How Charlotte Elliott Caught My Attention

It’s been a rough couple of weeks.

Maybe it was demands of starting a new home school year. Perhaps it was the accomplishment of several large ministry projects that used up the last of my physical reserves. Maybe it was downward spiral of health issues or even the enemy on the prowl, looking for a way to attack. I don’t know.

Whatever the reason, my battery was empty. Crawling out of bed each day took enormous energy. I was in pain and exhausted. To use a Southern turn of phrase…I was dragging tail.

I began to wonder, “What if feeling this way becomes a permanent thing? Maybe God is done with me. What if I fail my kids? What if I never feel better?” land of what ifs

What Ifs are a poor way to live.

Just when I thought those what ifs might become a reality, God reminded me of Charlotte Elliott.

Do you know her story? Let me explain.

Charlotte Elliott was an invalid most of her life. Many times her weak and painful condition caused her frustration and depression. These feelings grew stronger in 1836, when her brother, H.V. Elliot, was raising funds for St. Mary’s Hall at Brighton, England, a college for the daughters of poor clergymen. charlotte eliott

Charlotte wanted to have some little part but was hindered by her illness. Many days she was unable to rise from her bed.  As she pondered how she could help the cause, Charlotte decided to write a poem relevant to others who were physically limited. She remembered the words of a great preacher, Caesar Malton, who had talked to her fourteen years before. He had told her to “Come to Jesus, just as you are”.

Sitting down to her task, Charlotte penned these famous words…

Just as I am, without one plea

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that thou biddest me come to Thee

O  Lamb of God, I come. I come.

The poem was published without Charlotte’s name and was handed to her one day in leaflet form by her doctor, who did not realize that she was its author. Tears streamed down her face as she read the six verses and was told that copies of her poem were being sold and the money given to St. Mary’s Hall.

Shocked and humbled, Miss Elliott then realized that she had at last made a significant contribution to the building of the school, and in way she had scarcely imagined possible.

Charlotte’s words continue to bless people the world over today, and her story gives hope for those who think they are too weak, too young, too old, too small or too broken to make a difference. God doesn’t need me to have it together in order to accomplish His will. He doesn’t need me to be Miss Perfect Christian before He can use me.  He really doesn’t even need me to be healthy. He just wants me to be willing.

“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.” ~Barton

And by the way, I’m feeling much better today.

just as i am

What about you? Have you ever fallen into the What Ifs? What did God use to turn your fears around?

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One thought on “How Charlotte Elliott Caught My Attention

  1. I love this hymn, and this post. At our lowest moments, it is wonderful to think that God can still use our broken, pitiful selves. He still loves us, still has a plan, still has a purpose for our lives.
    Thanks for another very inspiring post.

    Like

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