She Did What She Could is my newest book. This book took an extremely long time to be published, and there were times that I wondered if it would ever be delivered. But by the grace of God, I now have several hundred copies available to be purchased. They can be ordered from the home page, or you can also visit www.shedidwhatshecould.net which will place you on the home page. The book, She Did What She Could was produced as a powerful evangelizing tool for marginal or non Christians and to encourage and edify Christians. The idea was to provide a glimpse of some genuine Christians, similar to examples which can be found in the Book of Hebrews, chapter eleven. Many have read of the saints in this chapter and I fear that some may think their faith and accomplishments may be too extreme for Christians in our generation. Others feel of little use in serving Christ or advancing the Gospel because of their circumstances or physical abilities.
Throughout my years as a Christian, several issues caused me to see a need for a book such as this. For a time, I visited some local nursing homes with my therapy dog, named Zip. There were times when I would meet and visit an elderly saint who lived as though their age and physical condition would prevent them from doing much for the good of others and for the glory of God. I would remind them to pray for their families from their beds or their wheelchair. I would encourage them to talk to their nurses or the staff and ask that the Bible might be read to them or to ask the staff for any prayer concerns , and then to lift up their hearts to God on behalf of them. In addition, in my ministry as a traveling evangelist, I would provide some Gospel booklets for those that were really interested Many of these booklets were written several hundred years ago and can now only be found in rare books or the multi-volume set of tracts from the American Tract Society. Chapel Library was my best and favorite source for booklets such as these, and they were exceeding generous. Some of these tracts were accompanied by small movements of God each time they were published. I am not aware of any publication other than the American Tract Society seven volume set where many of these booklets are in one place.
She Did What She Could is rooted in the New Testament account of a woman who used up all of her costly perfume by pouring it on the head of Jesus. Although some of the disciples objected, Jesus said, ” She has done what she could”. The book also has the accounts of some Christians familiar to many, such as Ann Judson, Sarah Edwards, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Martin Luther. There are others most American Christians or most of the world at large has never heard of, yet they were poured out, sometimes suffering and dying for Christ’s sake. Others were a beautiful and precious witness for Jesus Christ, even from their death bed. My hope is that many would read these accounts and all would agree that these saints served well and died well.
The book was not written to be a best-seller. It was written that it might stir up the heat’s of those who read it. Who knows what the Lord might do? Maybe if it is of any encouragement to you, you would share it was another Christian. Maybe you would share it with a friend or relative who is not a Christian, hoping that like so many who read of the Dairyman’s Daughter or the Young Cottager they might be convicted of their sins and call upon the Lord.
If you have read the book She Did What She Could and have a critique, criticism, or suggestion please feel free to contact me.
Below are the comments of some who have read the book. May God be glorified!
Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. Cathy wrote that she was convicted and so moved when she read the book, she prayed that the Lord would provide her with a way to share her faith and maybe plant a Gospel seed or be an encouragement to others. She often takes long walks in a neighborhood park near her home. She has started to write some scripture verses on the stones from her garden, and then leave some in the park, with the hope that some other walker will find the stone and read the message, and be blessed.
Tom and his wife read the book together at their kitchen table, were encouraged and let me know.
Dear brother! My wife and I were greatly encouraged by reading the chapter on the two Margaret’s at dinner. I began crying twice while reading the account. Thank you for such an encouraging book!!
On the next day he sent a second message.
Thank you for joining us for lunch today as we read Surprising Conversions 1.
The 4th Dave did a review of the book “She Did What She Could” at the request of one of his friends. He was most kind, and his review would indicate he spent a little time with it.
For the follower of Jesus, it can be a great encouragement to hear and read stories of past saints who have finished the race well. We see that in the Scriptures, as God gives us what has been called by many the famous “Hall of Faith” chapter in Hebrews 11, detailing how the saints of the Old Testament stood firm on their faith in God and His Word.
In my experience, reading the stories of past believers who have followed Jesus even to the point of death can be a convicting and riveting practice. Whether it’s Foxe’s Book of Martyrs or biographies of past theologians and missionaries, these stories have fueled the fire of devotion and perseverance for generations of Christians seeking to walk the same faithful path, myself included.
I recently finished reading a fine example of this type of spiritual biography that I was pleased to add to my bookshelf: Don Karns’ She Did What She Could. This is a collection of historical accounts, Scripture passages, and biographical tracts from past eras that tell the stories of little-known women of the faith. The title references Mark 14, in which a woman (whom John identifies as Mary, sister of Lazarus) anoints Jesus’ feet with a sweet-smelling ointment. When the disciples complained, Jesus defended her and said she has done all she could to honor him.
Through this collection of historical accounts that Karns has gathered across the centuries of church history, the pleasing aroma of these saints’ devotion is still powerful and praiseworthy.
