The Day I Met My Hero

The day I met my hero

In 1994, Elisabeth Elliot came to my college, the Moody Bible Institute, to speak at a conference AND to our dorm floor for a visit!  Elisabeth is someone I highly admire.  This is a blurry picture from the day I met her.  I’m on the left and on the right is my roommate – Jen.  And sweet Elisabeth Elliot is in the center!

elizabeth elliot 1

Before meeting her, I had read her book Passion and Purity and I had read her book Through Gates of Splendor, which was her biography of taking the gospel to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. Her husband was murdered by the indians but later she would return to her husband’s murderers to live amongst them and disciple them.  She was a missionary hero to me and one of the main reasons that I went to Bible School with a dream to be a missionary.

And there before me stood this aged woman whose words in her books had pierced my soul and shaped my life.  The girls in my dorm all sat and listened as she spoke for about 20 minutes.  I don’t remember every word from that night – but I do have some of it journaled. Specifically she talked about living the crucified life and how hard the life of a woman in ministry really is.

She quoted John 12:24-26 and since that day I have memorized and carried these verses tucked deep inside of me:

“Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

That my friends, is how Jesus defines the life we ought to lead.

We live well by dying well.

And I wanted to understand this dying to self that she so passionately spoke of, so I kept reading her books.  Some of her books I have read more than once.  All have been favorites during different seasons of life.

eliz elliot 2

My book that releases this October has the thoughts of Elisabeth Elliot woven through my thoughts from beginning to end.  How do we find joy in our walk with God, marriage, parenting and homemaking?  The answer is the exact opposite of what the world would say – it comes through learning denial of self.

In her book titled “The Shaping of a Christian Family” – which is a biography of her  childhood,  Elisabeth writes:

“There is no nobler career than that of motherhood at its best.  There are no possibilities greater, and in no other sphere does failure bring more serious penalties.  With what diligence then should she prepare herself for such a task?  If the mechanic who is to work with “things” must study at technical school, if the doctor into whose skilled hands will be entrusted human lives, must go through medical school…how much more should the mother who is fashioning the souls of the men and women of tomorrow, learn at the the highest of all schools and from the Master-Sculptor Himself, God.  To attempt this task, unprepared and untrained is tragic and its results affect generations to come.  On the other hand there is no higher height to which humanity can attain than that occupied by a converted, heaven-inspired, praying mother.”

“The process of shaping the child, shapes also the mother herself.  Reverence for her sacred burden calls her to all that is pure and good, that she may teach primarily by her own humble, daily example.”

“All mothers are a quiet servant of necessity, doing the work no one would notice or thank her for – no one, that is, except Him to whom it could be offered as a daily sacrifice of love. “

Sweet mamas – the work you do is SO valuable in God’s eyes.  Continue in your unseen duties and know that God sees you and is pleased with your daily sacrifice of love.  Keep.on.going!

Walk with the King!


Chime In: Do you have a hero? Who is it?  Have you read anything by Elisabeth Elliot? What is your favorite book by her?

**This post is a part of the Top 10 Quotes on Marriage and Motherhood Series.  Each Monday I am featuring books that were used as a resources for my book that is about to be released October 1st!  I want to invite all my blogging friends to join this series by sharing your favorite books and quotes on marriage and motherhood in your blogs and then link it up here so we can read your favorites too!  Just put this little graphic in your post and then link up below!

Top 10 Marriage and Motherhood Quotes


  1. I love Elisabeth Elliot as well. I actually started journaling in college after reading Through Gates of Splendor (and am so glad that I did!). I had the privilege of hearing her speak live at a Women’s Conference in Tennessee back in the early 90’s. Three of us drove up for the weekend from South Florida because we loved her writing so much. It was an amazing weekend, and one I will always cherish.

    One of her books that I don’t see in your picture and would suggest to anyone who questions why we have to suffer is A Path Through Suffering: Discovering the Relationship Between God’s Mercy and Our Pain.

  2. I love Elizabeth Elliot. I remember reading the account of her husband and the other men, and I just wept as a young girl. And from that moment on, I had a soft spot in my heart for missionaries. I need to read through her books again, I’m sure I’ve missed a few.

  3. I still have the notes I took when she spoke at my church…I had become a Christian only a few years before and was single…yet every word she spoke was worth clinging to.

  4. Thanks for sharing, now I will have to check out Elizabeth Elliot!! So looking forward to reading your book!! Be blessed!!

  5. awsome post. thank you for sharing your experience.
    I met Elizabeth E. in 1999 in college as well 🙂

  6. I love Elisabeth Elliot’s books. You are lucky to have met her! I first read the biographies of her husband written by her. I keep a devotional called Keep A Quiet Heart that is a collections of her writings near me and come back to it all the time. I just bought Let Me Be A Woman last year. Her words are so clear, no fluff, always full of wisdom from Bible. I am hoping she would write more, but at the age of…90 something…is she now, I don’t think she will write anymore. Did you know that she started to write a book about marriage but didn’t finish it. The notes are available though on her webpage!
    Btw, You misspelled her name…it is written with s: Elisabeth, not Elizabeth. As someone whose name is misspelled all the time I noticed it 🙂

  7. I just started doing a book study last week with her book Discipline. It has been convicting and very much needed in my life. I’m not through the whole book yet, but I so far, I highly suggest it! She has been one of my favorite writers since I read Passion and Purity in high school.

