Book Review: Made for the Journey

Made for the JourneyMade for the Journey is a reprint of the original book These Strange Ashes by Elisabeth Elliot. A story of her first year as a missionary in the jungles of Ecuador, Elisabeth writes an exquisite story of her time as a single woman facing the unique challenges of the mission field. Experiences triggering the bigger questions of faith, Elisabeth wrestles through the ashes left behind.

Elisabeth Elliot’s candid stories of her first year struck me. Facing questions of identity, her purpose in the kingdom of God, and facing raw tragedies caused a wrestling in her faith of what to do with the ashes and whether God was still in charge.

Elisabeth’s pure account of vulnerability and relatability touched me. Personally, I loved how genuine she was and how she relayed each story with such level headed calmness. Being lost in the jungle, handling the murder and subsequent autopsy of one of their few congregants. Seeing the loss of mother and child in birth and finally, I believe possibly the biggest blow was the theft of her full, year’s worth of hard work on the language. Her very purpose for being there, hours spent doing research and compiling the language, turning an unknown, unwritten language into one that could be taught and read – translated into a Bible. The news of the loss shared in a simple letter. All ashes.

Each of us, in one sense or another can relate to her feelings, her questions. The lessons God walked her through and the answers she later came to be at peace with are a testament of God’s goodness and faithfulness. These, later became the foundation of her unshakable faith and a story that has encouraged many struggling with the ashes of their own lives. It is amazing to me what the Lord does with our stories. How senseless it can seem in the moment, but many years later be a prominent thread in someone else’s tapestry.

I highly recommend this book. My only concern is the new title. Why on earth did they rename it? This book centered on a reckoning with the strange ashes of her life – and it is a gift to those who are left holding nothing but ashes of their own. “Made for the Journey” seems an inappropriate title. I vote it be returned to the original, These Strange Ashes” in keeping with the theme of the book.