It is so easy for us to lose perspective on life because our only line of sight is the world we live in and the circumstances we face. It is easy to fall prey to a view that we are the center of life and everything revolves (or should!) around us. Sometimes we need a vision adjustment and sometimes we need a major wake up call to our own mortality and what really matters in life.
Three things help me the most with this adjustment: God’s Word, being with believers in other countries, and reading the testimonies of heroes of the faith. Here are four women of the faith whose stories will challenge you, inspire you, and give you a much bigger perspective on what matters in life:
- Elisabeth Elliot (December 21, 1926 – June 15, 2015).
Elisabeth was born to missionary parents in Brussels, Belgium. She lived her life in full and faithful commitment as a woman called to share Christ with others. She went to Wheaton College to learn Classical Greek because she wanted to translate the New Testament into an unknown language. While there, she met her husband, Jim Elliot, marrying in 1953. They were married and served together in Ecuador. In 1956, Jim was killed by the Auca Indians of Eastern Ecuador whom he was trying to make missionary contact. For several years, Elisabeth, with a ten-month-old daughter, Valerie, continued to work with the very tribe that had killed her husband. Eventually, she came back to the US where she was a speaker and authored more than 20 books challenging others to live well. Her life and even her ten-year battle with dementia before her death will challenge you to live boldly and with courage.
You can read more about Elisabeth in her book, Let Me Be a Woman.
- Joni Eareckson Tada (October 15, 1949)
A diving accident at the age of 18 left Joni a quadriplegic. Since 1967 she has lived her life in a wheelchair totally dependent on others to do everything for her. Today, she is an internationally known mouth artist, speaker, and author of more than 17 books. I had the personal honor to interview Joni several years ago for a magazine story of her life. The time with her was like nothing I have ever experienced. I truly walked away sensing that I had been in the presence of Christ. She embodies the fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:22 – full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control! No bitterness, no regrets, no anger, no focus at all on her but all her focus on Jesus. Read her story and be ready to face head on a challenge to never make excuses about any barrier in your life.
You can read more about her life in her autobiography, Joni.
- Ruth Graham (June 10, 1920-June 14, 2007)
Born to medical missionaries serving in China, Ruth is most famous for being the wife of Dr. Billy Graham. Dr. Graham honored his wife often by saying she had raised their five children while he was traveling as an evangelist being gone for extended periods of time. She was a poet, author, painter, teacher, mother, grandmother, and faithful wife. It is said that Dr. Graham turned to her often for advice and input on many ministry decisions. As a philanthropist, she founded the Ruth and Billy Graham Children’s Health Center in Asheville, North Carolina, where she was actively involved until her death. Ruth is a true hero of our faith. She loved her family deeply and used her gifts to impact the world.
You can read more about Ruth in her book, It’s My Turn.
- Lottie Moon (December 12, 1840-December 24, 1912)
Growing up in a Southern Baptist Church, I heard the name Lottie Moon from the time I was a little girl. Our annual Christmas offering to missions was named in her honor. It wasn’t until I was much older that I read her story and understand why she was the woman we honored. In 1861, she received a Master of Arts degree. She spoke several languages including Latin, Greek, French, Italian, and Spanish. She was also fluent in reading Hebrew and later became an expert in Chinese. It was said she was a spirited and outspoken woman. She was born to affluent parents who were staunch Baptists but it wasn’t until her early teens through a series of revival meetings that her faith became her own. On July 7, 1873, at the age of 31, she was appointed as a missionary to China, where she served for nearly 40 years. Read more about her years in China and it will inspire you to serve faithfully where God has called you.
You can read more about Lottie in the book, Lottie Moon: Giving Her All for China (Christian Heroes: Then & Now).Elisabeth Elliot will challenge you to live boldly and with courage. Read more about her: Click To Tweet Joni Eareckson Tada will challenge you to never make excuses for any barrier in your life. Click To Tweet Ruth Graham loved her family deeply and used her gifts to impact the world. Click To Tweet Lottie Moon will inspire you to serve faithfully where God has called you. Click To Tweet
“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has set down at the right hand of God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Who are your heroes of the faith?