  8. I never read any of her books, but I have been hearing a lot about them lately. I think my first book will be The Shaping of a Christian Family. I NEED to hear that and be reminded that although I’m not thanked for what I do, God sees. I struggle regularly with feeling like what I do has no value…even though I know that is totally not true.

  9. My hero was my grand father…He was a very godly man with a strong work ethic. He and my grandmother were so much in love even after 58 years of marriage. When my grandmother passed away in 2003 from dementia related complications, grandpa passed away about a year later. They are my role model for enduring, sacrificial love.

    My grandfather served in WWII over in Germany. They had one child and when they were still young in their marriage, my grandparents moved into a little house on a dairy farm so grandpa could get up at 4:30am each day to milk the cows. Later on in life, my grandfather went to work in a factory and took odd jobs as a maintenance man. At 70 years old, he still climbed ladders to trim the birch trees on his property. He let his great love for my dad and grandma and even the cat navigate his strong work ethic and even though most times he found the factory work repetitive and boring; he never stopped working hard.

    He told me two things I’ll never forget: “Work hard at everything and Love God above everything.” Although I didn’t appreciate him enough when I was younger, I think back on the beautiful person he was.

    I miss you grandpa.

  10. This post hit home to me. I am a missionary in the jungles of Ecuador with my husband and four children, we have been in Ecuador for 13 years. When I was 12 years old my father and I took a prop plain through the jungles of Ecuador and met Rachel Saint, Nate Saint’s Sister (one of the five men martyred by the Auca Indinas) Rachel was amazing, she was aged and beautiful. We sat on her little front porch as she served us lemonade and listened to stories by the very men that had took her brother’s life so many years ago. Rachel lived an amazing life and gave so much to the tribe that took so much from her family.
    Today when I go into the villages deep in the jungles I remember my hero and how she gave her life to the end of her days to serve a people that needed HIM!

  11. Elisabeth Elliot was my hero in college, too!! Read/have all of her books. The first book that I read was Under the Shadow of the Almighty. My favorite book, probably because it was the first that I read. A documentary came out on them hosted by Sheila Walsh and another man(back in 91 or 92)…maybe PTL club..not sure but it showed footage of everything up to the men were killed. All of the wives were being interviewed during this time on the show. I recorded that on a vhs and still have it and have shown it to many friends. When I graduated college in ’92 I was given a beautiful cross stitched picture(done by my roommate’s mom) of my fave quote by Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.” It now hangs in my husband’s office at Mississippi State Univ. It had kernels of wheat falling to the ground :-). For college graduation I saved all of my grad money to go to the Elisabeth Elliot weekend conf at the Billy Graham Conf Center, The Cove, and listened to her speak on Waiting on God. I was able to meet her and Ruth Graham. I still have the cassettes from that conf and pix!! Yes, she was/is my spiritual hero!! Also, share her words many times when comforting others in grief. She said the best thing for her when she found out that Jim was killed was the mundane, everyday tasks that needed tending to: washing cloth diapers in the jungle mission station, cooking, caring for babies,, etc. Her words were: “Do the next thing”. That helps me when I am overwhelmed…just do the next thing ;-)! Thanks for the opportunity to reminisce and share!!

  12. OH MY GOD!!! I sooooooo have been needing this.
    I’m a mom’s who has been trying to make the transition to being a stay at home mom. I feel like I am truly losing my mind! I’m so struggling with this and desire to be doing something else right now. You never seem to get done with anything! “Do the next thing” is my NEW mantra!

  13. I think I am a tad older than most of your readers so my comment will date me. When my children were small Elisabeth Elliot was my lifeline through her radio program, “Gateway to Joy.” We would stop what we were doing and listen everyday or I would tape it to listen later (back in the days when I had a cassette player in my stereo and could record the radio) I got to meet Elisabeth at a conference in Minnesota some years ago. I often go back and read the archives from the program or use snippets of her thoughts to encourage friends. “The givens and the not givens.” Such words of wisdom. Oh, and a couple of quotes by her daughter Valeries have been lifelines also, “I am more wicked than I ever imagined, but I am more loved than I dared to hope.”

  14. Corrie Ten Boom. She is such an awesome example of a Spirit-filled woman. “The Hiding Place” is awesome! I’m reading “In My Father’s House” by her right now and that is helpful if you want to read about what a Christian home completely dedicated to Christ would look like. I feel like she is my real friend. Well, technically, she is my facebook friend. 🙂

  15. Elisabeth Elliot is one of my heroes as well. I think I have read all of her books, and received most of the newsletters she used to send out. I met her once, at a book signing after she spoke. I said something profound like, “How do you find time to write all of those books?” (Duh!!!!) She responded, in her no-nonsense way, “I don’t find time: I make time.”

  16. Oh sweet Courtney, you might not think so but you are a hero to me! I cannot WAIT to meet you at the conference in 12 days!!!! You’ve blessed my life and the lives of so many other women across the world. So thank you! Thank you so very much!!

  17. I love Mrs. Elliot’s story as well as the Saint families story particularly Nate Saint’s (who was one of the men killed by the Indians) son Steven who actually met and lived for awhile with the same Indians that killed his dad. If you haven’t seen “The Gates of Splendor” or read it do yourself a favor and make sure you check it out. It is a very inspiring story of what loving your enemies can do.

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