Bloom in Your Winter Season

Bloom in Your Winter Season

 

In this episode of Heart of the Matter Radio/Podcast, Author Deborah Malone discusses who to Bloom in Your Winter Season.

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Cynthia:

Queen Elizabeth II was a believer. And when she was a young girl, she promised the nation that she would work for them and be a faithful queen her entire life. She was very fond of Billy Graham, which really upset the Britons because he was an Anglican and she was supposed to be head of the Anglican church, but she was a true believer and she really wanted to give her life to the and she did the best she could her entire life.  There are people who believe that are close to the royal family that she actually died of myeloma, which is a bone disease and it causes a lot of pain in the bones and you start losing weight and you start being able to get around, which we saw that happening to her.  And then at the very end of her life, like the day before she died, she was welcoming in her new prime minister with a smile.

Of course, by that time, you could tell from looking at her that she had lost a lot of weight. And then the next morning she was dead. So she was an example of someone who, despite illness, was continuing to look out for other people and to be concerned for everyone else except herself. And what a good example.

 Today I have with me  Debbie Malone and she has just put out a book that’s a compilation of people who describe how you can do the same thing that is to bloom in your winter season and that is the name of her book. So Debbie, welcome. Thank you.  Tell me what put this on your mind.

Deborah:

That’s an interesting question because I don’t know exactly the minute that it happened, but,  I do remember After my last Bible study that I was interested in doing another Bible study and a friend of mine and I came up with the idea of having a blog for women in their winter season.

 

And I think the book kind of morphed out of the idea for the blog.  And then the compilation. I am so excited about that. There’s 23 other authors, and it’s something that I had always wanted to do, and I was able to do it with this book. And so it’s like a dream come true. So I’ve really been excited about that.

 

But I just feel there’s such a need for women our age in their winter season that we’re not through. God has not stamped an expiration date on our forehead.

Cynthia:

That is very true for Queen Elizabeth. The second she was determined to keep going as long as she could and, , died very quickly, even though she was probably very ill.

What kind of things have you learned about aging well?

Deborah:

Well, I can’t say I’ve aged real well. I’ve probably come to the aging process,  fighting and kicking and  but I think I’ve gotten better. And, you know, I think that’s normal. I think that’s normal for us to, I remember looking in the mirror and thinking, wait a minute, that’s not my bum. I don’t have a bum.

 

We’re going to have changes. Our bodies are going to change. We’re going to have physical changes. So I think there’s a grieving period even for that loss of youth. But I have learned that there’s so many other things that you can do, that you can acclimate, that you can learn. To do it other ways and to do other things.

 

And I think that, and the fact that studying these women from the Bible, just for example, Anna and Miriam and Naomi, that  God uses us throughout our life, not just when we’re young.

Cynthia:

That is a really good point  you may feel like that at a certain point you’re through being a  mother. Or your husband passes away and you feel like , it’s all over with, but God continues to use us and he continues to work in your life.

And that’s a really good point that, he’s not done with you till he’s done with you.  We need to keep, keep going.  So how did you deal with perhaps some of the grief that you faced as you aged?

Deborah:

I have had a lot of changes physically.  I have a knee replacement.  I’m wearing glasses. I actually have hearing aids  and  all those changes,  cause emotions  to well up.,   there’s so many things I’d like to do.  But I’ve taken that. I have found other things to do with that grief and to fill that area of things that I can’t do. Just for instance, like using Zoom,. This is something that I’m doing a lot more of. I’m doing a lot of online things since I can’t study.

Even,  in our physical stages where there’s not a lot we can do, there’s things we can pray. Anna prayed and fasted.  We can send cards. We can have a card ministry. I have a friend that sends out text every day to her friends, and I look forward to that text. Just getting that little text, you know, it’s usually just a meme or something.

 

So I think that’s kind of how I dealt with it, just finding other things, other ways to live life.

Cynthia:

And with technology, there is so much more that we can do now than we could in the past.   I can have a zoom call with somebody in California, as well as somebody in New York or Pennsylvania all at the same time.

And I can be influencing people’s lives like we couldn’t do it in the past  traveling and all that. And you can, you can still do it.

 

Deborah:

With my Bible studies, I’m taking them online. And it’s been wonderful because I can meet women from all over  the United States and international, you know, through my Bible studies.

 

Something that you couldn’t do if you were just doing a local Bible study.

Cynthia:

You couldn’t. And you can have prayer groups. I’m in a writer’s group that we do a regular prayer group together and encourage each other. And we’re all over the country and yet we are just as close as if we’re in the same town.

Yeah.  So that’s very encouraging.  God’s not done with you and, and so you need to keep living to the fullest as long as you can. What about the ministry of prayer?  What do you think? How do you think that can still continue?

