Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Through Gates of Splendor

A hero of mine went through gates of splendor yesterday morning.  Elisabeth Elliot has finished her race.

As a child, I'd heard of, and read, Through Gates of Splendor, but in college I discovered Shadow of the Almighty.  My summer-school roommate and dear friend, Barby, and I read through that book, night by night, and absorbed its truths, and Elliot's wisdom and knowledge, as we learned by leaps and bounds.

Throughout the years I've accumulated more of her work.  One piece written about her yesterday said that she wrote 28 books during her lifetime.  I have 22 of them.  All contain profound wisdom about the Christian walk, about child rearing, about the true meaning of being a woman.

She started a radio broadcast in the mid-80s.  She always started by saying "This is your friend, Elisabeth Elliot, and underneath are everlasting arms."  When Andrew was a baby, I planned my mornings around hearing her broadcast.  She was full of good Biblical thoughts for young mothers.  She would say that God never minds a young mother bringing along her baby when she wants to meet with Him.  One of her most basic statements, yet so helpful for someone overwhelmed, was "Do the next thing."  

I met her in the late 1990s (1998 maybe?) when she spoke in Anderson for an all-day ladies' meeting.  After I got home, Andrew asked if he could go meet her.  He had just read a biography of Jim Elliot for school.  Of course I took him back in, thinking it was a great opportunity for him as well.  She was still at the Civic Center when we got there, and she treated him with great kindness and respect.  I did hold my breath for a minute, when she asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.  At that time, he had a great fascination for WWF wrestling, and I had visions of him telling the great Elisabeth Elliot that - he wanted to be a wrestler.  I do not remember what he said, but he did refrain from the wrestler comment, a relief to his mother!

Elisabeth Elliot said she was writing and speaking to women, and if men happened to listen in, that was their business.  I thought that was a great way to handle that issue.

She was not perfect, of course.  Her sin nature was as profound as it is for all of us, and some have told about weaknesses in various writings.  But she was humble and she was surrendered, and she put out a profound body of work to edify the body of Christ.  I was so saddened to hear of her death, because of the stilling of that great voice - but to think of her walking "through gates of splendor" was a wonderful thought!


Barbara H. said...

I was thinking I should have included in my post my one meeting with her. I had heard her speak somewhere, and my pastor asked me if I would take a book by her that he owned and ask her to autograph it. So after waiting in line, when I finally got to her, my one opportunity to talk to Elisabeth Elliot, all I could think of to say was, "How do you find time to write so many books?" (Duh!) She said, "You don't find time, you make time."

Somehow I didn't hear many of her radio broadcasts when they were on the air, but I used to be able to find the transcripts of some of them online and I read several. I think I've read most of her books. I noticed a couple on Amazon that I hadn't heard of before, but I think they might have been compilations of some of her previous newsletters and such.

She certainly was a Titus 2 woman to me, in her teaching an example of being a wife, mom, and just a woman serving the Lord.

MaryM said...

Do you remember when we went to hear her circa 1985 in Greenville? We met her then.
I received her newsletter for many years and was disappointed when she stopped publishing it, I believe in the late 90s.
Nice tribute. Thanks.

Ann said...

Barbara, I think we are kindred spirits about Elisabeth Elliot. :-)

Mary, believe it or not, I do not remember that. Where did we go to hear her speak?