Archives For Faithful people of the past

To recap my first article about post-holiday depression (link here): It doesn’t matter if we’re single or married, going through a rough patch or living an uneventful life, we’re all vulnerable to the after Christmas blues that seep into our souls like a cold rain on a chill winter’s day. These blues can be a reminder that even the best earth has to offer will leave us wanting more. That even the most wonderful experiences are only a foretaste of what God has in store for His children.

But in the meantime, what are we to do when failure, monotony, boredom, pain, uncertainty, grief, despair, or depression color our days?

In the words of famed statesman Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never give up.”

Why? Why should we keep going on?

Because “[Satan’s] cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do [God’s] will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” ~C. S. Lewis~

Can you think of some folks who looked out on such a universe? From the Bible—Joseph, any of the Hebrews in Egypt, including Jochebed, (Moses’ mother), Job, Naomi, Daniel, Mary, Jesus. From history—Corrie ten Boom, Darlene Deibler Rose, Elisabeth Elliott, Joni Eareckson Tada . . . and those are just the first names that popped into my head!

Imagine God looking out at a world in shadow, a world plagued by shallowness, corruption, and many other evils. And in the midst of the darkness, He sees your light shining—in spite of difficult or boring or downright painful days. Imagine how He feels when we say with our actions, “Though the wait is wearying and the darkness hides You and joy seems like a distant memory, I will still love you, Lord.”

And just as spring always follows even the bleakest winter, we can be assured that, eventually, our feelings will catch up with our actions.

I’m drawn to the stories where the hero woos the heroine and refuses to give up. When he pushes past her fears, doubts, prickliness, fickleness, stubbornness, and whatever else she throws in his way, to love her and win her love. Love that “bears all things” is the love God shares with us. How it must delight Him when we are able to direct a tiny portion of that love back to Him.

So, friends, though Satan and the world try to sever our grip, we must cling to our Savior.

How? Here are a few ideas . . .

  • Get help. Find a counselor, accountability group, or fellowship group.
  • Start something new. Begin a challenge or project that intrigues you.
  • Be inspired. Join a Bible study. Read a missionary biography. Tape inspirational verses and quotes around your house or work space. (You can find a great online study at this link.)
  • Reach out. Serving others will fill up your heart.
  • Take every thought captive to Christ.
  • Pray without ceasing.
  • Give thanks.
  • Get a good night’s sleep and wake with the knowledge that you are not alone!

Who has some words of wisdom, advice, or encouragement to share? We’d love to hear from you!

I’m linking up with Miscellany Monday, Soli Deo Gloria, and Women Living Well Wednesdays. Blessings, friends!

There’s something about the contrast of a cultured young woman displaced in a rough frontier setting and successfully forging a new life for herself that stirs my imagination. Think Ma Ingalls making a home for her girls in the Little House books; Abbie setting a joyful example for her family with a Lantern in Her Hand; or Katherine Mary following her Canadian mounty through the pages of  Mrs. Mike.

Then add Elsie Hayes, from Barbara Anne Waite’s Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher, 1913-1916. This charming book shares a portion of the life story of Barbara’s grandmother through her grandmother’s letters and diary entries, plus additional  narrative  from interviews, recollections by Elsie’s former students, and newspaper accounts.

Elsie hailed from a privileged family in Long Beach, California, (where she was friends with a young Thornton Wilder) and graduated from Pamona College. But after graduation, while other girls her age were looking for husbands at plays and weekend house parties, Elsie was off  in wild and wooly Arizona teaching school in a one-room schoolhouse. The experiences and descriptions she shares are guaranteed to take you on a delightful trip back in time. For example, here are the 1913 rules for schoolteachers such as Elsie:

  • Teachers are not to keep company with men.
  • Women may not dye their hair.
  • Two petticoats must be worn.
  • Teachers may not loiter downtown in ice cream stores.
  • Dresses must be no more than two inches above the ankle.
  • Teachers are not to dress in bright colors.

