The Champions Who Walked Among Us – Article 8 – The Pastor’s Wife
July 28, 1914, World War I had just begun, and one month later, the eyes of one of the most famous writers of Christian literature would open to see the bright lights of the world. As her eyes slowly glanced at her surroundings, at people, places, and at things, she registered them in her mind, and she began to journalize them. Known for her journals, she started writing at an early age. Unknowingly to herself, she would one day utilize the innate talent that had been planted deep within her to fulfill her purpose in life.
An observant little child, the first twelve years of her life, she spent pretty much alone, sharing her parents only with the parish parishioners who came by to visit her father because of their problems.
At the age of fifteen this young girl encountered God, an encounter that would change her life. Like the dream interpreter, Joseph, she too dreamed. She dreamed of going to college and marrying the perfect man chosen for her life.
- How do you go to college when you’re in the middle of a depression where your father’s salary is a hen or a piece of pork?
- What do you do when it seems as if everything is blocking your dream, holding you back?
- Where do you go when your destiny seems doom?
Her mother had been a missionary to the kids in the West Appalachian Mountains, an area filled with poverty. Many of the kids never attended school before her mother went there as schoolteacher. Here, her mother met her father and the two entered into a covenant marriage. With such a fine living example of faith, it was no surprise when her mother challenged her to take God and his promises seriously and walk in them––something this young girl had never done.
- Is God in everything?
- Does he have a way out for everyone who trusts him?
- Does God care?
Although she had saved up a little money, it would not be near enough for the college she desired to attend. Suddenly, an unexpected door opened. Her mother was asked to write a history of the State of West Virginia and the young girl’s dream received wings. The college planted into her heart became a reality, and she found herself attending Agnes Scott College, in Atlanta, Georgia.
She would have to make sacrifices, study hard, and often, sit by and watch while most of her affluent friends went shopping or attended dances she could not afford.
- But how do you explain such matters to a young woman whose motor of life is her dream?
- How do you make her think about the sacrifices she so willingly said Yes to without considering the consequences?
For sacrifice means “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
1936 saw the completion of two dreams. The lady who had not yet discovered her own gift as a writer, completed her college degree at her dream college and married the man who would bring international acclaim to the U.S. Senate Chaplain’s seat in the United States Congress––a natural born Scotsman from Scotland, who immigrated to the United States. The college graduate became the Pastor’s Wife, and thoughts of writing were put on the back burner. Even though she had shown great promise at Agnes Scott College, her concentration, her love, her desire was devoted to making a home for her husband and being the Pastor’s wife.
Her life was tied up with sacrifices as she lovingly submitted to her husband, who would become the most well known Senate Chaplain of the twentieth century.
It was during these years of protection, while covered by her husband, as in her mother’s wound that her faith was once more put to a test. The disease, Tuberculosis struck her, and she had to take to her bed for three years. At the height of her husband’s ministry, the Pastor’s wife, who had very little knowledge of her gift to write, was put out of circulation. During this time she began to read her Bible intensely and searched out the promises recorded, and she discovered people, such as Hannah Whitall Smith and Agnes B. Sanford. She struggled with depression, three long years, as the tuberculosis hindered her from leaving her bedroom, and participating in her husband’s life, and that of their son. In her bedroom, she read about the people of faith who had overcome the worst of circumstances by trusting God to heal their diseases, and her healing came.
Washington D.C., January 26 1949, and the winter controlled the District of Columbia. Nothing indicated this day would be any different from any other day, but destiny was about to strike on her door. The time had come for the writer to be released to fly. On the evening before her husband’s death, she had no idea it would be the last time. If she had, she would probably have done some things differently, like we all would do. Her husband, the Scotsman, Peter Marshall, died and her title of Pastor’s Wife wife with him, and the Writer was born.
- What do you do at the age of thirty-five when you are suddenly cast into the roles of mother and father with a nine year old son to take care of?
- Who do you beg to give you a chance to work, if you have never held a job, and are now the sole provider?
- How do you use the college diploma, which has gathered dust and has lain somewhere unpolished for fifteen years?
The spark within her burst into a tiny flame and the dream caught fire. The woman dared to let the Writer take hold of her life. It started out small with putting together the book of her late husband’s sermons Mr. Jones, Meet The Master. This small little book was on the New York Bestseller’s list twenty-five years and proved to be the steppingstone to her divine purpose in life.
The Writer had taken hold of the Pastor’s wife, and out of her spirit flowed books of inspiration and encouragement. This woman wrote a Man Called Peter, To Live Again, Beyond Ourselves, Something More, The Helper, Meeting God At Every Turn, Christy, Julie and many more inspirational books, which are still touching generations all over the world. It was her books, which helped usher in the Charismatic Movement in the United States.
March 18, 1983 and it was spring in Florida as the woman prepared to take her flight. So many things had happen in her life.
- Had she not documented her faith every book?
- Had she not shared her sorrows, her pain, and revealed who she really was?
- Had she not truthfully displayed the struggles she had with her God?
As she thought about these things, she smiled. She had done it all. It was time for her to Walk On.
