Archives For Dark Glass Ponderings

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:

Have you ever felt like you weren’t doing it right? Life, I mean. And maybe you’d like to shadow someone older and wiser to see what they’ve discovered that you’re missing? If so, have I got a group for you! It’s the Heroes of the Faith Book Club.

This group was started by faithful homeschooling book reviewer/writer Julia, who blogs at Dark Glass Ponderings. (Here’s the link to her original post about Heroes of the Faith.)

Now, I know some of you might be thinking, “She just finished featuring one book club I didn’t have time for, and here she is introducing another.”

But this one’s different! Let me give you a quick rundown . . .

  • You’ll have an extended period of time to read each book. (60 days for this first one.)
  • Each book will feature a true-life inspirational story.
  • You’ll have the chance to discuss the book with others who have read it. (We’ll begin our first book discussion on April 30th.)
  • Sometimes there will be prizes 🙂 (I’m giving away prizes that go with this first book.)
  • You’re more than likely to be greatly changed by the time you finish the book.

Julia’s book choice for our first discussion is Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. Here’s how the Book Angles review site describes the book:

Through Gates of Splendor can safely be called a Christian classic. It is a powerful, close-up look at the lives of ordinary people who loved God first and foremost, desired His will, and trusted Him. There is much to inspire the reader to abandon fear and live every moment fully for God’s purposes. The accounts, often in the missionaries’ own words, may well inspire young readers to reach the unreached and/or to obey God with the same discipline and wholeheartedness as the book’s main characters.”

Chuck Swindoll also endorsed the book, “I would say, without hesitation, God used this book to change my life.”

Through Gates of Splendor has been in print long enough that there are many places for you to obtain a copy. First, you may want to check with your public library.

Another great place to grab the book is on I found many copies of the book there for 75 cents. Once you add shipping and handling, that will bring your price up to almost $4.00, but that’s still a great price for a Christian classic. Follow this link to view copies of the 2005 edition at This is the link to copies of the 1995 edition. Both editions are bargain priced.

The book is also available both new and used at and for $5.99 at

Here’s how to participate: 1. Buy or borrow a copy of the book. 2. Read it over the next two months. 3. Come back to Doorkeeper and Dark Glass Ponderings for a book discussion on April 30th. Simple, right?

According to the Bible, Paul encouraged the Christians he’d been mentoring to take a good long look at his life and then pattern it. Philippians 4:19 records his words, Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you.” That’s the verse I’m claiming for this special book club. I want to take a good long look at the lives of some Heroes of the Faith, and then find a way to duplicate their devotion, passion, and impact in my own life!

I hope some of you will consider joining us in the Heroes of the Faith Book Club. And if you do, also consider leaving a comment on Julia’s blog post as well–just to encourage her. Again, the link to her post is here.

To whet your appetite, here’s a short clip from the documentary version of Through Gates of Splendor. In this section of the video, the wives of the missionaries and the remaining Aucas (also called the Waodanis) share their first impressions of each other. Also, the ladies talk about the preparation for Operation Auca:

Don’t you love those old photos and videos? It’s a great story!

Follow this link to read my post about Elisabeth and Jim Elliot.

The Season’s of Love Progressive Blog Party is drawing to a close. If you’re a book lover, you’ll want to stop in at the various sites and sign up for the drawings the bloggers are hosting.

Saturday’s party post features first-time author Jody Hedlund. I loved her book The Preacher’s Bride, which was based on the life of Elizabeth Bunyan, John Bunyan’s second wife. You can read an interview with her at this link to Dark Glass Ponderings. Julia and Jody are giving away a copy of Jody’s book. I believe they’re also giving away Godiva chocolate!

Sunday’s post features one of my favorite authors, Laura Frantz. Laura writes inspirational historical fiction that will not only take you to another place and time but will also touch your heart with the truths of God. You can find Laura, plus a 3-book giveaway, at this link for the Black and Gold Girl’s Book Spot. Bookmark the spot so you’ll remember to visit after church!

And to remind you to return later, here are Laura’s book covers for you to enjoy . . .

July 2011

Also, I think it’s not too late to get in on some of the previous giveaways. Here are the links: Continue Reading…

For some reason, bloggers enjoy passing awards around to each other. I’ve received several blog awards from my new bloggy friends and decided to put them all together into one post. Here’s how it works: 1. I tell you about the bloggers who gave me the awards. 2. I reveal seven random pieces of trivia about myself. 3. I pass the award on to fifteen other sites.

Part I: These are the bloggers who gave me my Stylish Blogger Awards.