 

Deborah:

One thing  that I’ve been doing lately that has really helped me and that is to journal my prayers and write out my prayers.

 

And that has just made a big difference in my prayer life.  And there’s so many people that need prayer.  And I think there’s such a ministry for it. And of course, you know, Anna always comes to mind when we think of prayer life. And how,  she prayed every day and fasted every day and I may not fast every day, but,  we, we can pray.

And  so I think it plays a big part in our life, especially when there’s other things that have been taken away from us that we can’t. do physically.  Prayer is always there.

Cynthia:

In my mother’s last illness, she used to tell me that she would wake up in the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. And so she would lie there and pray for me.

And that really meant a lot.

Do you have any other thoughts before we close?

Deborah:

Just keep on keeping on.  You know, I like, Babbie Mason is the one that I first heard say that, that God did not stamp an expiration date on her head, and of course I love Babbie, and all I have to do is look around and see the ladies.

 

That are in their winter season that are just dynamic. And of course we can’t all necessarily do that. We can’t all travel. And we can’t all be,  going around the country. But there are things we can do. And they are such an inspiration to us. And just remember that. There is no expiration date. And through the Bible, through this Bible study, we cover 12 women in their winter season that God used mightily.

 

Amen. And go look those women up. Go look some women up in the Bible and study them and see how that they were still used, even in their winter season.

Cynthia:

Yep. I like that because we need to keep going until the Lord takes us home. You can find Bloom in Your Winter Season on Amazon.

 

“What Is Faith?” she Asked

“What Is Faith?” she Asked

As a girl, Julia Dent (later Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant) sat with her mother during a sermon. The minister expounded at length on the importance of faith. He proclaimed if one had faith, he could move mountains or walk on water. The pastor’s persistence convinced Julia.

Soon afterward, Julia and her younger sister Nellie wandered the fields around her house collecting flowers and butterflies. They spotted a clematis blooming on the other side of their creek and longed for a sprig. However, the water from recent rains had swelled the stream and covered their usual
stepping stones. The dancing waves seemed to laugh at Julia as she wondered how to cross.

Suddenly, she remembered the sermon. “If we have faith, we can walk on the water.”

“What is faith?” Nell frowned.

“Simply believe you can.” Julia chose the smoothest part of the stream and got a running start just in case. However, she sank into the water up to her armpits. Nell tried another spot, but she went under too.

Julia had to rescue Nell. Their clothes, flowers, and butterflies got drenched.

The girls confused spiritual realities with physical. God acts in the spiritual realm when we have faith. For instance, when Abraham had faith, the Lord counted that as righteousness. Further, as believers walking by faith, we can avoid sin and exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. When you consider we were born with a sinful nature, that’s like moving mountains.

“Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Heb. 11:6
Choose to keep walking by faith and pleasing the Lord.

Welcoming April 2024

Welcoming April 2024

Holy Father, as we watch the leaves budding with the onset of spring, fill our hearts with your praises. Your creation radiates your power, glory, and wisdom, and we stand in awe of your majesty. Teach us, Lord, to humble ourselves before you. Keep us focused on our eternal home, which will be grander still than the beauty we see around us… In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

CLICK HERE for your monthly encouragement so you can download the April 2024 Calendar Challenge.

Uncovering Women’s History: The Story of Katie Luther

Uncovering Women’s History: The Story of Katie Luther

In this episode, we learn a snippet about Katrina Von Bora, a woman from the 1500s. She married Martin Luther, the reformer. She displayed incredible qualities for a woman of her time.

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Cynthia:

It’s Women’s History Month, so this is a great time to find out about women from the past.

Today I’m going to tell you a couple of short things about a lady that lived in the Fifteen Hundreds.

Her name was Katrina von Bora, and she was trained to be a nun because her father was royalty. When his first wife died, he put her in a convent.

Well, she became the wife of Martin Luther, the reformer. At that time, during the reformation, they didn’t pay pastors. She had to figure out how they were going to make a living. And so because they were placed in the black cloister, which was the monastery, she looked at all those empty rooms and created a boarding house. That’s how they earned money

Cynthia:

Well, she had to feed the people in boarding house. She started a farm, in fact, a couple of farms, and had livestock and vegetables. Plus she made beer and sold it in the town square. Now, Luther preferred wine, but he would drink her beer and he liked it. If someone came to her door and was needy and vagrant and sick, she would take them in and feed them till they got well and then hire them. What an excellent businesswoman. In fact, if you’ve heard of table talk, she’s the one that started that, because after dinner, in the evenings, when the men had finished eating with students, they would sit around and ask Luther questions and then write down his answers, and they later published them.

Katie is a great example for proverbs 31 woman. Her work made Luther so successful that when he died, he was the wealthiest man in the province, even more so than the duke.

