A teenager’s reflections on July 16, the anniversary of her death
Long dresses. Black-and-white photos. Lengthy paragraphs. Sometimes those are first impressions of Ellen White. But now at age 16, as I have grown, my picture of her has grown as well.
Ellen White has always been a part of my life. When I was little, our family read great books such as Where’s Moo Cow?: Tig’s Tale by Paul Ricchiuti, and Ellen: the Girl With Two Angels and Grandma Ellen and Me by Mabel Miller, Ellen White’s great-granddaughter.
I also knew about the Adventist pioneers. In fact, on Sabbath afternoons when my friends and I would do Bible charades, we would sometimes also do “Advent pioneers” charades. One story we liked to play was from Laughter and Tears of the Pioneersby Paul Gordon and James Nix. In the story Ellen White falls off a rock on the shore from laughing, watching her daughter-in-law be carried to shore by a muscular islander.
A number of years ago, when I was younger, I read Steps to Christ. I underlined the whole thing, probably because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do. One of the first Ellen White quotes that impacted me actually came from Steps to Christ. I felt discouraged because I didn’t feel like I thought I should feel, and I was talking to my mom about it. She shared this quote with me: “Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.’”[i]
Meeting a Real Person
My family and I have recently been reading Glimpses Into the Life of Ellen White by James Nix, which shares some very down-to-earth stories from Ellen White’s life. We read about how she would weep over letters she was sending to people whom she wanted so badly to be saved. (The story we read was specifically about Uriah Smith, I recall.) One morning soon after that, I had my worship time with God out on the back porch of our house. I was reading in Ellen White’s book Messages to Young People because I needed some specific guidance. As I was thinking about the counsel in the book, I could almost imagine her saying to me, “My dear girl . . .,” and then giving me the advice she had written that is now in that book. Imagining her as a real person who sometimes even cried for people and their salvation was an awesome experience. Thank God for Grandma Ellen!
A few years ago, my dad gave a talk about the vision in Zechariah 3, where Joshua, the high priest, stands before the Lord, and Satan is there to accuse him. He handed out some pink papers with some really great quotes from Grandma Ellen that go along with the concepts presented in that chapter. I still have mine. Often when I’ve been discouraged, I have gone back to that pink paper and read some of the quotes and my faith has been strengthened.
Multiple times, I’ve come across an Ellen White quote, and it has made my heart “burn” within me. One such quote to which I always return can be found in The Ministry of Healing. It helps me when I feel down: “He is watching over you, trembling child of God. Are you tempted? He will deliver. Are you weak? He will strengthen. Are you ignorant? He will enlighten. Are you wounded? He will heal. The Lord ‘telleth the number of the stars;’ and yet ‘He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.’ Psalm 147:4, 3 . . . . The weaker and more helpless you know yourself to be, the stronger will you become in His strength.”2
Grandma Ellen’s writings have definitely impacted my life, and I’m thankful for the fact that God gave her the gift that He did, as I’ve been inspired by many of those “long paragraphs”!
1 Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1892), p. 51.
2 Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), pp. 71, 72.