Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tribute to a Godly Wife

Many people are aware of the famous Confederate officer Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. He is known for his bold stand at the first battle of Manassas, which earned him his nickname "Stonewall." He was known for bold maneuvers that allowed him to defeat much larger armies with his smaller "Stonewall Brigade." He was known for striking fear in the enemy as he often gave the command for his forces to "Give them [the northern invaders] the bayonet," and to scream like furies when they engaged in battle.

But many are unaware of the tender, human side of Jackson and the importance of his Christian faith in shaping his understanding of duty and honor. Well in a book I just picked up the other day in the Jackson museum on campus at the Virginia Military Institute, one finds that it was his wife Mary Anna Morrison Jackson that played a huge role in shaping who Jackson was. In Beloved Bride: The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife, provides this tribute to Mrs. Jackson:

Any portrait of Jackson would be woefully incomplete without giving full understanding to the depth of his love for Anna Morrison Jackson. such a portrait would be missing his heart. The Thomas-Anna relationship . . . [was] a central and vital web in the tapestry of his soul. . . . For Jackson, Anna was a living and breathing example of God's goodness and beneficence, of the absolute beauty of life on this earth, of the piece of God's plan that allowed for happiness and fulfillment in this life. Anna not only shared his faith, she epitomized his faith, she sweetened his faith. . . . Her presence in his life brought balance. Her influence and guidance did not inhibit the qualities that made "Stonewall" Jackson a warrior among warriors, but greatly enhanced the virtues that made Thomas Jackson a man among men.

One can see this in Jackson's own words in a letter he wrote to Mary Anna on April 25, 1857:
In my daily walks I think much of you. I love to stroll abroad after the labors of the day are over, and indulge feelings of gratitude to God for all the sources of natural beautywith which he has adorned the earth. Some time since, my morning walks were rendered very delightful by the singing of the birds. The morning carolling [sic] of the birds, and their sweet notes in the evening, awaken in me devotional feelings of praise and thanksgiving, thought very different in their nature. In the morning, all animated nature (man excepted) appears to join in expressions of gratitude to God; in the evening, all is hushing into silent slumber, and thus disposes the mind to meditation. And as my mind dwells on you, I love to give it a devotional turn, by thinking of you as a gift from our Heavenly Father. How delightful it is thus to associate every pleasure and enjoyment with God the Giver!
Among the many things that strikes me about the correspondence I have read thus far, is the reality that these gentle and tender words and praises are coming from a man among men. It is instructive to read how this fierce warrior was not ashamed to express himself so openly to his bride and leaves me to wonder what Mary Anna was like to be able to have such an effect on this "Stonewall."

But equally striking is how Jackson is so completely devoted to his bride. Jackson's love and devotion provides a good picture of what Paul tells us of the love between Christ and his church in Ephesians 5.25-30,
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
May there be such tribute given to all the wives--and might all the husbands promote such love and thankfulness as well.

3 comments:

  1. i wanted to let you know ... a friend of mine has read your post, and the previous comment, comment number one, is written in mandarin. she said it is a pornographic advertisement in mandarin. it shows up here as boxes, but for her, in another country, it shows up in text.

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  2. Thank you so much for letting me know about that advertisement!!

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  3. you're welcome ... it was not i, though ... it was my friend. i believe she emailed you personally, so you can reply and thank her personally :)

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