May 7, 2014

Amy Carmichael and Motherhood

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) is one of my favorite people. A few years ago I'd never heard of her, but through her books and biographies, I've gotten to know a wonderful Godly woman.

Amy never married and never gave birth to a child and yet she was a mother to many in the truest sense of motherhood.

Amy went to India to evangelize, but God had other plans. He brought children into her life who needed a mother. Temple children. Children who were being prostituted to the Hindu gods.

It became overwhelming for Amy at one point and at that time she had a vision. In Elisabeth Elliot's biography of Amy (A Chance to Die) she writes:

"One evening when the full responsibility of the compound rested on Amy, she had what amounted to a vision. The tamarind trees around the bungalow were olive trees, and under them a man knelt alone. She knew it was the Lord, praying there in the garden for the children. 

So the burden was His, not hers.

She need not ask Him to share it with her. He was asking her to share it with Him, to search with Him for the lost lambs. 'Who could have done anything but go into the garden and kneel down beside Him under the olive trees?'

This made me really think.

When we have a burden for someone, we must remember God had it first. We only share in it with Him. He is praying for that loved one who has rejected Him. He is praying for healing in the life of the addict. He is praying for the abused child. And He asks us to kneel down with Him and share in that burden. We are not alone.

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens."   Psalm 68:19

Amy felt childcare was beneath her. She came to India to bring people to Christ, not start a daycare! But God saw things differently. She was learning, along with the women working with her:

"...that if the Lord of Glory took a towel and knelt on the floor to wash the dusty feet of His disciples (the job of the lowest slave in an Eastern household), then no work, even the relentless and often messy routine of caring for squalling babies, is demeaning. 

To offer it up to the Lord of Glory transforms it into a holy task.

'Could it be right,' Amy had asked, 'to turn from so much that might be of profit and become just nursemaids?' 

The answer was yes.

It is not the business of the servant to decide which work is great, which is small, which important or unimportant - he is not greater than his master.

'If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider 'not spiritual work' I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary Love,' Amy wrote after many years of such 'unspiritual' work."

God turned Amy into a mother. A loving mother who these children may never had known if she had not submitted in obedience to the Lord.

Are you a mom? Then remember, if you offer your children up to the Lord your mothering becomes a holy task. A task of eternal worth.

*Note - all quotes from Elisabeth Elliot's book 'A Chance to Die.'

Buy it HERE on Amazon


  1. If I offer up my (grand)children to God, (Grand)mothering becomes a holy task. I love the idea. I read about Amy Carmichael years ago. You inpsire me to read about here again...maybe the library!

  2. "When we have a burden for someone, we must remember God had it first." A beautiful truth - He invites us into His work. I am so glad we were neighbors at Thought Provoking this morning. Have a blessed day!

  3. Lovely. And timely for me to hear as I'm into week 4 of newborn time with my second. Thank you.

  4. Your post really touched me. I just had to go and try to buy the book from Amazon. Sadly they only have it in hardcover copy but I managed to find another book by her. Thank you for telling this story.

  5. Great story! She's one of my favorite missionaries, along with Gladys Aylward. I did a post on Amy Carmichael two years ago. I think you'll enjoy it. And, thanks for linking on Amanda's Books and More. Here it is:

  6. Very, very interesting!

    I hope you can stop by and visit and maybe even sign up for my favorite color swap:


  7. Glad you have all been touched by Amy's life. The more I read of her, the more challenged I become. She didn't mess around with her faith. She was dedicated to her Savior in a way we see little of today. I pray for faith and courage like hers.

    Thanks for stopping by everyone! : )

  8. I love that book! I was so very challenged by it as I read it, and I found myself challenged yet again by the things you highlighted. Thanks for sharing this with us at Booknificent Thursday! Loved it!

  9. Here are 2 things I love about your post
    1. That you wrote about Amy Carmichael ! I found out about her a few years ago and went ahead and bought a biography. What an example for us in this day and age.

    2. I loved the point you shared about sharing God's burden. It's profound to think that the Lord will choose people like me to bear HIS burden. It's simply profound ! Each time I feel my heart begin to grow cold, one of the things I pray for is that the Lord will help me to regain His heart.

    Thank you Cathy for sharing this at the Running after God Tuesday Link Up ! God bless you and have a beautiful day.


Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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