Devotion in Motion: “Fay Inchfawn”

9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Galatians 6: 9 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

I always tell my church members, “Read the newest medicine and the old religion.” I give that advice because science is always coming up with new and better treatments for the ailments of our bodies. But for the ailments of our souls—well that’s another matter entirely. Man’s predicament and human nature haven’t changed one iota since our first parents were expelled from the Garden of Eden. When treating the infirmities of the soul, the newest writings aren’t always the best. I’ve found the most comfort in my own life from books that are over 100 years old.

And, this past week I stumbled onto a particular treasure—the writings of Elizabeth Rebecca Ward, who is most often know by her pen name, “Fay Inchfawn”.  Her most famous volume is Verse-Book of a Homely Woman. (Please note that word “homely” originally was used to describe a person who loved her home, not someone who was as ugly as a mud fence.) She was born in 1880 and wrote gentle poems about the many joys and trials of  being a wife and mother. I thought you might enjoy this little poem from her collection today.

 If Only —-

If only dinner cooked itself,
And groceries grew upon the shelf;
If children did as they were told,
And never had a cough or cold;
And washed their hands, and wiped their
And never tore their Sunday suits,
But always tidied up the floor,
Nor once forgot to shut the door.

If John remembered not to throw
His papers on the ground. And oh!
If he would put his pipes away,
And shake the ashes on the tray
Instead of on the floor close by;
And always spread his towel to dry,
And hung his hat upon the peg,
And never had bones in his leg.

Then, there’s another thing. If Jane
Would put the matches back again
Just where she found them, it would be
A save of time to her and me.
And if she never did forget
To put the dustbin out; nor yet
Contrive to gossip with the baker,
Nor need ten thunderbolts to wake her.

Ahem! If wishes all came true,
I don’t know what I’d find to do,
Because if no one made a mess
There’d be no need of cleanliness.

And things might work so blissfully,
In time — who knows? — they’d not need

And this being so, I fancy whether
I’ll go on keeping things together.

It seems to me from reading this that some things in life never change. Mamas a hundred years ago felt the same way mamas feel now. And they need the same things now that they needed then—front and foremost, encouragement! Dear mama, the Scriptures teach us that “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6) Make sure to do the same for yourself. And since you now realize that others often feel as you do, why not encourage someone else today?

Click here to read previous installments of Devotion in Motion.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is in the middle of his 25th year of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 18) and Seth (age 15) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher can tell you how to find a free online file of the poems of  Fay Inchfawn, if you’re interested.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to