Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) is a 20th century heroine to women everywhere. Her devotion to Christ throughout long-suffering in seasons of being a single woman, missionary wife, mother, and widow are a legacy to the Church for generations. My mother met her when she signed a copy of her Amy Carmichael biography. Mom described her gracious, regal bearing and her good-natured lightheartedness in sharing her wisdom with her audience.
Perhaps now more than ever, Elliot’s words offer clarity in an era of blurred vision. Here are some quotes from her book of notes to her bride-to-be daughter decades ago, Let Me Be A Woman.
“It is a naive sort of feminism that insists that women prove their ability to do all the things that men do. This is a distortion and a travesty. Men have never sought to prove that they can do all the things women do. Why subject women purely to masculine criteria? Women can and ought to be judged by the criteria of femininity, for it is in their femininity that they participate in the human race. And femininity has its limitations. So has masculinity. That is what we’ve been talking about. To do this is not to do that. To be a woman is not to be a man. To be married is not to be single – which may mean not to have a career. To marry this man is not to marry all the others. A choice is a limitation.”
“The consciousness that we are alike in our need of redemption is a liberating one.”
“Every normal woman is equipped to be a mother. Certainly not every woman in the world is destined to make use of the physical equipment but surely motherhood, in a deeper sense, is the essence of womanhood. The body of every normal woman prepares itself to repeatedly to receive and to bear. Motherhood requires self-giving, sacrifice, suffering. It is a going down into death in order to give life, a great human analogy of a great spiritual principle (Paul wrote, ‘Death worketh in us, but life in you’). Womanhood is a call.”
“What a relief it is to know that there is a divine design. This knowledge is the secret of serenity. Jesus is the perfect example of a human life lived in serenity and obedience to the Father’s will. He moved through the events of His life without fuss or hurry, He met men and women with grace, He was able to say, ‘I do always those things that please the Father’ – and it must have been with no variations of even twenty-four seconds.”