Monday, December 03, 2012

Women in History: Still talking about LILAS TROTTER

I'm writing about Lilas Trotter again today.

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Her story began with her family, what her interests and talents were, and how she spent her time.
Her family traveled extensively and even after her father's death, at age 10, apparently they still traveled.   She and her mother went on one trip that included Venice, where by happen stance her mother hears that a famed art critic, John Ruskin, was also in the same hotel.  After efforts to share Lilas's paintings, Mr. Ruskin became a long time friend and mentor in developing her skill as an artist.
A magazine of the day published a poem that characterized John Ruskin in a nutshell, which my daughter and I have now memorized with smiles:
            I paints and paints
            Hears no complaints
            And sells before I dry,
            Till savage Ruskin
            Sticks his tusk in,
            And nobody will buy.
Apparently he was something else, which also speaks of the skill level of artist Lilas Trotter.  
Under John Ruskin, for a few years Lilas divided her time between helping the down and out and expanding her art .  Two extremes, one talented woman.
"The one thing is to keep obedient in spirit, to do otherwise would be to cramp and ruin your soul.”
These are words from a woman who submits her love of beauty to the supreme will of One greater, recognizing that any other course would damage her very creativity anyways.

During the time when public transportation converted from stagecoach to the railway, Lilas was plodding on faithfully in her works of passion in helping others.  She wanted to make a difference for eternity.  She prayed that God would bring passion to her like she saw in others that she admired.  She was a student of D.L. Moody and attended many of his conventions where he preached and then gave the students on the job training in downtown ministries. 
“we ourselves are saved to save---we are made to give.”
The crisis of her mother's death brought grief and heaps of emotion.  But through the struggle, her life came into focus and it was there that she made a decision.

To the disappointment of John Ruskin, she felt her life couldn't hold both art and ministry, so she left the art field to concentrate on reaching the lost people of the world.  

As I thought on this crisis and her eventual decision I made an observation: Emotions do not have to lead us to do irrational things.

 Times of pain can lead us to think more clearly.
Often our eyes see the true size of things in our lives when a crisis comes our way. 

I'm enjoying the story of Lilas and gaining much from her life,  I hope you are too! I still have more to say...for another day.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Women in History - Lilas Trotter

My daughter recently researched a woman of whom I had not heard.

Lilias Trotter

Noelle Piper, in her book,
Faithful Women and their extraordinary God,

which I have yet to read in entirety, whetted our appetite to know more about this woman missionary to the Muslims.  There isn't a whole lot out there on this woman, but one book was a great find.
I'm stealing moments here and there to find out more about the girl born into a wealthy family in the elite estates of London, during the reign of Queen Victoria, 1853.

She was educated in travel and culture, tutored in French and German
languages, and familiar to being raised by governesses.  Yet her parents were grounded in biblical virtues, intrinsically involved in the rearing of Lilly, one of their many children.  They sounded like wonderful people from the quotes and the situations I read about.   I wanted to hear more about them too!
But it was obvious that they purposely instilled a love for Jesus and for obeying his calling on one's life above all else.
Reaching out to their community and their involvement with the thinkers and shapers of the culture of the time was part of their routine.  But with the death of her father when she was age 10, the heavenly father became Lilias's comfort and strength as she grew through childhood.  

The event didn't push her further from God, nor was she embittered by her lost, but it drew her closer to God, noticeably so to others who knew her.

In her early twenties, she put her mother's teachings and her father's example into practice as she witnessed troubled women on the London streets, making choices of desperation. She recognized each soul having a hunger for God and thus she began to transform a run-down nightclub into a hostel for women.  She worked to help them to get proper employment, not just shelter.  From what I understand, this sounds like it became known as the YWCA.
Around the same course of years,  the business women of high class shops came to her home for Bible studies.  (It was these same women years later that would become her core financial support when she went to North Africa)
In her earlier years, her family was extensive travelers and even after her father's death she and her mother went on excursions. 

I find it interesting.  This is part of her story, what she did with her family, what her interests and talents were, and how she spent her time.  
Sometimes we microscope our lives and think, "Lord, nothing is here.  I only see..."
But all of it is tallied up, rendered and used to bring about your unique story, His unique story using little ole you.
I'll have to stop here for now, but I'll pick it up in a couple of days because there's much more to ponder in her story.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Women in history

Who doesn't like playing dress-up?
The last few years I've discovered the love for history.  We have read many books, but the stories we remember are those that really happened.
From " National Archief"
And to take time to dress up and re-enact the part, history education can't get any better.
But there's a curious thing I've noticed.  Maybe you have too.
There's quite a few less biographies about women.  
Ever wonder why?
One gal I asked said simply, "well, women don't do anything interesting."
"Yeah, they are usually just married and having children."
hmm.  Loving your husband is pretty important, and if women didn't bare children civilization would be sparse. 
Sometimes there seems to be a message that those things don't count in the grand scheme of life, but they do.
What really makes a hero?
I for one think that these unsung heroes need some songs about them.  They are part of the story!  They are part of the picture! They are part of history.
I would love to see more people research and tell the stories that we've never heard or have forgotten.  If you have a daughter, find those stories to inspire the woman within her
- to love God when others turned away, 
-to work heartily when others said it couldn't be done, 
-to remain faithful when others waned.
The trees in the forest that fell when no one else was around definitely had a sound.  Why? Because natural cause and effect proves true.  So, if there were men of importance to note, there were women worthy of studying also.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Theology Matters

Theology.  Sometimes it hurts your brain to think so hard.  
A big God? A really big God?  One who knows me better than I know myself, the same who put the stars into place and the one who fashioned my neighbor next door; this God is more than I can understand.  Yet He delights in my meditation on and my contemplation of Him.
And although I can't figure it all out, it will shape how I live my life.  How I make decisions.  Where I live and who I spend time with. And how I spend my time.
Theology. It matters.  
What you believe, what they's worth the effort to find out a little more.