What I Gather About Women of Valor

Sarah Bessey is hosting a synchroblog in honor of International Women’s Day this Friday, March 8th.  Read here for her post on Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives.


I love the idea of celebrating the women who have helped give me spiritual life along the way.  May I always pay respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed (Romans 13:7).  There are countless women who have poured themselves into me, supported me, encouraged me.  These women have been my friends, my family, my mentors, my inspiration.  They have taught me by example, spoken words of life, prophesied, transmitted spiritual wisdom and giftings.  They have defended me, stood in the gap for me, cried out to God on my behalf.  They have rejoiced in my joy, wept with me in my grief.  They have given spiritual life time and time again.  For that I honor them now.

To my mother, who has been my lifelong example of grace, wisdom and service.  No woman, no human being has taught me more.

To my grandmothers, one a fierce and fearless missionary, the other a gentle and enduring lover of Jesus.

To Chelsea, who brings joy and asks hard questions, the kind that make me run to my Savior for answers.

To the FAC spiritual giants, Judy Oliver, Jula Crider, Jamie Ball, Amy Beck, Sherri Palmer, Maria Kleiman, Billie Riley.  Mindy Whipple, I see Jesus in her eyes.  Shelly, a mentor despite her youth.  And Linda, who has believed in me, spoken encouragement and stood by my side in the most trying of times.  Who would I be without the influence of these women of valor?

I honor my friends along the way.  We learned together, made mistakes together, grew together.  And I will never forget.  Leah, Tania, Jodie, Mindy (quite a road we have walked!), Shanda, Whitney, Heather, Pashen, Haley, Erica… so many more.

The worship leaders I have never met…. they make me want to lock myself in a room alone with Jesus.  Darlene Zschech, Brook Fraser, Crystal Lewis, Ginny Owens, Kari Jobe, Kim Walker…so many more. I thank them.

The bloggers who get me on my knees and into scripture, searching for truth, searching for Jesus.  Sarah BesseyKathy EscobarJen Hatmaker, Ann Voskamp, Jennie Allen.

To those women of the faith who I admire mostly from afar.  Vickie Oliver, her ministry changed me, set a fire inside me.  Her words were like salve on an open wound of grief.  Dorothy Roca, Kim Sciscoe, Deborah Tisdale (who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself), Faythe Gill, Judith St.Clair.  God bless them for their lives spent for Him.

Women of Gathering… Tasha, the Proverbs friend who loves at all times… turned sister in times of adversity (17:17).  Sara, whose faith astounds me and is my motherly role-model.  Heidi, whose prophetic voice calls me to the deep places.  Chellee, Andrea, Nichole, Beth, Norma, Marty.  My co-laborers, my heart is full to be on this journey with these women of valor, my friends.

Estrella of Cuba, she died as a Christian should die, with joy and anticipation of the future.  Just as she lived.  Zulema of Cuba… no-one has loved me as fiercely.  She lives and breathes Jesus.

The ones to whom I am accountable… Tanya, a warrior.  Her strength makes me strong.  Her passion is infectious.  Lori, she sees me so clearly and speaks so honestly.  What would I do without her voice, the scriptures she speaks in the moment they are needed most.

So, in celebration of International Women’s Day, I honor these women.  I pray that God reward them for their investment into me and into His kingdom.  My only hope is I am able to do the same for someone else and that women of this caliber come along to help birth my girls in the Spirit.

Finally, for two things I ask your forgiveness.  First, forgive me if I forgot your name.  I know there are people I left out and rest assured, I thank God for you and the oversight wasn’t intentional in the least.  Second, please forgive me for all of the incomplete sentences in this post :)  I was in a flow and sentence structure didn’t seem to matter.

How about you?  Who are your spiritual midwives?  Who deserves to be honored in your life as a woman of valor?  I would love to hear about it and feel free to link up with Sarah’s synchroblog as well!



  1. Rachael says

    Thank you! I am blessed to be surrounded by these women. Thanks for hosting this synchroblog. It gave me an outlet to honor some fantastic women and made me realize that even in my valley, I have Jesus-loving women cheering me on.

