Just before Christmas of 1858, Lottie Moon was converted. And I say converted because it is evident that God acted upon her. Like Romans 3 says, she was not seeking after God. As she was pursuing vain things; God’s grace broke into her heart. By God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, she was born again.
Still, while God converted Lottie, the sovereign Lord used means, and she was converted under the ministry of John Broadus. This is the same Broadus who would go on to become one of the four founders of Southern Seminary. Broadus was the pastor of Moon’s church and a principal at the school she attended. In the fall of 1858, Broadus called for a series of evangelistic meetings and prayer services. He called his congregation to come together to pray for the lost. And certainly with family and friends in the church, they were praying for the proud skeptic, Lottie Moon.
During that week, there was a night in which Lottie Moon could not sleep. A barking dog kept her awake, and her mind raced with thoughts of her eternal destiny and the state of her soul before God. This sleepless night prompted her to go to the meeting the next evening. While intending to scoff, she left that service to pray in her room all night.
She was baptized a few days later after professing faith in the God she had spent her life opposing. And her profession was more than just a verbal testimony. A family friend remarked about the immediate change in Lottie: “She was different… in those details of the daily life which at last afforded the most delicate test of Christian character.” (W.E. Hatcher quoted by Nettles, 365).
Upon her conversion, she returned to school, to not only finish her degree. While she had taken many courses in religion before, she now pursued them with a renewed vigor. So passionate was she to study, she took every single course that the school offered! And when she graduated in 1860, John Broadus remarked that Lottie Moon was the most educated woman in the South.
A Teaching Life (1860-1872)
Now if you are following along, you know that her graduation came one year before the Civil War. During that time she participated in the life of the Confederate army, assisting where she could. After all, she was a Virginia Belle. But during the Civil War, she also served as a tutor for a family in Georgia. This would lead her into a lifetime of teaching service.
In 1866 she moved to Kentucky to teach in the female academy operated by the First Baptist Church of Danville, Kentucky. Four years later, she would move again to Cartersville, Georgia where she taught for less than a year. Hearing the news that her mother’s health was failing, she returned home to care for her mother.
During the remaining days of her mother’s life, the two women spoke often about the call of God to use one’s short life in the service of the gospel (Nettles 367). This burning question—How to best invest one’s life for Christ?—would have tremendous effect on Lottie, for in every future season of her life, she was always asking how she could best use her short life for advancement of the gospel.
And it seems that while her mother lay dying, God birthed in Lottie a desire to reach the nations for Christ. In these maternal conversations her eyes were lifted from the women of the South, to the nations abroad. Moved to action, Lottie began supporting two missionaries as she continued to teach in Georgia. For the next two years she would support these gospel ministers while inquiring herself into service in China.
During this period, she was greatly influenced by her sister, Edmonia, because it was not Lottie’s initial idea to travel overseas. She had received great commendation for her work as a pioneering educator in the years after the Civil War, and she was content to stay. In fact, most around her strongly discouraged Lottie from wasting her life upon the foreign mission field. Thus, it took the strong pleading of her sister who had previously sailed to China and the prayers of the Chinese missionaries to dislodge her from her successful field of labors. Yet, through it all, it was the Lord who was calling, and Lottie as a genuine disciple, simply followed his command.
The result of following Christ, for Lottie, meant that for the next 40 years, she would walk with the people of China, and in the end, she would literally sacrifice her life for the sake of their eternal souls.
If you are interested in learning more about Lottie, see yesterday’s post on her upbringing and education. And check back tomorrow for her missionary career.
Soli Deo Gloria, dss