Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sunshine in the Soul

I will be glad and rejoice in thee:
I will sing praise to thy name,
 O thou most High.
Psalm 92:1 (KJV)

In 1851 Eliza Edmunds Hewitt was born, and grew to be valedictorian of her class and a school teacher in Pennsylvania.  At some point in her teaching career a student struck her on the back with a piece of heavy slate.  This left Eliza in a heavy cast for months, confined to her room.

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During this time of painful confinement, Eliza was determined not to be bitter, and started writing hymns.  Many of them were praise hymns, such as:  Stepping in the Light, Singing I Go, Victory in Jesus and many more.  


Eliza Edmunds Hewitt
1851 - 1920
Hymn Writer

When she was able to go outside for the first time on a spring day, she enjoyed the warmth of the sun.  Returning to her room with a joyful heart, she wrote the hymn Sunshine in my Soul Today.

O there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

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Eliza did improve but suffered health problems for the rest of her life.  She went on to do work in various Sunday School capacities, a passion of hers.  At one time she had a class of 200.

In researching this incredible woman of faith, I was very surprised to learn Eliza was a great friend to blind hymn writer FANNY CROSBY.  Here are a couple verses of a poem Eliza wrote and read at Fanny’s funeral.

And when you pass from time away
To meet your Lord and King,
In heaven you’ll meet ten thousand souls,
That you have taught to sing.
A few more years to sing the song
Of our Re­deem­er’s love;
Then by His grace both you and I
Shall sing His praise above.

God has a plan dear ones (Psalm 29:11), and despite the difficult circumstances that we face or have faced, he can make something beautiful from ashes.  Eliza Hewitt is remembered for the great hymns that have brought comfort to thousands if not millions of people.   Had she not suffered this terrible injury, these hymns that speak to our hearts, would not have been written. 

How fast the years are rolling on—
We cannot stay their flight;
The summer sun is going down,
And soon will come the night.
But you, dear friend, need fear no ill,
Your path shines bright and clear;
You know the Way, the Truth, the Life,
To you He’s ever near.
 Two verses of a poem written for 
Fanny Crosby’s funeral by Eliza Hewitt


  1. This is so inspiring. I love to glean strength from biographies of saints like this dear Eliza. This is the first I have heard of her, so thank you very much for that.
    Blessings on your day, dear one.

  2. My faith has found a resting place
    Not in devise or creed
    I trust the ever living one
    His wounds for me shall plead

    I love this song. And it's so much more meaningful knowing about Eliza Hewitt. Encourages me to keep writing away in spite of the pain. You always share such meaningful words, Abby. I'm blessed each time I visit.

    Thank you Abby for sharing this story! :) What a blessing!

  4. Beautiful post today. You told me things I did not know previously and I am encouraged. Thank you!

  5. Do you know the first thing that jumped to my mind as a former teacher? That we think these times are the worst for child behavior. Obviously, sin has always been bound up in the heart of a child. I remember this when I read Farmer Boy, too.

    What an incredible testimony and an amazing story. I am singing one of her hymns right now and I'd never known who she was. That line in her song for Fanny Crosby is a zinger..."In heaven you’ll meet ten thousand souls,
    That you have taught to sing." Not quite accurate, but oh so close. Jesus teaches us to sing...though I'm sure Fanny provided many of the words. Wonderful post!

  6. Thank you for this comforting post today, Abby. Both of my kids have been chronically ill for a few years now, and I have seen how the trials have changed them, making them more compassionate, and I know that it will all be used for good. But they get weary, and so do I, because no one they know really knows what they are going through, so this kind of post is so good to read. I loved hearing the background for those hymns. My mom's favorite hymn was Victory in Jesus, and I can still see her in my mind singing it loudly with so much joy.

  7. There is certainly sunshine in my soul today, and I thank you for reminding me to let it shine. I guess my favorite would be, "My Faith Has Found a Resting Place". It was the first song I ever sang as a solo. Nervous as I was, the words were so powerful for me even at a young age. "It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me."
    Thanks for encouraging me this morning Abby. I love you, my Sister in Christ Jesus.
    THanks for playing along with us at Word Art Wednesday and sharing with us - you always bless us.

  8. Sheila Thomas HillAugust 16, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    In The Garden - it ALWAYS, ALWAYS reminds me of Mama and softens my heart. Hugs & Blessing from Spruce Head

  9. Hello Abby, Thanks for the beautiful hymn and inspirational words. Joyous Wishes, Linda

  10. I always find myself singing this hymn. It's so spunky and joyful!

  11. I very much enjoyed this post Abby! Thank you for sharing and God Bless,

  12. Abby...what a sweet post. I enjoyed learning about Eliza and her witness. I love the hymn Victory In Jesus. Thank you for sharing at WJIM.

  13. Thank you Abby for sharing about this remarkable woman :-) What a blessing to hear her story.
    Victory in Jesus is a hymn I love.

  14. I love the song Victory in Jesus and was so inspired by this very interesting account of the writer's life. What a positive connection there existed between her circumstances and her writing, teaching, and friendships. It is a great lesson from one who determined NOT TO BE BITTER!

    Thank you for sharing about a great believer who had sunshine in her soul though there were dark clouds in her life. I'll not sing these dear hymns without a new and better understanding.

    Thanks, Abby, and god bless you!

  15. I loved this post and had no idea about her story. I love the songs you shared. Amazing what God can do through a life totally devoted to matter the pain or disappointment one faces. Thanks so much for sharing this. Blessed me greatly.

  16. I know a lot of hymns, but am not familiar with this one! Thank you for sharing it.

  17. Such a beautiful and wonderful post Abby! Thank you for sharing about this wonderful woman used by God to bring HIm glory in song! Sunshine in the Soul is one of the songs I love!

  18. I really enjoyed reading about her. My favorite is Victory in Jesus. What a legacy she left.

    Blessings and shalom,


  19. Thank you so much!


  20. I see I've been here before. : ) It was just as good this time.

  21. Victory in Jesus was written by E. M. Bartlett.

  22. Thanks Sara - I just looked it up and see that Eliza wrote a hymn called Victory in Jesus, but it's not the one was are most familiar with.

  23. My mom used to sing... There Is Sunshine In My Soul.. Loved listening to her sing it.. Our Church is having a pick your special favorite song night..Our cousin is the pianist .. She is planning to find this song.. Either play or maybe sing..This Sunday evening.. Can hardly wait to see if she surprises us ..If not plan to pick my favorite,, Victory in Jesus.. Thank you
    so Much For Sharing Eliza Hewitt's song. So many memories of my mom came to my heart


Your comments are blessings to my day.