I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by! It was a year ago this week that my husband and I downsized from our home in Gig Harbor, WA where we had lived for twenty years to our new home which I love. Our new place is smaller and has a quaint, cottage-like feel but as recent “empty nesters” we are content and happy in our new place and stage in life.
I love our Dutch door!
Looking for a home can be stressful and we were so pleasantly blessed to find this little gem. It has so many features that I had on my list of desires—the Nantucket cottage look, the driftwood flagpole, large hydrangeas in the front garden, a Dutch door, and the most amazing view. We can see Mount Rainier from our kitchen and living room windows—a glorious sight when it appears in its white-capped splendor!
The driveway to our new house is a long one-lane road with an unusual landmark distinguishing it. On the right side is a gigantic Indian arrow with the tip firmly planted in the ground. It is close to twelve feet high and painted like a tribal spear. I had wondered about the origin story of this odd artifact but lately as I pass it, I am also reminded of Elisabeth Elliot, a woman whose inspiring life story has strongly shaped my own life. In fact, I just finished reading a new biography titled Becoming Elisabeth Elliot written by New York Times bestselling author Ellen Vaughn.
Our unusual landmark
“Becoming Elisabeth Elliot” by Ellen Vaughn
If you are unfamiliar with her story, Elisabeth and her husband Jim Elliot were serving as missionaries in Ecuador in 1956 when members of a violent Amazonian tribe savagely speared and killed Jim and his four colleagues as they prepared to share the Gospel message with their tribe. This tragic but ultimately inspiring story is in the book The End of the Spear which is now a full-length feature movie. I would also recommend Elisabeth’s best seller Through Gates of Splendor. I was introduced to this second book during a course I took years ago called “World Perspectives on the Missionary Movement” which opened my eyes to a whole new world. I was fascinated learning for the first time about what it takes to be a missionary. I was mesmerized by the true account of these five young college grads and their passion for sharing the Gospel message of Jesus to one of the most unreached and hostile tribes in the world. Elisabeth Elliot and her husband were completely devoted to sharing the good news of Jesus, even at the cost of their own lives. Her story greatly impacted my life and reminded me that to live a life of faith also means living a life of obedience to Him.
Her story greatly impacted my life and reminded me that to live a life of faith also means living a life of obedience to Him.
Elisabeth and Jim met at Wheaton College and fell in love over their shared passion for missionary work. Jim and his four best college friends and their wives were determined to share Jesus with an Ecuadorian tribe that was the most remote: the Waodoni Tribe.
This tribal group was the most savage people group anthropologists had ever studied. Jim and his mission partners along with their wives began intensely studying their tribal language and customs. After months of training in their customs and ways, they set up base camp in the eastern jungle of Ecuador where this tribe lived. These five men were earning the right to be heard with the tribal members by dropping gifts by bucket from a small plane. They felt they were getting closer and closer to making friendly contact.
In early January of 1956, they were ready to meet them in person and were so excited. But that is when the unexpected happened. There was a misunderstanding amongst the tribal members and when conflict arose among the Waodoni, they were known for killing each other to deal with their anger.
On the morning of January 8th, all five of these men were massacred by spear in a surprise attack. They had brought guns with them but chose not to use them and gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel message. The most incredible thing about this story and what touched me the most was the steadfastness of Elisabeth. Her husband was killed by the very people they were trying to save but she still remained passionate about sharing Jesus with these savage and unpredictable people. She and her ten-month-old daughter later lived with that tribe for three years and taught them about the ways and love of God which included her own forgiveness of the very men that had killed her husband and his friends. The tribe came to know Jesus during the time Elisabeth spent living in the jungle with them. This ending was a true miracle.
Interior of a small church built of bamboo in the Amazon area
Elisabeth Elliot has inspired me and reminded me of the incredible sacrifice, courage and true allegiance to Jesus Christ she exhibited. I aspire to be more like her. There are a few specific things I have learned from her and hope will encourage you too.
A chance to die. Elisabeth held to this phrase that often defined missionary life and lived by it daily. She inspires me to lay my life down and give it to something bigger than myself. Our daily choices often offer us the opportunity or “the chance to die” to our ways and desires when we look to the interests of others and trust God’s ways are better than ours. It takes a complete surrender and trust in Him.
Do the next thing. Elisabeth was overwhelmed after the death of her husband but she relied on the strength of the Lord to be enough for each day and was inspired by an old Saxon poem:
“Do it immediately, do it with prayer, do it reliantly, casting all care. Do it with reverence, tracing His hand who placed it before thee with earnest command. Stayed on omnipotence, safe’ neath His wing, leave all resultings, do the next thing.”
I am inspired to take on this mindset and it has helped tremendously when I am feeling overwhelmed by life’s circumstances.
Stay steadfast. Stay true to what you have been called to do. Elisabeth didn’t give up after losing her husband. She stayed true to the call to make Christ known to the Waodoni tribe. Her dedication and perseverance inspires me to not give up. God has the ultimate outcome in mind when we entrust our whole self to Him. His ways aren’t our ways. He is always working to bring good out of the circumstances that don’t make sense and gives us the grace we need.
So, as I drive down my driveway, I can’t help but be reminded of Elisabeth Elliot when that huge spear comes into view. Reading about her life and how God worked through her encourages me to press on holding to the anchor we have in Jesus. The truths that carried Elisabeth through her life’s storms have carried me through mine. He loves me. He is faithful. He never leaves me. He has the most amazing plan to unfold as I trust Him. I hope Elisabeth’s life and these truths inspire you too and encourage you to become more like her.
Sharing Strength & Hope
Now that our blog has officially launched (wow!) we’ll be sharing more content with you each week. Check your inbox on Tuesday mornings for content that will inspire you and grow your hope in Jesus, such as:
Articles from founder and director Katie Robertson
Posts featuring the Anchor Truths (with free phone backgrounds and art prints!)
Guest articles and videos from women anchored in their faith
Content to uplift you, encourage you, and help you anchor yourself in the hope of Jesus
We can’t wait to make the vision of The Anchor Blog a reality!