dangerous (a), full of risk
“Nothing is more dangerous to the work of Satan than a prayer warrior.”
For some reason, the past few days, God keeps putting articles, teachings, etc. in my path concerning being a “dangerous woman.” While searching the net for information for an upcoming book, I ran across Lynne Hybel’s website, http://www.lynnehybels.com/, and saw her book, “Nice Girls Don’t Change the World.” I thought it was so interesting and decided to read an excerpt on www.christianbook.com. Then, I found her “A Creed for Dangerous Women” at http://www.lynnehybels.com/documents/Dangerous_Women_Creed.pdf, read it. Thought about it. Printed it off. Pasted it in my journal. And, took a deep breath and prayed it.
Then, yesterday, after taking my car to be maintenanced AND getting a SPEEDING TICKET (and I wasn’t even speeding on purpose. . . honest! UGH!), I took a very long summer afternoon walk—with IPOD loaded—to talk to God. It had been a long morning. Anxious to hear Rev. Dr. Rick Warren’s Commencement Address to the 2008 Graduates of Gordon College (Wenham, MA), my son’s soon-to-be-home-away-from-home, I hit the pavement. With each step and every word of his powerful message (which you can download from http://www.gordon.edu/, click on PODCASTS), my spirit was becoming more and more passionate. Then, on top of his challenge, I listened to an interview with his wife, Kay Warren, hosted by Gordon’s First Lady, Jan Carlberg, concerning Kay’s recently published book, Dangerous Surrender, http://www.kaywarren.com/dangeroussurrender.html.
Towards the end of the interview, Jan asked Kay a very interesting question concerning the effect of Kay’s dangerous surrender on her family. Having been a fulltime pastor’s wife and mother forever, her decision to champion the cause of HIV/AIDS Awareness (read her book or excerpt for more information about this) greatly effected everyone around her. Her reply stopped me dead in my tracks. She said:
“My family was used to relating to me as a stay-at-home mom, even while Dad was
circling the planet, I was at least the stationery hub that the family kind of circled
around. When God changed my life and opened doors for me that now I’m traveling,
working full-time, that changed the dynamic of our family.
My daughter, a brand new mom herself, had a mental picture of how things would be.
Me, the Grandma, always there.
But in all this, she taught me a great lesson. She said,
‘Sometimes the most dangerous surrender we can make is to say
yes to the dangerous surrender in someone else’s life.'”
As a mother, I totally get that. This week, I am saying ‘yes’ to the dangerous surrender in Brooke’s life. She is on an inner city missions trip to Philadelphia. A week of five minute showers, no cell phones, no text messaging. Total “un”connection to the outside world. Total connection to God and HIS concern for the lost. She is living, serving, and learning to love the unlovely. The outcasts. The hurting. The homeless. Right here in our backyard. When she calls, she sounds so young, yet so amazingly mature. I savor every word she shares with me. But, her dangerous surrender to God has forced me to fall to my knees in prayer for her. Calling out to God to enlarge her heart. Speak to her. Open her eyes. It has caused me to let go and let God work in her life. I sense it is only the beginning of God’s call on her life.
One hundred and forty one years ago, Catherine Carmichael, mother of famed missionary, Amy Carmichael ( http://www.traveltheroad.com/missions/missionaries/carmichael.php), gave birth to a child who would teach her valiant lessons about dangerous surrender to God. I’ve posted an excerpt about Amy that will hopefully inspire you today! Take a moment to drink it in deeply.
Praying for Blue Eyes
One of the first incidents occurred when she was a child. Mother had said that if Amy prayed, the Lord would answer. Amy had brown eyes. She prayed for blue. In the morning she jumped out of bed and ran to the mirror. Mrs. Carmichael heard her wail in disappointment. It took Mrs. Carmichael several minutes of careful explanation before Amy understood that “no” was an answer too. God meant Amy to have brown eyes for a reason, explained Mrs. Carmichael. Just what the reason was, she might never know. But meanwhile, brown eyes were perfectly lovely. Amy wasn’t so sure. Smiling Irish blue would always be her favorite color, even if God said “No.”
