When you see the words “Female Activist” what kind of images come to mind? I think of some of the great civil rights activists like Rosa Parks, Amelia Boynton, and Susan B. Anthony. But then I also think of some of the great spiritual activists that might not be as well known but probably made a more far-reaching impact. Women like Susanna Wesley, Sabina Wurmbrand, Amy Carmichael and Ellen White. None of these women took to the streets to march for their cause but each of them used their voices to effect Spiritual change that is still making a difference in the lives of so many people today.
Activism is a word that has so many different connotations but I like to focus on the aspect of Spiritual activism and its influence. As a woman and a mother of two daughters, I am drawn to women who were quiet (and not so quiet) champions for the cause of Biblical truth. But it wasn’t until I started writing for Lineage that I met another, not-so-well-known female activist and I’d like to introduce her to you. Her name is Marie Durand.
We’ve dedicated an entire Lineage episode to her so this blog post won’t have too many spoilers about her life but what I do want to talk about are the three keys that molded her into the strong resilient activist that she was.
First, family matters. Marie belonged to a family that was deeply spiritual. They were unafraid to champion the truth at a time when it was unpopular and unsafe to do so. Her parents sacrificed their lives for the truth as did her brother Pierre. When I read Marie’s story what strikes me the most is how the influence of her parents and older brother played such a crucial role in shaping her.
Second, character matters. Marie was a woman who possessed a remarkable strength of character. Commenting on character Ellen White writes “Strength of character consists of two things; power of will and power of self-control”. Marie had both these attributes in spades. She was principled, resilient, resourceful, persistent and persevering. If she had possessed a character that was in any degree weaker she would not have been able to face the enormous challenges and trials she was forced to endure.
Third, personal spirituality matters. Marie Durand was forced to make a lot of difficult choices at a very young age. If she did not have a vibrant, personal spiritual experience she would have lacked the motivation to make those choices. The foundation for her personal spirituality was the word of God. It guided every decision she made, comforted her in sorrow, encouraged her in disappointment, and connected her with the influence of God’s Spirit. The Word of God was all she needed to carry her through the storm. It was all she had.
Marie Durand is one of my favorite female Reformation activists. There isn’t much written about her but from the little that I’ve read she has inspired me immensely. Her story encourages me to be a better mother, showing me the kind of impact my influence can have on the lives of my children. It challenges me to exercise the muscles of my will and my self-control which can be lax more often than I like to admit. It inspires me to strive for a deeper experience with Jesus through His word, every single day. Activists aren’t born they are made. Their armor is forged one choice at a time. I want to be the kind of spiritual activist that Marie Durand was. When you hear her story I think you will too.