I'm not sure when I was first introduced to Jim Elliot but I can assure you that it was close to ten years ago and it has been such a profitable introduction. It wasn't until I spent some time in Texas at a ministry that I really was introduced to his remarkable wife and her literary work. Since then, I have read close to three or four of their books with plans of reading many more! Elisabeth Elliot writes in such a way that is so realistic and so practical that it leaves the reader with such clarity. I'm so thankful for that!
Letters to Her Daughter
In the 2nd chapter of the book of Titus, Paul exhorts the older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands and children. Through this book, Elisabeth leaves a legacy fulfilling the command in those verses. This book is the culmination of Elisabeth preparing her daughter, Valerie, to be married through a series of letters. Like the back of this book says, these letters are "a gift of lasting worth for all Christian women."
If anything, I am deeply inspired to beg such raw and unique advice like this from the married women around me when I am preparing to be married. Whether they send me letters, emails or Facebook messages, I don't care. I just long for this type of wisdom that seems to hide itself within those who walk uprightly and love their husbands well.
On the other hand, not only do I dream of receiving these type of letters but I plan on sending them to both my future children and those who are close to me. With this in mind, I can only beg for grace to learn well and to steward my heart in the midst of all that life offers.
Advice Given on Various Topics
These letters visit a variety of topics and instead of talking about them, I'd like to share different quotes from different parts of the book.
On the Character of God -- "Yet the God who controls the wheeling galaxies and who spoke before the foundations of the world must be the God who holds the smallest circumstances of your life in His hands. We are encompassed on all sides by the Almighty." page 68
On Femininity -- "We are called to be women. The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman." page 52
On Holiness -- "He [Jim Elliot] was determined to serve the Lord without entanglements." page 36
"The way we live ought to manifest the truth of what we believe." page 43
On Identity -- "In order to learn what it means to be a woman we must start with the One who made her." page 13
"I hang my soul on those strong pegs, those 'I Believe's. And I am strengthened." page 15
"I have learned (but slowly, I'm afraid), what it is to be in love with my destiny." page 26
On Relationships/Marriage -- page 69 contains a list of excellent questions to consider before entering into a relationship with someone. There are too many to note here but too great to leave unannounced
"It is mutual commitment to a common belief that is the only solid base for lasting communion, in marriage or in any other fellowship. Anything less will not stand the test of living." page 71
"You know, I am sure, that your love is a gift. And if it is a gift you are grateful to the Giver. To acknowledge your gratitude to Him is also to acknowledge your dependence on Him, to acknowledge above all the authority of Christ. That is a good place to begin in a marriage." page 77
"You marry a sinner. There's nobody else to marry." page 78
"Remember that you did, in fact, marry a sinner, and so did he. It's grace you both need." page 80
On Singleness -- "But having now spent more than forty-one years single, I have learned that it is indeed a gift. Not one I would choose. Not one many women would choose. But we do not choose gifts, remember? We are given them by a divine Giver who knows the end from the beginning, and wants above all else to give us the gift of Himself. It is within the sphere of the circumstances He chooses for us -- single, married, widowed -- that we receive Him. It is there and nowhere else that He makes Himself known to us. It is there we are allowed to serve Him." page 34-35
"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." page 40
"Let not our longing slay our appetite for living." Jim Elliot page 42
"We accept and thank God for what is given, not allowing the not-given to spoil it." page 42
Some of the other topics addressed: differences in the sexes/roles of genders, feminism, modesty, submission, being in ministry with your husband, etc.
Small and Practical
This is a small book that hits on a lot of topics that fill a woman's life. I would suggest it to anyone and I trust that Elisabeth's writing ability is really versatile to a variety of women. For me, especially, this book was helpful in continuing to cultivate my identity as a woman in a society where that is unheard of.
Let Me Be a Woman: Notes to my Daughter on the Meaning of Womanhood
by Elisabeth Elliot
Published by Tyndale House