A great example for all of us ladies who want to be a proverb 31 woman.

When Children Stray: A Mother’s Journey Then and Now

When Children Stray: A Mother’s Journey Then and Now

In this riveting podcast, Cynthia explores the problem of the wayward child. As Cynthia opened the interview, she related the story of Susannah Wesley and her prodigal child. Afterward, she asked her guest, Deborah Crawford to share the struggles she faced when her daughter made poor choices. The ladies discussed the gut-wrenching pain of letting go and trusting God. Join Cynthia and Deborah as they shared how they found hope in the middle of pain.

Listen here

Cynthia:

We all know about Susanna Wesley. She is known for how she spent an hour a day with each child and taught them and taught them the word.

 

Cynthia:

Of course, we know that her sons, Charles and Wesley, started the Methodist church. They didn’t do it deliberately, but they did it because they were ridiculed for using order and method like their mom taught them. But they decided eventually, when they were excluded from the Church of England, that they would form their own church. We may not know, however, that Susannah Wesley had her own prodigal.

 

Cynthia:

Her name was Hetty, and Hetty was a scholar. She did very well in her mother’s classroom.

 

Cynthia:

She was very, very smart. And she went to be a governess to a wealthy family. And when she was there, she met a man named Mr. Atkins, who was a lawyer, and she fell in love. But her father disapproved of the match and would not let them get married. So Mr. Atkins said, well, let’s elope.

 

Cynthia:

Mr. Adkins took her to London, and then he told her that he had no intention of marrying her. So she went back to her father, embarrassed and pregnant. Now, this was years ago, and this was something that was not done in that time period. You did not disobey your father. You did not leave without your father’s permission. You did not marry without his permission. So she was a prodigal, and her father declared that she was lost to him. He actually used those words, she is lost to me.

 

Cynthia:

He found a plumber to marry her, but the plumber eventually became an alcoholic. Hetty lived a very difficult life because he would beat her and that sort of thing. But her father was so angry at what she had done that he would not help her and he would not guide her, and he would not provide for her. Her brothers did, but her father would not. So having prodigals is nothing new. And it is no reflection on the type of parenting that you do, because we all know that Susanna Wesley spent an hour a day with each child teaching them. What do we do with our prodigals? That was then and this is now. Well, my guest today is Deborah Crawford, and she sort of has a ministry to those who have prodigals, and I’m going to let her tell her story.

 

Cynthia:

Welcome, Deborah.

 

Deborah:

Thank you, Cynthia. And, wow, you just taught me a lot about Susanna that I didn’t know. Wow. And I feel like I’m in great company. I’ll start my story with a bible verse from Jeremiah, for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper, you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a know. That’s an overused verse for a lot of seniors graduating from high school. And my daughter happened to be a senior.

 

Deborah:

But I felt God nudging me with that verse for her. And I was elated. I was, oh, yes, this is great. She goes off to college her sophomore year. She meets a guy, sounds very similar. She gave herself to him, and he started controlling her life. He pulled her away from family and friends. She willingly did that.

 

Deborah:

And our relationship started to deteriorate rapidly. I tried, because I’m a fixer, tried to fix her, tried to fix the situation. I was in excruciating pain because I just thought my life had been so good up until then, and I was just not using a thoughtful process. I was just angry, anxious. So I spoke to her out of those words, and she did the same for me. We always argued, but thankfully, her father kept a calm demeanor and kept the lines of communication open that helped over the course of time. But as this was going on, I started to cry out to God and say, well, you just told me all this stuff from the scripture. I thought it was going to be good.

 

Deborah:

What is going on, God? Because none of this looks like good plans. I didn’t hear anything, but I got real distressed. My heart was breaking. It was bad. At home, we were just all distressed. And all of my anxiety started to spill over. At work, I had some great Christian friends, and they started to see all my angst and they would pull me aside and they’d pray for me. They’d read scripture verses to me.

 

Deborah:

And quite a number of them did that. And they continued till it really started filling up my heart. And I started to get a lot of comfort for that. So I went back and revisited that little verse. It’s a whole chapter because it’s all about the Israelites who were captured and taken to Babylon and Jeremiah speaking to them for God. But I felt as I read more of those verses, I realized that God was speaking to me, to seek him with my whole heart, to pray to him, to trust him with my daughter because she was his child, too. And I began to understand as I read more of it that she was captivated by the ways of the world. But God wanted her home just like I did.

 

Deborah:

I continued to get more inspiration from my friends. So I quit looking inward because I was having a pity party a lot.  And I started noticing around me, and there were a lot of mothers hurting, a lot of mothers with children making poor choices, sex, drugs, alcohol, whatever. And I realized I had a group of friends that helped me. And now I wanted to, in turn, help others with everything that I had been taught up to that point and that I was continuing to learn. So I decided to start a support group right there at work. And I knew God was in the details because I found myself in my room at home while I was thinking about all this.

