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Monday, October 31, 2011

short article from my mother about Corrie Ten Boom

The following is written by Elisabeth Elliot -

 Corrie ten Boom came to Gordon College here in Massachusetts many years ago. When I saw the advertisement, you can be sure that I rushed out to make sure I got a ticket for the banquet that they were going to have and then to hear her speak. She was all that I was longing to see. I had seen THE HIDING PLACE, but I was longing to see her in person. It was not the only opportunity that I had. There were some other opportunities after that.
But on that particular occasion, to my utter astonishment she invited my daughter and me to come and visit her during the following week. She was staying with a family in Boston. So of course we accepted the invitation. We arrived at the door and her assistant, a young woman who was acting as sort of a secretary and also the woman who traveled with her all over the world, met us at the door. She said, "Corrie is in bed upstairs. She's not ill, but the doctor has said that she must take one day out of every seven and spend it in bed, if she insists on tramping for the Lord all over the world. So this happens to be her day of rest."
So the lady escorted us up the stairs into the bedroom. There was Corrie in the bed in purple silk pajamas. She greeted us with such warmth and enthusiasm. Then she had her secretary bring in some tea. We sat and had a lovely time.
In the middle of the time, Corrie suddenly jumped out of bed, walked across the room, opened her suitcase and took out of the suitcase a square of satin with what looked like a totally meaningless jumble of threads, which she held up for us to look at. She said, "Now look at this jumble of threads. It doesn't seem to have any meaning to it whatsoever."
But then she turned it to the other side. On the other side was a beautiful embroidery depicting a golden crown. Then she repeated for us the lovely words by Grant Colfax Tullar.
"My life is but a weaving betwixt my God and me;
I do not choose the colors He worketh steadily.
Oft times He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.
Not till the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unfold the pattern and explain the reason why.
For the dark threads are as needful in the Weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

gratitude for my mother!

I think I was the happiest child on earth from 1956 to 1963.  I lived in the jungle, had lots of Indian friends, and a mother who loved me and taught me about God's love and care.  We went to bed by 6:30 every night (that's when it got dark) and were up by 6 every morning.

All I had to do was eat, sleep, play, and obey my mother!  She was very worthy of my respect and love.  She spoke the truth to me, clearly, and spoke no vain words.  She meant everything she said, and she was kind and affectionate with me. She sang to me, "The Lord is my Shepherd," "Jesus, Tender Shepherd hear me," "He Leadeth me, O Blessed Thought," "Jesus, the very Thought of Thee,"  and "Beneath the Cross of Jesus."  She prayed with me, lovely, simple prayers, of thanksgiving and trust.  I will be forever grateful to my Father in heaven for her, and to my own father, who asked her to marry him!

Elisabeth Howard Elliot Leitch Gren


my mother, Elisabeth Howard Elliot Leitch Gren

How very thankful I am for my mother, who taught me to love Truth, be clear in my speech, love and follow the God and Creator of the universe, and do the little things faithfully. She taught me how to clean, how to iron, how to bake bread, how to love my husband, how to laugh, appreciation for good stories, appreciation for listening to accents, how to dress nicely, how to love being at home, and how to trust my Father in heaven.
She is now in Florida, spending some time with her husband and Dani, the young woman who helps them, in a warmer climate. She does not like the cold, and she loves fires and a good cup of hot tea. I will never forget the joy of coming home from miserably cold skiing lessons on Cannon Mtn. in Franconia, and she had a roaring fire in our huge granite fireplace, and hot tea in a lovely tea pot, and delicious hot muffins that we could put butter and honey on. What a sweet memory. And our dog, Zippy, would sit with us in front of the fire, sometimes putting his paws up on the hearth to get warmer, and then not knowing when to get down when his face got too hot, but moving his head from side to side. My mother loved animals too, another thing she gave me appreciation for. (I know, you're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition!) [for which she gave me an appreciation does sound a little stilted.]

Form and Content....a Californian interp. of Pilgrim's Progress

When we were candidating for the church in California, Aliso Creek Presbyterian, in Mission Viejo, Steve Ritchie who was on the pulpit committee with his wife, and after we left, he wrote to ask us to come, even if we didn't feel like we'd fit in to the California "style" of preacher or family.  Here's what he wrote:

"The big question, then, is Can you overcome the language barrier?   To aid you, I've translated the first page or so of Pilgrim's Progress into Californian- I trust you have the original, outdated version:

"Like, I was cruisin'along in the fast lane and the next thing you know I'm in the box, so i think "It's casual" and decide to crash there; so while I'm catchin' some Z's, like, I had this dream.  Like, there was this dude standing there out front of his house, lookin' like maybe he's goin' someplace, holding this book, and this awesome load on his back.  Like, I'm watching him and he opens the book and starts to read, and, man, he just starts freaking out, saying "I cant handle it.  I can't relate!"  So he goes home, tries to be cool in front of the wife and kids, but finally he can't cope any more and he tells them: "Listen up! Like, bad news. Like, we're history.  Like, it's all over.  Like total fire city!  Like, give us a break. " 
Like, they thought he'd totally O. D.'ed...."

Funny thing is, I was just today reading my notes from my mother's wonderful class at Gordon-Conwell Seminary on Christian Expression, which, as she described it, was "the presentation of ideas, through speech, writing, and behavior." I had audited the class, and guess who was in there- Walt Shepard, and Tim and Kathy Keller.  (The latter two are quite famous now) Here's what some of the notes were:

"Vision is a condition of the heart.  Eccles. says "he has put eternity into man's mind."  Do you see?  Do you know? Do you understand?: 
The word is expressed in your manner of life!  What you are determines the effect.  Style takes its final shape from the attitude of your mind.
"Truth can be transmitted by 3 things: Receive>manifest>communicate....style must come out of what we are; concentrate on the TRUTH.....style also distinguishes.....do not aim for distinction and elegance, but aim for TRUTH.  John was told in Revelation, 'Write what you see.'

As Christians - does your posture in this world reveal who you belong to? FORM and CONTENT are ESSENTIAL!  The form of your life is the product of your content.

[my mother was reading Leopold Tyrmand and quoted from him here] answering the question "what do we mean by civilization?" ......"the full authority of the human spirit over all externals in their crude and unconscious state"...."we agree not to burden each other with our excessive humanity."   Unfortunately, in our society, the externals are worshiped, rather than 'controlled' (my word there, trying to read between the lines from my notes!)  We need lines drawn, barriers- the wall is one of civilization's best inventions- we need privacy!" 

And my thoughts- yes!  There's too much, way too much shown in the media, which we do not WANT to see, nor do we NEED to see. I have been violated time and again, by scenes that I should not have to "experience," because they are not my own, which need to be kept private, or there is too much horror, words and violence, that I do not need to dwell on, because of Phil. 4:8-9.  When we see these; the media's blatant exposure, my mother either quoted here, or her own words were, "we have a vague sense of becoming unbecoming."  Tyrmand (who was in a prison camp) saw our society from a different perspective.  He used words such as "invisible, intensity, fascination, rectitude, privacy, exclusivity, exceptionality, depth..." all referring to some of the good elements of civilizaton, I believe. The reality of the prison camp, was the opposite of all these ponderous words.  

So, because my mother's class dealt with form and content, and the expression of truth,  I offer these notes and thoughts as maybe an antidote to the crassness, or un-civilization of our society.
As my Uncle Tom would say, "Onward and Upward!"  Or, from Narnia, "Further up and Further in!"