I just completed reading Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God by Noël Piper. The book contains five short biographies of women who were faithful to the Lord in different circumstances. Mrs. Piper tells us about the lives of Sarah Edwards, Lilias Trotter, Gladys Aylward, Esther Ahn Kim, and Helen Roseveare. Of the five I related most to Helen Roseveare.
Roseveare and I are similar in our sins and spiritual struggles. For me deep seeded things that I am grateful to learn from the experiences of a faithful woman.
“From early childhood, Helen bore the weight of 'the absorbing necessity of being loved and wanted' -of being good enough...The child Helen was already plagued by the very doubts, insecurity, and pride that would be the core of most of her recurring spiritual struggle as an adult.”
Roseveare was a missionary doctor in the Congo. She experienced many long hours – ministering, writing textbooks, building a new hospital. I could resonate to a certain degree the long hours and labor one puts into a ministry.
“The Work-load and consequent inability to take a night off-duty, or to go away for a weekend, brought out in me an irritability and shortness of temper that often caused me considerable loss of sleep. I'd always had a hasty temper, but this had largely been under control...since my conversion to Christ. Now the hot and angry word would burst out again, before I could control it, and to my shame.”
“Helen continually dealt with the spiritual consequences of exhaustion and overwork. This apparently was another of the lessons for which God had brought her to Africa...”
Roseveare was taught many lessons while in Africa, the Lord is using her story and lessons to also teach me.
“She was working and studying too many hours in a day, which meant she wasn't getting enough sleep. Her Vulnerability to 'unhappiness, loneliness, fear, inferiority' came from two directions: from her exhaustion and from her lack of spiritual energy. Her spiritual life dragged because she was exhausted and she was exhausted because of her low spiritual life. In other words, it was all one tangle.
...We need to make good choices about sleeping and eating and other things that affect our health, so that we don't open ourselves to sin that undermines our spiritual well-being.
And from the other side, we need to work hard to keep our connection with God strong, through his Word and our prayer, so that we have the perception to see when we are sliding into bad attitudes and the likelihood of glossing over and justifying sin in our lives.”