Deborah:

And I envisioned myself with a black band around my arm. And on it were the letters MP. I immediately thought of military police guards, law enforcement, watchmen on the wall, intercessors. I thought, wow, that’s kind of cool. But then I saw the letters MP. Mothers, prodigals. Like, wow. Okay.

Deborah:

So I knew we all loved our prodigals. We wanted them home. We were all praying for them. So I named it mothers for prodigals. So my journey began to uplift them. Hurting mothers, praying for their children with the compassionate comfort of Jesus Christ and his words to us. So scripture and prayer became a big part of our group. We met weekly before work, and as that progressed, I began sending out encouraging emails to my friends and one of them said, why don’t you start a blog? I didn’t know anything about a blog.

 

Deborah:

I wasn’t even really considered a writer. I just enjoyed encouraging people. Didn’t know how to do a blog. So one of my friend’s son was a graphic designer, so he helped create it for me. And we needed a themed verse for our blog. So one day, group of us were meeting after school, It was amazing. So I know God was in these details because none of us had really studied this verse, but it all came to us and I’m going to read it. It’s from Isaiah 43 and it says, do not be afraid, for I am with you.

 

Deborah:

I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say, to the north, give them up, and to the south, don’t hold them back. Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth. Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. Oh my goodness. It was amazing, the peace we felt with that, because we knew God loved our children more than we loved them. We put that on the blog. I started sending out blog posts.

 

Deborah:

We still met together and we waited because what else can you do? We weren’t seeing anything happen. And I really learned to hate that four letter word wait because I wasn’t seeing any fruit but the Bible verses and God were what were filling us up in our waving. So we came upon Ephesians six. We studied the armor of God, and we suited up and decided, we’re going to fight for these kids, and we are going to fight hard with God’s words. He gave me the courage and the comfort in his strength to fight that unseen enemy. Because he had told me, this is a spiritual battle. Instead of fighting with my daughter, I looked beyond her, and I fought the enemy of God. With God by my side.

 

Deborah:

Satan, who is our enemy, is the one who’s stealing our children, God’s children, and God wants them back. So I was more than happy to join him in that fight. While we were waiting, also discovered in scripture from Luke 15, parable of the lost son. Jesus told that story to his followers. A man had two sons, and one of them asked for his inheritance. He asked it before his father died. He asked it to his father’s face. So I can’t imagine how that had to have hurt.

Deborah:

It was like he was dismissing his father. I want what you have. I don’t want you. His father gave it to him. And I’m sure, as I pictured this, I see the father walking, his son, walking away, and he doesn’t know where he’s going. He doesn’t know what’s happening. And that was before we had cell phones. He couldn’t even call him.

Deborah:

So there he is, gone. But we know as we go ahead and read that story that the father had waited expectantly. So I can just see him standing at the fence of their yard, looking, waiting. Because the story goes on to say that when the son came to his senses, he decided to come home. But the father saw him from far off, and he ran to him. So, you know, this father was waiting with open arms of forgiveness and love to welcome his son back home. So I decided, that’s what I’m going to do in my situation. So we got deeper into this stuff.

Deborah:

We’re praying women. We decided we’ve got to have a mission statement. So we created this statement together, and it says, we are a group of mothers who humbly, yet boldly, go before the throne of God, placing our children in his care, wearing the armor of God, and taking up the sword of the spirit. We persevere in our belief that God’s promises will be fulfilled in their lives. And over time, believe it or not, we started to see some of these promises fulfilled. I had friends sent me letters of things that were happening. Their kids were talking to them. They were returning to them, healing was beginning, and we all would just give God all the praise and glory.

Deborah:

But yet I was sitting there going, when is this going to happen for me? We’re so human. But I wanted to rejoice with the others. So I look back and we endured a little over five years, every day, throughout every holiday of just distress. Until one Christmas, my daughter gifted her brother and her sister in law and her father and me with these long letters. She gave us each a gift and we all opened them and we were all reading our letters and crying. She poured out her heart to each of us and apologized. She had broken up with her boyfriend. She’d come to her senses.

Deborah:

And, man, our arms were open. We were loving, we were hugging, we were crying, we were laughing, we were crying again. And the icing on top of that Christmas was that my son and daughter-in- law gave us a gift with a positive pregnancy test and a baby. Our first grandchild was soon to be on the way. So God was so good.

Cynthia:

Now, what steps did you take with your daughter while you were praying? Did you try to keep in touch? Did you stop talking? How did you interact with her?

