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!
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.
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!