I was delighted to receive Don Karns’ slim volume in the mail from my friend Michael Coughlin, with a request to share my thoughts. I’m more than happy to satisfy that request now.
The Evangelist with a Pastor’s Heart
The first things about this book that struck me were the notes from Karns himself. In his “Preface,” “Words of Encouragement,” and “Conclusion,” Karns labors to proclaim the Gospel clearly and urgently, in the hope that unsaved readers will understand why these stories are being told and what would drive people throughout the centuries to give up their lives and suffer hardship and martyrdom. The tone of Karns’ writing is winsome and pleading, seeking to make his appeal instead of shout down any expected critics.
I did a little internet research on the author and learned that he is a long-time evangelist and open-air preacher who seems to be respected by many who are familiar with his ministry. When critical or nasty comments are posted on his ministry website’s homepage, the responses from the site account are nothing but pleasant, earnest, and humble as they refute the accusations of the pagans and respond with Scripture.
Just as the testimonies of the inconspicuous women being highlighted in this work draw out the sweet aroma of Christ, I was touched by that same sweetness in the language Karns uses. Without knowing anything about him specifically, I can tell what kind of man he might be, making me all the more willing to read his compilation of testimonies.
In Memory of Her
The bulk of the volume consists of various historical accounts of women of faith. A few notable names are included in the group (such as Ann Judson and Joni Erickson-Tada), but most of them are all but unknown to most readers. This accounts of “the young cottager” or “the dairyman’s daughter” provide portraits of humble folk (often the very young or those facing the shadow of death) who are transformed by the Gospel. In many ways, these accounts remind me of The Pilgrim’s Progress, not because they are in any way fictional but because the lofty speech and conversation are full of allusions to Scripture.
In some of these accounts, I have to confess that I struggled to follow the dialogue sometimes. That might be blamed on my “reading muscles” becoming a bit too flabby as of late. At times, I did wonder if these conversations were a bit too lofty to be realistic, but that also may be due to the low expectations of a modern mind! Even if some of the wording of these accounts might have been “polished up” a bit to make clearer points, I have no reason to doubt they are truthful in the main.
My favorite section by far was the one titled “Women of the Covenant,” recounting the martyrdom of several women who were part of the Scottish “covenanters.” While the stories are just as challenging and encouraging as the other sections, the writing of this particular passage was poetic and vivid, and I found myself stopping to re-read several sentences that were perfectly crafted.
Karns closes the book by throwing the reader a curve ball. After regaling us with story after story of women of faith, he closes with a sermon excerpt from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, and a brief account of Luther’s prayer on the night before his “Here I Stand” speech at the Diet of Worms. However out-of-theme these inclusions were, they were fully in-step with the spirit of the book as a whole, calling unbelievers to trust in Jesus for salvation and challenging believers to live lives of faith and sacrifice for His glory.
A Treasure in a Rough-Hewn Case
As lovely as the contents of this volume are, I would be remiss not to address the problems I have with its presentation and production. It’s clear as soon as you pick the book up that it was self-published. On the whole, there’s nothing wrong with self-publishing a book. I’ve read more than a few self-published works in my time (I may even write a few someday), and they can be edited and produced to meet or even surpass the industry standard. However, I should note certain issues with this one, if for no other reason than the off-chance the author or his ministry partners are considering an additional print run and would be willing to make corrections.
The formatting of the work is inconsistent throughout, changing font types and sizes. Sometimes, the formatting is oppressively dense, including several sections of block text without visual breaks that go on for pages at a time. While I recognize that the source material was likely written and typeset in the same manner, I would ask the author (or others producing similar works) to take the liberty of reformatting these entries for better readability and acknowledging the changes with an editor’s note of some kind. There are also a handful of typos that should have been caught during the proofreading process; those sorts of things happen in even the big publishing houses, but that means it’s all the more important for the small team working on a book like this to be extra careful, as fewer eyes will see it before its release.
These may be considered nit-pick criticisms, but if one’s goal is to bring these stories to a new audience, or even (as the author seems to indicate) to share them with non-believers, part of the ministry work is taking the time to put out an excellent product free of the editorial distractions that could undercut or cheapen the overall presentation.
To Don Karns and anyone else who may be working on a self-published book like this, I urge you not to skip out on this vital step in the process. (By the way, if you are looking to hire a manuscript editor / proofreader for a bit of contract work, I’m available!)
She Did What She Could is a worthwhile read that presents a collection of mostly-unknown Gospel conversion and martyrdom stories from church history. From a publishing standpoint, the book needs some polish and updates, but that doesn’t detract from the message. If you love Jesus, this volume will help you to treasure and trust him all the more, as you walk through these short histories of women of whom the world was not worthy.
You can pick up a copy of the book at the author’s ministry website, at a pretty affordable price. For the spiritual value you will receive, I think it would be money well-spent.