Thursday, November 14, 2013

That Woman

In the early years of my marriage I found myself drawn to martyrdom, and yes, I find myself still drawn. The way that the persecuted church just shines is just amazing and they are a bright and burning light in this dark and cruel world. I decided to read Foxe's Book of Martyrs and it had a profound and lasting mark on my life. It is full of stories of saints who paid with their lives to tell of the love of Christ. How can one measure one story against another? You can't really, but there is one story that has burned its way into my heart.

Its of a mother who had a young son and she had to watch him suffer and die. I am just going to warn you, if you are faint of heart, or don't like to deal with death, DON'T READ THIS POST! The contents following are hard to read (and type), but I am led to share this woman's story.


"Here again Romanus, taking good occasion, made a long oration of the eternity of Christ, of His human nature, of the death and satisfaction of Christ for all mankind. Which done, he said, 'Give me a child, O prefect, but seven years of age, which age is free of malice and other vices wherewith riper age is commonly infected, and thou shalt hear what he will say.' His request was granted.

A little boy was called out of the multitude, and set before him. 'Tell me, my babe,' quoth the martyr, 'whether thou think it reason that we should worship one Christ, and in Christ one Father, or else that we worship many gods?'

Unto whom the babe answered, 'That certainly (whatsoever it be) which men affirm to be God, must needs be one; and that which pertains to that one, is unique: and inasmuch as Christ is unique, of necessity Christ must be the true God; for that there be many gods, we children cannot believe.'

The prefect hereat clean amazed, said, 'Thou young villain and traitor, where, and of whom learnedst thou this lesson?'

'Of my mother,' quoth the child, 'with whose milk I sucked in this lesson, that I must believe in Christ.' The mother was called, and she gladly appeared. The prefect commanded the child to be hoisted up and scourged. The pitiful beholders of this pitiless act, could not temper themselves from tears; the joyful and glad mother alone stood by with dry cheeks. Yea, she rebuked her sweet babe for craving a draught of cold water: she charged him to thirst after the cup that the infants of Bethlehem once drank of, forgetting their mothers' milk and paps; she willed him to remember little Isaac, who, beholding the sword wherewith, and the altar whereon, he should be sacrificed, willingly proffered his tender neck to the dint of his father's sword. Whilst this council was in giving, the butcherly tormentor plucked the skin from the crown of his head, hair and all. The mother cried, 'Suffer, my child! anon thou shalt pass to Him that will adorn thy naked head with a crown of eternal glory.' The mother counselleth, the child is counselled; the mother encourageth, the babe is encouraged, and receiveth the stripes with smiling countenance. ( If your crying now, please know that I can hardly see to type.)

The prefect perceiving the child invincible, and himself vanquished, committeth the blessed babe to the stinking prison, commanding the torments of Romanus to be renewed and increased, as chief author of this evil.

This was Romanus brought forth again to new stripes, the punishments to be renewed and received again upon his old sores. No longer could the tyrant forbear, but needs he must draw nearer to the sentence of death. 'Is it painful to thee,' saith he, 'to tarry so long alive? A flaming fire, doubt thou not, shall be prepared for thee and by and by, wherein thou and that boy, thy fellow in rebellion, shall be consumed into ashes.' Romanus and the babe were led to execution. When they were come to the place, the tormentors required the child of the mother, for she had taken it up in her arms; and she, only kissing it, delivered the babe. 'Farewell,' she said, 'my sweet child; and when thou hast entered the kingdom of Christ, there in thy blest estate remember thy mother.' And as the hangman applied the sword to the babe's neck, she sang on in this manner:
All laud and praise with heart and voice,
O Lord, we yield to thee:
To whom the death of this thy saint,
We know most dear to be.

The innocent's head being cut off, the mother wrapped it up in her garment, and laid it on her breast."
                                                                -Foxe's Book of Martyrs (end of chapter one)


This story has more do with the child in ways and let me just say for sayings sake, I'm not sadistic nor do I desire any of my children to die like this dear boy.

I so deeply desire for my children to grow up to love and to know the Lord. I don't want to raise little pharisees that know all the rules, but inwardly are as dead as a corpse. There are so many things that I could want for them, but to know God is really my main concern. It is so convicting to read of this mother who no doubt loves her child, BUT she loves his soul more. By her words and her actions she proves where her heart truly lies, and it's with Jesus.

There are so many distractions, so many things begging for our attention, but at the end of the day what truly matters?

Over the past 6 months or so, the Lord has been greatly changing and impressing upon me the importance of a life lived for God. Nothing else matters. N-o-t-h-i-n-g. I have experienced a closeness with Jesus that I dare not to give up. He is more real than the air I breathe and I want to serve Him with every ounce of my being. It is so frustrating to fail and realize how far I truly fall short. And the fact that God chose to make me a mother is just amazing (and terrifying) to me. I am one of the most selfish people I know and I can rival my kids any day. Thankfully the Lord never gives up on His children.

I have been given a very precious treasure in Christ and it needs to be guarded and cherished. It also needs to be lived out and shared with those that God has placed in my life. I often wonder how this woman raised such a spiritually mature son and the young age of seven? How were their days together, what were their conversations like, how did she live in front of her son? I could cry right now just thinking about the hugeness of this task; this task of parenthood. This mother no doubt, did nothing but live, eat, breathe, sleep, and speak of Christ to her son. That sweet boy saw Jesus every day. He saw him dwell in his mother with such severity that he could not deny the power and reality of such a Savior. Oh, that this would be the case with me! I am not this woman, but I want to be her.

It hurts to think of being anything less than being totally devoted to Jesus.

I can't imagine witnessing such atrocities against any one of my children. I am almost to sobs just thinking about it. Then the heavier questions arise in my thoughts, "Is Jesus worth it? Does He mean enough to me to encourage my child(ren) or myself to suffer for His name? Is my treasure/heart with Jesus or do I care about comfort for myself and my family more?

May my walk grow stronger daily with Christ, may the frivolities of this life fall away every second, may I cling to Jesus with such severity that my children have no reason to deny our blessed Savior. May I live, teach, eat, breath, and show my children why were are serve our matter what.

If you've never read Foxe's Book of Martyrs (AFL), you really should. Sure you'll cry, cringe, and be sick, but so be it. We live in such fluff, such comfort and ease that we have no sense of reality. People die every day for the name of Jesus. And no, they're not just shot and then die, they are tortured and suffer greatly.

There is so much more that I could say, but I'm sure once you've read this story, you'll understand what I mean when I say, "I want to be THAT woman."

Amen. So be it.


  1. Wow!! This really made me think (and cry, and I'm not even a mother yet!). One of my biggest worries about having a baby is making sure I do a good job teaching my kids about Jesus, and cultivating that relationship between them. I pray for the Lord to guide me in that (and all my parenting) tasks. I just wanted to add, you are a great inspiration for me as a mother! Such a breath of fresh air to see children being raised as I feel they should be.

    1. Thanks for your kind and encouraging words. It's a huge task of teaching and training children, but thankfully God gives strength to His people who follow His leading. May our eyes always be on Christ and May we be salt and light in a dark world. -Noël


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