  2. Billie Riley says

    Wow! Rachael, this is such a beautiful tribute. I am so honored to be included in your list. I would like to honor you, my little sister. You, also are a true woman of valor. The way you have stepped out in faith to follow hard after God’s will for your life is truly inspirational. I’ve watched you overcome some major obstacles, and come forth beautifully, like gold tried in the fire. It has truly been a privilege to witness how you’ve grown and matured in your walk with God, and as a woman, mother and friend. Also, I’d like to give honor to your mother, Kathy Turner. She truly has been a spiritual midwife to me. Aside from my own mother, Jula Crider, no other woman has had a more significant impact on my life. I recall her lessons to me almost daily and still feast on them. Any good in me is due, in large part, to her teaching and guidance during my years as a teenager and young adult. I have truly been blessed with some amazing leaders/mentors in my life, many of whom are on your list. I love strong women of faith!

    • Rachael says

      Billie, I’m so thankful that I had you and Brad as my youth leaders. I remember those prayer meetings that lasted hours sometimes… I think that is when I truly fell in love with the presence of God and learned how to pray. I’m thankful that you instilled spiritual things into me, and not just social things, the way so many youth groups of my time did. You guys are loved and missed, but I’m thankful you’ve found a place to be happy and grow in your ministries! Love you.

  3. Lori Slabaugh says

    Wow! What an honor to be listed in your blog but more importantly to be part of your life Rachael! To see you grow from a little girl, to a teenager, a wife, mother and now truly a woman of God has been a blessing to me. All that God is doing in your life is beautiful, part of a big plan that is unfolding everyday. Remember to do your best to walk in the spirit, not in the flesh (as we all do), and to love, as Christ would love.

    My mentors….starting with my Mom of course and what a great woman of faith she has been! If I have only a portion of the faith she has shown in her life I will be doing well. Her steadfast assurance in her walk with God is a great example to me to NEVER give up!

    And then came your family, the Ball family. What a GREAT, TREMENDOUS impact they had on my life growing up, my formative years! I really don’t remember my life without the Ball family being part of it. From your Grandmother, Grace Ball, your mother Kathy (Ball) Turner, Sheri Ball…great examples and teachers in my life! I believe I could write a book on the things I learned from these women!

    Suzanna Holmes, my friend, teacher, mentor, pastor’s wife and really a sister! To this day she teaches me and helps direct me in my walk with God and in this day to day life we live.

    My prayer group, Lana Zeltwanger, Krista Klockow, Karen Hueni, Judy Turner and Eilene Wesner. They have been my prayer warriors in the years we have been in Bremen….really teaching me by example what it is to be a Christian.

    It is so good to think about those who have impacted my life. Thank you Rachael for being one of those women also! Your Christ-like spirit, willingness to help others, constantly working for the kingdom, but yet being “real” with your struggles, is a wonderful example to me! I love you Rachael!

    • Billie says

      I love this comment, Lori. You are another one of those women who was such a great example to me. I’ll never forget when we prayed for you a husband and how God so beautifully answered that prayer. You told me to make a list and stick to it when praying for a husband. That was some of the best advice I ever received. I have passed on that same advice to other young women. You were such a great example of a worshipper to me. After all those years of singing next to you, I, too, became a “big mouth” alto, LOL.

    • Rachael says

      Thanks, Lori! That is so nice to hear. I loved hearing who your mentors are/were. I don’t know what the Rennard family would do without the Slabaugh family!

  4. Kathy Turner says

    Rachael, one of the many reasons I love your essays, is that you are able to express so beautifully in words what my heart wants to say and doesn’t know how. You, my daughter, are a gift of God to me. As I watch you follow after Christ – full of faith and trust and love – I am awed by what you are. And to those who have commented – I thank you for your kind words. I love you all and am blessed by what you have contributed to my life. The years of teaching the Word of God have come to fruition as I look around and see that you are all now involved in some type of ministry. The seeds of the Word have taken root and grown in you.

    I would love to be able to share the precious memories I have of each of you and the many other women who have influenced me, but there is not space enough here. I will close by saying that we are all simply a mosaic of the people God has placed in our pathway, and I am thankful for each of you.


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