I’m finishing my third read-through of Elisabeth Elliot’s book Let Me Be a Woman. It’s listed on my Books I Love page for good reason, I really do love it. Elisabeth Elliot’s writing has been some of the more influential in my life; it was A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael that largely shaped my experiences in Malawi, and her plethora of books on suffering have been invaluable. But Let Me Be a Woman is one I always return to. She writes it in the form of letters to her daughter who is engaged to be married, she writes from her experiences as a young bride, a young widow, a second-time bride, a second-time widow, and as a woman who though she has married three times has spent most of her life single (at the time she wrote the book, shortly after the books publication she married for a third time). She writes from her experience as a professor at Gorden Conwell, and the wealth of culture she’s been exposed to, as a missionary in the Amazon (where she lost her first husband), and as a woman who has seen much of the cultural shifts within America. She is candid, slightly snarky, and incredibly intelligent. And her words are as helpful now as they were when she wrote the book in 1976.
And if that doesn’t motivate you to go pick the book up, here’s a few excerpts.
In order to learn what it means to be a woman we must start with the One who made her (4).
Single life may be only a stage of a life’s journey, but even a stage is a gift. God may replace it with another gift, but the receiver accepts His gifts with thanksgiving. This gift for this day. The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived–not always looked forward to as though the “real” living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow (31).
Men and women who have used their minds, their talents, and their genius to move multitudes to evil have used the minds, talents, and genius given to them by their Creator. But they have not asked what God has commanded. They have not offered themselves first to Him, trusting His direction for their proper sphere of operation (40).
We have something to respond to, something that directs and calls and holds us, and it is in obedience to the command that we will find our full freedom (40).