Thursday, June 28, 2012

Here's To You Mrs. (Elliot)

Dear Mrs. Elliot,
I just wanted to say "thanks."
More than any person in my life, living or dead, (besides my Hippie parents and spouse) you have profoundly influenced my life.
It was the winter of '97. I was 19. I had grown up hearing about your husband and the other four Ecuador martyrs. I had read your biographies of Jim. I had met people who knew you in your youth.
I had been raised to be a wife and mother and keeper of the home. But here I was-19, and no prospective husband or children. (in retrospect, I actually met my future husband right about this time though we didn't become more than friends for another 3 years) No job. Just at home in my parent's house, helping out. Day after day.
And then someone placed your book, Passion and Purity, into my hands. She said, "you have got to read this. It will rock your world."
And it did.
I plunged into her copy and took notes in a separate notebook. Within weeks, I bought my own copy, (which is now highlighted and underlined) to read through a second time. And then again and again, when I was discouraged. When I needed a friend.
Passion and Purity is your love story. You and Jim. It is so romantic. It gave me hope. It challenged me. Your story challenged me to make a daily habit of reading the Bible. I had committed to this year after year at camps. I knew I needed to be daily in the Word, hearing God's voice. But something about reading how you had read the Bible daily since high school, and had annually read through the Bible sparked something in me. I have read the Bible almost daily, and cover to cover, ever since that winter.
I revelled in your love story. What girl doesn't love a love story? A prince charming, a beautiful girl, a happily ever after. I was challenged with how your relationship was founded on God, but was oh so physical. Passionate-you know? It gave me hope that someday a knight in shining armor would come sweep me off my feet too. That he'd be handsome and buff and strong. Mr. Hippie and I still quote your quote of C.S. Lewis...four bare legs in a bed.
I was challenged with how you lived your life as you were waiting on God to bring your love story to fruition.
My idea of a modern Christian woman found its roots in this book. In the midst of the Feminist movement and my strict stay-at-home upbringing, you showed me a moderate middle ground. I saw how a women is a spiritual being with her relationship with her Maker at her core. I gained a vision for how godly women can study the Bible and minister in more ways than just cooking and cleaning and caring for children, yet remain in their God-given role. I saw you following God as He led you, and allowing Jim to follow God how God led him, and both trusting God that He would give you the desires of your heart. In His time. You challenged me to purity in thought-not just action. I also learned that Christian woman can be romantic and passionate. It isn't unBiblical. Or ungodly.
You gave me a taste for Oswald Chambers. (though I often still puzzle over what exactly he is getting at). You gave me vision. Your words spoke to my heart, and I am forever grateful.
Since I was 19, I have wanted to be like you. To serve our Lord wholly. To glorify Him day by day. To love passionately and purely. To be a student of God and His word. To touch other's lives. To minister, even when my heart is broken and it hurts. To let God purify me through the trials.
Funny thing is, it isn't an easy path. That's what I am learning year by year. And the secret isn't in becoming like you-it's in becoming like Jesus Christ. Following His footsteps. Running the race He ran, and the race He has set before me. Laying aside burdens and sins the so easily beset. Running with endurance.
And for that, I thank you!

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of christian,But the fact that I am a christian does make me a different kind of woman.”
― Elisabeth Elliot

*just wanted to let you know that there are some exciting things in the works for Barefoot Hippie Girl. How about a link up?!? "Take Two Tuesdays" will be starting next Tuesday, July 3. 
And how about that giveaway?! I am waiting on an installment of toe rings, but soon and very soon, we are going to have a giveaway. So spread the word.