Susanna Wesley is one of my heros. It’s not that I entertain even the slightest hope that I could ever have the discipline she demonstrated while educating and discipling her children, notably John Wesley, founder of the Methodist denomination, and prolific hymn writer Charles Wesley. My kids are responsible young adults now, but still, all of my self-assessments of parenting involve the phrases “could’ve” and “should’ve.” This is especially the case when I read accounts of great women and men, as featured in Eric Metaxas’ wonderful books, Seven Women and Seven Men.
Most impressive among Susanna Wesley’s accomplishments? According to Metaxas, every one of her 19 children (those who lived beyond infancy) professed and lived out their faith in Christ. Her devotion to her children’s studies and character, in the midst of extreme poverty and illness, is legendary and seems almost mythical.
So what is the moral of this story? What can we learn from women like Susanna Wesley, Joan of Arc, Corrie Ten Boom, Rosa Parks, or any Proverbs 31 woman of our day. Or, what of men like John and Charles Wesley, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or Billy Graham?
For purposes of this Family North Carolina magazine, I would like to propose two takeaways. First, God can and will raise up strong, competent leaders among us who will fight injustice and persevere on His behalf. Second, it is the day-to-day vigilance of those who labor outside the public limelight that often has the greatest effect.
This edition of Family North Carolina magazine focuses on stories of those who have illustrated both of these types of leadership in the cause of protecting our children. In the article, “Saving Babies, Pro-life Strategy in North Carolina,” we hear from former state representative Paul “Skip” Stam, a man whose passion for saving preborn babies has been evident throughout his entire life. Stam spells out his criteria for introducing pro-life bills into the North Carolina General Assembly, standards which have shaped the state’s pro-life strategy over the past decade and helped save the lives of thousands of North Carolina children. In addition, we get a glimpse into the messy and emotional pro-life struggle in our state’s governing body, through transcripts of NC House and Senate debates.
The article, “Showdown: Battle Ensues Over Sex Ed in NC Public Schools” highlights a struggle in several North Carolina counties over whether Planned Parenthood’s philosophy of sex, relationships, and marriage is going to be taught to our children in public schools.
“Spiritual Health Predictors” features commentary from North Carolina pastor, Dr. Matt Z. Capps on recent research that shows some commonality among children whose faith endures after graduation. It’s accompanied by a fun infographic and has some surprising findings!
Even our Family Policy Matters interview excerpts are focused on how we can enact good public policy that will help protect our children.
I’ll leave you with Metaxas’ encouraging words from the end of Susanna Wesley’s chapter in Seven Women: “Few human beings have influenced the world as Susanna Wesley did. […] Despite poverty, illness, a difficult marriage, and heartbreak in endless forms, she used her intellect, creativity, time, energies, and will in such a way that can hardly be reckoned. The world in which we live owes much of the goodness in it to her life.”
May the same be said of us.
Traci DeVette Griggs is Director of Communications for the North Carolina Family Policy Council and is editor of Family North Carolina.