Stories of those who pursued faithfulness in life and doctrine are always inspiring. Here are twelve such stories of women serving the Lord in the turbulence of Reformation times. They were from France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and one — a former lady-in-waiting to a famous Roman Catholic queen — was English.
Most were nurtured and encouraged in their evangelical faith and work by their husbands. Some faced opposition and persecution at home, and at times their safety was so uncertain that they went into hiding. One woman used her elevated status and influence to work in politics to secure freedom of religion in France and Holland.
All were faithful and hard working. They used whatever gifts they had in service to Christ. There was a theologian, a prolific letter writer, an author, a politician, and one who led a Huguenot army. As well as her writing, one gave shelter to travelling Protestants for prolonged periods and once fed, clothed and housed more than 50 fugitives in the family home for four weeks. Privacy could not have been high on the agenda!
Large families were common and there were often many stepchildren too. They knew the joy of motherhood, but also the anguish of loss at a time of uncertainty and high infant mortality. For some, there was also the grief and isolation of widowhood.
These women gave themselves to caring for their husbands, educating their own and others’ children, keeping open house, and attending to the physical needs of many. They had been lifted from a life of ignorance and fear into the glorious light of the gospel and now everything they did was to further the new teaching of gospel truth.
Personal safety was of secondary importance and sometimes natural cunning was put to sanctified good use. The concluding chapter gives helpful insights into the motivations underpinning their lives of servanthood to Christ.
As you read their stories, consider their attitudes and priorities, their other-worldly ambitions for their children, and the purpose they saw for their homes and material possessions — all so different from current mind-sets.
With each chapter a complete story in itself, this book will appeal to readers of many ages and interests. It would make a welcome gift at Christmas or be excellent holiday reading.