A talented poet from the start, her first poem was published by age 11 and only a few years later she was one of the first young lady students at the very first Academy for the Blind in the USA in New York City. Fanny’s gift for poetry blossomed. She acknowledged God in all things and her lack of self-pity was evident to all who met her, but she had not yet had a vital meeting with the Saviour. When Fanny was 25, a young teacher at the Academy, Thedore Camp, spoke to her of intimate union with Christ and one night Fanny dreamt that Thedore invited her to meet him in Heaven, but she was forced to admit to herself that she was unfit to enter where, “nought that defileth ever can enter in”. Even so, it was not until 1850, at a Methodist Revival meeting, during the singing of a hymn, that she truly turned to serve the living God.
In 1858, Fanny married musician, (organist) Alexander van Alstyne, and together they settled down to write thousands of Hymns: she the words and he the music. Clearly God prepared this perfect duo for what was to be a busy number of years ahead as a mighty Revival came to their city, New York, in 1859. Through the years, Evangelists would commission her to write hymns for their campaigns. Not least of these was D.L. Moody whose famous song leader, Ira Sankey, sang more Fanny Crosby hymns than those of any one other writer. For someone who never saw colour, or the beauty of Earth, her hymns are filled with references to sunshine, beauty and colour. The realm of nature was real to her because of the reality of Christ, who was the sunshine in her soul.