Deborah:

We would stay in touch, usually every day, but it always ended in arguments because she didn’t come around very much. We tried to welcome her and welcome him there. I ended up letting her call me because she was at a place where she didn’t want to hear me. And I wasn’t doing it properly until I began to take in all these scriptures. So we just kind of wrote it out. We communicated as little as possible at times, and then as much as possible at times. But it always ended in arguments.

Cynthia:

Did you ever feel like a terrible mother?

Deborah:

Yes, completely. And I acted like one. I did act like one for a while because I was so overcome with hurt and anger. That’s what she remembers, which is, that’s what’s sad to me because that’s what she remembers. And to be honest with you, we have not sat down and talked each other’s stories. But I do feel like through all this, God was trying to teach me something. And he did. He was teaching me to listen more, love more, talk less, because, like I said, I’m a fixer, and that’s all I was trying to do, was just make things like they used to be when God had a purpose in all this, to teach her something and teach me something.

Deborah:

As the years went by, and it’s just happened recently, many, because this was all 20 years ago. The consequences of a lot her choices she has had to deal with and I’ve kind of had to deal with them, too. But we’ve approached them differently. She comes to me. We’ve prayed together. She is a strong Christian. Now, when people, children make choices, the consequences end up hurting, sometimes more than the beginning. And she’s dealt with a lot of consequences, but she’s learned from it.

Deborah:

She’s using it, and she actually is using it to help others. That season, I look back at it and I call it my bittersweet season because it was so bitter, it hurts so bad. And I know every mother who deals with prodigals knows how bad it. In fact, when someone comes up to me and talks to me about a child like that, I just want to cry with them because I can immediately have tears because it hurts so bad. But I drew so close to God. He drew so close to me. It was so sweet. I don’t know if I’d want to do it again, but I learned so much, and it was just a sweet time with him.

Deborah:

He covered me with lots of mercy and grace.

Cynthia:

This is very difficult for moms because there comes a point in which moms have to let go of control and you have to let the kids do what they’re going to do. And that is gut wrenchingly hard. And you wish you didn’t have to, and you wish you could shield them from the consequences, but yet you’ve got to let them feel it and you just don’t want to do it. So what advice would you give? What would you say to moms who are struggling right now?

Deborah:

I ditto what you said. It feels like it’s happening so much because I think society is warping our children and they’re so caught up by that. I feel like pray from the get go. When you have your children, definitely as soon as you have them. Pray for them every day. Like you said, we can’t fight what they’re going to do. We can’t change it. We’ve got to trust God.

Deborah:

Go to him in prayer and find somebody that will listen to you. Because just to have a mother standing beside you who’s going through the same thing, you just feel so not so good because you’re both hurting. But gosh, you go, I’m not the only one. I’m not the only one this is happening to. Others are happening and we can support each other, but I just say, don’t fight with them. Don’t even run after. When you think about Luke 15, the father didn’t run after that son. He let him go.

Deborah:

And it’s like you said, we can’t control him. And I’m a fixer, so I wanted to grab it all back and make it like it was. But God’s got a plan for everything. And I really think when I go back to the beginning for the plans I have for you or for good, there may be something God’s got to work on us, and we’ve got to be willing to let him work on our children and work on us. So I just say, get in the word and stay in it every day, because that’s the only place where there’s any solace from all that bitterness. Like you and I both said, we got to let them go. We can’t shield them. We can’t change it and just trust that God’s got them in the palm of his hand.

Cynthia:

I have a prodigal, too, and I felt like my life had been flushed down the toilet. I thought that I was going to be able to home school my kids and keep them in a totally different world and educate them so well that when they got out there, they would see better and not do it. But that’s not what happened, and it just about killed me. So I know the feeling, but I know that God is there, and it helps me better understand who he is because he watches us every day, do things that he doesn’t want us to do. And it gives a little bit of a picture of what the father endures and how much he loves.

Deborah:

Completely, completely. That’s exactly right. The father in Luke, in that parable, really replicates our heavenly Father, and he waits for all of us to come home.

Cynthia:

Thank you, Deborah, for being with us. I truly appreciate you sharing your heart.

 

You Want A What?

You Want A What?

Michael Reagan said he owes his place in the Reagan family to his sister, Maureen. His parents, Ronald
and Jane Reagan didn’t plan on having any more children. The doctor had cautioned Jane about giving
birth again. However, one day the family shopped in a drug store.

Three-year-old Mareen marched to the pharmacy counter.
“How can I help you?” the pharmacist asked.

Maureen and opened her pretty pink purse. After she slapped down all her money, ninety-seven cents,
she announced. “I want a brother.”

Her actions shocked her both parents. But later Ronald and his wife decided to adopt. As a result, a baby
arrived at their home, and they named him Michael.

The family hired a nurse to help Jane care for Michael. When Maureen saw the nurse, she ran upstairs
to her piggy bank. She dumped all her coins into the nurse’s hand.

