Happy International Women’s Day, Women of Valor!

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

I think of Laxmi, a widow from Hyderabad, India, who rises before dawn each day to sweep floors and grill chapatis and kiss the bruises and bumps of more than twenty children who, like she, have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Eshet chayil—woman of valor!

I think of Elena, a mother of five from rural Bolivia, who in spite of her own poverty and her husband’s illness, opened her home to an abandoned little girl and officially adopted her. Eshet chayil—woman of valor!

Elena  (Photo by Amy Conner, World Vision)

Elena (Photo by Amy Conner, World Vision)

I think of my mother, Robin, the best fourth grade teacher in the world, who manages to make every child feel extraordinary and who always seeks out the ones with the most to overcome and loves them like her own. Eshet chayil—woman of valor!

I think of Amanda, the little sister I look up to, who brings compassion and humor and joy to every space she occupies, and who embodies better than anyone I know what it means to love your neighbor, no matter who that neighbor may be. Eshet chayil—woman of valor!



I think of my friends Sara Barton and Jackie Roese, who have endured vicious insults and angry dissent for daring to stand behind a pulpit and declare the good news that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. Eshet chayil—women of valor!

I think of all the young women who approach me after a lecture or sermon to say they are studying to be leaders in the church, that it’s hard sometimes, but that they’re not giving up.  Eshet chayil—women of valor!


I think of my friend Monika, who knows how to take the broken fragments of an ugly world and, somehow, piece them together into art. Eshet chayil—woman of valor!

I think of Ahava, who all the way from Israel, taught me to make challah and sound a shofar and read Proverbs 31 like it was intended to be read. Eshet chayil—woman of valor!



I think of Elora and Mary and all the women who bravely tell their stories so that other women might heal. Eshet chayil—women of valor!

I think of Leymah Gbowee, who rallied her sisters to peacefully end a civil war. Eshet chayil—woman of valor!

I think of all the women struggling to survive, working to make ends meet, pursing justice, loving mercy, walking humbly with God, and bringing healing and beauty to the world one small act of faithfulness at a time.

And I celebrate them today.

Eshet chayil—women of valor.


So, what woman of valor do you want to celebrate today? (To learn more about eshet chayil, check out A Year of Biblical Womanhood.)

Update: Leave a comment, and I'll randomly select one reader to receive a free, signed copy of A Year of Biblical Womanhood, with a note of encouragement for you or for a woman of valor in your life. 

Contest will run through Saturday, March 9 at 11:59 p.m. If you want to enter, be sure to sign in to DISQUS so I can track down your email address and contact you if you win. Results will be chosen by random.org

You might also like our Women of Valor series.

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