March is Women’s History Month or should I say Women’s Her-story Month. The Tuesday and Friday posts this month will feature women who lead lives that could serve as models for us in our Christian walk. It was difficult to narrow the list for the few dates in March but I did try to find some women you may not know very well and women writers. Enjoy!
The last hymn we sang on Sunday – Beneath the Cross of Jesus – contained words that lingered within me.
Slowly read some of the lines:
Beneath the cross of Jesus I long to take my stand….
and from my contrite heart, with tears, two wonders I confess; the wonder of his glorious love and my unworthiness…
I take O cross, your shadow for my abiding place; I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face.
The whole hymn swelled as a prayer within me.
Who wrote these meaningful words of devotion to Christ? I never heard of her before: Elizabeth Clephane.
Elizabeth Cecelia Douglas Clephane (1830-1869) was born in Edinburgh, but lived most of her life in Melrose, near the home of Sir Walter Scott. Despite her physical frailties, she was known throughout her community for her helpful, cheery nature. Yet within the limits of her strength she served the poor and sick of her community, and she and her sisters gave to charity all they did not actually require for their daily needs. Throughout the Melrose area Elizabeth was affectionately known to the townspeople as “the sunbeam.”
Elizabeth enjoyed writing poems and had several published in a Scottish Presbyterian Magazine entitled The Family Treasury. However, the majority of her writings appeared anonymously in this magazine in 1872, three years after her early death at the age of thirty-nine. “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” was written in 1868, one year before her death.
Isn’t it amazing how one person’s words written in solitude by one who lived a simple, quiet life with no major headlines, best selling books or world changing sermons – continue to touch us today? We go through life never realizing how we affect others. And this past Sunday, Elizabeth Clephane enriched my life and brought me closer to Christ.
I join her in confessing my “wonder of his glorious love and my unworthiness.”
M.L. Gallagher says
Thank you for introducing me to an amazing woman and an inspiring Her-story!
KINDRED HEART WRITERS says
Jeanie, I always read your posts, but sometimes I am late with my reaction. How FIRM is our God was a much needed reminder and ” my unworthiness” always strikes me when I sing this song. As we go into these last two weeks I feel it more as I am reminded of what Christ really did for me. Good post. Love Clella
I love that, “no other sunshine, than the sunshine of His face.” I tend to forget that, that is enough. Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Jeanie.
Bridget Chumbley says
Elizabeth sounds like an amazing, yet humble woman. Her words speak volumes.
Thanks for sharing her with us, Jean.
Jean Wise says
Kristen, the words of this hymn affected me deeply this past Sunday. I get the tune in my head and am covered with peace.
Glynn I agree with you. taking the time to savor our heritage is important.
Thanks to both of you for visiting and commenting.
I really enjoyed reading about Elizabeth. thanks for doing this — we’re forgetting too much of our church heritage.
I love the idea of posting a piece of her-story!! Those are some powerful words…I love the “glorious love and my unworthiness”…such contrasting, convicting words! Thanks for linking up!!