Is it OK for #marriagemonday to be on Tuesday? Elisabeth Elliot, missionary, author, speaker, wife, daughter and momma died this week. She wrote beautiful words. Not just beautiful words but words that moved us to change.
Kay Warren posted a beautiful tribute to her on Facebook. Kay’s introduction to the portion she wrote about Mrs. Elisabeth’s book Let Me Be A Woman, “Her book in the mid-70’s Let Me Be a Woman – written to her only daughter, Val, as she got married is absolute poetry. Her words about the male/female relationship being a dance still thrill my soul when I read them. And her words on the staggering importance of wedding vows have shaped my commitment to hang in there many times when Rick and I felt we couldn’t start over one more time.” I’ve been there. Sometimes the only thing that kept us together was our commitment to God and the promises (vows) we made to stick it out.
From Mrs. Elliot’s pen – “Your provider may someday lose his job. Your strength may show unexpected weakness. Your knight in armor may experience a public defeat. Your teacher may make a serious mistake that you tried to warn him about. Your lover may become a helpless patient, sick, sore and sad, needing your presence and care every minute of the day and night. “This isn’t the man I married,” you will say, and it will be true. But you married him for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and those tremendous promises took into account the possibility of radical change. That was why promises were necessary. There are things in life which can make what seems to be a mockery out of the solemn promises. “To love, honor and obey” your husband can seem the last ironies in the face of the unspeakable humiliations and indignities of illness. Love, honor, and obey this beaten, anguished, angry man who will not take his pill? The vows are serious. Staggeringly serious. But you did not take them trusting in your own strength to perform. The grace that enabled you to take those vows will be there to draw on when the performance of them seems impossible.” (Emphasis mine)
She was married three times. Her first husband was murdered (Jim martyred missionary in Equador), her second husband ( Addison Leitch) died of cancer and her third, Lars Gren, is her surviving spouse. Her husband, Lars, published this unfinished, unedited and unpublished manuscript of hers on the internet – Marriage: A Revolution and Revelation.
Elisabeth Elliot certainly understood how “for better or worse – in sickness and health” was lived out in real life. May her words inspire us all to understand the importance of commitment.