Susanna Annesley was born on January 20, 1669. She was the 25th of 25 children born to Dr. Samuel Annesley and Mary (White) Annesley. Susanna had strong religious convictions from a very young age. At 13, she stopped attending church where her father was a dissenter and began attending the official Church of England.
At age 19, Susanna married Samuel Wesley. Little did she know that her life would hold many hardships. Susanna bore 19 children, including two sets of twins, however nine of those children –including the twins—died as infants. One of her children was accidentally smothered by her maid.
Susanna educated her children at home. The day after their 5th birthday, she taught them the alphabet. They were expected to learn it all on that day, and all but two did. The children schooled for 6 hours each day, and they all received a good education, including her daughters.
Mr. Samuel Wesley had little ability when it came to finances and he was thrown into debtor’s prison twice. His lack in this area created constant struggle for Susanna, and she became very efficient with what she did have.
One of my most prized books is an out-of-print copy of The Complete Writings of Susanna Wesley. There are letters cataloged there where Susanna is asking for advice in regards to a situation with her husband. During their evening prayers, Samuel ended with “God save the king.” It was expected that Susanna should repeat the saying, however she did not because she felt that the king occupying the throne at the time was not the rightful heir. Because of her defiance, Samuel left. He was gone for over a year, and apparently refused to share a bed with her for a time even after his return.
With so many hardships, it is no wonder that Susanna sometimes had her moments of utter desperation. Susanna was known to plop down in the middle of the kitchen and throw her apron over her head. Her children knew that when mommy did that, she was praying, and no one was to bother her.
Susanna was a devout woman of God, and she impressed that into her children as well. Her sons John and Charles both became great leaders of the Methodist movement, which earned Susanna the title “Mother of Methodism”. Charles wrote over 6,000 hymns and John became one of the greatest clergymen of his time. John held his mother in such high esteem that, at age 7, he determined never to marry “because I could never find such a woman as my father had.” John did marry, but not until about 40 years later, after his mother’s death.
The most amazing thing about Susanna, is that even through all her hardships, she placed her trust in God, and never faltered. She lived a life of service to the Almighty, and accomplished many things for His glory.
At the age of 73, Susanna Wesley died on July 23, 1742. She was buried at Bunhill Fields in London, with the knowledge that her sons were warriors of the faith.
Susanna Wesley is one of my heroes—or SHEroes as I like to call them. Who are your heroes of the faith?
Amber shares This Day in Christian History tidbits on her personal blog: http://amberschamel.blogspot.com/
Multi-published author Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and is now the author of over half a dozen books. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.
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