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My Utmost for His Highest has sold 13 million copies. But did you know that the book was not published until 10 years after Oswald's death? The person behind the compilation and publication was his devoted and indefatigable wife, Biddy, who went on to complete another 29 books from her husband's notes. In Mrs. Oswald Chambers, Michelle Ule traces the life of this remarkable woman, providing insights into the incredible life that she lived and the selfless dedication she expressed as she served God’s kingdom.
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
Extraordinary Women of Christian History: What We Can Learn from Their Struggles and TriumphsRuth A. TuckerBaker Books / 2016 / Trade Paperback$17.00
Bestselling novelist Michelle Ule brings Biddy's story to life as she traces her upbringing in Victorian England to her experiences in a WWI YMCA camp in Egypt. Readers will marvel at this young woman's strength as she returns to post-war Britain a destitute widow with a toddler in tow. Refusing personal payment, Biddy proceeds to publish not just My Utmost for His Highest, but also 29 other books with her husband's name on the covers. All the while she raises a child alone, provides hospitality to a never-ending stream of visitors and missionaries, and nearly loses everything in the London Blitz during WWII.
The inspiring story of a devoted woman ahead of her times will quickly become a favorite of those who love true stories of overcoming incredible odds, making a life out of nothing, and serving God's kingdom.
Booklover105 Stars Out Of 5A story you won't forget about Biddy and Oswald ChambersMarch 31, 2018Booklover10Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Like many people, I had heard of Oswald Chambers and had read his devotional book as I was growing up. I didn't know any of his story, though, so I enjoyed reading the story of Mrs. Oswald Chambers. The story of Biddy and Oswald was beautiful. I did not know all of the sacrifices that they had made throughout their life.
Oswald met Biddy and loved her but was determined to not marry, at first. He had nothing to give a wife, and honestly didn't think he ever would. He was basically volunteering his time and living on what others had provided while he was teaching the Gospel. He had told Biddy she had to be okay with that if she was going to be his wife and she, of course, said she was. I was amazed by her contentment in situations that many people would not have been, myself included. When the school closed because of the War, she lost her housing! And she was content and trusting in Jesus for their next step. The school closed because Oswald had joined with the YMCA to go overseas to serve. Through some doors that only God could open, Biddy was able to go along with him a few months later. Together, they are serving in Egypt. Sadly, they don't return as a couple. Oswald dies and Biddy returns a widowed mother.
The rest of the story tells of Biddy's "new" life as she adjuts to life without Oswald. She had such strength and courage in the midst of not only her own personal turmoil, but the turmoil going around her in her country. She was a strong lady and such an example of a godly woman. After returning to England, she published Oswald's writings in her husband's name.
I was always impressed with Oswald Chambers and his deep love for the Lord. I have a totally new respect for him as I see how he lived and all he gave up. However, my deepest admiration is in Mrs. Oswald Chambers who loved and supported her husband now matter where God was calling him and she always trusted God to provide. What a message I need to hear!
I received this book free from Baker Books in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.
MauriKansasAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Biddy ChambersFebruary 16, 2018MauriKansasAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I had, of course, heard of Oswald Chambers and his book, My Utmost for His Highest, though I only began reading it January 1 of this year. I had never given much thought to his wife or to how his books came to be. This biography by Michelle Ule gives us a very clear picture of Biddy Chambers and her deep, abiding faith in God. She was a remarkable woman. Without her tireless work, Oswald Chamber's words would not have the wide circulation that they did (and still do). My reading preference is overwhelmingly fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed this biography. If you've read My Utmost for His Highest, you will enjoy reading this book. If you haven't read the devotional, you will surely want to after reading this well documented book by Michelle Ule.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author but this in no way influenced my opinion. All thoughts are my own.
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Biddy Chambers: A Sacramental LifeJanuary 22, 2018Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Published in 1927, My Utmost for His Highest has sold more than 13 million copies and has never been out of print. Over the course of its 90+ year history, it has been translated into 40 different languages, and Oswald Chamberss unique and timeless wisdom is quoted far and wide.
