“Encouraging Words Today”   August 27, 2010


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell


Seminary student Cindy Secrest & Elisabeth Elliot 1977 - Boston

I looked at the water-stained journal from 1949, blurry and smudged from not only the years, but the miles. Sighing deeply and close to tears, I carefully copied the words on my typewriter…. “Wherever you are, be all there.  Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Only 24-years-old myself at the time, I couldn’t help but think of the young man who had penned these words – Jim Elliot, missionary to Ecuador who was speared to death in 1956 by the very Indians he had sought to help. Truly here was a man who knew how to embrace life fully! And I, a seminary student at the time, was helping his widow, author Elisabeth Elliot, with her newest book manuscript which eventually became The Journals of Jim Elliot (1978).

More than thirty years have passed since I first read those words, but I vividly remember asking God back then to help me ‘live to the hilt’ all the days He would give me. And today I realize that in my actual day-by-day living I have learned so very much about God’s constant presence, unconditional love, steadfast faithfulness, redeeming grace and undeserved mercy. It is true, as Annie Dillard reminds us in The Writing Life, that “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Do you spend your days embracing life? Jesus announced “I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.” (John 10:10 CEV) Perhaps the greatest gift we could offer back to our Lord is a life well-lived, where moments are not wasted, but savored. A life where we know how important it is to treasure relationships, extend kindness and act with courage.

Today I finally finished editing the Galley Proofs of my newest book “30 Ways to Embrace Life – Wise Women Share Their Secrets” which will be published this October. I am so excited to offer these amazing stories from some of my favorite Wise Women who have lived long enough to recognize the precious gift of Life!  

In Thorton Wilder’s play “Our Town”, Emily, who has died, has the opportunity to visit her life for one day. As she realizes life for the treasure that it was, she exclaims “Let’s really look at one another! I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed… Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every minute?”

Because at this particular season of life I want to do all I can to encourage others to live fully, I’ve gathered these special friends to help me, through this new book, offer specific tools for the journey. These are truly “wise women” — not because we know it all or have always made perfect choices — but because we know the One who created and sustains us and promises to be “our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.” (Psalm 48.14 NIV)

 Together we offer you 30 Ways to Embrace Life — with a prayer that you may enjoy all God’s gifts. And feel free to share our ‘secrets’ with others….

               under the mercy, Cindy



NOTE: Kindle version will be available from Amazon in October. Stay tuned!

©2010 Lucinda Secrest McDowell


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  1. maggierowe says:

    I love the cover, typeface, title – everything! It just fits, Cindy. And I am so honored to be included. I have prayed for wisdom all my adult life, and at 57 I still don’t feel I have much of it. But I do know how vital is to pay attention, every minute. And I am also honored to be one who can testify by close observation that you have indeed “lived life to the hilt every situation you believed to be the will of God.” Proud of you!

  2. Lisa says:

    Oh Cindy, I can’t wait to see this in print! If you want me to review on my website and even do an interview with you, I’d be honored! It fits right in with my Titus 2 teaching throughout this year — gaining the wisdom from those older and giving the wisdom to those younger!

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