Elizabeth Murphy God's Open Doors
By Betsy Wriedt
Going places she never wanted to go, but loved, and facing challenges she never expected, but embraced, Elizabeth Murphy sums up the twists and turns of her life so far to be a grand adventure. Speaker, storyteller, author, pastor’s wife and JBU advisory board member are just a few of the titles that provide a glimpse into her daily living. Simply put, she loves to minister to women.
Elizabeth was raised in a Catholic home and said that she always loved church. She shared, “As an adult I have met many Catholics who say they never knew about Jesus, but I never felt that way… the church of my youth gave me a deep love for God and a reverence and awe for Him.” In middle school, Elizabeth remembers teaching at her first Bible study, not knowing much, but knowing that she loved teaching God’s word. This theme of the love and desire to teach is one that has been prevalent throughout her life, including to this day.
JBU: Did you always want to be a speaker and author, or how did you go about making that decision?
Elizabeth: This question is easier to answer looking back than it would have been had you asked it years ago – I’ve just walked through the doors God opened.
When everyone else in school was throwing up with nerves over having to speak in public, I was giddy with excitement. I loved it. I feel like it’s how God wired me, and through jobs and other opportunities, He equipped me. I have walked through every door open to me and they just keep opening. I feel at home when I am speaking before an audience, and I feel God’s pleasure there.
As for writing, this is new. I go back and forth between thinking I was born for this and thinking I have no business doing it. I have always found that when God wants me to do something that scares me (and writing does) I am compelled beyond my ability to resist. It’s like I can’t not do this.
Encouragement is easy. I love women and think that it’s hard to be a woman in this world and I want to help. I want to introduce women to Jesus so they can know the kind of love they are looking for. I want to tell them God has picked them to be the mother of their children and they don’t need to listen to all the other voices that tell them someone else is doing it better. I want to help women understand who they are in God’s eyes and that their size and all the things the world values, don’t matter to Him. I could go on and on. I think encouragement comes easy to me because I need so much myself. My love language is words of affirmation, and I’ve been told we speak in the language we want to hear.
JBU: When teaching at women’s conferences, what is your favorite part? What is the most difficult part?
Elizabeth: I love talking to women one-on-one. I try to be available and to sit with different women at every meal. Most women just need someone to listen and pray with them; I consider it a privilege. I also understand that a guest is often safer for them than talking to someone in their own church.
The most difficult part is knowing that women feel cared for and heard in the moment, but they will have to go home and continue facing their hardship. That is the great comfort of prayer, knowing that even though my prayer over them was that day, God will continue to pay attention to it and answer it as they go on.
JBU: You mentioned that your speaking opportunities have expanded to the secular market. How did this come about?
A few years ago I spoke at a Christmas event at a church to a full sanctuary of 2,500 plus women. A woman who works for a large hospital company was in the audience and was amazed that so many women would come to an event like that. In her church, they have a hard time getting women to show up. She was a little afraid to come herself, but did at the last minute.
An opportunity to work with her hospital organization came up when they were doing a wellness event in the community and wanted to add a spiritual component. Those in leadership at her company were very nervous about me as a Bible teacher, but I gave them a script of my message and several references. The whole time my heart was beating out of my chest and I was praying God would give me the right words and the courage to say them. Clearly He did. At the event, I spoke on gratitude and used some scripture from Philippians without saying where it was from. Afterward several women came up and asked me about it and I was able to tell them it was from the Bible. Loved that! The organization has given me good references so my name has gotten around to others organizations with similar needs.
JBU: Other than speaking and ministering to women, what tugs on your heartstrings?
Elizabeth: Right now I am working with women who have been rescued out of sex trafficking. I am helping them learn to tell their stories. They have been through unspeakable things, and yet I see great hope in their eyes. They want to both educate others about what they’ve been through and to help them. I have rarely seen anyone as passionate about helping others as these precious women.
The other thing that tugs at my heart these days is bitterness. I think it’s something we all secretly struggle with and it keeps us from becoming all God wants us to be. Through a series of circumstances that only God could have orchestrated I am writing a book about it called UPROOTED. As I’ve studied the topic and worked through some issues of my own (I didn’t even know I had any until I started writing this book), I have seen the harm it causes. There is a connection between these two things because the women I am working with on their stories are not bitter even though they have more reasons than most to be so. It’s amazing!
- Favorite verses: 1 Chronicles 29:10-13. It always reminds me of who is in control.
- Favorite book: Such a hard question! Today my favorite is 31 Days of Praiseby Warren and Ruth Meyers, but it could change at any moment.
- Favorite place visited: I have fallen in love with Door County, Wisconsin.
- Favorite activity on a rainy day: Reading or sewing
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