Fanny Crosby: This is my Story, This is my Song

Fanny Crosby: This is My Story This is My Song article #biography #inspiration #blind #poet #hymn #quote #Spoonie #chronicillness #depression #Christian

Fanny Crosby

If you have ever been to a church where they still sing occasional hymns, then your heart has been uplifted by the works of Fanny Crosby. She was a blind woman, an activist, a writer, poet, teacher, humanitarian, and possibly, a chronic illness and depression survivor. Even though she made history by writing nearly 10,000 hymns- more praise songs than any other person, many don’t know the story behind this incredible woman and survivor.

Shortly after her birth in 1820, fever from a common cold caused swelling in Fanny’s eyes. The treatment the doctors used trying to bring down the swelling caused permanent, irreversible blindness. Fanny never resented that doctor, and later, wrote a poem about her blindness being her gift.

Growing up, Fanny was a spirited happy child, despite living in darkness. Her family had roots in the Puritan religion and her grandmother put an emphasis on her Bible education. Young Fanny took an interest in music and creative writing, and she wrote her first poem at age 8. You can already see her early knack for rhyme and rhythm:

Oh what a happy soul I am!

Although I cannot see,

I am resolved that in this world

Contented I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy

That other people don’t!

To weep and sigh because I’m blind,

I cannot, and I won’t!

After she graduated college, Fanny spoke at multiple campaigns to raise awareness for blindness education, she was a speaker in front of Congress for political legislation, and she even befriended Grover Cleveland! Even though she had gained popularity in her political writing, was a noted speaker, and was becoming a recognized poet (lovingly called “the blind poet”), in time, she said that she felt an emptiness in this work. This is when Fanny Crosby began focusing more on her spiritual path and writing hymns and praise poems which have touched so many hearts.

She shifted her focus to helping others as she sought a more meaningful life serving the Lord. Just like when she was younger and volunteered teaching blind prison inmates, Fanny set out to help at homeless shelters and was a regular patron at missions all over New York City. Her heart was with those less fortunate; she gained a new type of prominence among a different class of people for being a compassionate, caring soul during a harsh time in America. When Cholera broke out in New York City, she turned her focus to caring for the sick and worked tirelessly at the hospital near her home in Brooklyn. She was very passionate about this effort and many of her songs are inspired by this period in her life.

Fanny and her husband had one child, a daughter, who tragically died in infancy from Typhoid Fever. One of her most popular hymns, Safe in the Arms of Jesus was written just after the passing of her daughter:

Safe in the arms of Jesus,

  Safe on His gentle breast,

There by His love o’ershaded,

    Sweetly my soul doth rest.

After losing their only child, her husband became a recluse. Fanny began spending most of her time in the church and wrote the majority of her hymns and Christian poems with her minister and often, her co-writer. Over and over, there are records of Fanny not feeling well, being “depressed,” worn down, and having to take time away for health matters. It seems as though this was a regular occurrence over the course of her career. Saying she had a Chronic Illness or a depressive disorder is just conjecture, but it does appear that she dealt with ongoing health and emotional struggles throughout her life. Nevertheless, she held tight to her faith and was a constant source of inspiration to those in her life. Through her encouragement in helping others less fortunate and sharing her very personal poems about her spiritual walk with the Lord, Fanny was always willing to give of herself. She STILL is a source of encouragement and hope to anyone who sings or reads one of her writings.

Fanny Crosby’s blindness did not hold her back from pursuing her passions and using the gifts she was given. She once said that she was happy to be blind so that the first sight she would ever see would be the face of her Savior in Heaven [para]. She had so many hurdles in life beyond her impaired vision, but she continued her writing and always sought out new ways she could be a blessing to others in need of help. She made history with her words. Through her music, she continues to open hearts, and through her lyrics, souls come alive. She is an inspiration to me as a woman, as a writer, and as a disabled person. Fanny Crosby made history with her works of praise songs, but through her actions, she left behind a legacy of love.

