We have looked at 4 very diverse women. Karen who helped start a food bank in a small town. Lottie who went to China to evangelize. Laynie who runs Children’s Ministry at my church. And, Sojourner, a slave who became a great leader. Now, in Women Changing the World, Part 3 meet two new and wonderful women, Dee and Amy Carmichael.
Both traveled the world and had challenges to overcome in order to fulfill God’s call on their lives. Amy Carmichael, of course, is the famous one of the two. When we read about a famous woman who went to foreign countries and did great things, it is easy to forget that they may have had great obstacles, fears, setbacks, opposition, questions for God, and struggles. All we see is what they accomplished without ever knowing about the price they paid to do it.
Battles With Fear
For Dee, hers was claustrophobia and fear of the unknown. When her husband began to travel, Dee was happy to stay home and support him. However, he began to talk to her about traveling with him to foreign nations. They had become acquainted with Missionaries in various countries and those people could not easily come back to the States for counseling and support. Like all of us, they had problem. Dee’s husband was and is an inspirational teacher and he is a counselor as well. These people needed more than a telephone conversation.
As Dee prayed, she knew what God was saying and she made herself ready. However, her struggles went with her. There were so many things to get used to. My only experience with world-travel is the Orient – Hong Kong, Guangjhou, China and Bangkok, Thailand. The first thing I noticed, and the most difficult, was that things were dirty. In fact, everything was dirty and the smells were far different and not so good. Dee had found the same thing many years before I did. In fact, Dee and her husband were on this trip with my husband and me. Thank Heaven! She helped me through all the shocks of overseas travel. Getting on the Subway requires being rude and, if you don’t shove your way onto the train, you won’t be on the train! It was an exciting adventure for me but truly made me sympathize with Dee even more.
Dee overcame her fears with Scripture Proclamations. On some of the first trips, Dee sang songs at the meetings. Gradually, she began to share and teach, leading women’s meetings, Women’s Aglow meeting, speaking at a Bible College and teaching alongside her husband. They held seminars, helped start Marriage Ministries (now 2 Equal One) in many foreign countries and States, counseled couples, and Dee continued to sing.
Dee and her husband didn’t travel for a week or two-at-a-time, they traveled for weeks or months at-a-time. That means you can’t bring all of your special things that make you really comfortable. You just bring the necessities. It also means that your necessities are almost always in a suitcase because you are staying in a hotel, or someone’s house and there just isn’t that much room. If you do get to unpack, it’s only for a short time. I don’t know about you, but the discomfort might outweigh the adventure after the first couple of trips! They came home to a storage shed, living with his parents, and only stayed for 2-3 weeks and then were off again. This was their life for many years and through it, Dee overcame and is a world-changer.
Amy Carmichael was an unlikely candidate to be a Missionary to India. She was born in Ireland and at the age of 16 accepted Christ as her Savior at a Hudson Taylor Evangelistic meeting. Suffering from Neuralgia, she went to India at the age of 28 and stayed there for the remainder of her life. She dedicated herself to saving the children and founded the Dohnavur Mission. After a disabling fall, Amy continued to write and serve. She wrote over 40 books and devotionals and passed away at Dohnavur in 1951. Like Dee, Amy was sustained by the Word and prayer.
I don’t know what fears Amy Carmichael had to overcome but she did have a lifelong illness and then a crippling fall to overcome. You know that the ones Dee has overcome are common to mankind. Also, from my own life, I know that the Word has the power to drive away the things which try to defeat us in this life and fear is a big one.
We Each Have Our Own Battles
We each have our own battles. No matter our station in life, there is a commonality of the battles to be free of fear, sin, pride, and countless more. So, wherever you may be today, you are not alone. I used to think that I could not tell anyone about my struggles because they would think I was a terrible Christian. Eventually, I learned that I was just a normal Christian. My circumstances may be different than yours, the sins, fears and failures we experience are not. We experience things at varied levels of trials but, in the end, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. But, the enemy has many tools in addition to fear. One of them is shame. When we are in the midst of a struggle and should be able to reach out to each other for help because of our commonality, we do not because of the fear of shame.
Merriam Webster defines shame this way:
- A painful emotion caused by the consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety
- The susceptibility to such emotion
- A condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute
- Something that brings censure or reproach
Shame and Fear
Shame is an emotion stirred up by a consciousness of guilt – we did something wrong. We know we fell short and we feel humiliated (reduced to a lower position), fearing how others will see us or treat us. Shame is fear based. We all experience varied types and levels of fear. I have struggled with fear my whole life. Sometimes, it is unexplainable. I have literally awakened from a night’s sleep with that knot of fear in my stomach. No bad dreams, nothing. I, like Dee, have learned to fend it off with the Scripture Proclamations and taking my thoughts captive. I have felt shame for various reasons: ashamed of, ashamed for, shamed by, etc. Fear is at the base of shame and shame feeds fear. It is a terrible cycle to be caught in.Fear is at the base of shame and shame feeds fear. It is a terrible cycle to be caught in. The Word can set us free. Click To Tweet
You may not believe you are a world-changer because of shame, thinking that you aren’t good or smart enough and you don’t know the Bible very well. Your friends would make fun of you if you said that about yourself. You family is too horrible for you to ever be a world-changer. You are too weak and you aren’t a good enough Christian.
Tearing Down the Lies
The problem with all of those statements is that they are lies. God isn’t looking for good enough or smart enough. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar. Perhaps your friends don’t understand what you mean and now you have a chance to explain to them! Your family has nothing to do with who you are in Christ. Remember that your weakest moments are when God is strongest. There is no such thing as a good enough Christian because God does not compare or have favorites.
Amy Carmichael didn’t go to India because she was great, rich, famous and beautiful. Her family had once been wealthy, then lost everything and her Father died. She had to help her Mother raise her siblings in poverty. Dee grew up in an average family and has no special qualifications except this – she loves the Lord her God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength.
You ARE a World Changer
You are a world-changer because Christ died for you. It’s really that simple. There is no place for shame and fear at the cross because they were washed away in the blood of Jesus. So, you can be at peace knowing that you are God’s. You can let go of fear, shame and guilt.
We each need to embrace the fact that we are meant to be world-changers and that God has given us all we need to do so. You don’t have to travel the world or go live in India, unless God tells you to! So, start where you are!
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