Friday, October 21, 2016

Make me thy fuel, flame of God

Hear us, Father, we are weary.
Help us, Spirit, with our tasks unfinished.
Feed us, Yeshua, with yourself — bread and water, living and broken.

Lilias Trotter (1853-1928), an unfinished sketch in her journal

From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified,)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay
The hope no disappointments tire
The passion that will burn like fire,
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.

 Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Thy love will not let me go

Lilias Trotter (1853-1928), a sketch in her journal

Lord, I thank Thee
that Thy love constraineth me.

I thank Thee
that, in the great labyrinth of life,
Thou waitest not for my consent to lead me.

I thank Thee
that Thou leadest me by a way which I know not,
by a way which is above the level of my poor understanding.

I thank Thee
that Thou art not repelled by my bitterness,
that Thou art not turned aside by the heat of my spirit.
There is no force in this universe
so glorious as the force of Thy love;
it compels me to come in.

O divine servitude,
O slavery that makes me free,
O love that imprisons me only to set my feet in a larger room,
enclose me more and more within Thy folds.

Protect me from the impetuous desires of my nature
—desires as short-lived as they are impetuous.

Ask me not where I would like to go;
tell me where to go;
lead me in Thine own way;
hold me in Thine own light—Amen.

George Matheson (1842-1906)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Love knocked on my door

Lilias Trotter (1853-1928), a sketch in her journal

Love knocked on my door, yet my soul drew back,
guilty of dust and sin.
"Please," I said, "don't come in."
Love knocked again, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked anything.
"I am unkind, ungrateful," I answered,
"Please don't look on me. I cannot look on thee."
"Who made the eyes but I?"
"Truth, Lord, but I have marred them;
leave me in my darkness and shame."
"And know you not," said Love,
"who bore the blame?"
"My Lord," I opened the door,
"then I will serve."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
"You must sit down, and taste my meat."
So, I did sit and eat.

Adapted from George Herbert (1593-1633), Love (III).

Friday, May 6, 2016

She waited

My mother went out to sow. And as she sowed, some seeds fell along the path. The birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground. They sprang up but the sun scorched them and they withered away. Other seeds fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

But she kept sowing.

My mother is the sower and we are her field, her four daughters. I am rocky and thorny and generally unhelpful with the birds.

She sowed in stories and songs, good food and clean laundry and kisses. She pulled weeds. She chased the birds away. She sowed in laughter; she sowed in tears. She sowed in prayers through the years. Every hour we were together, with every touch, she sowed lifelifelifelife.

A few seeds fell on good soil. The black dirt swallowed her seeds, and her words were buried in the ground. There, in the dark, they stayed hidden for a long, long time.

She waited. Until one day

Lilias Trotter, 9 July 1907.

Father, hear us, we are praying,
Hear the words our hearts are saying,
We are praying for our children. 
Keep them from the powers of evil,
From the secret, hidden peril,
From the whirlpool that would suck them,
From the treacherous quicksand sand pluck them. 
From the worlding’s hollow gladness,
From the sting of faithless sadness,
Holy Father, save our children. 
Through life’s troubled waters steer them,
Through life’s bitter battle cheer them,
Father, Father, be Thou near them. 
Read the language of our longing,
Read the wordless pleadings thronging,
Holy Father, for our children 
And wherever they may bide,
Lead them Home at eventide.

Amy Carmichael, Toward Jerusalem (1936).

Monday, April 25, 2016


A flower that stops short at its flowering misses its purpose. We were created for more than our own spiritual development; reproduction, not mere development, is the goal of matured beingreproduction in other lives.

This dandelion has long ago surrendered its golden petals and has reached its crowning stage of dyingthe delicate seed-globe must break up nowit gives and gives till it has nothing left... There is no sense of wrenching: it stands ready, holding up its little life, not knowing when or where or how the wind that bloweth where listeth may carry it away. It holds itself no longer for its own keeping, only as something to be given: a breath does the rest.

Lilias Trotter, Parable of the Cross 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Nothing to keep

Excerpts from Parables of the Cross by Lilias Trotter.

Look at this buttercup as it begins to learn its new lesson. The little hands of the calyx clasp tightly in the bud  round the beautiful petals; in the young flower their grasp grows more elasticloosening somewhat in the daytime, but keeping the power of contracting, able to close in again during a rainstorm, or when night comes on. But see the central flower, which has reached its maturity. The calyx hands have unclasped utterly nowthey have folded themselves back, past all power of closing again upon the petals, leaving the golden crown free to float away when God's time comes. 
Have we learned the buttercup's lesson yet? Are our hands off the very blossom of our life? Are all thingseven the treasures that He has sanctifiedheld loosely, ready to be parted with, without a struggle, when He asks for them?

Lilias Trotter, Lesson of the Buttercup

And a like independence is the characteristic of the new flood of resurrection life that comes to our souls as we learn this fresh lesson of dyinga grand independence of any earthly thing to satisfy our soul. The liberty of those who have nothing to lose because they have nothing to keep. We can do without anything while we have God.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Resting in deep waters

Lilias Trotter, a journal entry, 20 December 1927.

"I am come into deep waters" took on a new meaning this morning. It started with perplexing matters concerning the future. Then it dawned that shallow waters were a place where you can neither sink nor swim, but in deep waters it is one or the other: "waters to swim in"not to float in. Swimming is the intense, most strenuous form of motionall of you is involved in itand every inch of you is in abandonment of rest upon the water that bears you up.
"We rest in Thee, and in Thy name we go."