Love summer! I get to catch up on sitting in the sun and enjoying some good books. This summer I’ve been catching up with some good friends like Madame Jeanne-Marie Guyon. I think you will be as inspired by her biography. Check it out:
Fifteen-year-old Jeanne’s father arranged her marriage to wealthy Monsieur Guyon, twenty-two years her senior. Most young ladies living in the 1600s would have been thrilled, but Jeanne was depressed; her plans to be a nun had been thwarted. As a newlywed, her husband and mother-in-law complained, plotted, and raged against her, provoking and abusing her, not allowing her to pray or have time alone. Believing Christians can have an inward life of prayer, she sought God deeply in a time when the reason of the mind was more valued by the church. By her will, she chose grace in adversity and wrote, “I saw, O God, that Thou didst create the soul to enjoy its God. When the soul is docile and emptied of all its own, it wishes nothing but what Thou wilt.”1
The events were a foreshadowing of a life of suffering and persecution for Madame Jeanne-Marie Guyon. Inward prayer and deep abandonment to God sustained her through difficulties in childbirth, illness, and death. A widow at age twenty-seven, Madame Guyon continued to enjoy her God, indifferent to everything on earth because ‘her will was lost completely in union with God’s will.’
Under the guidance of a spiritual director, she became a missionary, entered a convent, and ultimately became a “mother of souls.” Years later, Madame Jeanne-Marie Guyon would experience persecution, public humiliation, and imprisonment for her practice of inward prayer and influence on many others who desired the same.
Yet Madame Guyon viewed her sufferings as opportunities to love God. “It is impossible to love God without loving the cross,” she said, “and a heart devoted to the work of the cross finds the bitterest things to be sweet. God gives us the cross, and the cross gives us God. Sensitivity to suffering is one of the principal parts of suffering itself. Jesus Christ Himself chose to endure its maximum severity. Often we bear the cross in weakness, and at other times in strength, but both should be alike to us in the will of God.”
This lesson is for all those who suffer. Let your sufferings take you to the deep place of inward prayer, peace, and hope.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
I am praying for each of you, that you will grow in your prayer life and your burdens will be light! I am praying for you. I love you—Sheryl
1. (Madame Guyon – Jan Johnson) 2. (Experiencing Inner Union With God Through Prayer – Madame Jeanne Guyon)