And this is how Elsie described the frontier mining town of Jerome, which struck such fear in her heart upon her arrival: “I never imagined such a town. It looks like New York slums turned loose on a hillside and like Spain and Italy and almost like Chinatown combined. The mountainside is bare and bleak and the houses are . . . mysterious looking. One goes into a house from a dirty sidewalk and muddy street . . . The dirty saloons are surrounded by groups of foreigners who stare.”

Fortunately, Jerome was not her final destination. Elsie’s Oak Creek Schoolhouse—though itself a bit of an eyesore—was in the lovely Verde Valley, surrounded by thick groves of trees at the foot of the breathtaking Black Hills. Once settled there, Elsie thrilled to the beauty of her surroundings and the challenges of teaching her young pupils. Her words, though penned a hundred years ago, shine with a youthful enthusiasm and spirit of innocence.

I enjoyed experiencing Elsie’s adventures with her—her train rides, first days in the classroom, life among the country folks, and poignant experiences with love and romance. Her story touched my heart and kept me turning pages.

Gift Idea Alert: This would be a great gift for teachers, history lovers, or historical fiction lovers. The cover is eye-catching, and other authentic photos are scattered throughout its pages. You can order a copy from Amazon at this link and have it by Christmas! (It’s also eligible for free super saver shipping.)

Barbara and Curt

About the author: Originally from California, Barbara Anne Waite and her husband Curt have been in Antigua at Radio Lighthouse since 1974.

You can learn more at her website barbaraannewaite.com or by connecting with her on Facebook and Twitter.

***Many thanks to Barbara for sending me a copy of her book to review!

Giveaway Time: This is my first December Giveaway Post! I’m sharing a $10 Amazon Gift Card with one blog reader at the end of the month. (It’s an email card so I can send it anywhere you are!) All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below. Bonus Entries: Sign up for my newsletter at this link, let me know in your comment, and I’ll add your name two more times. (Or, if you should happen to buy Barbara’s book after reading this, let me know, and I’ll add your name to the drawing five more times!)

Betsie, Willem, Nollie, Corrie

From the time she was a little girl, Corrie ten Boom’s godly parents and loving, happy family influenced the woman she would become. The lessons she learned from them have touched my heart and helped me grow, and I’d like to share them with you.

Corrie at the hiding place

Not familiar with Corrie’s story? Born in Holland in 1892, she was 48 when the Nazi’s invaded in 1940. Corrie, her older sister, and elderly father risked their lives to take in Jewish refugees and hide them in a tiny room at the top of their house. In the following excerpt from The Hiding Place, by John Sherrill, Corrie shares how God prepared her for what was to come, from the very first day of the war.

In Corrie’s words . . . How long we clung together, listening, I do not know. The bombing seemed mostly to be coming from the direction of the airport. The glowing sky lit the room with a strange brilliance. The chairs, the mahogany bookcase, the old upright piano, all pulsed with an eerie light . . . It was war.

Betsie and I knelt down by the piano bench. For what seemed hours we prayed for our country, for the dead and injured tonight, for the Queen. And then, incredibly, Betsie began to pray for the Germans, up there in the planes, caught in the fist of the giant evil loose in Germany. I looked at my sister kneeling beside me in the light of burning Holland.

“Oh Lord,” I whispered, “listen to Betsie, not me, because I cannot pray for those men at all.” . . . And it was then that I had the dream. It couldn’t have been a real dream because I was not asleep. But a scene was suddenly and unreasonably in my mind. I saw the Grote Markt, half a block away, as clearly as though I were standing there, saw the town hall and St. Bavo’s and the fish mart with its stair-stepped facade.

The Grote Markt circa 1940

Then as I watched, a kind of odd, old farm wagon-old fashioned and out of place in the middle of a city-came lumbering across the square pulled by four enormous black horses. To my surprise I saw that I myself was sitting in the wagon. And Father too! And Betsie! There were many others, some strangers, some friends.

All together we were slowly being drawn across the square behind those horses. We couldn’t get off the wagon, that was the terrible thing. It was taking us away—far away, I felt—but we didn’t want to go . . .

“Betsie!” I cried, jumping up, pressing my hands to my eyes. “Betsie, I’ve had such an awful dream!” I felt her arm around my shoulder.