“What is this for” the nurse asked.
“She wants to share in the cost. Please accept her money,” Mr. Reagan said.

Ninety-seven cents may not seem much to us, but Maureen gave all the money she had. Her baby
brother was priceless.

Priceless.
That’s exactly how God sees us. He was willing to give his Son to pay for our sins. As a result, we are part
of His family.

On Easter, we celebrate his resurrection, and we can be assured we will live forever with him.
“But God demonstrated his love for us. When we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Welcoming March 2024…

Welcoming March 2024…

Oh, Holy Father, we are humbled by your steadfast, sacrificial love. How can we ever sing your praises enough? As we celebrate the death and resurrection of your Son, keep us close to your heart and mindful of how much we need you. Purify our thoughts and actions so we may live worthy of your grace… In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

CLICK HERE for your monthly encouragement so you can download the March 2024 Calendar Challenge.

President’s Day: John Quincy Adams

President’s Day: John Quincy Adams

Cynthia

Let’s celebrate president’s Day and John Quincy Adams.

Listen here

We’re coming up on President’s Day next week. President’s day was established because we have two presidents who were born in February. Washington, who was considered the father of our country, and then Lincoln, who was very important during the Civil War. Washington was a gentleman farmer who was elected to the Continental Congress. When they began to talk about fighting, he showed up with a uniform on, volunteering to be the commander of the military. Congress asked him to do that. Of course, he became our first president. It’s also about Lincoln, who was a pioneer. He learned to chop down trees when he was eight years old.

 

Cynthia

Lincoln educated himself. Both of these people are worth remembering. But Congress decided we would just celebrate all the presidents on President’s Day. Today I have Rebecca Price Janney, and she is an award-winning author and historian. She’s going to tell us some fun stories about presidents today. Welcome.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

Thank you, Cynthia. It’s a pleasure to be here again.

 

Cynthia

Well, what story do you have for us today?

 

Rebecca Price Janney

I’ve been very interested lately in two of our more obscure presidents, and those would be Calvin Coolidge and John Quincy Adams. I came today prepared to talk about John Quincy Adams, and I’ve been reading about him and his wife in recent months. He lived one of the most fascinating lives of any of our presidents. But he lived in his father’s shadow. Of course, John Adams was our second president, and John Quincy Adams was our 6th. He was the last link to that founding generation. I think that his character was so strong that it’s worth remembering him on this president’s day.

 

Cynthia

Well, what fun stories can you tell us about him?

 

Rebecca Price Janney

John Quincy Adams entered the diplomatic arena as a teenager when John Adams was first representing the new United States in Europe. He took his son John Quincy with him.  John spoke several languages and learned how diplomacy was done in Europe. He had the training to step into the White House because of his broad expanse of knowledge of other countries as well as his own country. Furthermore, he is one of the most moral presidents that we have ever produced. Adams believed very strongly that God had a special plan for America. Most of his career people highly respected him, but they didn’t feel affection for him. Adams wasn’t a glad-handing sort of politician. He didn’t shake hands or kiss babies. John Quincy Adams was always more reserved than that.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

Sometimes people mistook that reserve for snobbery. But he preferred getting to know people one-on-one rather than large crowds. We think of a president who can ‘work a room.’ John Quincy Adams didn’t do that. However, he could work diplomacy and get laws passed. And for that reason, I think he was one of our strongest presidents. He was a man of wisdom. In 1819, he was the secretary of state. People celebrated a treaty he passed giving the United States a border to the Pacific Ocean. John Quincy Adams believed America had an important mission given to it by God.

 

Cynthia

There is a story that I have heard about his wife, Louisa, in the early part of their marriage. Before he realized his father had such a good relationship with Abigail Adams. Women were using makeup at the time, and she said something about marriage is similar to being hung. And I think that it was said in the context of her wearing makeup. However, their relationship got better later as their parents aged, and he read his father’s letters. I think he realized how valuable the wife could be.

 

Cynthia

But I thought that was an interesting little comment. I can understand how John Quincy might dislike her makeup. I don’t know if you ever heard that story.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

I have not heard that story, but I’m aware that their relationship was not always a peaceful one. However, they were very well suited to each other. While they were in the diplomatic corps, they became very close. The conditions that they endured there were just awful. There was a lot of strain on the marriage because she was required to leave some of her children at home. She had hoped they would only be gone for a very short time. It turned out to be years instead of months. In those days in Russia, after October came, travel became impossible. She was stuck there. In the end, they turned out to be a very inspiring sort of couple.

 

Cynthia

Yeah, I understand later in marriage, they did do a lot better.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

Yes.

