Yesterday, Elisabeth Elliot went Home.  I never met her, yet her death leaves me with a sense of loss.  I can’t think of any other author who has affected me and shaped me as much as Elisabeth Elliot.  Before there was a “Jinny” or “Mama Esther” or any other spiritual mother in my life, she (via her writings, many books, and radio transcripts) taught me how to be a woman and live and rejoice and suffer well in His “everlasting arms.”

I wondered where she was or what she was doing the past decade of her life since she ended her radio show and newsletters … and it turns out she had dementia.  Even as she began to lose her mental faculties and other abilities, her husband said in so many words, she put her trust in God.

My human hero was laid to rest yesterday, but my Savior still lives.  Thank God for earthly heroes and spiritual “giants” … but they, too, pass away.  I will see her some Day, but the luster of Elisabeth Elliot’s life was not Elisabeth Elliot.  It was Christ in Elisabeth Elliot.

Thank you for shining Jesus, Elisabeth.  The beauty we saw was Him in you.

Oh to live like you did.

A reminder.

June 3, 2015

God help me keep these reminders ever at the forefront of my mind as I navigate this season with a toddler and a newborn:

  • They are little boys, not robots.
  • If I become lazy in motherhood and am content to parent for convenience sake, then I will find myself content to raise Pharisees rather than godly men.
  • If I want the right behavior more than I want the right heart, I will be content to be harsh and not gentle in my tone and method.
  • My highest aim is to glorify God (regardless of outcome!), to raise men who love Jesus, and to adorn the gospel as I live with them … my highest aim is not to maximize my own sleep or comfort … or to raise quiet, good sleepers.  (So silly but trust me, I forget this!)
  • Discipline is for the Lord’s purposes, not my own.  I discipline their hearts away from wickedness … not to get my way in my time.
  • They’re little boys.  May I lead them, teach them, raise them with love.
  • May my heart be wide open, my service sacrificial, my tongue kind.
  • Let me steadfastly love JE, cheerfully submit to and help his leadership, and remember to take care of him in the little ways, too.
  • Little boys will make messes.  Making a mess is not a sin. :]
  • And as JE used to always say when Ian was first born, “They’re only this little once.”
  • Let me remember to give thanks in everything, in every season.  A grumbling and complaining spirit will go on grumbling and complaining even as God gives tremendous blessings, like these two little lives.

God help me, that my mothering would be a blessing to my husband and children, not a curse.

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” (Tim Keller)

Praise.  God.  I am sinful and flawed, but loved and accepted.  Because of Jesus.

Let me press these simple, profound truths to my heart every day.  Let me press them against the hearts of my husband and children.  In my many roles, let me be a woman of one Message.

Worshiping God at any cost.

February 7, 2015

Some quick sermon notes and personal annotations I don’t want to to forget from January 25th’s sermon on 1 Samuel 13.

Saul was told to take care of the Philistines and to wait seven days for Samuel’s arrival so Samuel, the priest, could offer the burnt offerings.  He initially sought to obey.  He waited seven days as the Philistines gathered their troops and chariots for battle.  But then the people were afraid and began deserting him, the enemy was pressing in, and Samuel hadn’t arrived yet to offer the sacrifices.

As king, Saul was under tremendous pressure to act, to do something.  But the command at this point was to wait.  Yes, wait for Samuel, but ultimately, wait on God, Israel’s highest King.

At this point, God’s command through Samuel to wait seemed unreasonable.  People’s lives, the nation, was at stake.  The circumstances seemed impossible.  Saul felt he had to take matters into his own hands.  He offered the burnt offerings instead of waiting.

Just as he finished, Samuel arrived.  Saul had disobeyed God’s law.  He assumed the role of priest to offer sacrifices instead of worshiping God properly. He played the fool and would face the consequences of his sin.

Doesn’t this seem reasonable to our minds though?  What’s the big deal?  He was under pressure, he did what he could.

But sin is never a small matter, no matter how small it may seem to us.  Saul was leaning on his own understanding, not trusting in God.  He acted foolishly, as though God did not exist — as though God would not be true to His word.

God’s law isn’t to be disobeyed, even in the face of an enemy and a deserting army, because it was more important that God be worshiped than Israel survive.

