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Rainy Day Work

Her face will stay with me for a long time, haunting my days~waking me in the nighttime hours. A beautiful young woman with the most gorgeous skin tone and curly brown hair~walking determinedly, loudly spouting off her reasons of why she had to do it. There was no other possible way.

The rain fell steadily all morning. Wrapped in ponchos and sheltered beneath large umbrellas, we were wrapped securely in the knowledge that we were in the right place for this moment. Doing the work of speaking truth, pleading for the cause of the children, and for those who walked not three feet in front of us, most times herded, and what could safely be called intimidated along by two strong men, into a dark and bloody place. The desire to preserve and save a life~upwards of twenty lives a day~does not always end in success. Sometimes you simply obey~and trust~that your presence fills a place in the gap, that for today nobody crossed the threshold of that terrible place without knowledge of the truth, without causing a moment of “pause” in which they could have chosen life. The rain pouring down felt like a welcomed friend, crying down the tears welling inside that hadn’t yet found their way out.

Her baby would have been absolutely beautiful. It hurts beyond words to know what has happened to that little boy or girl. Ripped apart, piece by piece, from the safest place on earth. Oh, Jesus, forgive us. Reassembled on a tray to be sure every part of a precious human being has been removed. God, how did we ever get to a place where mothers allow this crime to be done against their bodies and their descendants? To be thrown out with tonight’s garbage. The very creation of a Holy, tender, righteous Lord~ How, Jesus? For the first time in my life, my arms feel empty because another woman’s baby has died. Back in the shelter of my home and in the arms of a man who loves me and values children, and LIFE, my tears join the rain. Deep sadness for all we have lost. Grief for the grief she will undoubtedly walk through after today.

One of her final questions as she passed through that dirty glass door, half covered with black paper was “You’d get up in the night with this baby!? Really!?”

We’ll already be awake in the night, love. A beautiful brown-skinned, curly-haired baby to carry us through would have been no trouble at all.

“Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children…” Lamentations 2:19

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When a Hero Goes Home

No words will do complete justice in giving honor and expressing gratefulness to a woman who has had a profound impact on my life! Who else has taught us so much about “the surrendered life” or “the path of lonliness” or about the beauty of “passion and purity.” Through her stories and writings, and publishing her late husband’s journals too, countless ones of us have been inspired by her (their)willingness to be used by God for the sake of souls hearing the Gospel, even at the risk of death.

“God never witholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — “severe mercies” at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.” 
― Elisabeth Elliot

“To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.” 
― Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes


It was she who introduced me to Amy Carmichael when I was around 16 years old in the pages of a book that was the thickest I had read to date: A Chance to Die. I read it and began to pray and dream about ways that God might use my life for His kingdom’s sake. It was during those years that a love for the children of India was born in my heart, and is something that has only grown and continued to be a leading, influencing factor in my life.

She was the first woman I read who loved and embraced the gift of womanhood, with all of it’s gifts and responsibilities unique to being a woman! She called to the girl in me and made me desire to be a faithful woman of God. I clearly remember that. I also remember the way she painted word pictures about family . . . and I can still hear her voice in several audio recordings giving clear, practical advice on the shaping of a Christian family!

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.” ― Elisabeth Elliot

“…my plea is let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is.” 
― Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman

Oh, and about singing hymns from first verse to last, not skipping any of the verses. That made me smile and nod my head . . . and to this day I think of her when a song leader leads us to “skip” the important middle verses of a hymn. :)

When I was seventeen years old I met Elisabeth (Elliot) Gren and her husband Lars for the first time! They spent several days teaching and speaking, as well as sitting with groups of us at meal times while Mr. Lars Gren kept things lively with his humor. :)

And then, after every meal, and before parting ways for the evening, Elisabeth Elliot taught us to sing a verse in Scripture that I have never forgotten and have often sung to myself or over my children at night.

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“Now unto Him who is able to keep, able to keep you from falling . . .
And present you faultless before the presense of His glory with exceeding joy!
To the only wise God our Savior be glory and majesty,
Dominion, and power, both now and forever. Amen!” Jude 24,25 (Click to listen to Jude 24, 25)

And now~now~to imagine Mrs. Elliot in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the One she adored, lived for, and encouraged so many of us to do the same! What glory! What a welcome home celebration must have been going on there in the past week!

It’s hard to see another faithful soldier of our older generation leave us. It makes me realize each time it happens that more than ever, it is MY privilege and joy to carry on the baton of faithfulness  to the next generation, as they have done to ours. We can depend on no one except us . . . we are the ones called to love and puruse and trust & obey our Heavenly Father as have our heroes in the faith.

