You have assigned me my portion

“Oh Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup. In You my lot is secure.” -Psalm 16:5

Elisabeth Elliot taught me this verse. She has several key verses, I guess you could call them life verses of hers, that are frequently repeated throughout her writing, and this is one of them.

One of her strongest points of teaching, which has dramatically impacted my heart and life, is about cultivating a “quiet heart” that rests in the Lord regarding all things. I’ve been fascinated and challenged by the various areas of life she applies this to.

For our purposes, this verse is again perfect. The answer to those questions that inevitably flood the mind of anyone struggling to have a family. Why is this happening to us? Why does this have to be our problem? Why us and not them? Why can’t we just be normal? How are we going to get through this? What will we do next?

Our peace is deeply routed in this: The Lord has chosen your “lot” in life. Whatever it is. How terrible it may feel at times.How never-ending it may become. This situation is from the Lord. He is trustworthy. He is good. He is wise. He is loving. We have unmoving peace from this. When the doctor tells you gut-wrenching news. When the pregnancy tests are negative the rest of your life. When another adoption falls through. This is our truth, and we can rest in it:

Oh Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup. In You my lot is secure. 

Growth is in the suffering, not the joy

“Jesus learned obedience from the things which He suffered, not by the things which he enjoyed.” [p.78]

I have been learning that our spiritual maturity is more likely to come from times of difficulty (momentary things like disagreements with coworkers, as well as big things like grieving a death) than times of ease. I’ve come to see there is a biblical truth to thinking that times of peace and “all is well” are more to be seen as the exception, and times of trial and suffering and needing to believe “all is well” are to be expected as the norm for the Christian life. I need a healthy mind and heart that is ready and expecting bumps in the road and not dreading and cursing them. They are welcomed catalysts for my growth. I need them. My faith is weak without them.

I’ve been sharing quotes from Elisabeth Elliot’s book Keep a Quiet Heart. Please share your thoughts! 

The God who is enough

Quoting Amy Carmichael (by the way, Elisabeth Elliot is my hero, Amy Carmichael was hers… reading her books makes me want to read more about Amy Carmichael!):

“Praise Him for the moonless seas—all the better the opportunity for proving Him to be indeed the El Shaddai, ‘the God who is Enough.’” [page 57]

He goes with us

“He goes with us through the valley, the deep water, the furnace. He will never, absolutely never, leave us or forsake us.” [page 55]

Obviously, this isn’t her original thought. See:

Isaiah 43:2

 When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.

And

Deuteronomy 36:1

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For theLord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Both verses are from the New Living Translation. The top quote is from Elisabeth Elliot’s book Keep a Quiet Heart.

Once surrendered

“If my life is once surrendered, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine.” [page 53]

I’ve been sharing some meaningful quotes from Elisabeth Elliot’s wonderful book Keep a Quiet Heart. Let me know what you think! 

The worst pains

“The worst pains we experience are not those of the suffering itself but of our stubborn resistance to it, our resolute insistance on our independence.” [page 51]

This was me, you guys! As those months started adding up and it was becoming clear that we were in the midst of a trial of infertility, I remember crying in agony to my husband, “I don’t want this to be our story!” My heart just kept thinking, No no no no no — this cannot be happening! 

I was so resistant to accept what was happening, it took months to start really growing from it. Looking back, I wish I could appear to myself back then. I can clearly see those times of lying on my bed weeping for the grief and dread of what was going on: we were meeting barrenness. We were not going to be pregnant “on time” (according to our plans, that is). The Lord was going to do something different. I wish I could put my own hand on my shoulder and say, “This is a good story! God is doing good things! Don’t miss it because you’re stubborn about the story you think you want!”

The quote is from Elisabeth Elliot’s book Keep a Quiet Heart.

The most dreaded thing

“What we judge to be ‘tragic – the most dreaded thing that could happen,’ I expect we’ll one day see as the awesome reason for the beauty and uniqueness of our life as a family.” [page 30]

I appreciate this thought so much. It was written to Elisabeth Elliot from a woman who was born disabled. She was offering some wisdom to a third woman who had a disabled baby. I have found we need to understand this wisdom before “the most dreaded thing” happens. When those thoughts of “What if…” and “I couldn’t handle it if that happened to me” pop up, as they are bound to do, we need to remind ourselves of the truth: If it happens, God would use it. If it happens, God will have ordained it. What great quietness of heart there is in that truth, if only we believed it fully!

This quote is from the book Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot.

Keep A Quiet Heart – Elisabeth Elliot’s Blog

In the midst of some big changes and a season of many questions about many things, my husband and I decided to set aside a week of concentrated prayer and fasting a few weeks ago. Instead of fasting from food, we opted to fast from the internet. Being the 21st century drone that I can be, I realized pretty early into the first day that this left a regular little void – there were many small moments of the day that I casually filled with “phone checks.” Checking Facebook, checking the news, checking whatever. I decided to pull a new book off my shelf to at least fill these small pockets of 2 or 5 or 15 minutes (food is cooking, baby is nursing, whatever) with something more godward.

coverWell, it turns out I chose the perfect book for the task, and I am totally entranced! Elisabeth Elliot’s somehow overlooked (at least by me) masterpiece titled Keep a Quiet Heart reads like the blog she would’ve written if such a thing existed in her prime. It’s actually a large collection of brief (1-4 pages) essays and articles she composed for a regular newsletter she sent out over the course of years in her life. She writes on what God is teaching her through events, readings, her time in the word, and many other sources. The wisdom contained in these writings is priceless!

At first I planned to merely share a review, as the whole book seemed to focus on dealing with trials, life’s seasons of disquiet, and the like. However, tonight I realized that I had overlooked the divisions of sections on various subjects. As it turns out, that trove of rich reflections was just a drop in the bucket of this book!

Since I couldn’t keep myself from highlighting line after line of insight I didn’t want to forget on the subject of “keeping a quiet heart” as God directs your life, I’ve decided to dedicate the next several posts to some of the best quotes from the first section, titled Faith for the Unexplained. I hope the Lord uses Mrs. Elliot’s words to bless and encourage you in your season!

Here’s the first…

“Our enemy delights in disquieting us. Our Savior and Helper delights in quieting us. ‘As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you’ is His promise [Is. 66:13]. The choice is ours. It depends on our willingness to see everything in God, receive all from His hand, accept with gratitude just the portion and the cup He offers. Shall I charge Him with a mistake in His measurements or with misjudging the sphere in which I can best learn to trust Him? Has He misplaced me? Is He ignorant of things or people which, in my view, hinder my doing His will? […] The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.” [page 20]

If Elisabeth Elliot were writing this blog… (Part 2)

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