When I was six or seven years old, I had a girl-crush on Wonder Woman, aka Lynda Carter. I waited eagerly each week for a new episode of her adventures, pretending in the meantime that I could repel bullets with my cool gold bracelets or make my brother tell the truth with my magic lasso.
It seemed to me that a heroine was someone larger than life, who had special powers and fought off evil at every turn. And maybe looked good in tights. I didn’t have a lot of real-life heroines. There weren’t many people in my young life that saw much worth investing in. But my mother prayed with my siblings and me every night. She did the hard work of taking four young children to church three times a week. By herself.
However, not long after my infatuation with Wonder Woman my parents divorced and our church family turned their backs on us. Life changed drastically and we became unmoored, drifting. I was angry with God. I was angry with my mother. It felt like she wasn’t protecting us. It felt like evil was winning. No dodging these bullets.
But my mother still prayed.
It’s taken me a long time to understand what kind of courage it takes to maintain faith in the midst of the hard places in life. To hold on to the thin wisp of belief when our human frailty rises up within us and we make mistakes—this takes strength. To bend low and let grace cover the past; to truly believe that God made us for new beginnings … I’ve seen my mother do this with the purest humility.
As I read through 50 Women Every Christian Should Know, I was brought low by the stories of the not so shiny faith journeys these women lived. The doubt, the struggling, the angular paths they walked—these bits of story about real women living real lives illuminated God’s faithfulness to use the tattered bits of our lives for his glory.
We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to be larger than life. We don’t have to be these things because God is. And though my mother and I still disagree on many things when it comes to faith, she lived this lesson for me and demonstrated how a heart can hold on through incredible darkness.
That’s why my mother is my faith heroine. Not because she is larger than life or has demonstrated superpowers. But because she has been unafraid to offer her broken self to a loving God, over and over again. That’s the kind of heart I want. That’s the kind of faith I need.
Though I still wouldn’t mind having one of those magic lassos.
Author of the recently released Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World, Laura Boggess lives in a little valley in West Virginia with her husband and two sons. She is a content editor for TheHighCalling.org and blogs at lauraboggess.com. You can connect with Laura on Facebook andTwitter.
This post is part of the My Faith Heroine Series in conjunction with the release of 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith. Click here to read other posts in the #MyFaithHeroine series.