Why I’m Reading The Story Of Charlotte Mason By Essex Cholmondley

In ten pages I’ve been swept away. The blight in my heart is cut back. I’ve been lax studying lately. I’ve been timid and lazy. Hopefully cracking open this book will refresh me. My whole life was changed by Charlotte Mason but who was she really?

For some time now (three years maybe) I have been walking on the road to Emmaus, desperately sad and confused but moving (always moving and being utterly practical) because I did not get the salvation I desired in 2014. This is a normal part of the journey for every Christian. Hopefully your walk will be shorter than mine.

If you are disappointed and dismayed by Jesus not giving you what you thought He would you are not alone.

Jesus didn’t wipe out the Romans in a military coup; he didn’t make the disciples leaders and generals over all of Israel; he didn’t do what they thought he was going to do. The pain of disappointment can be crushing my friends. I understand if you’re struggling. It’s hard to do this. Growth takes such intense effort. The important thing to remember is that His plans are better than anything we can imagine. And He is walking with you even now. I know because I’ve been battling temptation and anger and fear, constantly. But God never leaves us. He never forsakes us. He is good.

You may have started on this self-education journey with a bright fiery zeal only to face setback after setback or maybe you’re like one of my other friends who had a “Christian” background, a long history of accepting others ideas, but who never really formed her own connections. She’s being brave by standing up and admitting her doubts. And that’s ok.

Authenticity gives us air.

A real education rips up the false truths we are accustomed to standing upon. Don’t forget Christ is the Rock. Everything else might change but He is our stronghold. Sometimes he has to take everything away so we can build true.

A real education pursued by me at a (ridiculously) slow pace revealed things about my heart I never imagined. Once my heart started changing everything had to change along with it. But who was Charlotte Mason, really?

She was a lovely woman with a heart for children.

My mother was delicate and requires sea air, so it happened that I was born in Bangor [1st January 1842] and that my earliest recollections are associated with the sea. My father, J. H. Mason, was a Liverpool merchant, a ‘dry salter,’ and notwithstanding Punch’s give at the dry salter with his lackeys about him who sent his son to ‘Hoxford to learn ‘is Harts,’ my father was a refined and simple man, very fond of books. The Liverpool house did not suit my mother, so we were seldom there. I had no brothers and sisters, and both parents were also only children, so I had no first cousins, and I think I was rather lonely as a child, and got into the habit of not talking much.”

Charlotte’s parents and their finances were affected by the impending Civil War. It brought heavy losses.

“The strain of poverty told upon the health of Charlotte’s beautiful mother and in 1858 she died. Mr. Mason never recovered from this loss. He died soon afterwards, leaving Charlotte at the age of sixteen alone in the world. A friend gave her a home for a time; she was entirely without relations and without means, and she passed through a period of great desolation. In her mind remained one idea: she knew that ‘teaching was the thing to do, and above all the teaching of poor children’.

I live in America. By all intents and purposes I am incredibly “rich” but like most Americans I have difficulty naming twelve songbirds, knowing important historical facts, and recognizing postmodernism’s influence on my spirituality. The truth, if I am brave enough to admit it, is that I am poor. I am only just now beginning to create connections with excellent things, literature from great minds, poetry from deep hearts. I am only now starting to really grow as a person and not a constantly-entertained striving-after-pleaaure dolt who just wants things to be pleasant.

I have a beautiful relationship with God that keeps me sane and blesses every aspect of who I am but the Who of Me has increased seventyfold due to the education that Charlotte Mason proposed and AO brought to life.

Without the influence of Charlotte Mason my heart would have stayed a treasurehouse stocked with very few precious gems. I look forward to learning more about her and growing with all of you.

Thank you my friends for encouraging me. It must be working. ;)


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