As requested, below is the collection of winning essays for our Women of Valor series. Thankfully, the series isn’t over! We had so many amazing contributions that I’ll be featuring at least 10 more finalists as guest posts over the next few weeks...so look for those to appear on Fridays this Fall.
Enjoy, share, and be sure to take the time to honor a woman of valor in your life today.
“The best thing about having a best friend who is 72 years older than you are is that they sometimes outrank your mother in terms of what you're allowed to do.”
“She was my friend. The one who came and held my hand. I love her still."
“Today, Sarah's life bears so little resemblance to the woman of Proverbs 31 that she would probably laugh at the thought of inviting a comparison. There are no fields to be bought, because there is no money left. There is no husband to sing her praises, because she left him after he smashed in the cabinet door inches from her head. Her three children may rise in the morning and sing her praises – or they may rise in the middle of the night, complaining of a tummy ache or a molar cutting through. Yet she will still be up before dawn, preparing for work at a job for which she is severely overqualified.”
“For three years, my wife has been a stay-at-home mom to over 20 foster children under the age of six, one adoptive son, two soon-to-be daughters, and a soon-to-be son. She has been raged against, spat upon, hit, kicked, scratched, insulted, and ignored. She is isolated by circumstances, by confidentiality agreements, and by her fierce protection of her children’s dignity.”
“As those vulnerable moments turned into long vulnerable months, extended hospital stays with tubes, pokes, mysterious infections, and all kinds of unknowns, I witnessed first-hand Sofia’s courage in the midst of her situation. Coming face-to-face with the suffering of her child brought forth a compassionate and courageous artist.”
“In spite of it all, the fire in her gut burned fierce as she told us her one dream was for at least one of her children to finish school, no matter what it took.”
"She has always been equal parts German kitsch and Rosie the Riveter to me, like one of the Hummel dolls she collected but with hands and a will both implacable as stone. She seemed a simple hero who climbed, steadfast, over every barrier placed in her path: the language barrier, the barrier of being a single mother, the barrier of finding work as an immigrant in the midst of the depression. I see her life as the progression of undaunted footstep after undaunted footstep.”
“She decided to stand up for these stories at tremendous personal risk.”
"She is like the woman in my favorite Rainer Maria Rilke poem: 'She who reconciles the ill-matched threads of her life and weaves them gratefully into a single cloth.'”
“I am a woman of valor. I was terrorized as a child – beaten by my father’s belt and bludgeoned by scriptures that were twisted into weapons against my tiny spirit. I survived the abuse by repeating the words: words that said that I was deceitful and desperately wicked, words that condemned my childish mistakes as rebellion, which was as evil as witchcraft, words that justified the stripes on my back. But even while obediently parroting these damning phrases yanked out of context, I searched the holy book until I found evidence of another side to God. I dug and dug and found a Messiah who wept for my pain. I fought the lies with truth. I fought, and I won.”