Archive | elliot

that which is before us



Sometimes I have days when I don’t feel like doing anything at all.
That day is not today.


I just got back from The She Speaks Conference and am bubbling over with inspiration. I’m so inspired to write…everything. Devotionals, novels, magazine articles. I am so inspired to live my life fully.  I am inspired to set aside time to worship the Lord in gratitude, to pray for my ambitions, to find a group of Christian writers, to do a million things.


As I pulled laundry out of the dryer last night, all of the airport germs abolished, I found myself feeling overwhelmed.


“I don’t know where to begin…there are all these things I want to do, yet all the things I have to do on a regular basis.”


My mother was catching the garments and laying them flat. 


“Elisabeth Elliot says to do the next thing. What’s the next thing you need to do? The things you have to get done. You have to prepare for the girls’ Bible Study. You have to go to work. Do those things and see what you have time left for.”


Ah, Elisabeth Elliot. I always listen to her. 
(Mother too.)


I was still thinking of this when I found this quote by my friend Emma in reference to a time when she was watching her mother suffer through cancer: 
“We did what was before us, because it was given us to do.”


So that is my plan. Work diligently at what God has set before me and trust Him to provide time and guidance for my writing.


For those extra little moments, I just started tweeting, so befriend me on Facebook to keep up with my terribly thrilling thoughts (haha!)


EverlyNowAndThen,
Me

3

our victory, our loss

In case you haven’t heard, we got him.
I remember as well as any young person the day of the attacks. I remember the bodies falling out of the windows of the second tower as my nine-year-old self sat glued to the tv screen. I remember the shock at the truth behind it, that there was someone who made this plan, arranged for these lives to be lost and considered the day a success. I remember trying to wrap my mind around such a person existing in reality, someone who could hate so hard as to break a million hearts. I finally decided that this person must be terribly, spiritually confused.

It wasn’t long before this someone had a name: Bin Laden. I specifically remember lying on the floor at our apartment in Connecticut and listening to our downstairs-neighbor’s television playing the news and just being able to pick out that one name over and over again: Bin Laden. Bin Laden. Bin Laden.

Then I remember Hussain. We were at the orphanage when word came via internet that that the U.S. had him. We were excited…it was a step toward justice and peace. Who can forget the images of his statue being pulled down by his own people?

And now, as Birdie and I sat on her bed and watched an old episode of the Waltons, word came to us that Bin Laden was dead. I got on Facebook and read status after status celebrating, rejoicing even. Statuses praising our military, mocking the dead and describing his entrance to Hades with great elation. Then I began to feel confused (if not sick to my stomach.)

I had to ask myself, is this a victory?
In a sense, it is. I believe that our military did the right thing in tracking him for ten years, planning this operation for ten months and carrying through with it. I believe they had the right to kill him (especially after giving him the chance to surrender.) I feel no shame over my country’s actions.

But the answer is not complete. 
In a sense, this is a loss. Who are we to celebrate a man’s entrance to hell? Who are we to even speak of the place which we will never have to visit, describe the eternity we’ll never have to spend there? How soon we forget who else deserves hell…you and I, friend. Yes, we are now worthy of Heaven, but only through a gift. Only through a payment for our sins which, the Bible says, are equal to Bin Ladens. A lie is murder, a lustful thought adultery. 

We may be chanting and joking, but I don’t believe the angels rejoice when someone goes to hell, even a terrorist. Let’s not forget who this man really was. A terrorist? A murderer? A sinner? Yes. A man? A soul? Beloved by God? Yes.

Let us not forget that Christ would have gone to the cross had Bin Laden been the only person in the world. He died for him just like He died for you. He loved him as He loved you.


Was God pleased with him? Were we? No. That would be perverted. Was Bin Laden our enemy? Absolutely. But we aren’t to hate him, not even him. How clearly I remember those words in my mind as I watched the news ten years ago, “Love thy enemy…even that one.”


So did Bin Laden get what he deserved? Yes. 


But that is no reason to celebrate. 

I think of Elisabeth Elliot, the missionary who returned to the tribe of Indians who killed her husband to serve them and attempt to witness to them. Through her forgiveness, she led the very men who thrust spears through her husband’s chest to a relationship with Christ. 

“Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” Ezekiel 18:23


“You have heard it said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,” But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father in Heaven. For He makes the sun to rise on the evil as well as the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Mathew 5:43-44


So if you’re going to hate someone, hate Satan. He’s the real mastermind behind murder, pain, heartache, crime. And remember, no matter what happens here, the good guys are going to win in the end. As my pastor says, “I’ve read the end of the book.” Justice won’t truly be served till the king rides in on a white horse.


everly

9

open hands

{thoughts gathered during my absence are a bit choppy…I plan on writing more frequently now. enjoy—}

Though it will certainly make us sad, we can’t regret losing what God never intended for us to have. In an imperfect world, our desires are torn and misplaced and criss-crossed. In Heaven, we shall know what we truly want and have it and be satisfied. However, even here on this mangled earth, we can find satisfaction in Christ and thus let go of earthly things through His strength in us. 

In the Bible, God often brings people “into the wilderness” to find Him. Moses was wandering in the desert when he found God in a burning bush. Elijah, Nebuchadnezzar, Abraham and countless others were led into the wilderness before encountering God in very personal ways and even Christ was “led by the spirit into the wilderness” (Mathew 4:1).
 
We often feel “connected” to God when we look upon His creation. We marvel at flowers, birds, magnificent waterfalls and imperial mountain peaks and think to ourselves, “Ah, here is God!” as we learn about Him through His creation, but that is not what happened to Moses and the others, from what I can tell. Moses was not marveling at beautiful scenery when God so clearly spoke to Him. The “wilderness” or “desert” was no park, rather it was probably what we would look at and call a “God-forsaken place.” But as we read, it was just the opposite. There in those dry, dusty, thirsty places, God would tap His servants on the shoulder and say, “hey.” And they would hear Him and they would see Him because there was nothing to mistake God for out in the middle of nowhere. He still leads us into the wilderness, I believe. Job can tell that story. Sometimes He shows Himself through blessing us, and sometimes through taking away. Sometimes He takes away things that have come between God and I, and sometimes He seems to take away good things too. But I have to remind myself, He is the only truly good thing, and all good things come from Him. I can be thankful that I have Him, thankful that He knows what He’s doing. 
He never takes away something without giving us something better. Sometimes I question this very hard. Nothing can replace a lost loved one, for example. But then I think of the intimacy with God that is gained through having to rely on Him, and I think of the blessings to come in Heaven for suffering for Him. And I am happy to say that many times, we receive real, physical things here on earth when we let go of what He asks us to. 
Sometimes He leaves the choice to us and we “lose things” out of obedience, just as Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac (and regained his son and family line by being obedient.) Ruth lost her husband and chose to leave her homeland and God prospered her and brought her directly to her earthly redeemer and second husband. Joseph was stolen away from his home and family and found riches, honor and nobility (and was reunited with his family later in a way that mended his relationship with them and saved their lives.) Esther was asked to risk her life for her people and in return for her obedience and courage, not only saved them but brought peace and justice to the entire kingdom. I can hardly think of a person in scripture that did not lose or sacrifice one thing to gain something greater. 
 
Paul says in Philippians that he considers everything “rubbish” in comparison to knowing Christ (Phil. 3:8). We have nothing, are nothing without Him.
 
Furthermore, I have to remind myself that God always provides for my needs. I used to smile awkwardly at people at church when this was stated. Someone would ask for prayer that they would be able to afford a medical bill and someone else would say, “Sweetie, God always provides for our needs.” And I would think, “Gee, I hope they can pay that bill, because otherwise, that lady just lied about God!”
But I don’t look at it that way anymore. Rather, I try to think that if God isn’t providing it, it isn’t a need. 
 
I am not without complaint. As a matter of fact, I’ve often asked my friends to pray that I would learn to stop complaining so much! As a child, I was very picky and difficult to appease, and those characteristics still come through at times. Okay, they come through a lot! 
 
