We all need good role models at every stage of life, not just in our youth. I gravitate toward those whose race is won, as the hymn says. It’s important to me that a person walks the walk that they passionately claim to believe in and talk about. And it’s equally important to me that they leave the stage of life with the same integrity. We all know the disappointment of people who we thought were the real deal, who later extinguished their flame through some form of moral failure or actual apostasy, never to rise from the ashes.
One bright star in this universe of role models is Amy Carmichael. Here was a young woman who gave up just about everything most of us would hold dear in order to follow her Lord. And she counted it all gain! Setting aside marriage and motherhood, she became a mother to over 900 orphans in India, saving many from the Hindu temples where they would have been sentenced to a life of prostitution against their wills.
Some of Amy’s “children” were later asked about their impression of her. They replied, “It was love. Amma (their pet name for her) loved us.” I find these words so convicting. Is that the impression I leave on people?
I will always be indebted to Elisabeth Elliot for her wonderful biography, A Chance to Die. The title comes from a letter Amy wrote to a young woman considering missions. When asked what missionary life was like, Amy condensed it into these words: “Missionary life is simply a chance to die.”
God gifted Amy with a prolific pen, especially for poetry, giving us a window into this incredible woman’s soul, Below you will find her poem, Flame of God, which is really a prayer and the poem I always go back to when I think of Amy (which is often).
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 Captain, Free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.
From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this 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 disappointments tire
The passion that will burn like fire,
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.
Moms, in a world of tyrannical distractions and a culture that militates against the Gospel, give your daughters the gift of Amy Carmichael. Give, that is, after you’ve drank in for yourself her depths of love for Christ.