Catherine Marshall, prolific author and speaker, the Pastor’s Wife turned Writer,
- Who was used to put the sermons of Peter Marshall in a book to reach the world,
- Who became one of the most well known Christian female writers of the twentieth century through the inspirational storytelling of her own life story,
- Who wrote the book to the film, A Man Called Peter
Catherine Marshall stood up and laid down her earthly robe as she Walked On into eternity.
She walked On, People, She Walked On!
So, Walk On my dear sisters, Walk On!
There is no challenge that can defeat a woman of faith.
Walk On, I say, Walk On.
 Marshall, Catherine, Something More. 1974. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, New York
- Posted in: historical
- Tagged: Agnes Scott College, Atlanta, God, Hannah Whitall Smith, Man Called Peter, Pastor, United States, Washington D.C, Washington DC, West Virginia
“There is no challenge that can defeat a woman of faith.”
I love this line and I love your stories. I always look forward to the next. 🙂
“There is no challenge that can defeat a woman of faith.” That is so true and I learned it in one of my darkest moments in 2004. The waves had long pulled me down to the deep of the ocean, and I shouted out from the pit of my soul, I will not give up! That day this truth was revealed to me, and I put it in these words, there is no challenge that can defeat a woman of faith.
Thank you for your loyalty, thank you for being you.
This really moves me, Patricia, and tells me again how much we have in common. I so admire the joy and encouragement you have through everything.
Thank you. Of all the aricles I have written, this one was very near to me. In 1981, two years before her death, I wrote her a letter, not expecting her to write me back personally. I told her about my desire to write and how difficult it was being in Germany for me to write as an American. She wrote me back, three pages worth of good old writing advice and spiritual guidance. When I moved into my new apartment, I lost the letter. I looked all over and could not find it.
I have read every book she wrote. Especially Mr. Jones Meet The Master, A Man Called Peter, To Live Again, Beyond Ourselves and Something More have had a great effect upon my life.
Thank you once more for your loyal support.
What a wonderful memory and what a kind lady. You wouldn’t find too many authors who are willing to do that. I just tried one and was flatly rejected.
Wow!! This post literally took my brath away–such passionate, powerful writing!! I love all your posts but this one soared like the wings of eagles and touched my soul. It was that good.
Good morning Micki,
Thank you. Your words have an immense impact on me and I am truly honored. It is amazing for me to meet these women in the annals of history. Catherine Marshall was special, because I wrote to her personally in 1980 about writing and she actually wrote me back. It is a pity that I misplaced the letter while moving and it is probably long gone.Her books have made a great impact on my life.
Once again thank you and I wish you a nice Sunday.
Another fantastic great touching post! I so love them and I’m already hoping for the next one!!
Thank you very much for the encouragement. I enjoy researching these ladies and the research is giving back so much to me.
Many greetings to Jake. Hope he is enjoying his new friend.
This is an amazing inspirational story. I haven’t read anything by Catherine Marshall yet, but will now. Thank you for introducing her to me. ~ Peggy
Thank you for reading the article. Catherine Marshall was in my opinion one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century who also was a Christian. She laid a building block in my foundation as a writer. I wrote her in 1981, two years before she died and she wrote me back personally. The letter was three pages long full of writing tips and spiritual guidance. Unfortunately, while moving to another apartment, I somehow lost the letter. I was very hurt about that. I have all of her books. Mr. Jones, Meet The Master, which was her first and contains the some of the sermons from Peter Marshall, A Man Called Peter, To Live Again, Beyond Ourselves, Something More, and Christy are all dog eared, and highlighted more than once because I have read them so often.
Once again thank you for your loyal support.
O how I enjoyed this! I have goose bumps while I am commenting Patricia thank you so very much! YOU are an inspiration to us all in making these stories come alive and believing (almost knowing) that faith can move mountains. I too will look out for Catherine Marshall and her husband’s writings. Thank you!
My Dear Susan,
Thank you so much. This article was very close to me also because of my own personal involvement. I wrote Catherine Marshall in 1981, two years before her death. I did not expect her to write back but she did. She wrote me three pages and those three pages changed my life. She laid unknowingly a building block in my foundation to become a writer.
Thank you so much for your loyal support.
Alright, Patricia, I got goose bumps on this one!!! I guess I should have read this before your book review blog, but I’m working my way backwards.
Didn’t realize this Catherine Marshall was the writer of “Christy.” I’m very inspired, especially by her mixture of faith and writing that is so critical to me as well.
Thanks again, Patricia! Keep ’em coming! 🙂
Catherine Marshall was one of the most influential writers of the 2oth century, and she greatly influenced my own life. In 1981 I wrote to her, telling her about my desire to write and she actually wrote me back!!! Three pages worth of advice that I will never forget. Unfortunately, during a move, I lost the letter, and I do not know how. All of her books I have. The first three,To Live Again, Beyond Ourselves, and Something More are dog eared and underlined and painted yellow, green and blue. Some of the passages I know my memory. That is just how much she influenced me. I never met her face to face but feel like I met her personally through her writing.
Thank you for reading my article and thank you for your loyal support.