They don’t know it, but Elisabeth Elliot and Amy Carmichael were my mentors throughout high school and college. Their writings combined with Elisabeth’s daily radio show, Gateway to Joy, served as life-giving anchors for me during times of transition, excitement and brokenness.
Today while flipping through a journal from 12 years ago, I found this poem by Amy Carmichael and my heart swelled with new understanding, seeing it through wife and mama eyes.
O Thou, who art my quietness, my deep repose,
my rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill.
Fair is Thy pavilion where I hold me still.
Back, let them fall from me, my clamorous foes; confusions multiplied.
From crowding things of sense, I flee and in Thee hide.
Until this tyranny be overpast, Thy hand will hold me fast.
Although the tumult of the storm increase, grant to Thy servant strength,
O Lord, and bless with peace.
As a girl of only 20, I read these words and imagined myself on the mission field interpreting the Bible into tribal languages and living in a land of opposition. I imagined tangible, external foes opposing me. And I imagined I would be strong enough to handle them.
Instead I became a sign language interpreter and had three kids in the suburbs. But my clamorous foes come just as readily, though perhaps not so overtly. They show up in the shape of an unlikely enemy: my own self. The way I hold on to expectation, the way I believe half-truths and less-than gospels, the way I forget to remember to be still.
This poem showed up at just the right time. To find rest of heart and a quiet place in the midst of the internal noise is not easy, but it is possible. Do you have small gifts waiting in quiet places? What are your gifts today?