Article by: Sarah Koontz, Founder of Living by Design Ministries
Welcome to week 1 of the #Write31Days Challenge!
I am titling this series “31 Uplifting Quote Graphics” and I plan to release a beautiful image & inspirational quote every day throughout the month of October.
My friend Tod White has graciously granted me access to his photography collection and permission to use his images for this series.
These pictures are especially meaningful to me because they are like a little piece of my hometown that I am excited to share with you.
Rather than overwhelming my blog with a new article each day, I plan on picking a person and a topic to explore in a single weekly article.
I will update this article every morning with additional content and the freshly curated daily quote graphic.
Beyond that, I aim to share with you some of the lesser known facts about the people behind the quotes.
I have found the process of researching for this challenge captivating, and I am excited to share with you what I have discovered.
I want to thank Dr. Warren Wiersbe for his book entitled, “50 People Every Christian Should Know,” which was the inspiration for this series. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
I have already uploaded each day’s quote graphic to Twitter, Facebook, & Pinterest so all you have to do is click the links below the graphic to share with your friends & followers.
Martin Luther on Marriage: 7 quotes in 7 Days
Thursday, October 1 2015
Martin Luther German priest and scholar who is best known for nailing his 95-thesis onto a chapel door and becoming the father of the Protestant Reformation.
Martin married Katharine von Bora in 1525.
After helping her escape the convent, Luther attempted for two years to match Katharine with a Godly husband.
Luther was himself wary of taking a wife due to the constant danger he faced because of his Ninety-Five Theses.
As the months and years passed, Katharine made it known that she would not be opposed to marrying Doctor Luther.
Around the same time, Luther wrote to a friend, “If I can swing it, I take my Kate to wife ere I die, to spite the devil.”
They were married for more than twenty years and had six children together. Martin lovingly called his wife “Kitty, my rib” and declared marriage as “a school for character.”
Friday, October 2 2015
“There is a lot to get used to in the first year of marriage,” Martin wrote. “One wakes up in the morning and finds a pair of pigtails on the pillow which were not there before.”
Luther was 42 years old when he took Katharine to be his wife, and she was 17 years his junior.
Katharine always called him Doctor Luther, but he had a number of pet names for her.
Here are just a few of my favorites:
“My Lord Kate”
“Doctor Katharine” (she was a fantastic nurse and well versed in herbal medicine)
“Kette” (which is the German word for “chain”, he reserved it for when she was giving too many orders)
In some of his letters, he would address her as:
“The deeply learned Mrs. Katherine Luther, my gracious housewife in Wittenberg”
“To my dear housewife, Katherine Luther, Doctress, self-martyr at Wittenberg”
“To the holy, worrisome Lady, Katherine Luther, Doctor at Wittenberg”
“Housewife Katherine Luther, Doctress, and whatever else she may be”
I find the way he addressed Katherine especially charming, and will wrap up today’s post with one of my favorite of Luther’s recorded statements on wives.
“Wives usually know the art to ensnare a man with tears and pleadings. They can turn and twist nicely and give the best words.”
So very true, Doctor Luther, so very true!
Saturday, October 3 2015
Katherine brought many character traits and skills to her marriage that cause me to deeply admire her.
She managed her home well and sacrificed much to assure that her six children were fed and well cared for.
She transformed a neglected field into a bountiful garden and raised dairy cows for milk.
She even started a piggery because her dear Doctor Luther liked pork; thus giving him an excuse to create another nickname for his beloved.
“My Lord Kate, Mistress of the Pigsty.”
She welcomed many guests into her home and took the time to minister to the needs of people all over Wittenberg.
She cared for the sick, comforted those who mourned, and frequently offered advice and encouragement to others.
The church historian Philip Schaff wrote:
“Viewed simply as a husband-father, and as one of the founders of the clerical family, Luther deserves to be esteemed and honored as one of the greatest benefactors of mankind.”
It has become quite clear to me through my research that much of the success of Luther’s family life was due to the servant-heartedness of his dear wife.
The role of the pastor’s wife is often overlooked in our culture, but these women do so much behind the scenes in order to facilitate their husband’s ministry.
I challenge you to take the time to hug your pastor’s wife and tell her how much you appreciate her because I am sure she would benefit from the encouragement!
Sunday, October 4 2015
I truly enjoy preparing meals for my family, but nothing bothers me more than when they are not eager to eat them while the food is hot.
It seems that dear Katherine and I have this trait in common.
Doctor Luther would often leave his food untouched while he sat at the dinner table debating theology and the things of God with his guests and students.
One day, as his food grew cold, Katherine chided him to “stop talking and eat.”
In haste, he replied, “I wish that women would repeat the Lord’s Prayer before opening their mouths!”
Oh, my! If he were my husband…….
But Luther was dedicated to his family, and in spite of his tendency to speak before thinking, he loved them dearly.
He spent time each day praying with his six children, reciting the ten commandments, the Lord’s prayer and singing a psalm.
And, the sacrifice of cold food and unfinished dinners was well worth it.
It is said that one of Luther’s finest books came from mealtime conversations.
