Reading Elisabeth Elliot

I remember hearing Elisabeth Elliot speak in college.  The packed room filled with women and a few men as I sat towards the back with a few friends.  Passion and Purity ranked high among the must-reads of my college crowd at the time.  I thought it a strange book…a bit over the top.  Now, she stood telling me she thought girls should wear skirts.  I’m sure I smirked.

Now, 16 years later I still hold to a different view on skirts but I sit more and more often at the literary feet of Elisabeth Elliot.  I liken her to a spiritual grandmother, a little old-fashioned in some areas but consistently delivering piercing truth.  Truth pierces the heart and draws me into closer fellowship with the Lord…when I listen well…I, the young granddaughter of the faith.

These Strange Ashes, A Chance to Die, and now The Path of Loneliness rank at the tops of my list for the beginning Elisabeth Elliot mentee.  Meat for the soul I call them.

These Strange Ashes recounts Elisabeth’s first year on the field and it still speaks to what one can expect the first year on the field.  I lend my copy out and make it clear I expect it back!

A Chance to Die takes a thorough look at the life of Amy Carmichael.  Elisabeth doesn’t shy away from Amy’s strengths and weaknesses.  Wrestling with the complexity of Amy’s character and her service give me great hope for what the Lord can do through me with all my “complexity.”

DSC_0241The Path of Loneliness required me to choke down a destructive mental barrier as I saw it on a friend’s shelf this past week pondering what book to borrow.  I don’t like to tell people when I am lonely.  I even wanted to hide this book while I read it instead of leaving it on my side table!  Ahh…pride!  Today I finished the book and I just might start at the front and read it again copying down favorite passages.  I might end up copying the whole book.  I do plan to buy a copy… plus a few to give away as I feel led.

Passion and Purity…well…I still need to go back and pick that one up again and rethink it.

I read Elisabeth Elliot now expecting to feel the rub and pull involved in taking a vigorous hike towards greater trust and obedience to the Lord.

As with any hike, the anticipation and joy of the summit compels more strongly the farther I get on the hike.

What author or book challenged you lately?

My Little Girl Dress

Purple, pink, and yellow striped.  Shiny satin and lace and completely impractical, the kind of dress an adoring father buys without consulting the family budget.  Lavish.  When I opened it as a girl, I remember trying to hide my delight.  Trying to be not my age.  I’m sure I failed.

I loved that dress and remember the disappointment when all of a sudden my body betrayed me and I outgrew it.  I’d become to tall and not a little girl anymore.  I don’t know what happened to the dress, whether it was stored away or given away.  I wish I’d saved it knowing now what I wish I’d known then.

Dads care about clothing.  Well…good dads care about clothing.  They care that their daughters reflect who they truly are, cherished ones with a strong protector.  Every daughter should get a surprise gift sometime in their lives, a beautiful dress from their dads.  Clothing is such a tangible display of a love that cherishes.

Now I find I don’t wear clothing to reflect much, I wear it to attract much.  Attract friends, attention, praise, a coveted business class upgrade (it’s never happened).  But, I’m reminded this week that God clothes me to reflect Himself and my identity as belonging to Him.  What’s even better is I’m still me!  His covering makes me more beautiful than I could ever be on my own!

God clothes me and covers me with much more than clothes to reflect His freely bestowed and lavish grace.   There’s nothing I need to attract anymore.

What does it look like to reflect Him in my actual clothing though?  In my daily life?  In my speech and in my responses?

I’m still pondering that one!  I’m pretty sure it means beautiful so I’m excited.