou, my God, art no hard master, and though it may seem best to Thine infinite wisdom to determine me to such a station as will necessarily involve me in much business and thus daily exercise my faith and patience, yet enable me to rest in the assurance that all things shall at last have a happy issue, if my heart be but sincerely devoted to Thee. Amen. 

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12 thoughts on “If I Could Have Just a Little More Free Time…

  1. This is so amazing…to hear her honest ambivalence about wanting leisure time to be more devoted to God and then realizing as she is writing that this might not be best for her.

    I learned that she was the 25th of 25 children her parents had and she gave birth to 19 children of her own. Nine of them died in childhood. One was accidentally smothered by a maid. Her biography would be fascinating.

    What a great influence she had on her family. We know most about Charles and John but it would be interesting to know what happened with the others. Thank you for sharing in the midst of this busy season in your life!

    1. You’re so right mom! It’s a gift to be let in on her thought process as she writes about her desires and then realizing they may be in conflict with what God’s up to. Thanks for the information about her life! I think I get my interest in biographies from you!! Maybe we should get a book about her and have a lil’ discussion. 🙂

    1. Yes, the more I read her works, I see Susanna is concerned a lot with the idea of faithfulness in the “little things.” That our daily walking with the Lord is just as, if not more, important to him than any mountain-top moments. I’m sure her days were filled with a lot of seeming trivialities (with 19 children, how could it not be full??), but she persevered in belief that God clung to her each and every second of the day.

  2. My favorite line of yours: “It has to do with busyness, which has been my companion during graduate school life.” Your personification of busyness caught me off guard – – and I liked it.

    My favorite line of hers: “Yet I do not know whether such a state of life would really be the best for me; nor am I assured that if I had more leisure I should be more zealously devoted to Thee and serve Thee better than now.” It’s so true that we’re constantly coming up with excuses for not being devoted God whether it’s “I’m too busy” or “my time is too unstructured” or a million other reasons. I love that she prays for a heart sincerely devoted to God despite circumstance.

    Great words from both women of God! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Mmm, thanks Laur. That line you pointed out is also my favorite! Lately, I have really just started to believe that although an hour alone with God can be so fruitful, that a frenzied 5 hours of work and dependence on Him can unify me with the Lord just as much. Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful words!

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