©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
The words and lives of many women throughout time have pointed others to the love of God, and the peace and joy found by trusting and walking with Him. Like water flowing in a forest stream shaping the banks and the rocks, feeding the flora and fauna, their lives leave a mark in many ways.
Some, like Mother Teresa, are names we recognize, although her goal was never about attracting attention for herself. Revered for her missionary work in India, Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. The founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, she dedicated her life to helping the sick and the poor, and glorifying God through her actions. The life she led and the love she shared made an impact on both Christians and non-Christians.
An earlier international missionary started her service in 1873 at the age of 32. Perhaps you’ve heard of her too? Charlotte “Lottie” Moon spent around four decades teaching and sharing the gospel in China. As a youth, Lottie rebelled against Christianity but embraced it in college.
One of the first women in the South to earn a master’s degree (1861), Lottie sailed to China in 1873 to join her sister who was already in mission work there. While there, Lottie taught at a girls’ school but also took the time to learn the Chinese language and customs. Lottie’s fervent call for more Christians to serve and support spreading the gospel in China lives on today in an annual offering for mission work established in her name.
They will be alone in the interior and will need to be strong and courageous. If the joy of the Lord be their strength, the blessedness of the work will more than compensate for its hardships. Let them come ‘rejoicing to suffer’ for the sake of that Lord and Master who freely gave his life for them. – Lottie Moon
Middle-aged women, those struggling with hardship, and people wavering on the value of protecting the innocent – actually anyone – can look to Corrie ten Boom’s life for inspiration. Nearly 50 years old, the single ten Boom was living with her father and sister and other relatives in 1940 when the German Blitzkrieg hit the Netherlands. As Dutch Christians firm in their faith, they actively hid and helped hundreds of Jews escape the Nazis. A secret room behind a false wall in Corrie’s bedroom kept the Jews there hidden when the Gestapo raided the home in 1944.
The first licensed female watchmaker in Holland, Corrie ended up in a concentration camp where her sister died; her father also died while imprisoned. Inexplicably (miraculously!), she was released 12 days after her sister’s death.
She wrote several books including the best-selling classic The Hiding Place and spoke in more than 60 countries. Despite her many difficulties and disappointments in life, Corrie turned her tragedy into encouragement and hope for others.
Fanny Crosby is a name many may not recognize, but the impact of her words has been felt by millions. Physically blind, Fanny’s spiritual sight was strong. Credited with writing more than 9,000 hymns, including many under a multitude of pseudonyms, Fanny’s Tell Me the Story of Jesus, Blessed Assurance, To God be the Glory and countless others sent sweet words and spiritual truth in people’s hearts and minds over generations.
Like the other women mentioned here, Fanny knew the value and importance of telling the story of Jesus! His story was the one each of these women hoped others would know.
Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word; tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard. Tell how the angels, in chorus, sang as they welcomed His birth, “Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.”
Refrain: Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word; tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.
Fasting alone in the desert, tell of the days that are past; how for our sins He was tempted, yet was triumphant at last. Tell of the years of His labor, tell of the sorrow He bore; He was despised and afflicted, homeless, rejected, and poor. [Refrain]
Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, writhing in anguish and pain; tell of the grave where they laid Him, tell how He liveth again. Love in that story so tender, clearer than ever I see: stay, let me weep while you whisper, love paid the ransom for me. [Refrain]
“Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word….”and “This is my story, this is my song praising my Savior all the day long…”seeped into my soul through their respective songs, ones I first sang as a child in my hometown church.
Now in the public domain, Fanny’s song Blessed Assurance appeared in more than 1,000 different hymnals and touched millions of lives, like mine, over the years. Let yourself be wrapped in peace as you listen to Carrie Underwood’s current recording of Blessed Assurance. And, take a minute to read the first and third stanzas and refrain of Fanny Crosby’s words with me as we consider the story they tell:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
Refrain: This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, all is at rest. I in my Savior am happy and bless’d, watching and waiting, looking above, filled with his goodness, lost in his love. [Refrain]
If you don’t have that blessed assurance today, you can. You can have confidence that because of the sacrifice Christ made on the cross, and your belief and trust in Him, that you are in communion with God not only here on earth, but that you also will for eternity.
It’s good to talk about – and celebrate – these women’s stories – their service, their sacrifice and their success.
But it’s important to remember and rejoice that their lives – their stories – were focused on an even greater story of grace, goodness and love – God’s.
Through their courage and commitment, their obedience and sacrifice, and by showing and sharing love, they followed the example of Jesus.
So, what is our story? If someone were to tell our story would it feature Jesus in the spotlight? Would our trust in and reliance on God be consistent enough to include?
Few of us will lead full-time lives of Christian work or service, but each and every one of us can live lives of spiritual significance – shining His Light and sharing His Love as we interact with others.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:19-24
- If you were called to be a missionary, what country would you hope it would be to?
- Which lines of the two Fanny Crosby’s songs shared here touch your heart the most today?
- Who do you personally know who is living life in a way that strongly points to God?
- Who is a woman you admire (past or present) because of her walk with the Lord?
- What is something you’ve done this month that showed the love of God to someone else?
Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6:4-5
Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™
*Scripture references are from New International Version (NIV)