Friday, June 3, 2005

More about Amy Carmichael

I just wanted to share a little bit more about Amy Carmichael, or “Amma” as she was called by the people who loved her. Amma was a missionary to India, and founded the Dohnavur Fellowship (, which rescued children from lives of neglect and poor treatment so common in the Hindu culture at that time. She was born in 1867 into a strong Presbyterian family in Ireland. Very early on, Amy chose to become dead to the world and its applause, to all its customs, fashions, and laws well before she officially entered missionary service. Before she became “famous” in missionary circles (or infamous depending on who you were speaking to)…she was known among the dregs of Irish society. As a teenager, she single-handedly ministered to young girls, called “Shawlies” (poor girls forced to work in factories, who could not afford hats for church so wore their thin, tattered shawls on their heads instead). At one point, she had gathered so many Shawlies that a separate service had to be organized…then a separate building found to hold them all. This sort of selfless love and steely determination, which did not even flinch at the disapproving glances or comments of those around her, would characterize Amy for her entire life. Though she had her heart set on China…the Lord led her to India…where she served without furlough until her death in 1951…some 56 years. Those 56 years are full of stories of Amma loving the unlovely…of lives saved from caste, abuse and oppression…and generations of souls eternally secure in Christ through her ministry. Her life is a stunning example of abandonment to God, characterized by total commitment, obedience and selflessness.

As I said, in reading her biography, I was often so struck by her abandonment…her commitment…her selflessness…and convicted of my own lack, that I was undone before the Lord…often reduced to tears. Even editing/typing this very brief and insufficient bio summary, I’ve had several moments of emotional response and conviction by the Holy Spirit. And, I suspect, I will be reading her bio again soon. :)

My copy of “A Chance to Die” (Elisabeth Elliot’s bio of Amma) is filled with underlined sections and my journal is full of references and application thoughts that come from my reading…and scripture brought to life by Amy’s example...quotes that impacted me. Here are a few:

This is not an Amy quote…but was quoted by her…
"The roads are rugged; the precipices are steep; there may be a feeling of dizziness on the heights, gusts of wind, peals of thunder, nights of awful gloom - fear them not. There are also the joys of the sunlight, flowers such as are not in the plain, the purest air, restful nooks, and the stars smilie thence like the eyes of God." Pére Didon - "Spiritual Letters"

Amy’s prayer…
From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee
From fearing when I should aspire
From faltering when I should climb higher
From silken self, O Captive free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee
From subtle love of softening things
From easy choices, weakenings
(Not thus are spirits fortified,Not this the way went the Crucified)
From all that dims Thy Calvary
O Lamb of God, deliver me
Give me the love that leads the way
The faith that nothing can dismay
The hope no disappointment tires
The passion that will burn like fire
Let me not sink to be a clod
Make me thy fuel, flame of God!

More Amy quotes…
“All that pleases is but for a moment. All that grieves is but for a moment. Nothing is important but that which is eternal.”

“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.”

And…from Amy’s mother…
“He who hath led will lead
All through the wilderness
He who hath fed will surely feed
He who hath heard thy cry
Will never close his ear
He who hath marked thy faintest sigh
Will not forget thy tear
He loveth always, faileth never
So rest on Him today – forever.”

No comments:

Post a Comment