Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Be All There

I was leaving my favorite library a few weeks ago when I stopped to peruse the old metal "Free Books" cart parked outside the door. It's usually littered with dogeared titles by Danielle Steele and LaVyrle Spencer, but as I glanced over it a shiny pink paperback caught my eye. It was sitting haphazardly atop the pile, a victim of recent consideration and rejection. I could see the name of the author on the spine - Elliot. 

So. I've been reading my free copy of Elisabeth Elliot's Through Gates of Splendor this week. For those of you who haven't read it, it's the account of five missionaries' life-changing work in Equador. I've underlined about half the book. Jim Elliot's bravery and heart for the things of God are astounding. Elisabeth quotes her husband's journals extensively throughout the book, and this entry from his early years is one of my favorites so far:

"Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."
  - Jim Elliot

I've thought about it often this week - how easy it is to fail in this pursuit, and the grave consequences of that failure: ingratitude, complacency, discontent, and uselessness. The idea of pondering failure might be discouraging, but I have found it to be the opposite. It's been encouraging to look that failure straight in the eye, to acknowledge the truth of those consequences, and to seek contentment and gratitude in the small moments of my life.

"I only hope that He will let me preach to those who have never heard that name Jesus. What else is worthwhile in this life? I have heard of nothing better. 'Lord, send me!'"
-Jim Elliot

Monday, November 17, 2014

Scenes from the Home Front

We have been busy at home. Gratefully, the craziness of running here and there has eluded our family this year. We're getting smarter with our scheduling, or saying no more, or, more likely, a combination of the two. Our hands are full, and full of good things. Lots of good books are being read now that we have three curious readers underfoot. We've become fascinated with the Revolutionary War, the heroics of George Washington, the heady times that marked the beginning of our country. How did I graduate with honors and a BA in History and know so very little about the genesis of my own country?

We begin our mornings with piano practice, Pachelbel's Canon and Jingle Bells plunked out with varying degrees of cacophony. The kids play with playdoh and stage boisterous concerts in the basement. The house is often loud. They read side by side on their bellies on the floor. The house is often a mess. Snow arrived in the middle of the night and was greeted this morning with shouts of joy. Even I can appreciate its quiet loveliness as it has covered western New York in a blanket of white. Thanksgiving is next week, and I am grateful for so much.