As the wife of a minister, Isabella Alden was very familiar with her husband’s congregation. She wasn’t the type of minister’s wife who simply went to teas and receptions and other social events, and never got involved in anything related to the church. Not Isabella.
She was an “old-fashioned minister’s wife,” said her niece, Grace Livingston Hill:
She made calls on the parishioners, knew every member intimately, cared for the sick, gathered the young people into her home, making both a social and religious center for them with herself as leader and adviser; grew intimate with each personally and led them to Christ; became their confidante; and loved them all as if they had been her brothers and sisters.
Isabella’s experiences as a minister’s wife inspired many characters and events in her books. She wove her stories around real incidents and real people, their foibles and inconsistencies, and lessons learned.
Like the country congregation that couldn’t raise the funds needed to keep their church clean in Interrupted.
Or the woman in Aunt Hannah and Martha and John who placed a large donation in the offering plate to impress the congregation, only to slip into the church office later when no one was looking to demand her change because she didn’t really want to give the full amount.
And the Ladies’ Aid Society members who only donated pennies because they believed missionaries and others who did God’s work didn’t need nice things (this happened in a few of Isabella’s novels).
When it came to the subject of money, Isabella had heard all the arguments before. She knew why people preferred to spend their dollars on anything but God’s work. But she also knew her Bible, and believed its instructions about money were just as important as any other commandment.
Isabella was a strong believer in the Biblical concept of tithing, and she knew how important it was to teach children to tithe beginning at a young age. She believed that when we follow God’s instructions about money, we grow to trust God in other areas of our lives, as well.
She illustrated the point in her short story, “Pictures from Mrs. Pierson’s Life.” The story centers around a couple who ignore God’s instructions about money, and what their children learn by the parents’ actions.
“Pictures from Mrs. Pierson’s Life” first appeared in Mrs. Harper’s Awakening, published in 1881. You can read it here for free. Just click on the book cover to get started.
Isabella wrote about money and the importance of tithing in many of her books, including:
Miss Priscilla Hunter (read it for free!)
Aunt Hannah and Martha and John
Household Puzzles and The Randolphs
Spun from Fact (read it for free!)