On Being Biddy Chambers’ Biographer

Biographer, Biddy Chambers, Mrs. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, All Saint's Day, Baker Books, expert, what it's like to be a biographerI’m a biographer.

Such a strange word and one I wasn’t expecting and yet, I like it.

It took me a long time, as my friend Wendy said, “to own the title biographer.”

As far as I was concerned, I was telling a story. It just happened to be about Biddy Chambers.

Circumstances surprised me into realizing it was something else.

Biographer as Expert

I was chatting with an Oswald Chambers expert one day about how Biddy compiled My Utmost for His Highest.

He’s creative and in his irrepressible way tossed out idea after idea.

I’d respond with, “well, she did this.” Or, “this is how that worked.”

Finally he stopped and said, “Wow. How do you know that?”

Momentarily confused–why didn’t he know that fact?–I stuttered out an answer.

But of course he wouldn’t know all the information I had. He wrote about My Utmost for His Highest, not about Biddy.

Until then, I hadn’t realized I had become an expert–but of course I am, because that’s what a biographer is.

What about heaven?

On All Saint’s Day, our pastor sat on the floor with the children to talk about what the day meant.

“Think about how much fun it will be to arrive in heaven–the people you’ll see.

“‘Look, over there! It’s Peter and the apostles. Is that Abraham? Let’s go talk to David about his harp.

“Heaven is a wonderful place, and you’ll get to see all sorts of people from the Bible and talk to them.”

I took his point, but also thought of other people we’ll see in heaven.

Biographer, Biddy Chambers, Mrs. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, All Saint's Day, Baker Books, expert, what it's like to be a biographer

What have you written about me?

Why didn’t Lutheran Pastor Beyer include Martin Luther?

Pascal and Bach will be there; we’ll see Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Why, even–I caught my breath– Oswald and Biddy will be there.

I confess a moment of horror. What will they say to me?

Maybe I could slip in the back and avoid them? They wouldn’t come looking for me would they?

I had never realized I’ll have to meet the person I’m writing about. What if I got something wrong?

Laughter and this biographer

When I described my misgivings about meeting the Chambers couple someday, my husband shook his head.

“Oswald will be laughing. He’ll be happy you ‘outed’ his wife. You don’t have to worry about meeting him.

“Biddy, though, probably won’t be pleased. She hid herself so well and you’ve just told the world all about her.”

It’s reassuring to think Oswald will be on my side, but I’ve wondered if any other biographers feel the same way?

Will Eric Metaxas be avoiding Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther, or engaging them in lively conversation?

That actually made me feel better. Metaxas will be talking with and correcting his subjects.

(Fancy listening to those three chatting!)

I’ll just be asking questions like, “Did I get that right?” or “What were you thinking, Biddy?”

As long as Oswald and my husband-the-saint-(whenever he arrives), are there standing by, I’ll be fine.

Won’t I?

The title biographer becomes real to the world

While everyone in my family, church, Bible study, work and circle of friends–including many of you– knows I’ve been writing a biography, I lost track of the final truth.

Mrs. Oswald Chambers will be released to the world someday–actually, on October 17, 2017.

While discussing the coming publication, my colleague Rachel asked, “When will the book be available for preorder?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. The publisher has been so very good about everything so far (thank you, Baker Books), I expect they’ll let me know.”

“You haven’t been checking every day?”

It had never occurred to me.

She turned to the computer and opened up a webpage.

There it was–for preorder.

I blinked and widened my eyes.

I’d seen the cover–and certainly know the story. I’d ordered the photos. I’ve lived with Biddy’s face, actions and words for four years.

But there she was in black and white, with gold filigree on the side and my name beneath.

It’s an honor to be able to introduce Gertrude Annie (Biddy) Hobbs Chambers’ life story to the world.

I must be her biographer.


Accepting the surprising title: biographer of Mrs. Oswald Chambers. Click to Tweet

A biographer considers meetings Mrs. Oswald Chambers in heaven. Click to Tweet

Why didn’t I realize I was Mrs. Oswald Chambers’ biographer until now? Click to Tweet


I was too busy relishing the adventures God took me on while writing about Oswald and Biddy Chambers to factor in my “title.”biographer

If you’re interested in what all those behind the stories and amazing coincidences were, consider signing up for my newsletter.

Every month in 2017, I’ll be telling the stories about God’s leading and my blessed–and astonished–reactions.

The next newsletter comes out March 18: In which an international novelist confronts me and I have a choice. You can sign up here.








Leave a comment


  1. kathaleena

     /  March 10, 2017

    Congrats, Michelle. I am looking forward to reading this. Oh, the places we go; with only God in the know!

  2. Isn’t that the truth Kathleena!


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