This project is fun! I’m playing the piano more, and Hadley and I are walking around the house with the words stuck in our heads. I’m afraid I’m tainting her by teaching her Page CXVI versions of the hymns, but they’re so beautiful and fun to listen to that I can’t resist.
I’ve decided on one addition to my project – learning the history of the hymns themselves. I came across a couple of consistent explanations of Louisa Stead’s, “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” The story only makes me appreciate her lyrics more:
As the story goes, Louisa had always felt a calling to be a missionary and go to China. But due to fragile health she was kept home in the US. She married Mr. Stead and had a daughter named Lily. When Lily was 4 yrs old the family went on vacation to a nearby beach. While there, relaxing and enjoying their vacation, they saw a young boy drowning in the ocean. Mr. Stead swam out and tried to rescue him, only he was pulled under by the boy and both Mr. Stead and the boy drowned as Louisa and her daughter watched from shore. Louisa was left without any means of support except for God’s care. She and her daughter were in dire poverty – one day when there was no food in the house and no money to purchase any, Louisa opened the front door to find someone had left groceries and money sitting there for her. That same day she sat down and wrote “Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus…”. She later became a missionary to Africa, remarried and once again was forced to stay in the US due to her health. But once recovered she went back into the missionary field in Rhodesia and later died in Zimbabwe. Her daughter Lily married and became a missionary as well.
We’ll choose another hymn in the next few days, but I still have one verse to learn (the one that Page CXVI leaves out of their version):
Yes, tis sweet to trust in Jesus
Just from sin and self to cease
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace