If I could only recommend one mentor for Christian women, hands down it would be Elisabeth Elliot. Over my entire adulthood, I have gone back to her writings and recordings to keep me encouraged and grounded in her straightforward manner. Every day I notice that some pretty questionable “leaders” are influencing millions of Christian women with progressive Christianity and weak theology, and my heart just hurts for the lack of true biblical guidance. So if you’re looking for someone to be a true Titus 2 mentor, let me tell you why you need Elisabeth Elliot in your life.
“If all struggles and sufferings were eliminated, the spirit would no more reach maturity than would the child.” (EE)
Elisabeth Elliot was one of six children of missionary parents. She attended Wheaton College, where she met her future husband Jim. They both felt called to the mission field in Ecuador. In 1953, Jim and Elisabeth were married in Quito, Equador, where they continued to serve as missionaries. They had one daughter, Valerie.
In 1956, Jim and four other men were killed by the very Indians they were attempting to reach. This story has been told in numerous books and films. Elisabeth wrote the following three books, and the movie, “End of the Spear” is an excellent family film.
But as fascinating as Jim Elliot’s story is, my post today is about Elisabeth. When Jim was killed, Elisabeth was left alone with her 10-month-old daughter. And the thing Elisabeth did next is what sets her apart from many Christian women today: she continued in her missionary role. She spent two years learning the language of the very people that had killed her husband, waiting for a chance to reach them. Finally, in 1958, Elisabeth and her daughter went to live with those very people and to preach the Gospel to them.
“The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.” (EE)
This is a woman who knew her calling and understood the scriptures about laying down our lives. She did not seek worldly comfort, but continued to pursue what God had given her. This is why you need Elisabeth Elliot in your life.
In a world where Christian women are coddled and petted and encouraged to do what makes them happy, we need real, bold truth from women like Elisabeth.
“God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.” (EE)
In 1963, Elisabeth and Valerie returned to the U.S. where she began her ministry of writing and speaking to women. She remarried, and her second husband also died, and she married again.
Throughout her ministry to women, Elisabeth has been the voice of truth and reason, with biblically-sound advice to women. Whether single, married, working, stay-at-home, widows, mothers, or any other circumstance, she ministered to women in every aspect of their lives.
“The fact that I’m a woman doesn’t make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I’m a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.” (EE)
She did not mince words or seek to follow trends. She never strayed from the Bible as her source of wisdom, and never apologized for it. This is why you need Elisabeth Elliot in your life.
Elisabeth Elliot Resources
RADIO: So you want to learn more from Elisabeth, but you don’t know where to start? Let me recommend one of my favorites: her old radio show, Gateway to Joy. This show was on for 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for almost 13 years. And now you can listen on demand at Bible Broadcasting Network. (I listen on my iPhone for convenience, by going to this link and then clicking “save link to home screen” for future use.)
NEWSLETTER: All of Elisabeth’s newsletters from 1982-2003 are available in PDF format at her website ElisabethElliot.org. What an amazing free gift!
CDs: Numerous talks by Elisabeth are available on CD ordered directly from her husband, Lars Gren. These are all wonderful for listening and sharing with friends.
BOOKS: Every book Elisabeth wrote deserves space in your home library, and they make great gifts for women of all ages and stages in life. (Get the complete list here.) I have given several of them to my daughters, as well as to high school graduates. I look forward to reading Jim’s stories with my sons this year.
QUOTES: I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Elisabeth Elliot quotes in a separate blog post. If you want a sneak peek at her worldview, read the quotes here.
“To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.” (EE)
So how does a person grow up to be like Elisabeth? Lucky for us, she also wrote a book on how her parents raised her. It’s called The Shaping of a Christian Family. From the publisher: “Elliot tells the story of her childhood to share valuable insights on raising godly children. She talks candidly on parental expectations, emphasizes daily Bible reading and prayer, and shows the benefits of practicing such scriptural principles as trust, discipline, courtesy, and teaching by example.” It is a fascinating book, and one that every parent should read. It explains so much.
But wait! There’s more! Elisabeth’s great-grandfather wrote a beautiful classic called Hints on Child Training in 1890. With this book, which is excellent on its own merit, you can see how a generational vision was embraced and accomplished, one where children are raised to love and obey God.
Elisabeth’s life and the example set by her parents and grandparents are a beautiful example of an intentional Christian life. We can learn so much about faith, hope, and love through the writings and recordings available by this humble and obedient Christian woman.
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
As Elisabeth was preparing to retire her radio program in 2001, she suggested the name of a new Christian speaker and author who would fill her shoes, so to speak. That woman was Nancy Leigh DeMoss, or Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Elisabeth hit the nail on the head with this recommendation. Nancy is every bit as solid as Elisabeth, and another wise woman to follow.
You can follow Nancy’s ministry at Revive Our Hearts, including radio, podcasts, Bible studies, books, and so much more.
I hope you have been given some new and solid wisdom for your life, or at least have been reminded of some gems you forgot about! In 21st century America, we are plagued with progressive Christianity and false theology everywhere we turn. It is dangerous for us, for the church, for our children, and for the future. The truth-speakers are few, and they deserve our attention. Stock your library with these godly authors, listen to them in your spare time, and share them with your family and friends.