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The nineteenth century saw great innovation and change. The modern world grew and flourished at the hands of great creators and scientists. There were opportunities for Christian men to influence their society and culture for good, and these key figures were often supported and sustained by unsung heroes – their wives.
Inside these pages, you’ll read of six women who lived bold, godly, and servant-hearted lives during the nineteenth century. Be challenged by their wholehearted commitment to Christ even under the restrictions of the day. And be encouraged that they too struggled with similar concerns as us – time management, parenting, sickness – and yet sought to live for the glory of Jesus.
Reflection questions at the end of each chapter make this an ideal book to aid your personal growth or to enjoy as part of a book discussion group.
'What an instructive delight, to travel from our too-consuming worlds into the lives of women distant from us in time and yet sojourning like us in the community of faith. God has used such unique characters and painful challenges to advance his work in this world; this book gives a strengthening glimpse and sends us on our way to carry on, for the glory of Jesus!' ~ Kathleen Nielson, The Gospel Coalition
'In this book we meet with six unique heroines of the faith, whose lives merit the clear and colourful telling they receive. In most cases their husbands were more famous, but the wives were not lifeless appendages to their husbands’ faith; they had individual characters and spiritual stories of their own. The accounts of their lives presented here are both a window into the fascinating times in which they lived and struggled, and (in the best sense) edifying.' ~ Dr Nick Needham, Church History Tutor, Highland Theological College, Dingwall, Scotland
'This book is a fascinating and moving insight into the lives of these 19th Century wives often facing surprisingly familiar dilemmas. Clare shares their stories in a way which both comforts and challenges us as we serve the same faithful God today.' ~ Celia Reynolds, Christ Church, Market Harbough
'Clare has made these female role models from history walk off the page, and into my life. There is something profound about discovering the issues we struggle with today are timeless, something undeniably thrilling to read of women who struggled, persevered and really made a difference (even with eleven children - now that fact alone gave me perspective and put a stop to my moaning!!!). Walking alongside them through the pages of this book has challenged and encouraged me in a way that has stuck with me long after I closed the final page. I just loved it, and will be coming back to it time and again.' ~ Linda Allcock, works alongside her husband Jonty at The Globe Church, Central London.
'This book is not safe! As I read Clare opening up the lives of these six women and their lessons of loyalty and devotion to Christ and husband - on a bread-line, in loss, uncertainty and chronic pain - it tuned and sharpened me.' ~ Natalie Brand, author and adjunct lecturer at Union School of Theology
'Maybe it is because Clare makes history so relevant, surprising and entertaining; maybe it is because we can identify with the women that she writes about, however different their circumstances are to our own. At St Helens, we LOVE these compassionate, inspiring books!' ~ William and Janet Taylor
'For Richer, For Poorer rubber-stamps, the old adage that “behind every good man is a good woman”. That was certainly the case, and more, in the six marriages Clare Heath-Whyte opens up for us to examine. For behind each of these great nineteenth century social and religious reformers were exceptional women. They not only loved their husbands, freeing them for work that changed laws and lives, but their absolute commitment to the Saviour enabled them to fulfil very difficult roles in a rapidly changing landscape. In today’s society that screams women’s rights, Clare Heath-Whyte encourages us to choose a different way, remembering Jesus’ words that “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11). A challenging and inspiring read!' ~ Catherine Campbell, author of ‘Broken Works Best’
Today marriage is seen in society as about personal fulfilment; long-term partners get married for the security a contract brings, for the good feeling that commitment brings or for the sake of children. These aren’t all bad reasons, but they aren’t the best. Clare Heath-White’s new book, “For Better for Worse”, shines a spotlight on six godly women whose lives demonstrate marriage centred instead on service. Alongside pioneering and persevering Elizabeth Fry, we meet women who took on hard administrative and practical tasks, like Mary Muller, Susannah Spurgeon and Emma Moody and those whose devoted support and companionship enabled their husbands to fight hard battles courageously. The simple writing is fresh and lively, with plenty of quotes from primary sources – diaries, letters and personal writing, to give us a clear picture of the different personalities of these wives. For each woman Clare traces a spiritual journey from childhood to deathbed, allowing the reader to see the how the Lord met, challenged and changed them. Bible studies at the end of each chapter draw out lessons further. These women and their husbands are not idealised in any way: Barbara Wilberforce’s fussiness is shown and so is George Muller’s insensitivity, for example. A common thread in all the narratives is suffering, whether through poverty, bereavement or rejection. But the personal flaws and pain help us to see more clearly God’s grace amidst the struggles. I was left not awed by saintly women, but by the way God worked in their often messy lives and so motivated to imitate them as they imitated Christ.
So many books of church history and Christian biographies focus on the great men of the past. But Clare has done a great job of bringing women from the past to light who have changed lives. This book is both informative and capturing, it describes women who loved Jesus and who are examples of godly lives lived to glorify God. This is an encouraging book that points the reader not to the people of the past but points you to Jesus
In ‘For Richer, For Poorer’, Clare Heath–Whyte highlights the lives of six women from the nineteenth century who were married to notable men. She aims to give an insight into their characters and ministries, weaving biographical details with gentle challenges for us to take away for our own lives. A couple of the more familiar names are Susannah Spurgeon and Elizabeth Fry, but it’s a great encouragement to see how each of these women served the Lord in supporting their busy husbands alongside ministries of their own. The women come from a variety of backgrounds yet all share a deep love for Christ, and I was struck continually by their dedication to him in the midst of their often very trying circumstances of poor health and poverty. It’s an inspiring read, and has helpful bible study questions at the end of each chapter for those who would like to read it with others.
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