“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
King James Version
Gaining an Understanding of Myself
Day 6: Understanding Myself Purposefully
“Every life should have a purpose to which it can give the energies of its mind and the enthusiasms of its heart.”
Neil C. Strait
Have I asked God to show me his purpose for my life?
“There are days when I am envious of my hens: when I hunger for a purpose as perfect and sure as a single egg a day!”
“If I had a thousand lives, I would give them all for the women of China.”
Ever since I was quite young, I developed a great fondness for reading biographies. What I enjoy most, is the fact that biographical books contain real stories about real people.
Recently I was able to find out facts I never knew about an amazing lady named Lottie Moon. I want to share some of the brief highlights of her life story with you:
“Lottie Moon was born in 1840, third in a family of five girls and two boys, on the family’s fifteen-hundred-acre tobacco plantation known as Viewmont. Her father, Edward Moon, was the largest slaveholder (fifty-two slaves) in Albemarle County; he was also a merchant and a lay leader in the Baptist church. But Lottie was only thirteen when her father died in a riverboat accident.”
“The Moon family valued education, and at age fourteen Lottie went to school at the Virginia Female Seminary and later the Albemarle Female Institute, where she earned both her bachelor’s and Master of Arts degrees in teaching. A spirited and outspoken girl, Lottie was indifferent to her Southern Baptist upbringing until her late teens, when God touched her heart during a spiritual revival.”
“There were precious few opportunities for educated females in the 1800’s, though her older sister Orianna became a physician and served as a Confederate doctor during the Civil War. Lottie helped her mother maintain Viewmont during the war, once hiding the family silver in a field from approaching Union soldiers, but when the threat evaporated, she was unable to find it again.”
“After the Civil War, Lottie taught at female academies first in Danville, Kentucky, and later helped set up Cartersville Female High School in Georgia. The school was thriving academically (though not financially) under her leadership as associate principal when she felt a quite different call: to go to China as a missionary.”
“Single women in the mission field? Most mission work at that time was done by married men. But the wives of China missionaries T.P. Crawford and Landrum Holmes had discovered an important reality: Only women could reach Chinese women, and they needed help. To everyone’s surprise, Lottie’s younger sister Edmonia accepted a call to go to North China in 1872. Lottie followed a year later. She was thirty-three years old.”
“Edmonia didn’t last as a missionary, but Lottie did. She was a petite woman, only four foot three, but she had stamina, a lively spirit, vision, and a passion to win souls for God. Mission policies of the time limited what ministry women could do. But Lottie waged a slow, respectful, but relentless campaign to give women missionaries the freedom to minister and have an equal voice in mission proceedings….”
“Raised in a family of ‘culture and means,’ Lottie at first thought of the Chinese as an inferior people, and insisted on wearing American clothes to maintain a degree of distance from these ‘heathen’ people. But gradually she came to realize that the more she shed her westernized trappings and identified with the Chinese people, the more their simple curiosity about foreigners (and sometimes rejection) turned into genuine interest in the Gospel. She began wearing Chinese clothes, adopted Chinese customs, learned to be sensitive to Chinese culture, and came to respect and admire Chinese culture and learning. In turn she was deeply loved and revered by the Chinese people.”
“Lottie began her tenure as a missionary by teaching in a girls school – but while accompanying some of the seasoned married women on ‘country visits’ from village to village outside the bigger cities, she discovered her passion: direct evangelism. But there were so many hungry, lost souls, and so few missionaries!”
“The War with Japan (1894), the Boxer Rebellion (1900), and the Nationalist uprising (that overthrew the Ming Dynasty in 1911) all profoundly affected mission work. Famine and disease took their toll, as well. When Lottie returned from her second furlough in 1904, she agonized over the suffering of the people who were literally starving to death all around her. She pled for more money and more resources, but the mission board was heavily in debt and could send nothing. Mission salaries were voluntarily cut. Unknown to her fellow missionaries, Lottie Moon – the Southern belle who was once described as ‘overindulged and under-disciplined’ – shared her own meager money and food with any and everyone around her, severely affecting both her physical and mental health. In 1912, she weighed fifty pounds. Alarmed, fellow missionaries arranged for her to be sent back home to the United States with a missionary companion, but she died on Christmas Eve on board ship in Kobe Harbor, Japan. Her body was cremated and the remains returned to loved ones in Virginia for burial.”
“Since her sacrificial death at the age of seventy-two, Lottie Moon has come to personify the missionary spirit for Southern Baptists and many other Christians, as well. The annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Missions has raised a total of $1.5 billion for missions since 1888 and finances half the entire Southern Baptist mission’s budget every year.”
A life of purpose. A life lived in the way and will of God.
“Question: What is the chief and highest end of (women)? Answer: (Woman’s) chief and highest end is to glorify God and to fully enjoy Him forever.”
May this be our goal in understanding ourselves purposefully.
“The main thing in this world is not being sure what God’s will is, but seeking it sincerely, and following what we do understand of it. The only possible answer to the destiny of (woman) is to seek without respite to fulfill God’s purpose.”
“And shall I pray, Oh, change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
Ah no, Lord, no, that never could be, rather
I pray Thee, Blend my human will with Thine.
And work in me to will and do Thy pleasure,
Let all within me, peaceful, reconciled,
Tarry content my Well-Beloved’s leisure
At last, at last, even as a wearied child.”
Amy Carmichael (1868-1951)
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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