 

Cynthia

I’ve been reading about the presidents, too, myself, so I find those stories so fascinating.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

John Quincy was involved in the first seriously contentious presidential election in our history. We look back to 2016 and 2020 and how contentious those elections were. In my memory and probably in yours, the 2000 election was also very stressful, but they weren’t unique. In the election of 1828, John Quincy was running for his second term, and he was running against Andrew Jackson. For the first time in presidential politics, it became a duel of personalities. People on both sides became vicious towards the other side and very personal. Things were said that were just slanderous and most often false. For example, for Andrew Jackson, growing up on the frontier was old, and rough. He was a military man. Feisty.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

John Quincy Adams was this urbane, well-taught, well-spoken man, the son of John Adams. They couldn’t have been more different in their personalities. Someone discovered Andrew Jackson was married to a woman who hadn’t been divorced from her first husband. Now, she thought she was. She fully believed that the divorce had been decreed. But life on the frontier did have an efficient mail service. They didn’t have instant communication like we do. And sometimes mail didn’t get through.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

Anyway, through all of that, it turned out that she hadn’t been divorced from her first husband. When the facts came to light, Rachel and Andrew Jackson made it right. They were remarried. But the opposition said Rachel Jackson was a bigamist, and Andrew Jackson was an adulterer.  Jackson’s side accused John Quincy of being a pimp when he was in Russia. Nothing could have been further from the truth, but I think you get the idea of how contentious it was. Of course, John Quincy lost the election, and he and Louisa went home to Massachusetts. They were devastated and looked forward to a quiet life.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

But on the plus side, they were going to live at home again and be at peace with their books, their farm, and their family. Except that duty called once again when the district of Plymouth elected Adams to serve in the House of Representatives. John Quincy Adams began that service in 1831. He was and remains the only president who went on after his term to serve in the US House. During that time, it was the build-up, to the Civil War. The sides were drawn in the 1830s. Abolitionism and the antislavery movement were just beginning to gain respectability. Certain congressmen passed what was known as the gag rule.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

From 1836 to 1840 any petitions discussing slavery that were brought before the House of Representatives were gagged by the pro-slavery congressmen. Nobody was allowed to bring a petition or even discuss slavery in the House of Representatives. John Quincy Adams spoke out against it and said, this is anti-American. If our constituents want to discuss anything, they should be able to bring it to their representatives. Through his outspokenness, he began to create enemies on both sides of the issue. Naturally, the pro-slavery people wanted him to be quiet. Even some of those who were against slavery thought that it was just opening a can of worms. They thought it would just open this huge wound that was already divisive in our country, and the union might not last. John Quincy Adams begged to differ. He continued to speak out against it and made incredible enemies.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

During that time, his only friends were his wife and Joshua Giddings from Ohio, who was one of his colleagues. Finally, through the work of Adams and Giddings, the gag rule was repealed in 1844. I would say during that time, he was an exile in his own country. Hated pretty much.

 

Cynthia

I think it’s good for us to hear these stories. We think there’s never been a time when we didn’t have free speech. That was a time when people squashed free speech.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

Absolutely, yes. Good point.

 

Cynthia

They started dividing up into parties even after Washington, didn’t they? Wasn’t there friction between some of the early founding fathers early on?

 

Rebecca Price Janney

Parties were not necessarily solidified. By the election of 1828, you had clear party lines. That was another reason why it was a very important election. You had the true foundation of the two-party system. We’ve had that ever since. Of course, President Washington did not like parties.

 

Cynthia

I know Washington didn’t like parties.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

Yes. The story about the gag rule that stood out to me about John Quincy Adams. He was so courageous even though he was making enemies. But he was a man of such strong convictions. During this time, he dared to stand up for what he believed was right, even when very few people agreed with him. I love that. By 1848, the tide had turned, and he was becoming a beloved elder statesman in our country. And at the age of 80, he was the oldest serving member of the House of Representatives.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

And he was clearly slowing down. On the morning of February 21, 1848, he suffered what was probably a stroke when he was in the house chambers. The activity came to an abrupt halt. Five of the members, who were also physicians, began to attend to him. They put him on a sofa, and they took him outside to get some fresh air. It was so cold outside that they brought him right back in. Looking back, that probably didn’t do him any good at all. But they moved him into the speaker’s room, and that’s where he lay for the next 36 hours. The proceedings continued. However, the atmosphere was very hushed. People walked by very slowly and said prayers for him.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

Louisa was with him when he said his last words, “This is the last of earth. I am content.”

Right after he said that, he slipped into a coma. Louisa and Joshua Giddings maintained a vigil with him throughout that day and into the night. The following day was George Washington’s birthday, February 22. People had planned a celebration. They canceled out of respect for the 6th president, John Quincy Adams. Members of the house quietly came and went. The mood was very subdued that day. John Quincy Adams died the next day, the day after Washington’s birthday, February 23. I loved reading about the tolling of bells throughout the land. Not just in the north, where he was a very antislavery, outspoken opponent of slavery, but even in the south.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

And I read that one of the southern newspapers that had savaged him regularly in the press draped its columns in black.

