Wildflowers Girls Mag

Wildflowers Magazine - Fanny Crosby

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Growing up, our family went to church services twice on Sunday. One on Sunday morning and once in the evening. The evening service started at 6:30pm and often included either a hymn sing, a missionary presentation, short sermon, or perhaps a visiting choir performance. My grandparents came from a culture and time when music was woven into the fabric of their daily lives and worship. Almost everyone could sing and harmonize. Everyone knew all 8 stanzas to every hymn and the voices blended upward into a unified chorus of passionate proclamation. I remember hearing one story of a group of Mennonites who were fleeing Eastern Europe in the early twentieth century. The group was waiting on a train platform. Fearful and tired, they began to sing the hymns of the faith. These hymns gave great depth of comfort as men, women, and children sang songs that spurred on their faith and gave them hope. We are called to speak and sing truth to one another, at all times and in all ways, giving glory to our Father in Heaven.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
-Colossians 3:16

I would sit in church on Sundays in the second or third row, on the right hand side of the sanctuary. I clearly remember holding my hymnal and flipping through the pages, studying the words, the names of authors, and finding hymns based on certain topics. It all intrigued me very much. Songs like Be Thou My Vision, Fairest Lord Jesus and The Old Rugged Cross became oases of living water.

Countless hymns settled into my heart, and laid a foundation of sacred music that shaped and formed me. One of the names that appeared frequently was the name of Fanny Crosby. Others were Isaac Watts, William Kirkpatrick, Frances Havergal, Augustus Toplady, Robert Lowry, Charles Wesley, and John Newton.

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When praying about who to write about for the summer issue of Wildflowers Magazine, I decided to read about and research Frances Jane Crosby, otherwise known as Fanny Crosby. There are many things that stand out to me from her life.

The first is that she had a loving mother who had to raise her on her own as her father died shortly after she was born. With a supportive family, her mother received help from Fanny’s grandmother in raising her. There were many people who helped to educate her, especially since she was blind and at that time, there weren’t many educational opportunities for the blind. Her mother and grandmother, and others who came into her life nurtured her in God’s Word and in a warm and loving home. From Fanny’s mother’s example, I see a commitment to training her child to follow God. Fanny’s story wouldn’t be the same without her mother, Mercy, and grandmother, Eunice, teaching her diligently to know God in His Word.

The second thing that stands out from her life is that she was eager to serve the Lord. As a child, she asked the Lord if there was some work that he had for her to do. It seemed she always had faith like a child. Surely, God used her weakness as her greatest strength, and through it Fanny depended on the Lord. Although she was well known as the Blind Poetess throughout evangelical Christianity at that time, she regularly went to prisons and shelters to tell small audiences about Jesus, the Son of God. One could walk into a gathering of the “undesirables” of life and see a little, old woman, wearing a black dress and holding a black book, speaking about God’s love, grace, and forgiveness. She quietly served, taught and loved those who were not lovable, and she showed them the depths of God’s love for each of them.

It will be amazing to see one day, the masses of people who were brought to Jesus through her humble hymns.

My husband and I are part of a collaborative music group called Gateway Hymns. While reading and researching about Fanny Crosby, I thought how wonderful it would be to record some of her hymns as part of this written biography. So with some friends, we recorded this short album, The Songs of Fanny Crosby. (There are only three on the album, but she probably wrote over 9,000 throughout her lifetime!) You can download this collection at www.gatewayhymns.bandcamp.com, The Songs of Fanny Crosby.

To read a little about Fanny’s life, you can check out the summer issue of Wildflowers Magazine!

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Elisabeth Elliot and an Introduction to Wildflowers Girls Mag

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I cannot remember the first time I sensed the Lord calling me to full time ministry, but I do remember the moment He put in me a passion for missions. A fourteen year old teenager, I had traveled to Mexico with my family and church. We set up our camp, Canadians and Americans, in a farmers field perched high atop the hills of Tijuana. But nationality and citizenship counts for little when you are a citizen of Heaven.

We found unity and camaraderie among the group of about 60 Christians who had gathered in this field to set up our tents and trailers and camp out for the week while we drove in and out of our mission site to build a home for a family. Showers were in areas blocked with black plastic tarp nailed to a framed makeshift room with wild blue sky above. We gathered our one bucket of cold shower water from the large communal pool each day, dunked our heads in the water to wash our hair and rinse off by pouring the rest over our heads.

Each morning as we drove into town, we would be chased by cheering children to our work site. In an area surrounded by a cycle of poverty that was restricted by a complicated governmental system to work within, we set to work assisting a family in adding two rooms to their already deteriorating two room shack. Then one morning as I saw several young adult missionaries in their twenties jumping into their jeep and driving down the dirt path, it was that moment that I knew God was giving me a new passion in life.

What followed was years of working with various churches in various roles, short term missions trips, Bible college, long term ministry, and a desire to encourage and build up missionaries on the field. My heart was being reoriented in a specific direction by the Lord. It is no wonder then that my favorite genre of literature is missionary and historical biographies of which I have been reading since I first picked up the book Bruchko at a Bible school in Texas. This was also where I first met, in the pages of her book on purity, beloved modern missionary, Elisabeth Elliot.

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Earlier this year, I had the privilege and joy of writing a biography of Elisabeth Elliot, missionary to the Auca tribe in Equador for a new girls magazine called Wildflowers. I felt honored to be able to pray, research, and write an account and short biographical sketch of her life, to pass on her story to a new generation of young girls, and to be a part of the thread that ties Elisabeth’s story to these young girls’ stories.

Elisabeth Elliot remains one of the most powerful contemporary examples for Christian women, and thousands of women, young and old, have been discipled by her through her books and radio broadcasts. Through the trials she endured, her resolute trust in God and her love for Christ Jesus inspires vast numbers of women to live their lives in faithful surrender and obedience to God no matter the cost. Wildflowers, pg 12

Being the first issue of the magazine, the theme was Spring, new life, and getting outside to see the miracles that abound. My soul was in desperate need of spring this year. After a very long winter in the midwest, spring only lasted for about a week before turning into the heat and humidity of summer, though very beautiful indeed. I didn’t really get a normal spring this year. In fact, the winter was more like a rough and rocky dirt path. But the Lord encouraged my heart this morning to remind me that this is where wildflowers grow.

Sally Lloyd-Jones writes in her most recent newsletter,

“Don’t you love it when flowers start preaching? It’s the long winter, the difficulty, the struggle, the hard ground that draws beauty from the soil. And one day—everywhere you look there is life and you’re overtaken by wild flowers. What hope!” - Sally Lloyd-Jones

The Lord reminded me of wildflowers again this week while on a lovely walk beside the Bay as I found my own favorite wildflowers along a stony path that have been preaching to me for years. As in Elisabeth Elliot’s life, the Lord takes our times of pain and struggle and brings forth beauty, not only in our lives but in the lives of countless others and like Sally writes, suddenly there are wild flowers springing up everywhere. May these essays be like seeds in young girls lives to bring about gospel hope, truth and beauty… everywhere!

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And now I must close this off and tell you where you can find this lovely magazine for young girls, because the summer issue is about ready to be released, and today I get started on my research for the next biographical sketch for the Fall issue.

To purchase your copy of the Spring issue of Wildflowers, click here. Wildflowers was created by my friend Maegan Keaton and is a creative collection of stories, book reviews, photography and DIY projects for girls ages 8-12! Just the perfect first magazine to give to my now ten year old daughter!