It is amazing how someone you have never met can have such a profound impact on your life. Rachel Held Evans gets to party with Jesus now and I feel like I lost a friend. Her writing encapsulated many, especially women, who struggled with their faith, doubt, and the church. She helped us to find hope, to know that we were not alone in the struggle, and to not give up.
I remember reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood and it was like it connected to my soul, the very core of my being. She helped me see scripture in a new way that made me feel more confident in who I was, how I was created, and how I fit with the body of Christ. I learned from her that the “Proverbs 31 woman” wasn’t a list of expectations of who I am to be. Growing up, Christian women were compared to that list and I always felt that I never measured up. Her research liberated me from those expectations and allowed me to celebrate all my victories – Eshet Chayil. I printed those words and they hang on my wall to remind me that I AM a woman of valor.
Several months ago I picked up her newest book Inspired and my children and I have been reading it slowly during our devotions. It has sparked amazing conversations about the Bible and its stories. Her faith journey resonates with so many because it’s what so many of us have experienced. She talks about how unacceptable it has been to ask question or challenge theological beliefs but we ALL have them. She makes it ok to have questions and still hold your faith – something that was not permitted before. If you questioned then you were not a believer and if you were a believer then you didn’t question.
This is a huge loss to the world. I don’t understand God’s soverignty, what He allows and what He doesn’t. In this instance, like many others in my life, I will allow Him to be God and accept that I will not understand until I get to be with Him. I will also allow Him to be my comforter and pray comfort for Rachel’s family and friends in this very challenging time of loss.