“We’ll go down to the kitchen where the light won’t show, and we’ll make a pot of coffee.” The booming of the bombs was less frequent and farther away as Betsie put on the water. Closer by was the wail of fire alarms and the beep of the hose trucks.

Over coffee, standing at the stove, I told Betsie what I had seen. “Am I imagining things because I’m frightened? But it wasn’t like that! It was real. Oh Betsie, was it a kind of vision?”

“I don’t know,” she said softly. “But if God has shown us bad times ahead, it’s enough for me that He knows about them. That’s why He sometimes shows us things, you know—to tell us that this too is in His hands.”

The Ten Boom House

Read my previous posts about Corrie or purchase a copy of her book for yourself:

I’ve been re-reading Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot along with my junior high English class, and TGOS is also the May selection for Julia’s Heroes of the Faith Book Club at Dark Glass Ponderings.

This book tells the story of five young missionaries who accomplished what every Christian aspires to—they lived and died for Christ. However, their brief time on earth and the way God took them home have left an indelible impact on generations of Christians.

In 1956 Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian lost their lives in an attempt to bring the Gospel to the Woadani or Auca tribe of Ecuador. There is so much that could be said about these brave men and their wives. I’ve already posted about them several times at the links listed below. So today I’d like to focus on one lesson the book brought home to me.

Words Jim Elliot wrote while in college

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story of these five men reminds me how perfectly God matches a life path to each personality He creates. When I was young, it seemed like Christians who dedicated their lives to Christ were immediately forced to go to some faraway outpost or jungle setting where they had to give up civilized life in order to be holy. I feared that a life of service might mean the same for me and balked at the idea. Nate, Jim, Ed, Pete, Roger, and their wives are a good reminder of what I eventually learned about God’s leading in our lives. God’s purpose is uniquely suited to each of us. He wants us to be happy and fulfilled doing what He created us to do. Since God is the one who made us, who knows better what will please us?

He tells us this again and again. We just need to trust His Word . . .

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11~

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will [shape] the desires of your heart.” ~Psalm 37:4~

“For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” ~Psalm 139:13&16~

The missionaries in this book chose the jungle and enjoyed everyday life among the simple people there. They were pioneers at heart and loved rough, outdoor adventures. Even the actual film footage of their last days—when the five men were camping out on the beach—features them joking, laughing, singing.

And the photos and film of the men’s first meeting with the Auca people show how exuberant they were to have finally made contact.

Reenactment from End of the Spear

The guys did not consider their lives to be filled with sacrifice. In the jungles of Ecuador, they felt they were fulfilling their purpose. 

Quote from Journals of Jim Elliot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through Gates of Splendor not only relates the details of the men’s jungle adventures, it also shares excerpts from the letters and diaries that reveal their hearts. As I read their hopes, dreams, doubts, and fears in their own words, I realized they were exactly where they wanted to be doing exactly what they’d dreamed of doing.

Each of the guys had been raised in homes that taught their children how to have personal relationships with Jesus Christ. Their parents read and discussed Scripture with them, brought them to church, showed by example how to live for Christ each day, and encouraged their children to discover God’s purpose for themselves. Most of the men and women involved in this story had felt God calling them to be missionaries since they were very young. So the Lord had been getting them ready to go to the Aucas for their entire lives.

What’s your purpose? How has God worked in your life to bring you this far? Have you ever felt God making an adjustment in your life when you’ve gotten off track? Feel free to share!

For more readings about the folks from this story, follow the links below:

In the past, I’ve written about Elisabeth Elliot and her husband Jim–how they met, fell  in love, and ended up on the mission field in Ecuador. In 1956, Jim and four other missionaries gave their lives to reach the Auca, now called Waodani, people for Christ. The book Through Gates of Splendor tells the story of these brave men.

The book also inspired a documentary, Beyond the Gates of Splendor, which shows interviews with the Waodani and the widows and children of the martyred missionaries. One of those left behind, Nate Saint’s son Steve, then wrote a book called End of the Spear, in which he shared the Waodani side of the story—what motivated them to kill and what brought them to repentance and salvation after the deaths of the five young men. His book was made into a major motion picture of the same name.

The legacy of this story now continues in a documentary called The Grandfathers, featuring Steve’s son, Jesse Saint. In this documentary, Jesse tells the story of his time living with the Waodani tribe and how he built relationships with the men who speared his grandfather—men who are now believers desiring to follow the one true God. They played important roles in his life as he searched for his own purpose in Christ.

I’ve admired the families involved in this story for years and, during my younger days, wondered what it would be like to be one of them. I assumed my spiritual journey would have been easier had I shared their powerful legacy. Jesse’s story reminded me that God acts with perfect wisdom when He puts us into families and chooses the circumstances of our life journeys. As Psalm 139 says, “All the days ordained for [us] were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” It didn’t matter that Jesse Saint’s grandfather and father were famous men of God, he still had to find his own place in the world—apart from the burden of expectations their legacies created.

Here’s an excerpt from the promotional blurb about the movie: The Grandfathers is a motion-graphics documentary by writer/director Jim Hanon and producer Mart Green. It tells the journey of Jesse Saint. In the heart of the jungle, Jesse must confront his family’s past as he determines his own future. This documentary is a moving tribute to a young man’s quest for significance and purpose – and his remarkable impact on the three tribal elders who, unwittingly, are on a quest of their own.

You can find out more about the film at this website. It’s also available for purchase at Amazon.com.

This is a great film to use with a youth group or home school group. I’m reading the book Through Gates of Splendor with my junior high English class right now and plan to use this movie, along with End of the Spear, at the end of our unit.

This post also gives me a great opportunity to remind you about the Heroes of the Faith Book Club started by Julia at Dark Glass Ponderings. We’ll be discussing Through Gates of Splendor at Julia’s blog and here at Doorkeeper on April 30th. (I’ll be on a New York City day trip with my class, so my post will go up on the 29th.) You’ll find further details about the book club in this post.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a happy day!

She wasn’t young, beautiful, clever, or especially brave. So who could’ve guessed that an aging spinster who had rarely been away from home, would have such an impact on the lives around her . . . and for generations to come?

Corrie ten Boom never married, raised a family, earned advanced degrees, climbed the corporate ladder, won prizes, or even moved out of her father’s house. She was just an ordinary 1940’s woman, who spent her days cooking, cleaning, and caring for the poor and handicapped. She never saw herself as the cunning, super-agent type. But God, who loves to tap ordinary folks to accomplish His extraordinary purposes, used her in a mighty way as part of Holland’s underground resistance during WWII. For me, she exemplifies this truth from I Corinthians:

Corrie, age 80

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”

Not familiar with Corrie’s story?

The Ten Boom House

Born in Holland in 1892, she was 48 when the Nazi’s invaded in 1940. Corrie, her older sister, and elderly father risked their lives to take in Jewish refugees and hide them in a tiny room at the top of their house. Their story was recorded in a book called The Hiding Place and recreated in a movie of the same name.

Actually, The Hiding Place is much more than a harrowing tale of “agents” working for the underground resistance. Within its pages, Corrie shares how God worked in her life to prepare her for a special ministry during and after the war years.

From the time she was a little girl, Corrie’s godly parents and loving, happy family influenced the woman she would become. The lessons she learned from them have touched my heart and helped me grow. So I’d like to share them with you during the next weeks.

Here’s a summary of Lesson One in Corrie’s own words:

“God’s viewpoint is sometimes different from ours–so different that we could not even guess at it unless He had given us a Book which tells us such things. In the Bible I learn that God values us not for our strength or our brains but simply because He has made us.”

I’m thankful that someone helped Corrie write her story. Each time I read it, I’m reminded of what God can do with a willing heart. And that gives me hope for me! May her story bring you hope and encouragement, too! Many blessings, friends!

Love can be a hard word. In conversations, we tend to overuse it or abuse it. Some love everything; others, nothing. We live in a culture that changes the definition of love to fit each new whim or fancy. And how many folks do we know who’ve wasted their lives “looking for love in all the wrong places”?

