My Mom handed me a World Magazine the other day and I recognized an old familiar face right away in the Table of Contents:
The sub-headline of the article by Tiffany Owens read
“Despite dementia, ELISABETH ELIOT GREN holds fast to Scripture”.
I was not surprised. In fact, my heart rejoiced at the news and was grateful to see this dear lady again. Thank you, Tiffany, for doing this story on Elisabeth.
I was first introduced to Elisabeth Elliot in high school or college when I checked out a book from the library – Through Gates of Splendor. I then read her other books about her missionary journeys (my girls are reading them now) and was incredibly inspired to be a missionary. When I graduated with my teaching credential, I seriously considered heading out to the mission field and even had an offer to teach in South America, but I chickened out.
While in college, I read her book Passion and Purity and thanked God for her message of purity and character and strength and “you can do it!”, and her trust in God’s promises, etc. She was the only one in my world who was telling me that it was possible to live according to God’s standards in the dating world. Everyone else was compromising right and left. I also read her Let Me Be a Woman before meeting my husband and getting married and she helped to shape my vision of what it was to be a godly wife and mother. Thank you, Elisabeth!
When in my 20’s, I had the privilege of hearing her teach while I spent some time in Dallas, TX. I remember that she shared some stories from her “jungle living days” and also spoke on the art of writing. She became my mentor in writing as well as in Christian living as I came to read some of her essay books and devotionals. One book in particular that I came to love while in Dallas and still cherish and read often is “Keep A Quiet Heart”. She writes short devotions about so many different practical topics and I just admire how she encourages her readers to take God at His Word and does not leave room for pithy excuses for our sin. She calls it what it is, but also encourages us on to greater and greater maturity in Christ.
I got close enough to Mrs. Gren during my stay in Dallas to find out that she is no more a perfect saint than I am. But boy did she have a tested and tried faith! And I saw her live what she preached. She was open about her struggles and so genuinely loved her Lord.
Not long after my stay in Dallas, I heard that she was showing signs of dementia. I have often wondered how she was doing. And now I know. She is running well, through to the end!
The article said, “Elliot stopped giving speeches in 2004 as her health worsened. When she realized she was losing her memory, she put into practice what she had long preached: ‘From acceptance comes peace.’ Her husband said she turned to the Bible for comfort, especially Isaiah 43:2, ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Her words are still encouraging me to take all things as from a loving Father and to trust Him.
Thank you, Elisabeth, for running your race well. Thank you for being an older woman in my life who not only encouraged me through the word, but taught me biblical womanhood and lived the example for me to follow. My middle daughter has your name as her middle name and she spells it just like you do: “Elisabeth”. All 3 of my girls have heard my stories and I have put you before them as well, as a worthy example of what it means to be a woman after God’s heart. We shall meet again one day, and I can’t wait to introduce you to my girls!