There was a bit of rebel in Amy. If trouble developed at the Carmichael house, she was almost sure to be a ringleader in it. There was the time squeaks interrupted family devotions. Amy feigned ignorance, but the truth came out. The frozen mouse in her pocket had revived.
Another time she led her brothers and sisters in a challenge to see how many poisonous laburnum pods they could eat before they died. Fortunately they emerged with little more than upset stomachs. There was another time when she led them through a skylight onto the dangerous roof.
Critical Life Changes
As a youth Amy thought she was a Christian, but an evangelist showed her she needed a personal commitment. She gave her heart to Christ. Service to him became the center and passion of her life.
After three years of boarding school, Amy returned home because her parents no longer had the money to support her education. Mrs. Carmichael took sixteen year old Amy out to buy a dress. Amy found a beautiful one — royal blue — but turned away from it. Her mother was surprised, but Amy explained that clothes were no longer as important to her as they once were now that Christ had given her new purpose in life. She would wait a year until her parents were better able to afford new clothes for her. She never got that dress, because the next year, Mr. Carmichael died unexpectedly.
Seeking and Saving the “Shawlies”
That was the year that Amy started classes and prayer groups for Belfast ragamuffins. She also began a Sunday work with the “shawlies.” These were factory girls so poor that they could not afford hats to wear to church and wore shawls instead. Respectable people didn’t want anything to do with them. Amy saw that they needed Christ just the same as their supposed “betters.” Eventually so many shawlies attended Amy’s classes that she had to find a building large enough to hold three hundred and more.
The Carmichaels lost all their money through financial reverses and a change became necessary. Mrs. Carmichael decided to move to England and work for Uncle Jacob. Amy and another sister joined her. Uncle Jacob asked Amy to teach his mill workers about Christ. Amy threw herself into the work, living near the mill in an apartment infested with cockroaches and bed bugs. However, she was constantly sick with neuralgia and had to lie in bed for days at a time. It was clear she must give up the work.
Go, Girl, Go
For years, Amy wanted to be a missionary. Now this desire grew so strong it hurt. She prayed about it and wrote down the reasons she thought it couldn’t possibly be God’s intention. One of the first things on the list was her sickness. But in her prayers she seemed to hear the Lord speak as if He were standing in her room, saying “Go.”
“Surely, Lord, you don’t mean it,” she said. Again the voice said, “Go.”
OK. Now What?
She agreed. But where should she go? And what about her widowed mother? She wrote to her mom. Mrs. Carmichael replied that the Lord had already spoken to her about it, and told her she must let Amy go. So for over a year Amy tried to find a place to go, but no one wanted her.
Nevertheless she set off for Japan in the company of three missionary ladies, a letter having been sent ahead offering her assistance to missionaries there. Tears scalded her as she sailed on March 3, 1893.
Amy had a constant passion to witness for Christ. On board the ship even the captain was converted to Christian faith after observing how cheerfully Amy faced the dirt and insects onboard.
Adjustments in Japan
Once in Japan, even before she learned the language, Amy went out to witness. Her interpreter, Misaki San, suggested Amy wear a kimono, but Amy was cold and her neuralgia was bothering her. She preferred her western dress and kept it on. The two visited a sick old woman who seemed interested in the Gospel. Just as Amy was about to ask her if she would repent, the woman caught sight of her fur-lined gloves and asked what they were.
Driving home, Amy wept bitter tears. Never again would she risk so much for so little, she promised. From then on she wore Japanese clothes while witnessing.
Praying for Lost Souls
On another occasion, Amy and Misaki San were asked to send the spirit of the fox out of a violent and murderous man. Village priests had tried their formulas and tortures without success. Trusting that the Lord could drive demons away, the two girls prayed and went boldly into the man’s room. As soon as they mentioned the name of Jesus, the man went into an uncontrollable rage. If he had not been tied, he would have leaped upon them. The two girls were thrust from the room. Perplexed, they soon recovered their confidence. They assured the man’s wife that they would pray until the spirit left and asked her to send a message when it was gone. Within an hour they had word. The next day, the man himself summoned them, and over the next few days they explained the way of Christ to him and he became a Christian.
