Monday, May 12, 2014

A Handmaid of the Lord

That was the day God gave her the idea of a magazine for women.  A truly preposterous idea!  Publishers were sure that German women wouldn’t read it and no one would finance it.  But her husband encouraged her.  And when she cried out to God, “You see, God, nobody wants this magazine,” she heard Him saying, “But I want it!”

Dear Friends,

When I think of the wonder of women discovering their spiritual birthright, I think of the story of Elizabeth Mittelstaest, whose impact on her world of women was astounding.  Her birth—a miracle in itself—and her family’s difficult circumstances led her to think little of herself and of her womanhood.

Elizabeth was nearly aborted because her mother, who was very ill and living under communist rule where medicines were hard to come by, was encouraged by her doctor to abort the child rather than have it born infected.  Yet, a strange sense of foreboding gripped her heart, and she seemed to hear a voice say, “Don’t kill this baby!”  She did not know the God who spoke to her, yet she heeded His silent voice.  A few months later she delivered a sickly little girl and named her Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth was nine years old, Maria and her family heard the gospel, and they all accepted Christ.  In her teens, after hearing a woman missionary speak, Elizabeth promised God that if He ever needed another woman to serve Him, she would be that woman.  Miraculously, God open doors for her to attend Bible college, where she prepared for ministry and met the man she would marry.

Several years later a flawed dental procedure left Elizabeth in constant, excruciating pain.  One day as she was walking across a bridge over a small river in her town, she looked down into the water, and a voice seemed to say, “Jump!”

Startled, she looked up and across the bridge to the pretty little German village beyond with its Geranium flower boxes and white picket fences.  Behind those nice homes there is a lot of pain and brokenness for women,” she heard God say to her.

“I could feel how God loves the women,” Elizabeth recalls.  “In that moment my heart was broken about what broke His heart.  So I said, “God, I would love to help, but what can I do?”
That was the day God gave her the idea of a magazine for women.  A truly preposterous idea!  Publishers were sure that German women wouldn’t read it and no one would finance it.  But her husband encouraged her.  And when she cried out to God, “You see, God, nobody wants this magazine,” she heard Him saying, “But I want it!”

Shortly thereafter, the frail little child who had been rescued from the abortionist’s knife by the voice of the God her mother did not yet know, became the editor of Lydia magazine.  Contrary to all the warnings publishers had given her, the magazine had a circulation of ten thousand by the third issue.  Today it is published in German, Romanian, and Hungarian and read by an estimated one million readers.

Elizabeth is a handmaid of the Lord.  She celebrated her womanhood.  Being a handmaid and a heartmaid, however, doesn’t mean you won’t be a hurt maid!  Mary experienced a sword piercing her own heart as she watched Jesus crucified.  But that hurt was transformed on the other side of the Cross.  Serving Jesus is worthwhile, and joy truly comes in the morning.  Mary, Jesus’ beloved mother, was in the upper room at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came in power, and for the second time she was overshadowed and indwelt by Him.

Blessings

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine


1 comment:

  1. Encouraging story you shared. Thank you for the many ways you inspire women.

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