It is important for us all to remember that if it were not for Katherine’s patience and willingness to accept her husband (flaws and all), we might not have this treasure of wisdom even to this day.
One of my favorite selections from Luther’s “Table Talk” is this fascinating statement about the value of God’s Holy Word.
“The Bible, or Holy Scripture, said Luther, is like a fair and spacious orchard, wherein all sorts of trees do grow, from which we may pluck divers kinds of fruits; for in the Bible we have rich and precious comforts, learnings, admonitions, warnings, promises, and threatenings, etc. There is not a tree in this orchard on which I have not knocked, and have shaken at least a couple of apples or pears from the same.”
Marriage is never easy.
I can only imagine that a marriage between a 42-year-old reformed monk and a 25-year-old former nun would have its own set of unique challenges.
I am grateful they persevered and astounded by the mark their marriage left on the world even to this day.
Monday, October 5 2015
Life was not always easy for Martin and Katherine.
Luther’s spirit and faith were strong, but his body was frail.
He suffered from many ailments throughout his life, and there were several occasions Katherine prepared herself for life as a widow.
But the Lord faithfully healed Luther time and again, until He was called home to Glory in 1546.
During one especially challenging season, Luther found himself nearly suffocating under the weight of his calling.
His joy and cheerfulness had been replaced with depression and worry.
Many days came and went, yet Luther was still discouraged.
At the end of her patience, Katherine put on her black mourning outfit and went out to meet him at the door.
He looked at her in surprise and asked, “Who died?”
She simply replied, “God.”
“You foolish thing!” said Luther. “Why this foolishness?”
“It is true,” she stated, “God must have died, or Doctor Luther would not be so sorrowful.”
Her little charade worked and Luther snapped out of his depression.
Oh, how I admire that dear, brave woman!
She persisted when many would have given up, she faced the obstacles of life with bravery and creativity, and she played a massively important role in the life and ministry of Martin Luther.
Tuesday, October 6 2015
Katharine gave birth to six children, but only four survived the many childhood illnesses of the sixteenth century.
After the loss of baby Elizabeth when she was only 7 months old, Katharine gave birth to another little girl who they named Magdalene.
Unfortunately, Magdalene grew ill and lay on her death bed at the tender age of 13.
As her time drew near, one of Luther’s friends recorded that Martin Luther “fell on his knees before the bed and, weeping bitterly, prayed that God might will to save her.”
Magdalene was a gentle and sweet girl; universally beloved by all and the apple of her Father’s eye.
It is said she never once angered him, although I doubt that to be an entirely true statement.
Just before her death, Martin and Magdalene had this wonderfully inspiring conversation that revealed both the depth of their love for each other and their unyielding faith in the sovereign will of God.
“Then, addressing her: My little Magdalena, my little girl, soon you will not be with me, will you be happy without your father? The tired child tenderly and softly answered: Yes, dear father, as God wants.”
The death of young children was far too common of an experience in that day, but it was still a tragic blow to the parents.
In a letter to Papst, Luther said this of his daughter’s death: ‘She died having total faith in Christ . . . I loved her so very much.’
Oh, how I wish to have similar words uttered after my own death.
To be known and remembered for having total faith in Christ is a beautiful thing.
Wednesday, October 7 2015
Most of what we know about Katherine is second-hand information.
Very few documents remain that were written in her hand and many of Luther’s letters to her were preserved without her reply.
This discrepancy leaves us knowing a great deal about what Luther thought of his wife and very little of her true feelings for him.
We do, however, have this letter from Katherine to her sister-in-law written shortly after Luther’s death in 1546.
She was a 47-year-old widow with 5 children ranging in age from 12-20.
“I know that you take pity on me and my poor children,” Katherine wrote. “For who could not be deeply grieved and saddened over the loss of such a dear and precious man as my husband has been. He gave so much of himself in service not only to one town or to one country, but to the whole world. Yes, my sorrow is so deep that no words can express my heartbreak, and it is humanly impossible to understand what state of mind and spirit I am in . . . I can neither eat nor drink, not even sleep . . . God knows that when I think of having lost him, I can neither talk nor write in all my suffering.”
After Luther’s death, war broke out in Germany and Katherine, who was living in deep poverty at the time, was forced to flee.
When she and the children returned to Wittenberg after the war, their home and beautiful gardens were destroyed.
The plague returned to the land and they were forced to flee once again.
A tragic wagon accident and subsequent illness took the life of Katherine when she was only 53-years old.
She was buried in St. Mary’s Church in Torgau, far from where her husband was laid to rest in Whittenburg.
But the story of the Luthers does not end here, for they were reunited in Glory with their Savior.
I am certain he is teasing her still and she is loving him anyway.
Thank you for joining me for the first week of the #write31days challenge.
Starting tomorrow, we will be venturing into the life of Fanny Crosby, the most prolific female hymn writer of the nineteenth century.
The series will be entitled, “Fanny Crosby on Faith: 7 quotes in 7 days” & I hope you will join me in exploring this fascinating woman’s life and ministry.