Amy at Walking in His Grace. Amy is a young mother who is working on building a Christian home with her hubby, Joshua.
Janet at Nana’s Sweeties or Life is Beautiful. Janet writes about her adventures with her husband Mike, two sons, and eight grandkids.
Tara at Undeserving Grace. Tara is a wife and mother who describes herself as a Christian trying to find her best to give God each day because He deserves nothing less.

Kait and Katy

And my young friend Kait. Kait (pictured on the left) has a personal blog called Reviews by Jane. And she blogs with her best friend Katy at Book Ponderings. Kait is a Christian homeschooled teen, the oldest of 7 kids, and all her siblings are boys. However, her mom is expecting a baby in a few weeks. So the whole family is hoping baby #8 will be a girl. She and Katy review books and share glimpses of their lives on their sites. (Katy is also a homeschooler and 3rd eldest of 10 kids.) They’re also co-authoring a novel together.

A few months back, two other blogging buddies passed awards to me, but I didn’t make posts at that time. So belated thanks to Emily of Scribbles from Emily and Amber of Seasons of Humility. I’ve featured their blogs in the past but wanted to mention them again today.

Part II: Seven random pieces of trivia about myself.

1. During my first year teaching at a Christian high school in the suburbs of Chicago, I existed on boxed Macaroni and Cheese for the better part of a year. Our salaries were small, I was far from home, and times were tough. But I loved my students and enjoyed every minute of it! However, I couldn’t eat the boxed stuff for years after that.

These girls are not us!

2. When my sisters and I were living at home,we invented games to pass the time while we did our chores. We played one of our favorites while doing dishes. One would sing a song and stop on a certain word. The next player had to sing a line of another song that began with that exact word. It was fun–try it!

3. When I was in junior high, I read almost every fiction book in the young adult section of our town’s library and moved on to the Harlequin romances they kept on the shelves.

Harlequin’s were much different back then–sweet and clean. One of my favorite authors was Betty Neels. Many of her books took place in Holland and starred un-thin, non-perfect-looking heroines who did noble things with their lives like nursing people back to health or sacrificing to raise a relative’s children. And they always seemed to marry doctors . . . I really wanted to go to Holland!

4. I grew up in the historic town of Kinderhook, New York, birthplace of our 8th President Martin Van Buren. Most etymologists agree that the expression OK originated with his political campaign and stood for Old Kinderhook. So you have one of your most common expressions because of my home town!

5. I graduated from the Ichabod Crane High School in Valatie, New York. (Yes, I have a diploma from a school named after a fictional character.) Washington Irving hung out with various people in the Valatie/Kinderhook area–including Martin Van Buren. Our school was named for his famous story, and our mascot was the Rider. On the wall of our auditorium were silhouettes of Ichabod Crane riding a horse on one side and the headless horseman chasing him on the other.

6. War movies are my guilty pleasure. I don’t mind if they’re bloody, as long as the heroes are noble. And it is kind of cool when things explode. I grew up watching John Wayne movies on Saturday afternoons with my dad. My favorites were The Green Berets and The Sands of Iwo Jima. Even today, I watch Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan every time they’re on the History Channel.  (Note: Some folks I know have purported to be war movie fans based on their love of Pearl Harbor. Seriously? That is a chick flick–not a true war movie!)

7. I remember exactly where I was when the US Hockey team won the 1980 Olympics of Lake Placid, NY. I was in the stands at a basketball game at my college. The announcer stopped the game to tell us the news, and we all cheered. Have you seen the movie version of their story–Miracle? It’s a great one!

Part III: Some sweet bloggers whose sites I enjoy. There’s not room here to describe each blog in detail. Feel free to come back when you have more time so you can pop in on a site or two. (And if you’re one of the bloggers below, please don’t link back to me. That’s not why I’m mentioning you!)

  1. Julia at Dark Glass Ponderings
  2. Laura Frantz at
  3. Lydia at The Overweight Bookshelf
  4. Esther at Laugh With Us Blog
  5. Alisa at Faith Imagined
  6. Patty Ann at Pitterle Postings
  7. Kerri at Living with Chronic Illness
  8. Tara at Living in Taradise
  9. Anne at Open Book Girls
  10. Cammie at Flutterbys and Frogs
  11. Erika at Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints
  12. Dorie at These Grace Filled Days
  13. Anne at Our Family on Mission
  14. Viviene at Journey of a Woman
  15. Kelly at Kelly’s Korner

If you’ve read this far, congratulations on making it through this long, long post!