Mother of Amy Carmichael
? - 1913
Catherine Jane Carmichael
rocked seven cradles as a mother. The first
was of her daughter, Amy. Amy Carmichael gave her life in God's
service in India. She founded the Dohnavur Fellowship and helped
countless children of India escape temple prostitution. Because
Catherine was such a godly role model, Amy was able to become
surrogate mother to many Indian children. Catherine helped to
the world because she was a mother who trained up her children
and then let them go. (For more information on they story of
was a loving and nurturing mother, combining plenty of lap-
time stories and singing with consistent discipline. Her children
what was expected as well as the consequences for disobedience.
required that her children accept their punishment calmly. Catherine
was determined to train her children to handle life's difficulties
grace and this training, coupled with Amy's adventurous spirit,
her well on the mission field when she faced grave difficulties.
The Carmichael children were raised with an abundance of joy
love and Amy was known to say that she got "endless fun
out of life."
According to Amy, there was no child happier than she. This
upbringing gave Amy a strong emotional base and love that permeated
her life's mission with the Dohnavur Fellowship.
was sure to teach raise her children to know and serve God.
Once again her lap was offered as she told them stories from
She also taught her children about the power of prayer. Catherine
taught Amy this at a very early age. "Ask God, Amy, if
anything badly. Share it with Him and He'll always give you
answer." Amy took this to heart. More than anything she
have blue eyes like her mothers instead of the brown ones she
Amy knelt and asked God to change her eyes to blue and was quite
sure He would do so by the time she woke up the next day. Upon
rising, she looked in the mirror and to her disdain, they were
brown. Bewildered, she sought out her mother to find out why
hadn't answered her prayer. She learned a lesson here that stayed
her for the rest of her life. "No", soothed her mother
"can also be an
answer." Although the Lord answered her prayer by saying
eventually viewed her brown eyes as an asset to her later on
rescued young children from being temple slaves in India. Her
mother's instructions were true. God always heard and always
answered; sometimes it was yes, sometimes it was wait, and
sometimes it was no. This was an invaluable tool to Amy, as
became the foundation of her ministry. She didn't ask people
money to support her mission work. She only asked God. Little
Catherine realize when she gave this little lesson on prayer
would affect her daughter's life profoundly for the rest of
Catherine also trained up her children with a heart for God.
not only taught them the Word of God, she exemplified it having
love for God and an intimate personal faith in Jesus Christ,
passed this devotion on to her children. At a time where church
was the socially accepted norm, Catherine found much joy in
Instead of regarding it as a formal "duty" it was
the highlight of the
week. Catherine taught her children at an early age to know
loved them and that He was very real. The reality of a personal
relationship with God shaped Amy's life and pointed the way
other admirable attributes, Catherine Carmichael was
charitable and compassionate and she gave her children every
opportunity to develop these gifts as well. Catherine wanted
children to see the needs of others and then act to meet them.
Catherine taught girls cooking and singing and she made hospitality
way of life. When Amy gathered local children for a meeting
home, Catherine didn't object. Instead, she made tea for them.
neighbors were sick, elderly, or destitute, Catherine sent Amy
siblings to them with canisters of soup. The Carmichael children
learned to care for others by small acts of kindness to people
own sphere of influence.
also trained up her children to have unwavering faith. She
taught her children that when storms blow, we will stand strong
have a strongly rooted faith in God. When Amy was eighteen,
became a problem in the Carmichael home and not long after,
Catherine's husband died. In the midst of her despair, Catherine
solace and strength in her faith, particularly the truth of
"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares
who trust him." Two years later a financial crash ate up
the rest of the
family's money, but Catherine did not despair. Instead of panicking,
she knelt with her children in prayer. God met their needs during
crisis and she taught her children that they could rely on God.
training her children well, Catherine let her children go. She
loved them dearly, but she held them loosely. Her fist occasion
practice this releasing of her children was while Amy was still
home. Her family had relocated to the city of Belfast when Amy
in her teens. Though Catherine would rather shield her children
the ugliness of this world, she allowed Amy to venture out of
sheltered world into the Belfast slums to minister. Amy joined
friend whose father worked at the Belfast City Mission and together
they visited the city's darkest streets. Catherine also was
gossip as she let Amy go to enter the slums and invite the "shawlies"
(poor girls who couldn't afford a proper Victorian hat who wore
shawls over their heads) to her meeting at church. While others
considered this improper, Amy commented, "Maybe my mother
believed in an angel guard."
next opportunity to release her daughter came when a dear family
fiend, Robert Wilson, invited Amy to live with him and his sons
surrogate daughter. Amy was in her early twenties at this time
Wilson's own daughter had died when she was Amy's age. Catherine
was so close to her firstborn and still needed Amy's help, but
sacrificial love she allowed her to go live with their dear
three years God used Catherine's sacrifice to provide Robert
daughter's love, to provide Amy with fatherly love, and to be
spiritually mentored from this godly man, which was to prepare
what would lie ahead.
Catherine's greatest act of motherly love was when she completely
released her daughter to God when Amy heard His call to the
field. With much prayer and soul-searching, Amy wrote a letter
mother asking for her mother's permission to follow God wherever
called. Catherine's reply? Did she express shock at the news?
Reluctance? Fear? Uncertainty? No. Catherine gifted Amy with
parental blessing. She wholeheartedly and unreservedly released
child to God. "Yes, dearest Amy, He has lent you to me
years....my heart unfailingly says, Go ye."
Carmichael was a mother who trained up Amy in the way
she should go...then she lovingly let her go into God's hands.
world was changed.
from "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Rules!", by
Chadwick, P.C. Publications, 2003. To purchase a copy of the
at the presale price of jut $2.95 use our special order form