Elisabeth Elliot was always there for me. She was there for me as a young girl when my mom read Through Gates of Splendor to our family, stirring my young heart with a passion to live for Christ.
She was there for me as a new wife and mother as I listened to oodles of her taped messages, read her books, and poured over her newsletter. While my mother provided a living example of godliness, Elisabeth’s teaching was the biblical content that shaped my life.
She was there for me when I raised teenage daughters. When my oldest showed hints of feminist thinking in her conversation, I took all three of them through Let Me Be a Woman. Each one was captured by the biblical vision of godly womanhood Elisabeth set forth for her own daughter.
She was there for me as a pastor’s wife. She shaped my thinking about biblical womanhood and was the inspiration for the WOTT’s (Women of Titus Two) ministry in our church.
And then, one day, she was there for me in person, speaking at a retreat for the women in our church.
She’s been there for me as I’ve struggled to get through the day: “Do the next thing.”
She’s been there for me as I’ve struggled with fear: “There is no grace for your imagination.”
She’s been there for me in the deepest sufferings, reminding me that there, and only there will I learn the deepest lessons about God.
So on Monday morning when my oldest daughter sent me the text:
Elisabeth Elliot just passed away
I sat down and cried.
I am grateful that I still have all her books, past issues of her newsletters, my handwritten notes from her messages of long ago, but I am sad that she is no longer here.
She is there, in glory. She has fought the good fight. She has run her race with perseverance. She has received her “Well done.”
She is there for me now as part of that great cloud of witnesses (Heb 12), inspiring me to finish my race with courage and joy. May God give me grace to follow her example to the end.