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Biddy Chambers, Widow (Who was Biddy Chambers Part III)

This is the third and final segment of Who is Biddy Chambers? Here are parts One and Two.

Biddy Chambers, Oswald Chambers' widow, My Utmost for His Highest, England after WWI, life after tragedy, shorthand, Kathleen Chambers, Mrs. Oswald Chambers

Biddy and Kathleen circa 1920; photo courtesy Wheaton College Special Collections Library

What became of Oswald Chambers‘ widow?

Biddy Chambers was a young woman when her husband died of complications after an emergency appendectomy.

A hard working talented mother with a young child, she stayed on in Egypt ministering at the YMCA camp at Zeitoun until the war’s end. She and the five-year-old Kathleen returned to England in summer 1919 to live out the rest of their lives.

She left behind a piece of her heart:

“On our last day, we went out to Old Cairo, to the place from which one is never far in spirit. And in the beauty and solitude which reign there, we thanked God for all the knowledge of Himself that had come to us during the years in Egypt.”

She took with her voluminous notes taken down in her fast shorthand during Oswald Chambers’ many lectures. She had need of them.

Home in England

They returned to England on July 3, 1919 and at first lived with Biddy’s mother and sister. Friends visited and encouraged Biddy to continue publishing Oswald’s messages. Many followed up with financial gifts to make that happen. Biddy took to her typewriter and books compiled by “B.C.” and listed as being written by Oswald Chambers began to appear.

In 1922, Biddy and Kathleen moved to Oxford. She became a “licensed lodging house keeper,” for university students. She usually had four and her days revolved around fixing tea first thing in the morning, cooking lunch and dinner. In between, Biddy sat at her typewriter and complied more notes and answered the mail.

She received some 40 letters a day and answered them all. When Biddy later moved to the Muswell Hill area of north London, she’d receive mail addressed to “Mrs. Oswald Chambers, London.” It all found its way to her!

Biddy’s days were punctuated as well by folks stopping by to converse or pray with her. She didn’t see these visits as a distraction.and spent a lot of time making and serving tea, listening and praying.

Biddy’s real interests

Biddy Chambers, Oswald Chambers' widow, My Utmost for His Highest, England after WWI, life after tragedy, shorthand, Kathleen Chambers, Mrs. Oswald Chambers

My Utmost for His Highest was typed on this typewriter.

Kathleen observed her mother had other priorities than the books.

“The notes were not as important to her as others. They were never more important than her home. She didn’t talk much about the books.”

In the mid 1920s, Biddy began to work on a collection of daily readings gleaned from all of Oswald’s talks, according to David McCasland in Oswald Chambers: Abandoned for God. First published in 1927, My Utmost for His Highest has never been out of print and has been translated into 45 languages.

Kathleen became a nurse, but she and her mother remained very close. “She was my best friend,” Kathleen recalled. “I could tell her anything.”

Biddy Chambers, Oswald Chambers' widow, My Utmost for His Highest, England after WWI, life after tragedy, shorthand, Kathleen Chambers, Mrs. Oswald Chambers

Biddy Chambers; photo courtesy Wheaton College Library Special Collections

Like her late husband, Biddy had wide interests  that included poetry and prose and a daily read  of The Daily Telegraph.

Biddy Chambers never remarried, dying in 1966 at the age of 82, knowing she had given her utmost talents for God’s highest good.

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. What a God filled life. As I wait to see who will teach my class, I will look to see what God will do next.

    Reply
  2. Michelle Ule

     /  November 21, 2014

    Amen! As you know, Jo, I’ve learned a lot from Biddy and Oswald Chambers about faith and trusting God when things are not always clear . . .

    Reply
  3. Karen O

     /  November 21, 2014

    Enjoyed reading these, Michelle, as well as all the others on Oswald Chambers.

    Reply

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