I still have the notes… The date was June 6, 1998, and I have ten tiny sheets of Filofax paper as small as my hand preserved to this day. I have kept them stapled together and treasured them for the wisdom they hold. It was on that day that I sat under the teaching of one of the most profoundly wise women I have encountered in my entire life. I am so grateful I was able to be present; because, of all the notes I have written, of all the teachers I have listened to, her words remain powerfully relevant. Timeless wisdom passed through the lips that spoke on that date and the words shared captured by this one willing recipient.
The speaker was, Elisabeth Elliot, whom I have just received news has passed on to glory as of the date of this writing: June 15, 2015. It seems right to pause for one who has held such influence on not only me, but a host of others, both men and women. It seems good to reflect on the amazing life that has given so much in example and inspiration to the Christian faith. It was her legacy of words that drew me, her wisdom… the wisdom of the ages, her completely calm demeanor. Her absolutely quotable, uncompromising writing style awoke in me the desire to do likewise, long before the day I ever stepped out in faith to share one word. It was as if God let me taste the possibility of what is possible with a life surrendered so completely to His will. A life that not only was surrendered, but available and transparent.
In Elisabeth Elliot God lit a fire in me that I did not know would ignite at the time He already knew would be. I suspect, this amazing woman has set many ablaze for Him. For that is exactly what she seemed best at doing. Not with much fanfare, not with loudness and attention-getting that are so common to our day. No, Elisabeth Elliot did all with a quiet heart. For that was her namesake. If I learned one thing from her word and her example, it was this- that one should not lose their inward peace over anything. Elisabeth Elliot exemplified exactly what she taught others in her words…to “keep a quiet heart.” Such a message for today. Such a timeless message, shared with the unhurried grace, that only a woman who has persevered through many trials, experiencing God’s faithfulness again and again, can possibly display.
I feel led to share my notes from that blessed day. I was single, and a fairly new Believer- ironically, Elisabeth spoke much about marriage, which I kept thinking to myself was useless to me at the time. In retrospect every single word I wrote down at that Women’s Conference has been relevant. Layered wisdom, faithfully communicated by a humble servant.
Here are some of the notes I wrote down:
“Keep a quiet heart…”
“The heart that God gives us equals the place where our feelings need to be surrendered to God. Is your heart at leisure from itself?”
“It is always possible to do the will of God.”
“Jesus gives rest.”
“Strive to see God in all things without exception.”
“Do everything quietly in a calm spirit.”
“Do not lose your inward peace for anything.”
“Do not smother yourself with wishes, desires longings…”
“You don’t have to do it all. You can make choices.”
“Don’t go around with a Bible under your arm, if you haven’t swept under your bed. ”
“The reality of our spirituality is revealed in the little things.”
Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed.”
“Self-pity is Satanic.”
“Praise Him in the midst of every circumstance.”
“God marks out the race different for each one of us.”
“If God were small enough to be understood He wouldn’t be big enough to worship.”
“Tomorrow will be best prepared for by faithfulness today.”
Thank you God, for giving us this woman for as long as you did. For how you used her in so many ways, for her impeccable example which speaks more clearly than even her scripturally sound words. Bring her family peace during this time, and joy as they trust in you completely as she herself did. All glory, praise and honor belong to you, Lord. Amen.