However, until recently, little thought has been given to the fact that My Utmost was not published until ten years after Chamberss death, and that it was his wife, Gertrude Biddy Hobbs Chambers who took on the mammoth task of compiling and editing nearly twenty years worth of sermons and lessons. Michelle Ule has traced this process in telling the story of the woman behind the worlds best-selling devotional: Mrs. Oswald Chambers.
It Is God Who Engineers Circumstances
Trained as a stenographer, Biddy learned to type as well with the goal of financial stability and the lofty hope of one day becoming the first female secretary to Englands prime minister. While she remained very private about her spiritual life, its clear that her spiritual journey began under the ministry of Oswald Chamberss brother Arthur. At some point after she was baptized, Oswald led a week-long mission at his big brothers church, representing an early interdenominational para-church organization, the League of Prayer.
To riff on Jane Austen, It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a [budding ministry], must be in want of a wife, and although Chambers did not come seeking, he found, and to frame it with his own words:
Love is not premeditated, it is spontaneous, i.e., it bursts up in extraordinary ways.
The bursting up was followed by a long distance courtship which evolved into an on-the-road marriage in which Oswald and Biddy crossed the Atlantic and covered the Eastern U.S. as far south as Maryland, as far north as Maine (!), and as far west as Ohio, with Oswald speaking at camp meetings and Biddy faithfully taking shorthand at every venue.
When the newlyweds returned to England, they soon took up residence and took on leadership roles in a Bible Training College started by the League of Prayer. While Oswald lectured, Biddy served as the schools superintendent and together they grew into the kind of wisdom that taught them the folly of playing the role of amateur providence in other lives and the deep faith that comes with depending upon God for every need to be met.
A man of perpetual motion (55), Chambers became a bit of a celebrity in his small circle with everyone wanting a piece of his day. In quietly cherishing his words and in unraveling the administrative nightmares of life together in an educational setting, Biddy began to live her way into a calling of her own in an era when a Christian woman was largely seen as an adornment for the arm of her more influential husband. After the birth of their daughter Kathleen in 1913, summer traveling and school-year activities resumed in full force with a small, blonde curly-haired addition to the ministry team.
Gods Purpose Is Never Mans Purpose
When England entered World War I, the Bible Training College era come to an end, and the Chambers family traveled together to Egypt where Oswald served as a YMCA chaplain. Early in their parenting life, they committed themselves to raising Kathleen themselves and keeping her with them, rather then sending her off to boarding school as was the custom of that day.
Life in Egypt was characterized by a ministry of interruptions in which Biddy Biddy Chambers: A Sacramental Lifeand Oswald made themselves available to anyone who needed to hear the Truth. Washing the disciples feet often meant feeding hordes of service men under challenging circumstances, and, for Biddy, it always meant patiently recording every word of her husbands many sermons and devotionals. With amazing prescience for this time, Oswald referred to Biddys great contribution to their ministry in his letters:
As for Biddy I love her and I am her husband, but I do not believe it is possible to exaggerate what she has been in the way of a Sacrament out here God conveying His presence through the common elements of an ordinary life.
When Oswald passed away in Egypt on November 15, 1917, from complications following a ruptured appendix, Gods Word to Joshua became a comfort to Biddy:
As I was with Moses, so will I be with thee. I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee . . .Only be strong and very courageous. (Joshua 1:5)
Amidst the fires of sorrow, Biddy continued what Oswald had begun and was comforted by the understanding and appreciation of the servicemen she and her husband had served together. One by one, she began producing books and pamphlets taken from her careful notes and publishing them at her own expense, and this became the scaffolding of her life in England when she returned home to a home that did not feel like home with a young daughter who had no memory of the family there and who was used to living amidst the bustle of an Army camp.
Faith is Deliberate Commitment to a Person Where I See No Way.
