When Francis Jane Crosby (1820-1915) was only six weeks old, she was taken to a doctor to treat an inflammation in her eyes caused by a cold. The regular physician was out of town, and the substitute gave little Fanny's parents a faulty treatment that blinded the child within days.  She was blind for the rest of her life.  That first tragedy was followed by others. Her father died when Fanny was just a year old, and her mother had to hire herself out as a maid to provide for the family.  Fanny was able to attend a school for blind children and afterwards taught there, but when she was 29 a cholera epidemic killed more than half of the children in the school.

After she married, her only child died in infancy.  Yet, in spite of these tragedies, Francis Jane was always a cheerful, happy person, free from the bitterness that so easily besets humans.  When only eight years old, she wrote a poem that revealed a lot about the spunky little girl who climbed trees and played practical jokes in spite of her blindness:

Oh what a happy child I am,although I cannot see!

I am resolved that in this world, contented I will be!

How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't!
So weep or sigh because I'm blind I cannot--nor I won't!

Fanny had a natural talent for writing poems and was often asked to recite her poetry.  Eventually, her writing brought her national recognition; she was invited to visit presidents and generals and other notable dignitaries.  She even was asked to play at President Grant's funeral.  When she finally died in 1915, just 6 weeks shy of her 95th birthday, Fanny had written over 8,500 poems and songs.

Most importantly, Fanny loved Jesus Christ.  Fanny's love for her Savior became the inspiration for her thousands of songs and poems, many of which are still sung in churches every weekend today.  Many beloved hymns bear the name Fanny Crosby, including "To God be the glory, great things He hath done," "I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice," and "Blessed Assurance."

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
I'm born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.


This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
It's praising my Savior all the day long.

When a preacher once sympathetically remarked that it was a pity God had not given her sight, Fanny replied, "Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind?" The preacher asked her why. "Because" she said, "When I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!"

Focusing on Jesus and seeing the good in God's plans for her, Fanny reached millions of people around the world. Children in church and soldiers on the battlefield alike have been touched by her words. 
May we, like Fanny Crosby, rejoice in the goodness of our God in every situation, that like her we can sing:  "This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, all the day long."

(Thank you to my sister-in-law for sending me this)


  1. Jo, I read the story about Fanny Crosby on http://www.khouse.org/enews/2010-03-02/. I think her name is mispelt though, since everywhere else it is Frances, not Francis as here.
    I also love old hymns and find they stick in your mind easier than a lot of modern choruses. Often each hymn has an interesting story behind it, which often makes them even more meaningful.

  2. What an amazing first sight to see! Wow!


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