Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

The Story of Susanna Wesley - 1

A Character story about trust.

"Susanna," Dr. Annesley called. "Come in here. I want to talk with you."

"Yes, Father?" the young 13 year old replied politely.

"You know that twenty years ago, I joined the dissenters and have attempted to change the Church of England ever since. I have suffered much to bring purity to this decaying institution. However, word has come to me that you have decided to join the Church. Is this so?"

Susanna thought a moment. "Y-yes, Father. I-I graciously respect your position on this important matter. However, I feel that God would have me, with your permission, to be a godly example within the church."

Her father sighed deeply without reply. "I-I am truly disappointed. However, I too respect your right to make your own choice. This will not hinder our relationship, my daughter. As our last child, you will always hold a special place in my heart." Susanna hugged her father, smiled, and exited.

Susanna had indeed been a special child. As the 24th child of this minister and his wife, Susanna had been born into troublous times. Sin had become a part of the church of England and such godly people as John Bunyan (who wrote Pilgrim's Progress), the Pilgrims, and Puritans, all grieved at what they witnessed. Who would bring about a change in what was called 'Christianity' in England at the time? And how would change ever be accomplished? Many disagreed on the answer to these questions. Susanna prayed much about this.

At this time another young man by the name of Samuel Wesley joined the dissenters. However, shortly he decided to work for improvement in the church from within. He renounced his part with the dissenters, joined the Church of England, enrolled at Oxford University, and graduated six years later. By this time he had met Susanna and was very impressed with her. Indeed, she was a gracious lady who was well read. She spent much time studying the Scriptures and stayed away from writings which would not help her spiritually. She was a hard working, intelligent girl who had much to offer any young man.

"I-I have been given a chaplaincy on a British man-of-war ship," Samuel told her after graduation. "I-I shall miss you."

"You will be paid well in such a position."

"Yes, I will be paid well. Perhaps I can bring some religion to those superstitious sailors."

Samuel did his best. But his love for Susanna compelled him to resign after four months. He returned to London to marry his 19 year sweetheart. They then moved to Holborn where Samuel was offered a post as a curate (assistant minister). On February 10, 1690 Susanna gave birth to her first son, Samuel Wesley. Jr. The birth was not easy. In her own diary Susanna spoke of "deep affliction, both of body and mind." Today she would no doubt be told not to have more children. However, a year later she gave birth to a girl, Susanna, Jr.

By now Samuel had moved the family to Lincolnshire. This is the furthest from London Susanna had ever been.

Samuel was very busy ministering to his congregation. But since this did not make enough money, he spent many hours trying to make some money through writing. He wrote poems and articles of various kinds, but these did not bring in more money. Soon the family had contacted debts.

Yet Susanna was content to take care of the family and the house, and commit her husband to the Lord. When Susanna Jr. was one, Emilia was born. But by the time Emilia was one, tragedy struck.

"I came home as soon as I could," Samuel announced as he burst through the door. How is she?"

Susanna was weaping. "I-I'm afraid it's too late. Our little Susanna is- is in the presence of the Lord now." Samuel comforted his wife, and prepared for the simply funeral service.

Added to this sorrow was a great concern for their oldest, Samuel. He was now four years old and had never spoken a word. One day when she searched and called for him, he came out from under the table and said, "Here am I, Mother." His speaking immediately took on the form of complete sentences. Once Susanna wrote, "He has such a prodigious (extraordinary) memory, that I cannot remember to have told him the same word twice. What was yet stranger, any word he had learned in his lesson, he knew wherever he saw it, either in his Bible or any other book: by which means he learned very soon to read well." In December of that year, Susanna gave birth to twins- Annesley and Jedediah.

Mr. and Mrs. Wesley wanted so to give their four children the best education. Therefore, though they were poor and still in debt, they scraped together enough money to enroll Samuel in a private academy. What great hopes they had that this investment would challenge the unusual ability of their son. However, by the end of that year they were so deeply disappointed that they decided a simple Pastor's wife could do a better job. They did not know until later that this teacher had been dismissed from 13 other schools because of his wicked life-style.

Susanna did not feel she could do a good job as a teacher. She knew she lacked training and felt a deep grief that she was failing her children. However, she later realized that it was the character she trained into their lives more than the facts that made them a success. And she did put her whole heart into it. Years later her son asked her to share with him her secrets of successful child-rearing. Here is the first paragraph of her response: "The writing anything about my way of education I am much averse to. It cannot, I think, be of service to anyone to know how I used to employ my time and care in bringing up my children. No one can, without renouncing the world, in the most literal sense, observe my method; and there are few, if any, that would entirely devote above twenty years of prime of life in hopes to save the souls of their children, which they think may be saved without so much ado; for that was my principal intention, however unskillfully and unsuccessfully managed."