They placed a stone bird bath over Amy Carmichael’s grave.
It bore a word that summed up what she meant to them: Amma.
And they hoped she’ll forgive them. Because some weeks before she passed over to the other side of life, she made them promise her “no extra fuss, no coffin, and no headstone to mark her grave.” Which they did.
Amma simply expressed who she was to these thousands of Indians: Mother.
A Legacy Of Love
Amy Carmichael, a Belfast girl, was the oldest of seven children born into a devout Scottish family.
So how did she migrate from being a young Scottish girl to an Indian Heroine?
If India and the world remember Mahatma Gandhi, they, and most of all Heaven, remember Amy, who lived at the same time. They both had a vision for a different India, and stood for many of the same things—like, to break down the caste system and to educate women. But Gandhi worked for change through politics, while Amy worked for change through opening people’s hearts to God’s love and power.
She rescued and founded an orphanage, school and safe-house for young girls who got abandoned in pagan temples. They were to be trained as cult prostitutes. Through Amy’s compassion and dogged nature, she risked her life countless times, saving those girls, and some who fled to her for refuge. Under her shelter, she led these girls and women to Jesus, taught them to read and write, and gave them back the full and free life which society dared to snatch away from them.
Amy Carmichael’s Transformative Encounter
Amy recounted an incidence that marked the beginning of a turning point in her life.
Walking home from service with her family one Sunday, they met an old beggar woman staggering out of a side alley.
She wore tattered clothes, and her feet wrapped in strips of rags that were clogged with mud. And she carried a heavy load across her shoulders. She and her brothers helped her… after initial hesitations.
Hailing from a wealthy “prim and proper” family, it felt shameful to walk close to such a tattered woman – especially when other church members caught up with them on the road. The eyeballs that met them…
As they walked on, Amy recounted looking at a fountain that was along the road, and just then, she clearly heard a voice say:
“Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw…the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.”
Turning to see who was speaking, there was no one. But she knew it wasn’t her mind… she heard a voice – plain and clear. Amy felt something new inside. Walking arm in arm with the woman, she was no longer embarrassed.
And here are her two resolutions from that encounter:
First, “she would no longer waste time on things that weren’t important in God’s eyes. When all the things she’d done in her life were finally judged by God, she wanted them to be found worthwhile. She wanted them to be seen as gold and silver, not hay and stubble.”
Secondly, “she would never again worry about what people thought of her. If what she was doing was pleasing to God, that would be enough for her. If other people, even other Christians, didn’t want to walk with beggars, that was their business, but Amy would walk with them, and she would walk proudly.”
Amy threw herself into helping the helpless and pointing souls to Jesus. From the Shawlies in Belfast and England, till she felt the call of God into the mission field – in China, Japan and then India… selflessness, love and humility radiated from her life.
And the legacy she’s left behind still testifies to the fact that the best seed one can sow is that which is sown into lives.
Like the soul-stirring lessons learnt from Charles Spurgeon’s quotes last week, I’ll leave you with some of Amy Carmichael’s quotes.
May they drive you to a life of love and service, like Amy did.
Amy Carmichael’s Quotes
1. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.
2. Give me the Love that leads the way
The Faith that nothing can dismay
The Hope no disappointments tire
The Passion that’ll burn like fire
Let me not sink to be a clod
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.
3. Let us not be surprised when we have to face difficulties. When the wind blows hard on a tree, the roots stretch and grow the stronger. Let it be so with us. Let us not be weaklings, yielding to every wind that blows, but strong in spirit to resist.
4. If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
5. If I am afraid to speak the truth lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand”, or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
6. Let nothing be said about anyone unless it passes through the three sieves: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
7. We have all eternity to celebrate the victories but only a few hours before sunset to win them.
8. If you would live in victory . . . you must refuse to be dominated by the seen and the felt.
9. If you have never been hurt by a word from God, it is probably that you have never heard God speak.
10. I would rather burn out than rust out.
11. If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.
12. Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you will know what His will is.
13. The saddest thing one meets is a nominal Christian.
14. Satan is so much more in earnest than we are–he buys up the opportunity while we are wondering how much it will cost.
15. It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates.
16. The word comfort is from two Latin words meaning “with” and “strong” – He is with us to make us strong. Comfort is not soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love.
17. There have been times of late when I have had to hold on to one text with all my might: “It is required in stewards that a man may be found faithful.” Praise God, it does not say “successful.”
18. All along, let us remember we are not asked to understand, but simply to obey…
19. It is great to be faced with the impossible, for nothing is impossible if one is meant to do it. Wisdom will be given, and strength. When the Lord leads, He always strengthens.
20. Sometimes when we read the words of those who have been more than conquerors, we feel almost despondent. I feel that I shall never be like that. But they won through step by step, by little bits of wills, little denials of self, little inward victories, by faithfulness in very little things. They became what they are. No one sees these little hidden steps. They only see the accomplishment, but even so, those small steps were taken. There is no sudden triumph, no spiritual maturity. That is the work of the moment.