Monday, October 28, 2013

Candles in the Dark

Anyone who knows me knows I love anything written by Amy Carmichael.  If you haven't read any of her books I highly recommend anything and everything written by her.  She was a missionary to India for 55 years and founded an orphanage in Dohnavur.  On top of that amazing work for the Lord, she wrote many books.  Many she wrote while she was serving as a missionary. The book titled If  is one of my all time favorites...but that is for another post!
Recently my husband came home from a Goodwill treasure hunt and surprised me with the book Candles in the Dark by Amy Carmichael.  I was so excited as this was on my wish list of books to read!  This book is quite a gem and is unique.  It is actually a compilation of letters that she wrote after an accident left her bedridden...and they were the last of her writings before she died in 1951 at the age of 83.  Amy's biography quotes her as saying,

"One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving."

Reading about her life, (I recommend A Chance to Die: The Amy Carmichael Story by Elizabeth Elliot) one can only see that she lived out the words she spoke.  Amy loved much and she gave much...all to and through the glory of God.  In Candles in the Dark there is letter after letter of encouragement and exhortation  to others that comes from a deep relationship with God and a rich knowledge of His Word.  Not in an intellectual way, but in a knowing that comes only from abiding in Him.  Here is  just one example:

Loneliness:  On this day many years ago I went away alone to a cave in a mountain called Arima, in Japan.  I felt many feelings of fear about the future.  That was why I went there. I wanted to be alone with God.  The devil kept on whispering, "It's all right now, but what about afterwards?  You are going to be very lonely."  And he painted pictures of loneliness,  I can see them still.  Then I turned to my God in a kind of desperation and said, "Lord, what can I do?  How can I go on to the end?"  And He said, "None of them that trust in Me shall be desolate."(Psalm 34:22)  That word has been with me ever since, and I give it to you now.  It has been fulfilled to me.  It will be fulfilled to you.  Only live for Him who redeemed you and trust Him to take care of you, and He will.  That day the words "not only but also" were given to me too.  There is not only joy but also sorry in every life, but in the end-O in the end we shall see His face and we shall serve Him together.

Yes, this book is full of short little letters like that.  Words that come from one who has walked with God on the mountains and in the valleys.  Words that encourage us to seek His face and then go out and be candles in the dark.  Get this book! 

Amy's last word

As Amy's life drew to a close, writing of any kind became impossible.  Her last letter, undated, was written in pencil in large, sprawling letters which straggled across the page:

Precious Child,

         If so dear to me, what to Him?

                                         Amma (the children she cared for called
                                                      her Amma which means mother
                                                      in the Tamil language)

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Best Day of My Life

I'm not really a morning person.  Okay, I am not at all a morning person.  It takes me a little while to get to the point where I can have a real conversation with anyone.  Amid my, "mmhmmm" and dazed in they eye looks, are my up with the sun 6 year old twins and their 8 year old brother.  The love to talk in the mornings and, for some reason, love to talk about all of the deep things of life early.  Very early.

This morning was no exception.  While I am stumbling in the kitchen half awake, my 8 year old asks me, "Mom, was your wedding day the best day of your life?"  I manage to mumble in response, "Mmhmmmm.  And the days each of you kids were born." He looks at me deep in thought and walks away. Waking up. Mind processing... "No, wait.  Actually those weren't the best days of my life!"  "They weren't?" he says.  Thankfully, I woke up enough to then explain to him that the best day of my life was the day God drew me to Himself and showed me that I needed a Savior.   We continued to talk about it with the twins listening in as I worked on breakfast.  God has been working so much in the hearts of these three little ones and I know He is drawing them to Himself as well.  I wondered later how many opportunities like this I may have missed in the past?  How many of their deep life questions too early in the morning could have lead to another opportunity for the gospel.  What an eye-opener and a reminder for me to always be ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15) in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).  These little ones are my flock for this time in our lives and God used this simple question this morning as an opportunity to share my testimony with some sweet and tender hearts.

Not only that, but God has used that question in my life all day.  I have been able to reflect on that "best day" and rejoice in how He called me, how He regenerated me, and how He is sanctifying me.  That day was the best day of my life because it was the day it ceased to be my life and became His.  The day I realized all He has done for me through Christ.  Redeemed me, bought me out of the marketplace of sin, and adopted me as His own.  No other day compares!