She often quoted the words of Betty Scott Stam written on the inside of her Bible, “Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Your will for my life.  I give myself, my life, my all utterly to You to be Yours forever.  Fill me and seal me with Your Holy Spirit.  Use me as You want, send me where You want, work out Your whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.”

She truly lived this. And as stated in this article about her life, she is one of those Faithful Ones of whom the world truly was not worthy!

Her books will continue to be read and reread in my home, and even more so The Book she loved and knew so well. The song she taught will continue to be sung, until we too are called home, presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy!! And in my daily life, her words of direction which often ring in my ears. . . “Just do the next thing” . . . will continue to encourage me in her practical, no-nonsense manner to take a hold of the tasks before me ~ in the time and place where God has me ~ and to do it all to His Glory.

“The routines of housework and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death, and it is appropriate that they should be, for they offer the chance, day after day, to lay down one’s life for others. Then they are no longer routines. By being done with love and offered up to God with praise, they are thereby hallowed as the vessels of the tabernacle were hallowed–not because they were different from other vessels in quality or function, but because they were offered to God. A mother’s part in sustaining the life of her children and making it pleasant and comfortable is no triviality. It calls for self-sacrifice and humility, but it is the route, as was the humiliation of Jesus, to glory.” ― Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman

Thank you, Mrs. Elliot, for everything. By the blood of the Lamb and grace of our God, we will soon meet again . . .   through those gates of Splendor.

P.S. I would love to hear from you in the comments . . . how has Elisabeth Elliot influenced your life?

Birthday Celebrations and Focus Challenge

Note: At the end of this post I mention something that challenged me BIG TIME this week
with my diligence to memorize and help my children memorize Scripture.
And so I just have to ask, how do YOU help your children memorize and how do you motivate/reward them?
I’d love to hear from those who do it! ~Shelly


~Birthday Date with Daddy~

Our first two children were born two years and two week apart, in the summer.
As a result we often did fun outdoor activities and celebrated
with free food at restaurants, free toys at Toys R Us and more over the past years.
It was always so much fun. Except for child number three,
who felt that it was entirely unfair to have been born in the winter . . .
and with no “birthday buddy” at all.

So when baby #4 was due to be born in January,
we were sure to emphasise to #3 that this was definitely now HER birthday buddy. :)
They are three years and a month apart, but it has been fun
to have a “summer set” and now a “winter set”.

This daughter has been a complete surprise in my life, in every sense of the word!
From first learning I was expecting her and seeing blonde hair at birth,
to smiles & laughter day in and day out, while all in the same breath reminding us
nearly every day to pray for “Iraq” which to her means “the persecuted church” in general . . .
and giving her “circle money” to help the poor and needy.
She is a ray of SUNSHINE in our day to day.

And then there is the Baby.
She’s the most sober of all so far,
often observing life with a furrowed brow.
And so, when she smiles at you, you should feel quite special!! :)
She is challenging all of our well-thought “rules” of parenting
that had worked so well with the others up to this point!
Haha! Miss Independant  has arrived . . .
as well as my most difficult teether . . .
the most squishable, huggable, cuddliest,
latest to walk, completely Daddy’s baby . . .
has all worked out to be an amazing combination of
causing us an amazing amount of noisy & stressful car rides
as well as melting of our hearts into puddles
as she presses her little self into us a little closer for hugs and kisses.


I’m so grateful to have her as my third daughter,
and look forward to the ways her personality
will be used by God in the days and years ahead!

I continue to be challenged as I join with my husband to raise these children,
to be eternity focused. In our learning, growing, and living together . . .
One thing that really grabbed my heart this week is the fact
that many children in Muslim families have memorized the Koran
by the time they are eight years old.
Our houseguest this week said that would be comparable to
memorizing half of our Holy Bible. Wow! What!?!?
If people following after a counterfiet are so dedicated and determined
to have their children know and internalize their beliefs,
how much more should I, with the Truth of a Holy God in my hands,
not give more time and careful attention to the Word myself,
as well as help my children to hide it in their hearts as well.
Like I said, that has been my challenge for this week!

Also, talking about this household wouldn’t be complete without a tribute
to the lovely helpers who assist me in various ways:
(I’ve had a few, as they tend to come and go with travels, Bible School, etc.)

Althea has been my house-cleaning & laundry-folding angel two days a week.
She also helps out with story reading, alphabet games,
and math flashcards as needed.
It’s hard to express just how much we all appreciate her!
Perhaps especially when the baby is teething& grumpy as is evident in the picture below! :)

Blessings to you all this week in your particular walks of life!
May the Lord meet you where you are and draw you closer to Himself.
Life is short. Eternity is real. People are hurting and lost and need a Savior.
Let’s be the candle of hope in our corner of the world.

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