November 03, 2012

Eshet chayil - A Woman of Valor Tribute to Rachel Held Evans

Do you remember at the end of high school when everyone signed your yearbook? There always seemed to be that random guy who got ahold of your book to write, "I didn't know you very well but you seem like a really cool person. Have a bitchin' summer!"

I don't really want to be "that guy".

Almost two weeks ago I was invited to write a piece to honor Rachel Held Evans as a woman of valor. Her friends orchestrated an online soirĂ©e, gathering to give her honor and blessings. This past Tuesday was the release of her book "A Year of Biblical Womanhood". I didn't open my invitation until Tuesday, the day it was due. Here I am, fashionably late as usual. (I hope I don't get marked down for being tardy!) I'm afraid I have a disadvantage from my peers in that I do not know Rachel as well as they do. Still, I felt moved to speak into her life.

As the wife of an apologist I tend to be skeptical about theology so "faith" blogs make me nervous. When I first discovered the writings of RHE, I'll admit it, I was overwhelmed. The topics she dares to tackle, the areas  explored and those whom she dares to question are not for the faint of heart. This woman puts on hip high waders to walk into the deepest issues for a closer look. In her bravery, she takes her readers with her in an exploration of humanity and faith.

In the month leading up to the release of Rachel's book, I have observed this brave, intelligent woman handle herself with utmost grace. Even before this "assignment" I began researching AYOBW. Like any good apologist's wife, you don't study what other's say about who you're studying, you listen (or read) their own words.

From her own writing: "I believe that all Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, challenging, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the people of God are equipped for good works. I acknowledge and submit to the authority of Scripture, even though I often wrestle with it, even though it frustrates and confuses me at times."  This was what I had been hoping to find.

Two weeks ago, my Twitter feed was full of activity leading up to an interview on The Today Show. I was led to believe that topic was the controversy around a chain of stores that wouldn't carry her book. As I watched her on live television, next to her husband, I saw a woman who wanted nothing more than to share her heart, her God and her life with others. Nothing shocking, nothing sensational and frankly, nothing to worry about.

There are two kinds of popular girls at school. There are those who draw attention to themselves in their own exclusive group who get to the top by walking over others. Then there are those you will always remember as a kind leader who made everyone feel welcome. She was as nice to her best friends as she was to the new kid in town. Rachel, I have seen the way you come alongside other writers, promoting their ideas, listening to their hearts and cheering them on. You have opened your online home to hear the voices we need to hear.

Eshet chayil! Woman of Valor!

I raise my Saturday morning coffee to toast you! Thank you for making the new girl in town feel welcomed. This writer who isn't quite as eloquent, polished or young is comfortable in your tent. I'm prepared to sink into the overstuffed couch in front of the warm fire to wrestle through the questions of our faith. You have echoed my heart cries to be gracious and filled to overflowing with love for my God and for each other. 



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