Once when she was about to visit the Buddhist village of Hirose, Amy asked the Lord what she should ask of Him before she went. She felt impressed to pray for one soul. A young silk-weaver heard their message and became a Christian. Amy’s neuralgia kept her in bed for a month after that. But the next time she went out, she again felt she must pray, and the Lord told her to ask for two souls. The silk-weaver brought two friends, and they gave themselves to Jesus. Two weeks later, Amy felt impressed to ask for four souls. This was more souls than many missionaries see won to Christ in a year.
The visit went badly. Amy wondered if she hadn’t mistaken an arithmetical progression for the leading of the Lord. No one seemed interested in the gospel. Misaki San reminded Amy that the evening service still lay ahead. Not many came to the evening service. Those few seemed distracted. Amy was almost in tears. She wanted to run out, bury herself in the snow. Suddenly the spirit changed. A woman spoke up and asked the way to Christ, and then her son came in and committed himself to the new religion also. At the home of some Christians that evening another woman accepted Christ and the next morning a fourth.
Again Amy was ill, this time for a month and a half. For two weeks the Lord impressed Amy that she should ask for eight souls. The other missionaries chided her. “It is not faith,” they said, “but presumption.” With astonishment, Amy heard them advise her just to pray for a blessing. “Then you won’t be disappointed.” Amy insisted that the Lord himself had wrestled with her. She was terrified, she said, and would never ask this in her own strength. An older missionary agreed with her. He read God’s promise from Jeremiah that nothing is too hard for the Lord. “Let us pray for her,” he said.
Needless to say, eight souls took the Christian way on that visit. Amy did not receive any more impressions for numbers of souls. In fact, her neuralgia became so bad that the doctor told her she must leave Japan for a more suitable climate.
So On To India
After some struggle and confusion Amy accepted that she would be better off in India. Once there she learned about the temple girls. Even Christians were against Amy when she stepped into the struggle to end the wicked service required of the little girls. They thought she exaggerated the situation. Indeed, the truth of what went on behind the scenes was so hard to get at, that Amy found she must pretend to be an Indian and visit the temples herself. Dressed in a sari with her skin stained, she could pass as a Hindu. Now she understood why God had given her brown eyes. Blue eyes would have been a dead giveaway!
Amy’s experiences were proof that the Lord truly is in charge of our lives. Even when she became permanently bedridden, God had plans for her. She wrote books that became a deep spiritual witness.
Amy did not go to prison. A telegram arrived on February 7, 1914, saying, “Criminal case dismissed.” No explanation was ever forthcoming, but those who know Amy’s Lord suspect He had a hand in the decision.
- “Carmichael, Amy.” Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals. Timothy Larsen, editor. Downers-Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2003.
- Davis, Rebecca Henry: With Daring Faith. Greenville, South Carolina: Bob Jones University, 1987.
- Houghton. Amy Carmichael. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Read more challenging stories of courageous women of God at http://chi.gospelcom.net/index.php. Christian History is a phenomenal magazine that will deeply move you to passionate service for Christ.
Well, I could go on for hours. BUT, this is a post, not a book. (Smile) Can you tell I’m excited about this subject? About all the possibilities that lay ahead for you and me? Sometimes our dangerous surrender will be to stay home, homeschool, pour our lives into our children, and prepare for the time when they will launch into their personal God-led missions. That would be my story. What is your story? Has God called you to that place of dangerous—toes-on-the-edge-of-the-precipice-surrender? If so, I would LOVE to hear about it. My precious friend and neighbor, Rebekah, shared hers with me this morning, right on her driveway. Boy, did it infuse courage into my heart. Hopefully, you will share yours with us. One story can change a life.
Until then, have a blessed 4th of July!