Books have the power to guide us, to enlighten us, to challenge us and to teach us.
I have been a "read-aholic" since the day my 6-year-old eyes landed upon the first page of Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. After devouring everything that Laura had written, I then grew into books by other well-known authors such as Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Maud Heart Lovelace and Carol Ryrie Brink.
As the years passed and my literary diet grew, I read biographies, historical accounts and most of the classics. A turning point came, however, in my literary taste when I was finally able to digest books about ideas rather than simply about people and events.
It was during my early teen years that my father began to introduce me to books by great women of the faith such as Corrie ten Boom, Pearl S. Buck, Hannah Whitall Smith and Mrs. Charles Cowman. I would sit quietly for hours, poring over the pages written by women whose faith was real, vibrant and had been tested, while other friends rode their bikes, played hopscotch and were experiencing the thrill of first love. The words on the pages of books placed there by women who had gone before me seemed to be a beacon guiding me away from dark places and a sweet voice calling my name over and over and over again.
"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
It is the writings of Elisabeth Elliot that have been a faithful companion over the many years of standing strong in my faith and endeavoring to serve Jesus no matter what the cost or circumstances. I believe in these days when Christianity is greatly impacted by name recognition, massive conferences and celebrity Christian lifestyle that it is vital to listen to those voices that have lived for Jesus during trial and tragedy. It is the pure voices that speak to us from the pages of Christian history that should garner the most honor and respect. So it is with Elisabeth and me—she has written from the fullness of a heart that fully embraced the Christ of the Bible, and I listen to her wisdom.
"God never withholds 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
Elisabeth Elliot was a woman who always went back to the unchanging principles found in the Word of God and never deviated from their truth or power. So it is with me.
"There is nothing worth living for, unless it is worth dying for." —Elisabeth Elliot
Elisabeth loved Jesus when life was hard and when it was easy—I want to be that kind of woman. It is not so important what I wear, who I know or how many followers I have on social media but what truly matters is that I wear a heart of compassion, that I know Jesus fully and that I follow Him all the days of my life.
"Leave it all in the hands that were wounded for you." —Elisabeth Elliot
Elisabeth Elliot will always be a life-changing role model for me not because of any of her earthly accomplishments but because she pointed others unapologetically toward Jesus.
"We are women, and my please 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.
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written eight books, including The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, Defiant Joy!, Holy Estrogen!, No More Ordinary, Refined, Joy For All Seasons, Let There Be Joy! and Pass the Joy, Please! which releases on February 1, 2018.Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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