Taken from "The Heartbeat of the Remnant"
In all these various corrections, the child was taught to take the punishment respectfully, and give thanks for it afterward. As I studied this area of child training, it seems that Catherine was the one who was involved in the corrections the children received. Father went away to the flour mill each morning and returned in the evening.
The Power of Mother’s Love
It is always a joy to view a well balanced home, where father and mother are engaged in raising the children. The Carmichael home was one of these. This Irish lady had a heart that was set on rearing a Godly seed for the Lord. Full of tender love, and full of what I call grit, is the best way to describe her. She would not budge from doing right with the children. If the children needed a spanking, they got one right away. If it was time to drink that terrible drink, she saw it through to the end. I like that. We need some more mothers like that in America today. It is alright to get tough and have a furrowed eye-brow from time to time. It will establish your authority.
On the other hand, this Irish lady was a tender, loving mother. She was one who would sit with a child in the nursery, and expound the crucifixion to her children when they were yet young. She was one who would sing to the children all through the day, placing memories in them that lasted a lifetime. It was Catherine who inspired little Amy to pray a believing prayer at three years old, asking God to change the color of her brown eyes. It was the dear mother who placed the children on her knee many a time, telling them and showing them that Jesus loved them. Oh, the childhood impressions placed there by a mother’s love. It is hard to measure this kind of influence.
The Power of Home Education
The historical records give no reason for the children being schooled at home. It seems that it was a common practice in those days. Though we do not find a reason, we can certainly see the good results of it in Amy’s life. The schooling was done by Mother, and what they called a governess. This was a young lady who lived in the home for the sole purpose of educating the children. One of these young ladies had a great impact on the children. Her name was Eleanor Milne. She was like an older sister in the home, and everyone loved her. A highly spiritual girl, she filled the children with many a story of missionaries and martyrs. The children sat in rapt attention as she told of India and the many needs that were there. Poetry, history, and geography all came alive to the children as she walked and talked with them by the sea-side.
Father and Mother were also very much involved in the homeschool they had. William would take the children on long discovery walks where many a science investigation took place. How the children looked forward to these times! Books were bought—all that could be purchased in those days. The children read and were read to, often. Toys were bought—the ones that were practical and useful; but the greatest toys for Amy were the toys of God’s creation. The children had pets to love and care for. Father bought them a microscope so they could discover more of the creation and order around them. The parents tried to surround them with all that was good and beautiful and right. At the same time, they endeavored to keep all that was not good and beautiful and right away from them.
The Power of Godly Exercises
As I study the histories of how God molds His servants, even before they are converted, I stand amazed at His providence. Let us look at a few of them.
Amy was destined to fulfill a calling to minister to the poor in India. Her mother had no idea of any of this; however, God was molding Amy through a Mother’s hands without her knowing it. When Amy was young, she remembers a common and regular practice of feeding the poor. Mother would cook a pot of soup for the old and the poor. Amy and her brother would have the opportunity to carry this soup into the village and serve it to the needy. Was this a coincidence? I don’t think so.
Amy was the oldest of seven children. Because of this, she often found herself caring for her siblings when they were ill. She developed skills of gentle comfort and care. She had a touch that so ministered to the ailing ones that they often called for her when sick. When Amy was seventeen, her dear Father died unexpectedly after some financial setbacks. The family was thrown into poverty, and Amy became like a second mother to the children below her. Was this just happenstance? I think not. God was molding a vessel. We must help our children to see the bigger picture.
When Amy was twelve years old, her father moved to Belfast, Ireland for business. He was a very Godly and influential man. Many preachers and church leaders stayed at his home. Guess who was sitting for hours, listening to these men talk of doctrines, of souls, of missionary exploits, and of Kingdom building?
When Amy was seventeen, she began gathering the city children together to teach them the Bible on Sunday afternoons. Her heart was being drawn out to the poor. She started a club called The Morning Watch. All who joined the club had to be willing to get up early each day to study the Bible and pray. Saturday, they would get together and share what they learned, or how they failed during the week. She also started a weekly class with the mill girls of the city. These were young factory workers. She was burdened about their purity and their souls, and she labored to salvage them from wreck and ruin. The class grew to 500 girls.
So what does all this mean to us? God was using all of this to make Himself a choice servant. Amy didn’t know it at first. Her father and mother didn’t know it either. The point I would like to make here is simple. God is still molding his servants the same way. We have some of them in our homes, under our care. Let us be alert, and not too cautious when we see opportunities for learning experiences. Some are overly cautious about youth working in the city where sinners live. These poor and pitiful scenes were the very things that placed a burden on Amy’s heart for lost souls. What if she was never allowed to see them?
A Life like Jesus
What was the result of these fresh streams of revival that flowed through the home where Amy lived? What kind of willow tree grew up there in the Carmichael home? It was a beautiful one. It was truly a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brought forth its fruit in its season. Its leaves did not wither either, and whatsoever it did prospered. (Psalm 1) Amy served her beloved Jesus at home in Ireland till she was twenty-seven. Then she went to Japan for four years, serving there as a missionary and enrolled in the school of Christ. When she was thirty-one, she went to India, where she began her life work. She never went home on leave. She died in India, at eighty-four years of age. How can we measure her fruitfulness? An orphanage for the temple children, churches, young preachers, a hidden life of prayer the last twenty years of her life, and the books she has written. Many are still drinking from the rivers of living waters that flowed out of this life. Dear fellow parents, now it is our turn to raise up vessels for the Lord. Let us give ourselves to God continually. Let us thirst for that living water and be filled. Let us pay the price that brings the blessings that make the rivers flow through our homes. Let us trust our God for willow trees planted by the watercourse.