The Lady’s Fingerprints—A Tribute to Elisabeth Elliot

Famed author and great resilient woman Elisabeth Elliot died this week at 88 years. I got to meet her years ago. Photo courtesy of YBW Mag.

Famed author and great resilient woman Elisabeth Elliot died this week at 88 years old. I got to meet her years ago when she spoke at Baylor University. Photo courtesy of YBW Mag.

If you scratch beneath those early years, you’ll find the words of Elisabeth Elliot. Her message of relentless hope has carried so many through adversity to the other side of deeper healing.

I spent part of this week looking at skeletons and footprints from Dinosaurs in a museum. It’s fascinating to realize that these animals have left an impression that’s lasted countless years. I also heard sad news of a tremendous author passing away and it made me think—what kind of fingerprint do I want to leave when I’m gone?

That sea foam-green carpeting

When Elisabeth Elliot came to speak at Baylor when I was an undergrad, the news spread quickly and the large white building with high white walls and stained glass was filled to the brim. Somehow, I was lucky enough to sit in the front row. She was a tall, gracefully gray-haired woman with a kind but firm expression and gentle, metered voice.

Her words seemed to cost her dearly, each one measured carefully like ingredients in an intricate recipe. She described waiting to marry her love, and one night when they took a walk in a cemetery and sat down, the moon rose behind them, casting the shadow of a cross between them. He had to go abroad for a while, so she had to learn to wait patiently, she related to the hushed audience. I could almost feel the moonbeams and easily picture the rise and fall of disappointment in her fluttering heart back in the day.

Her mastery of description made me feel like I’d just tuned into a Hallmark show, where the loved ones would be separated. I greatly respected the choices that she made in her youth to strike forward in service and count the cost of her decisions carefully. I’d never heard anything like this before and it had me riveted to the hard wooden seats. Her discussion of her first husband, Jim Elliot, and his tragic death, speared by natives, followed with stories of forgiveness and new beginnings.

As she drew to a close, I remember the feeling of my shoes sinking into the deep carpet as I rose to shake her hand in thanks, never knowing that her words would make a deep mark in my outlook, like my shoe print did in that plush carpeting. If you look carefully, I hope you can still see it today.

“There is a deeper meaning far more and far reaching to God’s protection.” – Elisabeth Elliot

Not so safe, but secure

The thing that spoke to my core was her message of a faith that surpassed circumstances and could survive the worst things in life’s despairing moments. That outlook has been so integral to planting firm roots that weather the storms. For example, this week I found out my father’s having heart surgery, and a dear friend has had a terrible illness that put her in the hospital very unexpectedly.

It’s that watchtower of hope that propels you forward or enables you to really pitch in and help when others may need to see a word-picture of resilience amidst uncertain times.

Elisabeth Elliot has faced so many difficulties, her purity of resolve and source of inspiration speaks whispers of encouragement to me still after so long, like smelling honeysuckle on the evening breeze. I long to sit and be filled with those breezes again, and feel afresh and anew in my outlook. The winds of change haven’t removed this original thought but have shaped it into my own direction.

Living fingerprints

As a gemologist, I’ve studied inclusions, some called fingerprints, inside of beautiful gems. They provide clues to the makeup of the gem and can heighten or detract from their beauty and value. So when I see the beautiful geodes and amethysts as tall as I am, I keep thinking of how to leave a lasting fingerprint that won’t scrub off with Windex.

For me, its writing, making sure I connect with loved ones, playing with my kids, being there for others in difficult moments, and looking for the good in life that I hope will be my fingerprint on those in my circle of readers and friends and family.

What are your fingerprints you hope to leave behind? Who would you give them to and how? What ones do you cherish the most in your life?


For more information about Elisabeth Elliot, and to hear an audio lecture very much like the one she gave years ago at Baylor, check out this link here. Be sure to scroll past the intro to her picture to hear the heart of the message.

Here’s also a great article with detailed overview of her life and books by Renee Ann Smith:


Unexpected Hero—Gilbert Blythe, actor Jonathan Crombie

Actor Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe

Actor Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables.

In our modern society, I hear parents that encourage their kids to read books about vampires and edgy topics to help their daughters learn how to be treated by a man. “I know the blood is terrible, but the relationship is so wonderful. That’s what she needs.” Is this really the best we can do as parents?

This week a wonderful actor, Jonathan Crombie, passed away suddenly. In his younger years he played Gilbery Blythe on the Anne of Green Gables series. His character was so memorable for his pursuit of the red-headed smart girl, and quiet courage, and funny anctics as he grew into a loving man worthy to pursue and marry her.

The way Gilbert loved Anne says a lot to today's girls about how to be treated.

The way Gilbert loved Anne teaches girls about how to be treated.

Here are three things we can learn from his resilient character.

He was her true, “kindred spirit” friend.

Gil competed against her academically and in his younger years tried to captivate her attention this way. Over time, their competition turned to true friendship. He helped her family and brought out the best in her. If you know the series, you may remember he would give her honest feedback, but never tried to crush her spirit with his words.

He was selfless in his giving.

Gilbert showed his unfettered giving when he gave up the teaching post so Anne could care for her aging relatives and be close to Avonlea. His sacrificial giving, in turn, helped Anne to realize her foolishness and see the depths of love and character he had grown into. She was more connected with his giving, and could love him through tough times and illness with this in mind.

Gilbert Blythe: You know, every day I would pick a different memory of you and play it over and over and over again in my mind, until every hair, every freckle, every part of you was exactly as I remembered.

He didn’t try to change her; he just wanted to encourage her to fly.

When Anne showed giftedness in teaching and public speaking, he never tried to discourage this. Instead, he was in the audience or driving her to the event. He appreciated every part of her giftedness. He forgave her impulsiveness. He loved her and wanted to come alongside as partners in life.

Gilbert Blythe: All pioneers are considered to be afflicted with moonstruck madness.

That’s the best kind of love.

It doesn’t take zombies or blood-sucking to look for a great example of selflessness in today’s world. I think Gilbert’s character is so heartwarming because we all want that kind of love and friendship. Unexploited, forgiving, and encouraging in its tireless optimism.

I am blessed to be with my husband, John, who exhibits all these characteristics and more. He always believed in my dreams to reach today’s kids with encouraging stories. He’s only ever given from a place of hope and love. In times of great loss, he’s the first one to have faith and keep us on track with how and why we live.

Teach your daughters to keep looking if their hopes are stirred up to find Mr. Right and they’ve encountered other types of giving. Teach them most of all to find God’s love to fill the void and help them be their own person first before they go looking to be with someone else.

Gilbert Blythe: It’ll be three years before I finish medical school. Even then there won’t be any diamond sunbursts or marble halls.
Anne Shirley: I don’t want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls. I just want you.

Thank you Jonathan Crombie, for embodying in your resilient, gallant character the way girls should be loved. That kind of giving never gets old and encourages us all to be our best.

Be encouraged today.

How did Anne of Green Gables affect you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

All images courtesy of Sullivan Entertainment.