Big Feet of Gladys Aylward

A short devotion explaining how one British woman's big feet led to the salvation of many Chinese women and stopped the cruel practice of foot-binding.

After the death of her mentor, British missionary Gladys Aylward (1902-1970) found herself alone in a remote Chinese mountain village without support. 

Chinese friends recommended she beg the local mandarin leader for mercy. But Gladys had nothing but rags to wear, and entering his presence in such clothes could cost her life. 

There was no path before her... 

A few mornings later the locals were shocked when the mandarin arrived at Gladys' door and insisted she become his official foot inspector.(1)  

This was a time in Chinese history when women were cruelly handicapped by the practice of foot-binding, and the mandarin wanted it to end. Because Gladys was the only grown woman in the area with "big feet" (normal feet), he wanted her to convince the local Chinese not to bind the feet of baby girls.

In order to have her help, the mandarin paid Gladys and gave her permission to share Christ wherever she went.

God supplied for Gladys' needs so she could rescue the Chinese from practices which bound their soles—and their souls! 

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation" (Isaiah 52:7 & Romans 10:15).

How lovely were Gladys' "big feet" on those Chinese mountain paths. May we use our feet for Your purposes too, Lord Jesus.
(1) A mandarin was an official and a scholar.

If you would like to listen to a series of podcasts telling the full story of Aylward, you can do that here: Moody Audio

You might also enjoy 6 Lessons from Gladys Aylward.

These two sources explain the practice of foot-binding: 
Wikipedia and Smithsonian.

I encourage you to check out the Wisdom for
 Life Devotional. It contains 100 one-minute devotions to challenge, encourage, instruct, and inspire your love for God's Word. To find out more see 10 Reasons Why You'll Love Wisdom for LifeI also encourage you to sign up for a free subscription to Bible Love Notes and get a free e-booklet offering quiet time encouragement. Find out more HERE.

A short devotion explaining how one British woman's big feet led to the salvation of many Chinese women and stopped the cruel practice of foot-binding.

Bible Love Notes


  1. I have ever seen a movie about this practice. Impressive. Beautiful spiritual lesson, thank you.

  2. Kind of interesting for me to read this devo on the month I've decided to "go barefoot." ;-) God is so like that! Thanks for sharing this story about Gladys Aylward. Such an inspiration she was.

  3. This is so true! When our Lord sends us somewhere He opens the doors and provides!
    Much love XX

  4. Thank you for sharing this story of Gladys. As I prepare to head to Guatemala, this is a wonderful reminder that this trip is about bringing Jesus to the Guatemalan people. Blessings to you.

  5. What an amazing God story!

  6. She was a brave lady bringing the kingdom wherever she went! Thanks for reminding us of her story.

  7. What a lovely story and the discovery of how she could still serve.