Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Woman of Means

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

- Anne Bradstreet

She was a Puritan woman, a devout Christian, who left her beloved England and manor life in 1630 to venture, along with her family, into an unknown wilderness world. Anne Bradstreet was a gifted writer, an intelligent, creative, and courageous woman, but most of all she was a woman who loved God and her family, a woman who wanted to influence the world around her.

Anne battled with illness. She also struggled with homesickness and the rustic, impoverished conditions she found in America. She raised eight children and had to deal with the typical problems of motherhood. Her husband was involved in politics and business pursuits, which often took him away from home, so Anne endured many hours of loneliness, finding comfort in her walk with God.

Anne's poetry explores her struggles, her love of her family, and her consecration to God. Being a woman in 17th century society, Anne was not readily accepted as a writer, but she was not deterred and composed many lovely poems and meditations that still inspire us today.

In July 1666, Anne's home burned, and she lost all her worldly possessions. Her response, as she struggled through grief, is a challenge to every Christian. Anne loved her home. It brought her comfort and joy. The memories she shared there with her family were precious to her. But she came to the conclusion that God was the architect of her life and that He would sustain her. In other words, when the dust had settled, God was still God, and He was Lord of her life.

by Anne Bradstreet (c.1612-1672)

In silent night when rest I took,
For sorrow neer I did not look,
I waken'd was with thundring nois
And Piteous shreiks of dreadfull voice.
That fearful sound of fire and fire,
Let no man know is my Desire.

I, starting up, the light did spye,
And to my God my heart did cry
To strengthen me in my Distresse,
And not to leave me succourlesse.
Then coming out beheld a space,
The flame consume my dwelling place.

And when I could no longer look,
I blest his Name that gave and took,
That layd my goods now in the dust:
Yea so it was, and so 'twas just.
It was his own: it was not mine;
Far be it that I should repine.

He might of All justly bereft,
But yet sufficient for us left.
When by the Ruines oft I past,
My sorrowing eye aside did cast,
And here and there the places spye
Where oft I sate, and long did lye.

Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest;
There lay that store I counted best:
My pleasant things in ashes lye,
And them behold no more shall I.
Under thy roof no guest shall sitt,
Nor at thy Table eat a bitt.

No pleasant tale shall 'ere be told,
Nor things recounted done of old.
No Candle 'ere shall shine in Thee,
Nor bridegroom's voice ere heard shall bee.
In silence ever shalt thou lye;
Adeiu, Adeiu; All's vanity.

Then streight I 'gin my heart to chide,
And did thy wealth on earth abide?
Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust,
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
Raise up thy thoughts above the skye
That dunghill mists away may flie.

Thou hast an house on high erect,
Fram'd by that mighty Architect,
With glory richly furnished,
Stands permanent though this bee fled.
It's purchased, and paid for too
By him who hath enough to doe.

A Prise so vast as is unknown,
Yet, by his Gift, is made thine own.
Ther's wealth enough, I need no more;
Farewell my Pelf, farewell my Store.
The world no longer let me Love,
My hope and Treasure lyes Above.


  1. Amen...our hope and treasure lie above! I liked the reminder of:

    It was his own: it was not mine;
    Far be it that I should repine.

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring poem...

  2. This is just what I needed today. A great reminder that God is God no matter what happens and that everything is His. Thank you for sharing this. :)

    Hugs & Blessings,


    If you come up here to visit with your son and family, let me know and maybe we could go to a Tea Room for lunch. :)

  3. Dear Andrea,
    Thank you so much for visiting me and for your sweet comment! I am so glad you left one so I could find you! You have such a lovely, inspiring and encouraging blog! I am so blessed by your writings and all that you share.

    I enjoyed reading about Anna Bradstreet and the beautiful poem she wrote! Her love and trust in the Lord is so incredible and such a blessing! Thank you so much for sharing this, it is just what I needed to hear today.

    God bless you!

  4. I'm counting on that house on high and all that comes with!

    Beautiful story; beautiful life. Thanks for sharing it with me.


  5. Beautiful poems! Thank you for sharing this amazing story about such an inspirational woman.

  6. Hello Andrea,

    I've never heard of Anne Bradstreet before, but what lovely words came from her tragedy. I couldn't imagine losing my entire house and possessions...Hopefully I never will, but I can only hope that if tragedy struck I would respond with such grace.
    Thank you for sharing this story!

    God Bless!

  7. Andrea, thank you for your visit and comment. Thank you also for this post about Anne Bradstreet...I've heard the name but know nothing about her. She was obviously a truly amazing woman from whom we could learn much. Thank you for sharing her poem. Now I am wondering where she lived and how she lived after everything was lost...perhaps with one of her children. When you think about life in those times and in that place, it had to be incredibly difficult. Interesting, 1666 was the same year that much of London burned down too.

  8. I need more of Anne and her poetry. I wish you and I could sit down over a pot of tea and discuss books, quotes, and lives well spent that left behind a treasure chest for us to dig through. I suppose our blogs will have to do. You've inspired me to write about those biographies that have touched me.


Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,