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.

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Joys.

January 10, 2014

Just a few memories from the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 I want to tuck away here:

5. We missed our flight on Christmas and spent 5 hours at the airport.  Ian was a meltdown mess by the time we arrived in SoCal, but those 5 hours were somewhat of a welcome respite in the midst of the holiday hustle.  But.  We’re driving from now on.

4. Ian’s first Christmas, and he blossomed over the holidays.  He really thrived under all the love and play with family.  Even at 7.5 months, he knows when he’s being loved.  He would break into a smile just at the sight of his grandparents or uncles.  He even started to charm.  He crinkles his eyes in a syrupy, smiley way and blinks at you.  Oh my.  God help us when he discovers girls.  And.  He started crawling today.  He and Bambi suddenly have a lot in common.

3. My father-in-law made me cry.  In a good way.  He and my mother-in-law went to morning prayer the last day we were in SoCal, and on their way home, they bought Jack in the Box for us for breakfast.  Ian was taking his morning nap, and JE and I were munching on some kind of waffles sausage breakfast sandwich.  (This has nothing to do with the point of the story, haha, but that salty-sweet flavor is so seared onto this memory.)  My father-in-law asked if we wanted to hear a story their pastor shared that morning, and he began to tell us about a poor man who lived in China.  This man only had a horse, and one day the horse ran away.  All the neighbors said, “Poor man.  His only possession is gone.”  But the man was unruffled and said, “No, this could turn out to be good.”  Some time later, his horse returned with a mare.  The neighbors couldn’t believe it.  “You’re a prophet!  This is wonderful and turned out just as you said!”  But the man was unruffled and said, “Well, it’s possible this could turn out to be not such a good thing.”  And some time later, his son was maimed while riding the horse.  The neighbors said, “He was right.  What a tragedy.”  But the man was unruffled and said, “No, this could turn to be good.”  One day, China went to war and called all her sons to the battlefield.  But since this man’s son was maimed, he couldn’t go.  All the neighbors’ sons died, but his was spared.  And you can imagine the neighbors’ reaction.  My father-in-law went on to say that this man wasn’t a Christian, but his pastor spoke of this: taking both trial and blessing from God’s hand as they come, trusting Him and not hanging our hopes on the ebb and flow of circumstance.  He explained everything in Korean, but I got the gist of it.  At this point, I tried really hard to hold it in.  I looked to JE, knowing what was coming, and the dam broke.  Not that I was unfamiliar with this kind of encouragement … but at the end of a very up and down holiday season, it was what I needed to hear.  And all the pent up pain and disappointment gushed out.  In a good way.

2. JE’s kind sense of humor.  Sometimes when I take things too seriously or am worked up or angry or frustrated, he just looks at me … and laughs.  Not in a mean way but in a way that conveys love and pity — and perspective.  It makes me laugh at how illogical and ridiculous I’m being.  This happened a number of times over the holidays.  More than I can count.  The man is a gift.  He never gives me what I deserve. ♥

1. One of my “little” cousins wrote me a letter.  She now knows and loves Jesus.  Answered prayer.  Nothing else matters, does it?  My heart is fulllll.  Brimming over.  Acts 20:24.  Nothing else matters.

Grateful that …

November 28, 2013

“The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men.” (C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, p. 229)

How grateful JE and I are for a pastor who has this written on the front flap of his Bible — or someplace like that (Sunday afternoon brain):

Lord, help me to be a faithful expositor of Your Word and to love Your people so much that I smell like sheep.

Thank You for my thorn.

October 18, 2013

We’ve been going through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book, Choosing Gratitude, in our new mom’s group at church.  The last chapter we read, “But Not without Sacrifice,” was especially bittersweet for me:

Scottish preacher George Matheson (1842-1906) began losing his eyesight in late adolescence for no apparent reason.  By age twenty he was totally blind, as a result of which his fiancee broke off their engagement.  He struggled for many long months with a broken heart, wrestling with unanswered questions.  The whole experience drove him nearly to despair and he was tempted to quit the ministry altogether.  Yet ultimately he came to the place where he could say, “My God, I have never thanked You for my thorn!  I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn.  Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns.” (p. 128)

Thank Him for my thorns?  Painful, bitter things!

But valuable — immeasurably so — when touched by His redeeming hands.

Laughter.

August 1, 2013

Ian’s happiest and chattiest place is the changing table, and before his bedtime just now, he was all coos and smiles as usual.  While chatting up a storm with me, a coo and a smile (the kind where his whole body squirms with glee) met together and erupted into a laugh.  As I was looking at him wondering if he actually made that sound, he looked at me and did it again!

My heart never melted so fast.  And I never so much wanted to cry and laugh at the same time.

So grateful for our baby … and for the God of all joy who created laughter and little boys.

 

22 days.

June 5, 2013

Ian is just over 3 weeks old today.  Two quick thoughts on my mind today as he’s currently napping and may wake up soon:

1. Motherhood is gospel application.  I read this article this morning, and I’m clinging to the godly, motherly wisdom in it.

“… so we take what we believe about God and the gospel and faith and life, and we apply it in the places that seem too little for it … This is a time to take the grace that God has extended to you, and feed your children with it. Apply what you believe about God’s mercy and kindness and long suffering towards us, and pour it out to them — in a form they can believe in. Unrest like this is just like a baby crying for a bottle — only what they need is spiritual milk. They need you to feed them, not with a lecture, but with application … Of course, this side of heaven we will not do perfectly. Harsh words will be spoken, patience will wear thin. Frazzled mothers will act frazzled. And when this happens, our own sinfulness does not detract from the power of the gospel, it illustrates why we need it. Do not use your own mistakes as an excuse to wallow about what a bad mother you are. Repent, seek forgiveness, get it right, and move on. Believe. Be forgiven. Extend that forgiveness, that belief, that joy, to your children.”

2. I’m so grateful for JE.  When I forget the gospel during these early days of mothering, he’s there to remind me.  Not always with words.  Sometimes there isn’t time anymore to sit down, talk things out, speak truth to each other, and to extend gospel grace to each other through words.  But fatherhood and being a husband is gospel application, too.  Especially when your wife is frazzled.  And falls into the easy myopia of caring for a newborn — feed, clean, diaper change, lull to sleep, put back to sleep, soothe, diaper change again, hungry already?!, is this a growth spurt?, please sleep!,  awake already?!, feed, repeat, repeat, repeat.  And when your wife starts to really believe that feeding and sleeping are the be-all and end-all of life.  When she is cranky.  When she fails.  When she isn’t coherent enough to carry a conversation.  At times like that, he extends the gospel to me through his actions.  Love covering a multitude of sins.  Overlooking.  Giving a kiss instead returning evil for evil.  Gentle reminders.  An undeserved embrace or word of encouragement.

And in those moments, I’m reminded of the gospel.  He didn’t have to say anything.  Sometimes, I do need to hear it.  But sometimes, the application is enough to remind me.  And I just look at him with tears rolling down my face for the hundredth time.  Probably a mix of postpartum hormonal tears and just genuine gratitude, haha.  But gratitude is there.  For Christ in my husband.