 

Cynthia

Wow.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

In mourning out of respect for him. I take away from that was this man of tremendous conviction, of strong morals, who would not bend to the Times even though they would have made him a popular man. But he believed what he believed, and he stood up for it. In the end. It gained him respect.

 

Cynthia

It did. Can you bring that into today’s society? Because now there are certain things you can’t say.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

It’s very pertinent to today. Those of us who do have strong morals, who do have strong convictions, need to be willing to speak out. We must be willing to accept the caterwauling of those who oppose what we believe. Someone once said that the best way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. That has to do with speaking as well. And we’re in times that demand that those of us who believe things need to hold to those convictions. I’m preaching to myself.

 

Cynthia

That’s right. We need to keep talking and giving the truth. Because that’s what democracy is all about.

 

Rebecca Price Janney

Yes.

 

Cynthia

Work out problems when you face them. You don’t just bury them under something. Victoria, Queen Victoria, wanted to do that. She thought that the way not to have any conflict in marriage was to never bring up a problem.

 

Cynthia

Her husband, who was Prince Albert, had to convince her that they needed to talk through things.

Rebecca Price Janney

It is. It is very true. In the end, John Quincy Adams was not only vindicated, but he was also loved. People who opposed him ended up loving him and respecting him for what he believed.

 

Cynthia

Okay, well, thank you. We can discover ways to handle today’s world from this story. Thank you for sharing Presidents Day: John Quincy Adams.

 

The Remarkable Love Story of Susannah Spurgeon

The Remarkable Love Story of Susannah Spurgeon

In today’s episode, we delved into the remarkable love story of Susannah Spurgeon and Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Their  love was deep and selfless, rooted in faith and commitment.

Listen here

We all enjoy a good love story. Susannah Thompson or Susie and Charles Haddon Spurgeon fell in love after he came to London to preach at New Park Street Chapel in 1854.

Reserved but sophisticated, Susie finished her education in France and spoke French fluently, and she enjoyed dressing well. The first time she saw the Spurgeon, he didn’t impress her. He stepped into the pulpit wearing an old-fashioned black coat and had long, badly trimmed hair. Susie was more inclined to laugh at his countrified outfit than take him seriously.

However, after listening to him for weeks, his words pierced her soul, and she renewed her commitment to Christ. She frequently visited Mr. and Mrs. Olney’s, close friends of her family. Mr. Olney served as deacon of their church. Susie met Spurgeon there and gradually they began to talk.

By August of 1854, they were engaged but kept their relationship low-key. He made a huge splash in London. After New Park City Chapel hired him the church went from a handful of attendees to growing throngs. In fact, the church hired a larger auditorium to house all the people who wanted to hear him speak.

After their engagement they hit a rough spot

On one occasion, he accepted a speaking engagement at The Horns, in Kennington, which was a lecture room not far from her home. He asked her to accompany him, and she was delighted to go. They enjoyed lunch together at her home in St Anne’s Terrace and then took a cab to the hall.

When they got their crowds packed the building, and she stayed right beside him as the went up the stairs. However, when they got to the landing, he totally forgot she existed. Susie believed he was mulling over his sermon. He turned into a small side door to meet the men who would introduce him and she was left on the landing tossed around by the crowd. At first, she was confused, and then she lost her temper. How could he desert her in this surging throng?

She hurried home and poured out her heart to her mother who was shocked to see her home so soon. Mrs. Thompson tried to reason with her and help her see that her husband was a very unusual man, and he had a gift for sharing the word of God.

After the Service

Spurgeon suddenly remembered Susie. Where was she? He panicked because he didn’t remember anything after he entered the building. He searched the entire building looking for her and finally rushed to her house.

Mrs. Thompson met him at the door. She explained what happened, and then persuaded Susie to come downstairs and talk to him.

You can imagine that was a tough conversation. Susie had to tell him how upset she was, and he apologized.

He did, however, point out the importance of his ministry. If she married him, she would have to let him go and minister as he was called.

At that point, Susie determined never to stand in the way of his calling. They married in Jan 1856. Often when he left for travels, she couldn’t hold back her tears, but she never held him back. He would tell her she was offering him to the Lord.

In contrast

Valentine’s Day turns our hearts to love, but the love Susie Spurgeon displayed went beyond the syrupy romantic stuff portrayed by our media.

I Corinthians 15 says love is patient, kind, not jealous or arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, does not see its own, and does not take into account a wrong suffered.

To read more click here.

 

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