Blessed Assurance (Chorus)

This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior all the day long;

This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior all the day long.

-Fanny Crosby

Pass Me Not Oh Gentle Savior 

Resources:

To read and listen to Poems & Hymns by Fanny Crosby

www.1timothy4-13.com

www.wholesomewords.org/biography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanny_Crosby

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About abodyofhope

I do not know why it is that we must wade through tragic circumstances to find truth. We nearly drown! But under the water, there are pearls. I hope in writing this blog, more will come to the surface. Over the past 11 years living with chronic pain, patient advocacy has affected my life through so many remarkable young people, women and men: SURVIVORS. These individuals are HOPE personified. I wish to honor them in the same spirit they have encouraged me to press on. Four years ago, I became bed-bound from a variety of chronic illnesses after a procedure meant to help the pain condition I had been managing for several years- went bust #BIGTIME. In the last 4 years, my entire life has changed. I have changed, but I am still striving to live my best life possible. Along with sharing inspiring pieces, medical/holistic research, and awareness articles, this blog is also an attempt to put my own pieces back together. Welcome to A Body of Hope, and thank you for visiting. [Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/ RSD, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Dysautonomia, Chronic Intractable Migraine, Cluster headache, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Occipital Neuralgia, Hypersensitivity to Sound & Light, Fibromyalgia, Cerebrospinal Fluid Imbalance......blah, blah, blah] >>> P.S. My headgear is protective for pain. I just rock it hard.

Posted on December 18, 2014, in Christian, Inspiring Biographies, Music, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Hymnals have been around for centuries. They stand today as they stood yesterday (centuries ago). They uplift and strengthen the weak and bring joy to those who have lost a little bit of their happiness. Great Post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Yes, I grew up on hymns when I was a kid and when I was still able to go to church and enjoy music, I loved when they would include hymns like Fanny’s. We can re-arrange the instrumentation, but like you said so well, hymnals will always be uplifting and inspiring.
      I wish churches continued to use them more often.

      Like

  2. Very well done. Good history, Mary!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Truly inspiring! Such beautiful and moving hymns/poems. Thank you for introducing me to Fanny Crosby.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post!! Inspiring and educational. I loved it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great piece this is. I love hymns and she has written so many. Thank you for writing about someone so inspiring, for all the work you put into it, and the great detail you included. This was truly educational, and encouraging, as well, to ponder the legacy we ourselves could leave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane,
      It makes me so happy that you enjoyed this post as I couldn’t help but be reminded of you the entire time I was researching and writing about Fanny.
      Your poems are praises, as are her hymns and you both have overcome so much, yet you continue to seek the Lord throughout your trials.
      You, like Fanny Crosby, will leave a beautiful legacy of love and worship behind.

      Like

  6. Thank you for posting this! It is easy for me to feel trapped or controlled by my circumstances/ trials, but I needed to hear the last line of Fanny’s first poem: “To weep and sigh because I’m blind, I cannot, and I won’t!” I can choose, just as Fanny did, to have a positive attitude. Thank you!

    Also, I love your idea to have a blog about people who have survived and inspired you with their survival. I love learning the story of an individual.

    I don’t think you will understand how awesome I think this blog is. Thank you!

    Where do you find your faith?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sister Bentley,
    Thank you so much for your comment! I had to spend some time thinking of how I would answer you as your thoughtful comment meant so much to me ❤
    Thank you for sharing about how Fanny Crosby's poem inspires you. What a wonderful testimony for your new year!
    Thank you also for your encouragement regarding the idea for my blog. I started it just this past August to help myself think more clearly. So many individuals have supported me and inspired me along the last 10 years of my chronic illness journey. There are many different types of survivors and inspirational people, don't you think? Everyone has an inspiring story to tell. I'm just getting started 🙂
    I'm so glad you are also excited about hearing their stories!
    Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leaving such a wonderful comment. God bless you and Merry Christmas!

    Like

  8. Great blog; I came across it searching for info on Fanny J Crosby. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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