A full century before I came into this world, Amy Carmichael was born in Ireland. Like me, she was the first-born in her family. Ultimately she would live 55 years in India developing a community that rescued children from temple prostitution, nurturing and enabling them to do the same. Her life story, journal confessions and poetry were my guide for many years, impacting my spiritual formation through college and beyond. And they challenged me to live out what I believed—faith moved and moving. It is a much-needed reminder for me today as I continue these meditations and work out how to move through turning 50.
Carmichael wrote, “We profess to be strangers and pilgrims, seeking after a country of our own, yet we settle down in the most un-stranger-like fashion, exactly as if we were quite at home and meant to stay as long as we could. I don’t wonder apostolic miracles have died. Apostolic living certainly has.” We do not own the land. Not really. And we are citizens of a country by accident of birth. Why, then, do we assume it is our right to close it off to others, or remain unmoved in our space while others are stripped of human dignity, the spark of their true mage as created in God’s? Perhaps it is fear.
And perhaps I am afraid, too. And tired. And maybe even a little apathetic. But re-reading some of these poems I memorized long ago, and the words that motivated me to leave everything for China after college, has flicked a spark. I am not sure what exactly is my next move. But I know I must move. And I believe God is. So, I’m stepping out (metaphorically, today, at any rate— on the computer, for now) bolstered by a familiar poem, recalling a familiar strength, trusting a God who deigns to be familiar with me.
Strength of my heart, I need not fail,
Not mind to fear but to obey,
With such a Leader, who could quail?
Thou art as Thou wert yesterday.
Strength of my heart, I rest in Thee,
Fulfill Thy purposes through me.