Monday, March 30, 2020

Patience and Faith while Staying Home

Library of Congress: Abraham Lincoln and his family - painted by S.B. Waugh, 1800's. 


There have been incredibly difficult times throughout the generations.  We have endured wars, plagues, The Great Depression, storms, and many great losses.  Through it all, those who have courage and bravery have endured with a steady calm of patience and faith in the Lord.

This morning I was reading from the writings of beloved author, Elizabeth Prentiss.  I read some from her life and letters, "More Love to Thee" and her book "Urbane and His Friends," which has some of her letters in the back of the book.  I was intrigued by some similarities of what she lived through compared to our current crisis with the virus pandemic.  Her daily life and the care of her home and family, through painful events, is what inspired me. She continued to be a good wife, mother, and homemaker regardless of the suffering she endured.

 In 1853, she was shocked by the sudden death of her cousin, Louise Shipman.  Miss Shipman had been staying with the family and had become ill.  Elizabeth had been taking care of her, with the help of the doctor who made visits to the home.  The illness had been sudden and shocking.  She described how very dear and blessed she felt to have had Louise there in their midst. She was a sweet and kind girl. Elizabeth described her thus:  "Her patience was very remarkable and touching. I never saw a sick person so gentle, so considerate, so little disposed to think of self."

Shortly after this, another member of the house, one of her children, became ill. Then her brother, who had been visiting, became ill.   On page 140 of her Life and Letters, it is said that Mrs. Prentiss "became a nurse to them both, and passed the next two months quarantined within her own walls."

Mrs. Prentiss wrote letters and took care of the home each day.   She wrote to a friend: "I was very sorry not to see Dr. S., who called with your letter, but I am in quarantine, and cut off from the world."   I imagine the friend had "called" by coming to the house and brought the mail, but was not able to see anyone in the house. 

Later, in her letters, around 1864 she talks of the national struggle, which is now called (from what I gather) The Civil War.  She wrote to a friend: "My spunk has got a backbone of its own and that is deep-seated conviction, that this is a holy war, and that God himself sanctions it.   He spares nothing precious when He has a work to do."   Yet, news was slow to reach her.  She mentioned that she had not had any news for a week. On page 220 of her letters she says, "I know next to nothing about what is going on in the world."  Her husband kept up to date with the news and shared his thoughts with her.  I am sure the national crisis kept her praying.  But she kept on with the care of her family and home. She took long walks with her children, laughing with them, enjoying each day, and took great care of them.  They were her life and her focus.

In her letters, around this time, she mentioned hearing the dreadful noise of coughing from a soldier, in the neighborhood, who had consumption.  Such sadness!  In April of 1865 she was shocked to hear of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  These were perilous and frightening times in which she lived!

Nearly her entire life she suffered from physical weakness and sickness. She had a frail constitution. Despite this, she strove to live all of her life for the Lord.  She is the author of the beloved book, "Stepping Heavenward" and has blessed many wives and mothers since it's publication in 1869.

I was greatly encouraged from my readings this morning.  It was especially meaningful because of the dreadful time of uncertainty we are living through today.  But I will say that the constant bombardment of news and reports from the media might overtake our every thought and keep us in a state of terror and anxiety.  Yes, there is a dreadful "plague" hovering around and overtaking many.  But this cannot consume our lives.  We are aware of our duties to do our part in stopping the spread of this virus.  We can do this.  But perhaps we should not be spending too much time being updated on the dreadful news going on in our communities and throughout the world.  In my Mother's day, she and Dad would watch the evening news at 6 o'clock.  It was a once a day recap from their local state telling its residents what they needed to know. Then they went back to doing their part of taking care of their family and home.  This is what life is all about - the quiet dignity of caring for those in one's own home.

No matter what is going on around us, we would do well to give our cares and worries and fears to the Lord in prayer. We must trust Him who loves us dearly.  Then let us get back to the business at hand - of nursing and ministering to those in our own homes, protecting them, cheering them on, with great patience and courage as we wait out this storm.

Blessings
Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Inspired by D.L. Moody's Mother - Poverty in the 1800's.

The Lord still hears us - Prayers Which Cannot Be Uttered.

Encouragement in Kitchen work - Basic Cookery.




Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking."

Find stories of home life, with photographs of my home, in this encouraging book. 

 Paperback, 200 pages. 









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15 comments:

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Thank you so much for this calming, encouraging post. God's continued blessings on you and your family ~ FlowerLady

Tammy said...

Very beautifully stated, Mrs. White.
We in SE Georgia, at least my small family of 3, are hunkered down as much as possible. Dh has dialysis 3 days a week, so a full quarantine just is not possible. I have to go out a couple times a month as meds come up for refilling.

It is only a short time in our lives, and being home is certainly no hardship, for those who have created home to be a refuge. Those whose focus is more outside/world centered, well....

