Lessons from Heroines of the Faith: God Sees the Big Picture, Even When You Can’t See It Yourself

Josephine Butler

Not long ago I sat in the back of a motorboat, my life-vest cinched tight, the cool wind whipping my hair. I gazed out at the wake unfurling behind me. Ahead of the boat, the lake frothed in the stiff breeze and the mist hung thick, obscuring the shore. But behind us, the boat churned out a smooth strip of water, a path of sorts between the peaks and troughs of the waves.

Looking back, the path was obvious; ahead, the way was unclear.

The truth is, the way ahead of us isn’t always a clearly marked path, especially when we’ve embarked upon a new and unfamiliar road. We might lament slow progress or wonder where God is when we need him most. We might second-guess our calling or conclude that we hadn’t heard clearly from God after all.

Such was the case with Josephine Butler, who advocated for the civil rights of a diminished and demoralized class of women in Victorian England for SEVENTEEN years before she saw any results. Today I’m writing about Josephine’s story and what we can learn about perseverance and trust over at Jennifer Ferguson’s Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood. Join me over there to hear more about this amazingly determined woman…

When Your Heroines Turn Out to be Your Sisters, Too


The truth is, I didn’t want to write this book. I didn’t pitch the idea of 50 Women to a publisher. In fact, Baker Books came to me (or, more accurately, to my agent) looking for a writer to tackle this book, which they envisioned as a sequel of sorts to Warren Wiersbe’s 2009 release of 50 People Every Christian Should Know.

When my agent proposed this book to me, I was lukewarm. At best. I accepted the project mostly because I needed the work, but I assumed the research and writing would be mind-numbingly boring. I envisioned hours in the university library, slogging through biographies and facts about 50 women in Christian history. Snooze-o-rama.

I can also admit now that part of me was intimidated, too. Before I set out to write this book, I’d already set many of these women on a pedestal, in a place of highest honor and respect. After all, as the subtitle of the book states, the fifty women included are heroines of the Christian faith. I knew their names and many of their stories: Teresa of Avila, Florence Nightingale, Amy Carmichael, Harriet Tubman, Mother Teresa.

These women saved lives. They founded new movements. They advocated for the poor, the sick, the dying and the neglected. They were missionaries, teachers, preachers, writers, abolitionists, doctors and activists. Some even died for their faith.

I assumed I wouldn’t be able to relate to them. I figured they were “better Christians” than I, and that their stories, their lives, were far-removed from my own everyday, ordinary, twenty-first-century life.

Turns out, I was dead wrong about every one of my assumptions…

…Join me over at Sarah Bessey’s place for the rest of this story and a sneak peek at the introduction to 50 Women? See you over there…

A Prayer for 50 Women and for You

Amanda Berry Smith

50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith officially releases today! And you know, I just have to say, God never ceases to amaze me. This is the book I didn’t really want to write, yet this is the book that has humbled and amazed me in a ways I never even […]

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What You Learn about God When You Leap


“It shouldn’t be hagiography,” I heard him say on the other end of the line, and I nodded, replying, “Oh right, of course. Yeah, that totally makes sense.” That’s what I said to my brand-new editor during our very first telephone conversation to discuss the 50 Women book. But what I actually thought was this: “Hagi-wha-wha-what??!!! “ After we hung up I […]

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Weekend One Word: Path

airplane and Isaiah

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What God Does When You Say, “I’ll Never-Ever…” {Catherine Booth #50Women}


When people hear I’ve written a book about fifty women, their first question is usually, “Which one is your favorite?” Could you ask me a more impossible question? Fifty is a lot of women to pick just one, people! Last year at a speaking event, a woman in the audience asked me this very question, […]

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Lessons from Heroines of the Faith: God Calls the Flawed


Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada’s flashy style complemented her vivacious personality. With her hair elaborately coiffed and her body perfumed and clothed in exquisite silks and opulent jewels, she often spent her evenings on the town, dancing and reveling with her friends and suitors. Equal parts effusive and temperamental, depending on the day or the […]

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How to Open Your Eyes and Really See


As a kid my sister thought the priest was God. It was his ornate robes that misled her – his “uniform” gave him such an aura of authority and power, she assumed he was the Big Man himself. I wasn’t much better off. While I knew enough to realize the priest wasn’t God, I still […]

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When God Doesn’t Change…But You Do {and a book giveaway}


A few years ago I stumbled on a blog called An Inch of Gray and was instantly smitten with the writing and the writer. Anna See, as she called herself then, was laugh-out-loud funny one moment, poignant and reflective the next. I couldn’t get enough of her writing. Plus I liked her. A lot. I […]

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Weekend One Word: Trust

Lily and Isaiah

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