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WITHOUT ONE PLEA


Charlotte Elliott was a sickly English woman who had developed a long history of refusing to do things she was asked to do because of her illness. Her brother, who was a pastor, had been particularly persistent in trying to get her out of herself, trying to get her involved in doing something positive. But Charlotte had always refused. "I'm not feeling up to it. I'm an invalid, you know. I just don't think I can."


In 1834 her brother asked one more time. They were trying to raise funds for a school for young women. Charlotte Elliott was asked to help ... at least just to go to the event and do something, anything. But again she refused, again she spoke of being too tired, too sick. And so the family all went off and left her home alone.


That night, Charlotte Elliott began to think about how sickness was taking over her life. She began to feel ashamed, because she would not risk anything for the Kingdom. She realized that that her brokenness had become the most important thing, maybe the only thing, in her life. And that night Charlotte Elliott heard the call of God. Out of her restlessness, out of her self-hatred, she wrote, "Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee, 0 Lamb of God, I come. Just as I am, and waiting not.. just as I am, with many a conflict, many a doubt. Yes, just as I am, poor, wretched, blind... just as I am, I come." Yes, I'm a mess, but I am coming. No more excuses. Without one plea.


For Charlotte Elliott was learning the lesson Paul had learned: that handicaps are not handicaps but challenges; that brokenness is but a step on the way to wholeness; that feeling like you are nothing is not a barrier to Kingdom service.


From Joseph Smith's Sermon "Without One Plea"

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