I do worry for Dh, he is highly vulnerable. I know that God has this under control, and that it will all work out for our good. I also know that sometimes He allows things that we would never choose, so I fret. He and I are working on that, daily. Pray for us? We will for you all, as well. :)

Deborah Montgomery said...

I take great comfort in these stories from the past and am inspired by the courage and fortitude showed by so many. It gives us courage to face our own challenges, and to know others have trod this path before us.

Mrs.T said...

Amen, Mrs. White! I couldn't agree more. Beautifully said.

Deanna said...

Blessings.
d

Mama Said No said...

Bless you dear lady. While I have suspicions about the current unpleasantness, I know that the greatest weapon I can wield is prayer and a calm spirit. Once again your words, like those of a close friend, have made me stop my racing thoughts and remember to get focused on the One Who is in charge of my life and this world. The Lord bless and protect you and your precious family.

SIRVIENDO AL SEÑOR said...

QUERIDA HERMANA: CUANTO ALIENTO HAY EN ESTAS PALABRAS, NOS ANIMA A NO DECAER Y SEGUIR PERSEVERANDO. LOS DIAS SON DIFICILES, ESTAMOS EN CUARENTENA HASTA EL 13 DE ABRIL, SI ES QUE EL GOBIERNO NO DECIDE EXTENDERLA MAS, SOMOS UNO DE LOS POCOS PAISES QUE HASTA AHORA, TIENE MENOS MUERTES Y MENOS INFESTADOS, GRACIAS A DIOS, Y ESPERO QUE SIGA ASI, ES LAMENTABLE SABER DE SU PAIS SHARON, HAY TANTOS MUERTOS E INFESTADOS, ORO POR TODOS LOS ENFERMOS, POR LAS FAMILIAS. ¿PUEDE VISITAR MI BLOG? ES MUY BIENVENIDA, ALLI VERA LOS TRABAJOS QUE HAGO DE COSTURA Y TEJIDOS, APRENDI DE NIÑA EL OFICIO DE AMA DE CASA, Y ME GUSTA MUCHO TRABAJAR CON MIS MANOS. QUE DIOS LA SIGO GUARDANDO Y LIBRANDO DE TODO MAL.

Elizabethd said...

Such a calming post, with words of advice for all. Thank you.

Patty B said...

Absolutely Mrs. White! You said it well! The news can indeed consume our every thought and action. Sometimes it is hard to know what is true and what isn't. But the Lord is always true, and we need to trust Him more than ever at times like these.

Candis said...

Amen! Thank you so much for sharing this, Mrs. White. It is beautifully written, and it truly touched my heart.
I love your writing and your gentle spirit. May the Lord bless you and your family, and keep you in His loving arms.

Amelia said...

Just beautiful and oh so true.

I like to get the info I need usually by radio and then carefully turning it off and we turn on news at 10 on t.v. for weather etc. with hubs. ...That's about it except for an occasional article concerning.

The scripture to think upon things that are lovely and good report rings true, and praying about any fears or concerns I might have, God the Father wants us to talk with Him about things.

I so enjoyed your entry here and I'll have to get the book, 'Stepping Heavenward', that sounds wonderful. I love the description you write of her walk with the children. I hear often of Elizabeth Prentiss. I think each mother and wife needs to take care of their own family sure enough and enjoy it, so many opportunities at this time as always. Many of us have elderly parents etc. and that is an entirely other concern, it's good to be informed but stay focused on our homes, to be cheerful and together for our families. :)

I appreciate you! Hugs and blessings, ~Amelia

Sarah @ In Pleasant Places said...

Yes, she was a gem of a woman. I enjoyed her book. Thank you for the encouragement this morning, the start of Day 7 here in New Zealand of quarantine.

Homemaker's Heart said...

Hello Mrs. White~ All I could think of was "yes, yes, yes". I just wrote a little bit on this last week. That we as homemakers need to be mindful of what is happening, but not consumed. And we have a responsibility to the upkeep of our home as well as be able to encourage and even plan family activities for laughter. We need to do this sort of busyness rather than busy with all the updates.

When I read about the memory of the 6pm news, I remember that. We got the news once a day, and what was important. Today I tell folks, I get what I need if it's truly important. The rest, I have to let go and think about planning a funny game night. We are empty nesters so sometimes, that itself is comical.

I enjoy your posts and wonder if you may do an current or live online study of Stepping Heavenward so we could join together for a few weeks.

Peace be with you and may God bless you and Mister,
Mrs. Peterson

D said...

Mrs W.
Stepping Heavenward; a book I've returned to often when I needed to see the truths of human nature. We think our circumstances are the exception?! Your faithfulness to scriptural truth inspires me.
Fondly, D

Mrs.O said...

Happy Easter, Mrs. White! God bless you and your family.
Stay the course.
Love
Mrs.O