“According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this:
above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord.
Other things may press upon you,
the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention,
but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself!
Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life.
This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years.
For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance,
but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ:
the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God,
having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.”
― George Müller
The six girls sat around the large, worn kitchen table, coloring pictures that I had printed off on our home printer. Outside the December winds blew but the grounds remained barren of snow. The little toddler boy was tucked upstairs in his blue room, ready for his morning nap. My arms were filled with my two month-old baby, nestled in my lap, wrapped up in his crochet blue sweater. His chubby cheeks were soft and sweet and he sighed a content whimper.
Crayons and pencil crayons were scattered across the long table. I knew little and big ears were listening to the morning real aloud time, even if it seemed that to lack general order at the table. The bigger girls had sharpened pencils, perched beside their books, ready for notebooking. I turned the page of the chapter book and continued to read. A brown pencil crayon rolled off the table and fell to the braided carpet that covered the tile floor.
“Maybe this was all a mistake after all,” George Muller said.
Mary walked over to her husband and put her hands on her hips in a determined stance.
“How can you say that, George Muller?
Look at all the prayers God has answered for us! Isn’t the house an answer to prayer?
Look how much money has been provided.
Isn’t that an answer to prayer, too? And the calico, the dishes, the furniture,
everything in that house is an answer to prayer and we both know it.”
The girls were taking in the details of this great man’s life, and while yes, his life and incredible faith is a story to be told and retold – it was the submission, the gentleness and the quiet faithfulness of his wife, Mary, that was being impressed upon my mother’s heart. As the wife of a man of faith and vision, Mary Muller had to walk alongside her husband, supporting and encouraging him, without complaining, with the ability to be flexible and give up her fine beautiful china, her home comforts, her family securities in order to follow her husband’s leading. From the death of her little baby son to the barreness of their kitchen cupboards to the lack of a regular salary to pay bills, Mary’s faith was indeed tested year after year in her marriage to George Muller. Yet, she stood by him, encouraging this man of great faith, trusting in her Heavenly Father.
“Mary was silent for a long time as they continued to walk along the seashore.
The only sounds were from the waves lapping against the seawall
and the gulls squawking overhead.
Finally, Mary spoke.
‘Do what you think is best, George.
I can trust God, just like you do.'”
The life story of George Muller is indeed a beautiful, amazing story of incredible faith and in my opinion, humility of a great man and his partnership with his wonderful wife.
“Every year our happiness increased more and more.
I never saw my beloved wife at any time,
when I met her unexpectedly anywhere in Bristol,
without being delighted to do so.”
– George Muller -Delighted in God
During our school time, after reading through a chapter of the book, the older girls would notebook a page of his life while the little ones would draw or color a picture to illustrate what was read. I myself would ponder the actions of his lovely wife and wonder how I could apply her methods to my every day life.
Throughout this book, the girls were learning about the miracle of prayer, the wonders of faith and the patience that it requires to wait on the Lord. And I, as I read the words outloud and rock the baby in my arms, discover what a godly, prudent wife looks like.
George stopped and hugged his wife. Tears spilled down his cheeks. Mary had been right – marriage had not become a prison for him. Instead, it had given him a partner in faith.
‘God will not let us down,’ he said, with more confidence than he actually felt at that moment.
–George Muller, The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans
Oh, that I would have the faith of this great man and his humble wife! Oh, that I would have such cemented security when earthly situations look dismal and bleak and the cupboards are barren … oh, that my children would learn the power of prayer, the wonders of believing in an Almighty God … oh, that my children would press the Scriptures to their heart and live with eyes towards their Father…
“Seek to cherish in your children early the habit of being interested about the work of God, and about cases of need and distress, and use them too at suitable times, and under suitable circumstances, as your almoners, and you will reap fruit from doing so.”
P.S. One of the most wonderful joys of homeschooling is reading aloud to the children! It is one of my favorite aspects of teaching the children at home. What fun it is to build up our home library! We have bookshelves in every room …and it is my motherly goal to fill them with educational, sound, intriguing books.
For those not homeschooling, these books would still make a great bedtime read aloud to your children. Reading to your children, especially when they are young, is very important for many reasons. Children benefit by having their vocabulary built, aiding in their future literacy skill, it helps a child concentrate better and strengthens their memory. It also teaches them to sit still and listen, a lesson that needs to be taught to young children.
It is also a simple, painless way to learn – whether it is about the Christian life, history, biographies of famous people, or inspiring tales of imagination, children do love to hear these tales and stories.
Last week, we finished a biography on Mary Slessor, a missionary to the inland tribes in Calabar, Africa. It was intriguing and wonderful! The girls were on the edge of their seats throughout many chapters. Some of the details were shocking to them (the killing of twins, for example, was something the tribes practiced), but Mary’s determination and willing spirit were inspiring.