Because Chambers had not been employed by the military, Biddy had no pension, and times were lean for her and Kathleen as they moved from one situation to another, always typing, always publishing, and always just short of enough resources to make ends meet. The notion of publishing a daily devotional work that compiled Oswalds teaching followed on the heels of the enthusiastic response to a devotional calendar Biddy had produced. Thus, it was in October 1927, in the days when Lewis and Tolkien were lunching at the Eagle and Child pub, when Winnie the Pooh was holding court at the London Zoo, in the year that Amy Carmichaels Dohnavur Fellowship came into being in India, and that someone made the first transatlantic phone call to North America that My Utmost for His Highest was first published in England.
Biddy went on to run a boutique publishing house, editing and launching Oswalds writings to an enthusiastic readership that still profits from his words and from her skill and determination. Personally, my appreciation for Chamberss work has been heightened by this introduction to his wifes story. Because I learned that Biddy carefully chose the meditations for Oswalds birthday, their wedding day, and the anniversary of his death, I want to make a notation in my copy to remind me that the message for that day is specifically assigned. As a single mum who persevered through two world wars and lived all her days under challenging circumstances, Biddy Chambers lived out the title of her husbands book, offering her utmost in faithfulness and focus for His highest purposes in her own life and in the lives of her readers every day.
This book was provided by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
RachelWhitehall, PAAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Reads like a novel, yet full of facts and analysisDecember 20, 2017RachelWhitehall, PAAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I read a lot of biographies so this book immediately caught my attention. For the past several years, I have been reading biographies of the First Ladies of the United States. Many of them are written by historians and professors who serve heaping helpings of fact and analysis which are a great deal of work to read. They are worth reading, but it certainly is an intellectual pursuit. Michelle Ule uses her talents as a novelist to write about Mrs. Oswald Chambers in an easy-to-read way, but easy-to-read doesn't mean she left out facts or analysis. Michelle Ule was able to both maintain an intriguing storyline of Biddy's life while providing historical details and refection. I especially appreciated her analysis of why Biddy chose certain topics for certain dates in My Utmost for His Highest (biblical marriage on their wedding anniversary, etc). The way Michelle Ule described the analysis gave me a picture of Biddy deep in thought in her editorial work.
KathleenMissouriAge: Over 65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5lives bonded togetherDecember 8, 2017KathleenMissouriAge: Over 65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Thursday, December 7, 2017
Mrs. Oswald Chambers: The Woman behind the World's Bestselling Devotional by Michelle Ule, 2017
~* Finding God's Fingerprints in Everyday Life *~
God's grace in understanding His truth in our lives that our devotion to Him be enriched! This story of pursuing His highest purpose for each life is our relationship with Him. Pointed not to man, but to God be the glory!
Responsibilities assigned as new YMCA secretary near Cairo, Egypt ~ an expedition to the Zuitoun camp brought soldiers under Oswald's spiritual care. Joined by his wife and daughter, and others, they were missionaries amid those far from home delivering what was needed truth and a respite to receive a touch of home ~ and gathered hope.
The YMCA camp became a haven from war as a welcome was given whether or not they listened to Oswald's lectures. An oasis of God's love in the desert.
This biography tells of their beginnings and continuance upon Oswald's death and burial in Eygpt.
As I read this account I think of Elisabeth Elliot and her daughter, Valerie, as they continued in the work the Lord presented before them. Both widows, with a daughter; Biddy's account:
Biddy believed God had reasons for giving her Kathleen to raise without a father. God also had provided a task: to put Oswald's teachings into writing for the spiritual benefit of others. She believed God would care for her and her child as she performed her ministry.
--Mrs. Oswald Chambers: The Woman behind the World's Bestselling Devotional, 154.
Seaming together Oswald Chambers' lectures along with adjoining memories, his wife, Biddy, compiled her handwritten and shorthand notes combining his varied talks to compose the widely-read devotional, My Utmost for His Highest. God's journey individually for readers has been experienced through reflection of these readings. This devotional has not gone out of printing since its inception.
She pieced together a crazy quilt of concepts into a beautiful work of practical spiritual warmth.
Oswald Chambers 1874-1917
Biddy Chambers 1884-1966
***Thank you to author Michelle Ule for this biographical account forming this book, and to Baker Books Bloggers for supplying a copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***