Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Amy Carmichael: Writing Through Pain by Rose McCormick Brandon

Amy Carmichael devoted her entire adult life to India. An Irish-English girl, Amy landed in India around the turn of the twentieth century and quickly found her God-calling - rescuing children who had been given to the temples for immoral purposes. She built homes for the children, educated them and founded a hospital and retreat center. Amy gathered workers, doctors and teachers, all dedicated to showing God's love to India.
One evening in 1931, at age 64, Amy went to assess progress on a new building. In the dim light she fell into a pit breaking her leg and damaging her spine. This ended her period of active service. For the next twenty years Amy rarely left her room.
A gifted poet and writer, Amy had already published several books. During her confined years, 1931 to 1951, she completed thirteen entire books and several poems which were set to music. In addition, she wrote hundreds of letters - to workers, to the children and to supporters back in England. One letter to workers read, "O how I love you all . . . I think of you separately, and dwell upon each one in thought and love and thanksgiving."
Creativity that she'd barely had time to explore poured out of her.
A plaque outside Amy's room read, "The Room of Peace." She referred to her confinement as a time of peace, joy and song. "Although confined in one room, and often attacked by pain, Amy still possessed an interest in and a vision for the whole world outside. She welcomed the challenge of new ideas which literature brought to her." (Kathleen White, Amy Carmichael)
Her room became the nerve center of the work at Dohnavur. Friends, missionaries and children visited Amy for inspiration and wisdom.
About her confinement, Amy wrote, "The greatest difficulty is to readjust, to see others daily worn down by the Warfare of the Service, and to be oneself sheltered from all the hardest things . . . . "

And a light shined in the cell,
And there was not any wall,
And there was no dark at all,
Only Thou, Immanuel.

Amy's philosophy is encapsulated in this little verse:

To each is given a bag of tools,
An hour-glass and a book of rules;
And each must build ere his work be done,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

Amy's greatest tool was a pen, one she kept using when the other tools in her bag fell silent. From 1895 to 1950 she published thirty-five books, all popular with readers and supporters in England. She never returned to England, not even for a visit. She died in her adopted homeland on January 18, 1951.
While young and healthy Amy wrote in her journal that she never wanted to become a burden to anyone. "Take me straight home. Do not make me ill," she prayed. No one could have foretold what a blessing she'd be during her years of illness.
Books by Amy Carmichael.

Rose McCormick Brandon is the author of four books, including One Good Word Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home - Stories of Canada's British Home Children. She writes personal essays and devotionals for several publications. Visit her blogs: Listening to my Hair Grow and Promises of Home.


Peter Black said...

Thanks Rose. I'd put off checking out some of Amy C.'s background story, in the past, but failed to do so; and so you've satisfied that itch - for now ... :) And what a story of commitment, faithfulness and love it is! Thanks also for sharing those lovely, thought-provoking lines from her potently powerful and poignant pen (er, my P-Pep alliteration runs amok sometimes. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

What an encouraging post, Rose. Thank you for sharing this lovely story about Amy Carmichael. I love her lines:

To each is given a bag of tools,
An hour-glass and a book of rules;
And each must build ere his work be done,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

Such wisdom.

Belinda Burston said...

One of my favourite poems by Amy Carmichael is: Hast Thou No Scar
Hast Thou No Scar

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent.
Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?
No wound? No scar?
Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole. Can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?

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