I just got back from watching an amazing “Simulcast” of the Focus on Marriage Conference, which happened today at the Focus on The Family Campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There were no churches in Spokane participating in this simulcast, but we found a sweet little country church in the woods, up in Suncrest, about a half an hour northwest of Spokane that was hosting it. What a warm bunch of people . . . and what a great conference. Technology is amazing how we can watch it live from churches all over the country . . . and even in Canada and Puerto Rico. The speakers were amazing . . . Francis Chan (my favorite!), Les and Leslie Parrot (I just found out they are the founders of E-Harmony . . .) Gary Chapman, Gary Thomas, Juli Slattery, Kirk and Chelsea Cameron and Stephen Kendrick. The speakers were very inspiring. Francis Chan challenged us to focus on God. He said “marriage is a great means to focus on God, but if you just focus on the marriage, you are not doing God’s will. Our focus, he said, is to be on God, not on marriage. The life we have here on earth is a vapor. The Bible makes it clear we will not be married in heaven. Marriage, as we know it, is for this earth now and there has to be a mission to our marriage. He points to Matthew 28, where we are instructed to “Go and make disciples.” He then challenges us with the question, “How many disciples have you made? He shares from 1 Cor. 7 and challenges us not to be divided in our devotion to God. In our marriages, we are to strive to help one another secure undivided devotion to the Lord. He states, “There has never been a divorce where both people are walking in the Spirit. For the Spirit of the Lord is about unity and will not lead a married couple in two directions.”
He then shared the story of a man named Christopher Love who was martyred in 1651. The love letter his wife sent him, telling him to hold fast to his faith and the marriage he was to have with Christ and his assuring his wife in his letter to her that she would be cared for by Christ and that though she would be a widow she would have great joy in the Lord. Here is Mary’s touching letter to her husband . . . make sure you have your tissues ready, girls!
My Dear Heart,
Before I write a word further, I beseech thee, think not that it is thy wife, but a friend now that writes to thee. I hope thou hast freely given up thy wife and children to that God, who hath said, in Jeremiah 49:11, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widow trust in me.” Thy Maker will be my husband, and a father to thy children. O that the Lord would keep thee from having one troubled thought for thy relations! I desire freely to give thee up into thy Father’s hands, and not only look upon it as a crown of glory for thee to die for Christ, but as an honour to me, that I should have an husband to leave for Christ. I dare not speak to thee, nor have a thought within my own heart, of my unspeakable loss, but wholly keep my eye fixed upon thy inexpressible and inconceivable gain. Thou leavest but a sinful, mortal wife, to be everlastingly married to the Lord of glory. Thou leavest but children, brothers and sisters, to go to the Lord Jesus, thy eldest brother. Though leavest friends on earth to go to the enjoyment of saints and angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect in glory. Thou dost but leave earth for heaven, and changest a prison for a palace. And, if natural affections should begin to arise, I hope that spirit of grace that is within thee will quell them, knowing that all things here below are but dung and dross in comparison of those things that are above. I know thou keepest thine eye fixed on the hope of glory, which makes thy feet trample on the loss of earth.
My dear, I know God hath not only prepared glory for thee, and thee for it, but I am persuaded he will sweeten the way for thee to come to the enjoyment of it. When thou art putting on thy clothes that morning, O think, I am now putting on my wedding garments, to go to be everlastingly married to my Redeemer! And when the messenger of death comes to thee, let him not seem dreadful to thee, but look on him as a messenger that brings thee tidings of eternal life. When thou goest up the scaffold, think (as thou saidst to me) it is but thy fiery chariot, to carry thee up to thy Father’s house. And when thou layest down thy precious head to receive thy father’s stroke, remember what though saidst to me, though my head were severed from thy body, yet in a moment thy soul should beunited to thy head, the Lord Jesus, in heaven. And though it may seem something bitter, that by the hands of men we are parted a little sooner than otherwise we might have been, yet let us consider, it is the decree and will of our Father, and it will not be long ere we shall enjoy one another in heaven again. Let us comfort one another with these sayings. Be comforted, my dear heart, it is but a little stroke, and thou shalt be there where the weary shall be at rest, and where the wicked shall cease from troubling. Remember, though thou mayst eat thy dinner with bitter herbs, yet thou shalt have a sweet supper with Christ that night. My dear, by what I write unto thee, I do not hereby undertake to teach thee, for these comforts I have received fro the Lord by thee. I will write no more, nor trouble thee any further, but commit thee into the arms of that God with whom, ere long, thou and I shall be. Farewell, my dear, I shall never see thy face more, till we both behold the face of the Lord Jesus at the great day.
July 14, 1651
My goodness! Is that touching . . . and amazingly selfless! Well, don’t put that tissue box away quite yet . . . here is Christopher’s final letter to his wife:
My most gracious Beloved,
I am now going from a prison to a palace. I have finished my work, and am now going to receive my wages. I am going to
heaven, where are two of my children, and leaving you on earth, where there are three of my babes. These two above, need not my care, but the three below need thine. It comforts me to think, two of my children are in the bosom of Abraham, and three of them will be in the arms and care of such a tender and godly woman. I know you are a woman of sorrowful spirit, yet be comforted, though your sorr
ows be great for your husband going out of the world, yet your pains
shall be the less in bringing your child into the world. You shall be a joyful mother, though you be a sad widow. God hath many mercies in store for you, the prayer of a dying husband for you, will not be lost. To my shame I speak it, I never prayed for you at liberty, as I have done in prison. Farewell dear love, and again I say farewell. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit, the Maker of heaven and earth be a husband to you; and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ be a father to your children.
So prays your dying,
Your most affectionate friend till death,
The day of my glorification
from the Tower of London, August 22, 1651
Oh my! Don’t you sometimes wish we still spoke with words such as “thou” and “hast” . . . so poetic. The power of these letters is amazing . . . what strong people they were . . . I hope to someday meet them in heaven and give them a warm “Howdy Do!”
I know I had said I would post next about feathering our nests, but this is just too good to not share! Girlfriends, the message is both simple and yet profound . . . give God your all and everything else will be as it should . . . including your marriage. If you want an amazing marriage, you need to first start with an amazing relationship with God as your savior! Sweet sisters, if you have not asked Jesus into your heart, may I challenge you to do just that . . . your life will, thankfully, never be the same. If you do this today, or if you have questions and want to know more about asking Jesus into your life, please comment below and I promise I will be more than happy to respond.
Next post I really will conquer the feathering our nest issue . . . but in the meantime go be the best wife you can be, by being the woman of God you were meant to be.