By Ellen Vaughn
“This book tells the colorful tale of how Elisabeth Elliot came to be, through her adventures in the jungle of Ecuador.”
– Ellen Vaughn
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‘Becoming Elisabeth Elliot’ is the first part of a two-volume authorized biography of Elisabeth Elliot’s life by Ellen Vaughn. This book tells the story of a “young missionary in Ecuador when members of a violent Amazonian tribe savagely speared her husband Jim and his four colleagues”.
Elisabeth was a woman who wholeheartedly sought after the Lord, determined to be obedient no matter the cost. One of the most powerful messages I’ve been left with after reading this book (alongside Elisabeth’s ‘Let Me Be a Woman’ book), is that there is beauty and peace to be found while dwelling in the blessing of the Lord. I don’t mean material blessings – things or accolades – yet the blessing of worshipping within the boundaries as the created beings we are, made in the image of our God, yet purposefully made man or woman, and each with our own unique journey of sanctification. The blessing of faithfully understanding our role within creation, as humans and as women – and in Elisabeth’s case, as a missionary, widow, mother, author, speaker – results in more obedience, more faithfulness, and flourishing through the hard sanctification process. As we abide in God, we believe through faith that His boundaries for us are truly what’s safest, best, and good for us.
Kneeling to God’s sovereign will (whether we believe God ordains, allows or sends trials and suffering), gives us a “song that our circumstances cant change” (quote from Minister Mark Tibben). The song on Elisabeth’s lips for the duration of her life was one of rejoicing in God’s great love and sacrifice for us. This didn’t mean that Elisabeth didn’t experience seasons of doubt, loneliness, depression and deep heartache, but during these dark seasons, she could “do the next thing” with her hope of heaven encouraging her to put one foot in front of another.
“For us as widows, the question as to why the men who had trusted God to be both shield and defender should be allowed to be speared to death was not one that could be smoothly answered in 1956, nor yet silenced [later]… I believe with all my heart that God’s story has a happy ending… But not yet, not necessarily yet. It takes faith to hold on to that in the face of the great burden of experience, which seems to prove otherwise. What God means by happiness and goodness is a far higher thing than we can conceive” (p260).
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