Sometimes the best way to understand love is to take note of the actions and attitudes that do NOT demonstrate love. Why are the negatives so recognizable? Because it’s easy to focus on ourselves and what we want. So that seems to be the default position from which we approach life.

I often re-read a little book by missionary poet Amy Carmichael that attempts to capture in words what love is not and then encourages us to do the opposite. It’s called If. Here are a few excerpts:

If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.

If I take offense easily; if I am content to continue in cold unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting “Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?” Then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cast up a confessed, repented, and forsaken sin against another, and allow my remembrance of that sin to colour my thinking and feed my suspicions, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of man elates me and his blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

In just about any page of the book, I can see myself and be convicted of an attitude I need to let God transform!

If you’d like some devotional reading by an interesting Christian woman from the past, you can follow this link to download a free version of If by Amy Carmichael.

This next link will take you to free downloads of two of Amy’s lesser known works at the Project Gutenberg site.

Not familiar with Project Gutenberg? According to Wikipedia, it’s a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks. I’ve found all kinds of classic authors at PG: L. M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, C. S. Lewis, Charles Dickens and so many more.

Just another reason to “love” technology! Blessings all!


If you didn’t have the chance to read my first post, The Most Remarkable Woman I’ve Never Met, you can find the link here. And at the end of this post, you’ll find some other interesting links, including one to the last piece Elisabeth ever wrote, which has never been published as a book.

For Part II of this series, I decided to let Elisabeth tell you about her life in her own words.

From the About Elisabeth page of her website: “A year after I went to Ecuador, Jim Elliot, whom I had met at Wheaton, also entered tribal areas with the Quichua Indians. In 1953 we were married in the city of Quito and continued our work together. Jim had always hoped to have the opportunity to enter the territory of an unreached tribe. The Aucas were in that category—a fierce group whom no one had succeeded in meeting without being killed. After the discovery of their whereabouts, Jim and four other missionaries entered Auca territory. After a friendly contact with three of the tribe, they were speared to death.

Our daughter Valerie was 10 months old when Jim was killed. I continued working with the Quichua Indians when, through a remarkable providence, I met two Auca women who lived with me for one year.

Elisabeth, Valerie, and Auca women

Elisabeth, Valerie, and Quichuas

Elisabeth and Valerie

They were the key to my going in to live with the tribe that had killed the five missionaries. I remained there for two years. After having worked for two years with the Aucas, I returned to the Quichua work and remained there until 1963 when Valerie and I returned to the U.S.

Since then, my life has been one of writing and speaking. It also included, in 1969, a marriage to Addison Leitch, professor of theology at Gordon Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts. He died of Cancer in 1973.

After his death I had two lodgers in my home. One of them married my daughter; the other one, Lars Gren, married me.”

Renee’s comments: She tells it all so matter-of-factly, but I can’t imagine how difficult some of those years were! The following is a transcript from an episode of the Gateway to Joy radio program in which Lars (husband #3) and Elisabeth talk about how they met. (It mentions that they’ve been married 23 years, but the program is about 10 years old. So Lars and Elisabeth have actually been married more than 30 years.) Also, I hope you can sense the humor underlying some of their comments!

Lars Gren: “For some of the people who do not know it, I want to tell how it was that we met in the first place. I’d been living in Atlanta, Georgia. And through remarkable circumstances and many providential turns, I wrapped up the business of being a manufacturer’s representative and went off to seminary at Gordon-Conwell, which is only about ten miles down the road from where we now live.

When I arrived for the first day of classes, it was the funeral of one of the beloved professors there, Dr. Addison Leitch. I attended that funeral. Afterwards, there was a coffee hour where students were to be given the opportunity to pay their respects and say a few words about what Dr. Leitch had meant to them. Of course, this was all directed to the widow.

During that time I listened, and then at the very end this woman stood up. And I remember a few words that the widow said. ‘I do not want you to worry, but I would like to say a few words in response to these kind remarks.’ I thought to myself, here’s someone who has just been to the funeral of a husband, and to be able to stand up and speak as she did. She really impressed me as being a woman of tremendous strength. I remember thinking to myself, ‘That is some kind of woman.’ Continue Reading…