Jim Elliot, the famous missionary and martyr, is quoted as saying:
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” and
“God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.”
Oh, if I could only grasp that truth. If I leave the choice with God, the all-powerful, most-loving father, I will receive His very best for my life. If I cling to what I think I want, what I believe I need, what I am told is best, I will be putting something between God’s plan and my life. What a sad thought. 
 
So I strive to have open hands toward God. Open to what he gives. Open to what he takes away. And I try to cling tightly to Him and not to the things that come and go. 
And I leave the rest to Him.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Mathew 10:29-31
7

Gateway to Joy

Having just missed out on the Gateway To Joy generation and not having the opportunity to tune in on the radio, I am thoroughly enjoying reading the broadcasts online! 
Elisabeth Elliot, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lisa Barry and others discuss important topics while keeping Christ central. It’s a beautiful thing!

I just read this one and enjoyed it very much: The Joy of Being a Woman.
“Let me be a woman…let me be obviously a woman!” -Elisabeth Elliot

0

happy endings

Not every story has a happy ending,  but one does.

A couple of years ago, I read Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, and it literally changed my life. If not in the radical way, in the small ways that make up who we are and affect the decisions we make. There are many reasons I could give you for why this is truly a beautiful book, but I am mentioning it not to advertise, but to tell you that while reading Passion and Purity I heard the love story of Elisabeth and Jim Elliot for the first time.

In a nutshell, Elisabeth and Jim met at Wheaton while they were both in college and grew to love each other. They became very devoted to one another (just read for yourself,) but remained faithful to God above all. This put them in a place, where they had to put each other and their love on the altar as a sacrifice to their Lord and accept what He deemed best. 


Jim thought that this was likely a life of singleness and chastity and so their interest in (or passion for) each other was set aside in order to make room for the will of God. Years came between them and the marriage they so desired, but finally, they married. 


Only a short time later, when Elisabeth had just had a baby, Jim was killed by natives in Ecuador where he and Elisabeth were missionaries. Elisabeth was heroic and, through her grief, stayed in Ecuador and eventually won her husband’s murderers over to Christ. 


It’s an amazing story, isn’t it?


However, with a different perspective, I could easily see how one could say that their marriage was a mistake. They thought and prayed and considered that God was calling them to be single and never to marry as they so desired, finally decided that they should get married, did so and then Jim was killed suddenly. “Well that didn’t work out!” I can imagine thinking.


It is an amazing love story about two people longing for one another but putting God first and letting Him give them what was best, but it doesn’t have a happy ending. Shortly after finally marrying the man she had so longed for, Elisabeth became a young widow and single mother! This story is a tragedy!

Things don’t always end well. When we hand things over to God, he does not, in return, give us a ticket to an easy road ahead. We face trials. Sometimes when we place Isaac on the altar, no ram appears to take his place. Sometimes we make what feels like sacrifices and sometimes we get hurt. 

But yet, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t God’s best.

I know, Jim died! Her true love for whom she had given so much, waited so long. How could this be God’s best? 

I can’t tell you how many ways God has given Elisabeth Elliot to use this story. I can’t tell you how much wisdom her trials have granted her with and how much I have benefited from her wisdom…I, one of her thousands of readers. I can’t tell you (nor do I know) how happy she was again when God brought her another man years later or how torn apart when she sent yet another husband to heaven. I can’t tell you what her eyes look like as she sits at her breakfast table, twice widowed, thrice married and thinks back on her life, but I can say this: one story does have a happy ending.


Someday very soon, Elisabeth and I will be together. Perhaps we will be sharing breakfast at another breakfast table. Lars will be there, Addison (her second husband) will be there, Jim will be there and the Ecuadorians will be there. My dearest friends will be there, my mom and dad and brothers and sisters will be there, and we will be utterly joyful. We won’t be thinking of how hard it was for Elisabeth when Jim left her to come here, we won’t be thinking of how much I cried when we left my siblings in Haiti again or how much you miss whoever it is you miss. We will be rejoicing over the Good King who saved us from all that. We will be singing praises to His name and thinking of only the good, the beautiful, the holy. None of the heartache will matter, none of the separation will exist, no one will be hurt or sorrowful or alone. We will be together and alive not long from now, waiting for the only truly happy ending…an ending which will last forever.


Everly

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