God is far more concerned about right worship. Unlike Saul, we must have a resolve to worship Him rightly, full from the heart regardless of what others think or what may happen.

Even if it means our demise.

. . .

That last part killed me.  I’ve never been under the same kind of pressure as Saul, yet I’ve compromised worship and obedience toward God for self-preservation and selfish motives.  Like him, except under easier testing, I’ve been found to be a fool.

But as Hebrews says, in time of need, in Jesus we find mercy and grace to do what He requires us to do.  I can depend on Christ and ask Him to be my help. God is worthy of worship even at my demise, or what may seem like demise at the time.

May I never place any worth on anything higher than worshiping Him.  May I ever worship Him, even at great personal cost.  Because even that is nothing in comparison to who He is … and what He has promised.

Tiger kisses.

November 25, 2014

Just now, I was playing with Ian and pretending to be a tiger looking to eat him.  He laughed as he ran away here and there around the room, looking for somewhere to go.  Deciding there was nowhere better to go, he ran to me with his mouth open, stooping over to kiss my tiger mouth.  I just had to laugh and squeeze him.

“At the time, I did not understand how much I had wrongly identified myself with my coffee shop dream … I continually have to lay down who I think I am or who I want to be if it is anything different from God’s plan for me to be transformed into the image of His Son … For now, I do want to say that it wasn’t as if ‘Coffee Shop Aimee’ weren’t part of the real me.  It’s a huge part of my story.  God taught me so much through that experience … But another thing I learned is that not every dream is worth pursuing.  I had to lay that dream down — I had put it way above everything else in priority order.  I was serving God in my own way, not his.”

(Aimee Byrd, Housewife Theologian, p. 77)

Whooooo.

November 4, 2014

(Written on Saturday)

Brushing the dust off this blog.  It’s been a while.

I can hear JE and Ian romping around upstairs.  Ian is laughing and declaring, “Noooo,” in turn.  Saturday mornings at home are sweet.  Ian is most content when we’re both home.  Maybe his 1.5 year old heart grasps the fact that we are most complete when appa is home, too.  Or maybe he senses my quieted heart when appa‘s home.

Since marriage and Ian’s birth, I’ve become more … private?  Less heart-spilling on this blog to a wide, unknown audience and a deepening devotion to my little family, our church, and wherever our home’s branches reach.  I’m not great at wearing many hats and juggling many things at the same time, so with changed, sometimes-overwhelming new priorities, my tree has been stripped bare of all but a few branches.  Even those few things are hard to do well, but I’m learning and each day is a clean slate.

Life is less dramatic, less heartbreaking, less agonizing in this season, and it’s … different.  College and the single life felt like going through one fire after another, but my new “home” is actually a place of peace.  And rest.  Sin is here, too, in rampant measure, but I’m trying to learn to love and cherish God in the quiet, unremarkable duties of everyday life.  It’s easier for me to trust Him in moments of crisis than these moments that require a more steady faith — moment after moment determining I’d rather have Jesus than selfish melancholy, a hasty remark, a quick temper, or rebellious ingratitude.

And I’ve only recently begun to have any kind of regular rhythm in reading Scripture and prayer since Ian was born.  Whenever my routine is interrupted, it takes me sooo loooong to establish a new normal.  Where is God in this change?  How does my new role not undermine my eternal one?  How do I devote my heart’s affections to God when I’m so singly focused on adapting to the new thing in my life?  But His patience is unwearied.  Such a tender love.

In another 6 months or so, my hands will be full with an added stewardship, another precious gift, another little one to love and raise in the “fear and admonition of the Lord.”  I hope it’ll take me less time in the afterbirth to locate my life’s anchor and to operate out of that single spot … because a wife and mama whose heart and emotions are tossed here and there causes big waves in a little family.  But a wife and mama well-anchored in Christ holds much of her home steady with her … and speaks to the stability and beauty of her Rock.

Moments for reflection are more scarce than they used to be.  But my greatest prayer is that I would adorn the gospel in everything, particularly my marriage and motherhood — that my husband’s service to Christ wouldn’t be hindered, that my children would treasure Jesus, and that the world may taste the gospel in our home and friendship.

To make much of Jesus, this is all.

… Now to remember that once I stop typing. ;]

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