There is a t-shirt that reads, "Well behaved women rarely make history.“ There is in this statement. I remember the day when I realized how revolutionary history’s women were and are, even if we don't consider them as such by today's standards. They were revolutionary because they did something different, something to stand above the roles society had deemed them to from their birth. When I started looking at history, I realized there were unsung heroes who changed the lives of everyone they encountered and generations to come. It is in a spirit of humble acknowledgement that I pay tribute to some of the women who have inspired me, that they too might inspire you to appreciate the mothers, daughters, ministers, teachers, and women in your life as well, and see them not just as a part of now, but of always. Here's to good women: may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.
Miriam Prophetess, worship leader, and teacher of God’s Word to the people "And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea." (Exodus 15:20-21)
The Daughters of Zelophad: Mahlah, Noah, Holgah, Milcah, and Tirzah Four daughters who fought for what was theirs - and won! "The daughters of Zelophad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter." (Numbers 27:7-8)
Deborah A female judge, prophetess, and leader in battle "And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment." (Judges 4:5)
Jael Victor in battle by strategy and method "Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent." (Judges 5:24)
Rahab A prostitute who put her own life on the line to protect the two spies; found in the lineage of Jesus Christ "By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace." (Hebrews 11:31)
Ruth Known for her love and compassion towards her bitter mother-in-law, Naomi, Ruth became the great-grandmother of David, and is therefore in the lineage of Christ. "And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." (Ruth 1:16-17)
Hannah Mother to Samuel, a judge and prophet of ancient Israel "Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of Him: therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD." (1 Samuel 1:26-28)
Huldah A prophetess who dwelled at the college in Jerusalem, bringing prophetic word “ Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place.” (2 Kings 22:14-20)
The Daughters Of Job: Jemima, Kezia, and Keren-Happuch Three women who had it going on! And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren." (Job 42:15)
Esther A young woman who became queen and saved her people from genocide "What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom." (Esther 7:2)
Ezra 2:61 Woman Scripture's unnamed woman who not only kept her maiden name, but her husband took it as well "This Barzillai had married a woman who was a descendant of Barzillai of Gilead, and he had taken her family name." (Ezra 2:61)
Proverbs 31 Woman The “every woman” of every female believer "Her children riseth up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously; but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." (Proverbs 31:28-31)
Mary, Mother of Jesus The awesome woman who God appointed to be the mother of the Savior of the World "My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His Name." (Luke 1:46-49)
Mary Magdalene The first female apostle; first to see Christ resurrected "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things unto her." (John 20:17-18)
The Syrophoenician Woman She knew what was right and was willing to stand in faith "For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at His feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto Him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs. And He said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed." (Mark 7:25-30)
The Poor Widow She gave all she had to God "And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing...Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury.” (Mark 12:41-43)
The Woman at the Well Someone who sought the truth, despite her worldly situation "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not..." (John 4:15)
Tabitha (Dorcas) Known for her good works, almsdeeds, and high-quality goods, Tabitha died - but her life did not end there; raised to life by Peter "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber…all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter… said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes." (Acts 9:36-40)
The Four Daughters of Philip Women who lived in honesty, purity, and prophecy "And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy." (Acts 21:8-9)
Lydia A business woman, a seller of purple cloth, who on account of her belief, led her entire family into Christianity "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there.” (Acts 16:14-15)
The “Elect Lady” A woman relevant to both the church and the Apostle John "And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.” (2 John 5)
Jeanne d’Albrecht (1528-2572) Leader of the Huguenot Party, leader in battle, and royal daughter who pronounced Calvinism the state religion of Bearn "Nothing is impossible to a valiant heart."
Anne Marbury Hutchinson (1591-1643) The first American feminist; minister, preacher, teacher “ I am called here to answer before you, but I hear no things laid to my charge.”
Susanna Wesley (1669-1742) The mother of Charles and John Wesley; raised her children with no help from her abusive husband "When I had forgotten God, yet I then found He had not forgotten me. Even then He did by His Spirit apply the merits of great atonement to my soul, by telling me that Christ died for me."
Julia Evelina Smith (1792-1888) Women's rights activist, feminist, and Christian; the first woman to completely and independently translate the Bible into English “ Over twenty years ago, when I had four sisters, a friend met with us weekly to search the Scriptures, we being desirous to learn the exact meaning of every Greek and Hebrew word… It was the literal meaning we were seeking.”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) Women’s rights advocate; abolitionist; temperance advocate; Bible scholar; major force behind the 1848 Women’s Convention "Whatever the theories may be of a woman's dependence on man, in the supreme moments of her life he cannot bear her burdens."
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) Women’s rights advocate, feminist, abolitionist "Who can measure the advantages that would result if the magnificent abilities of these women could be devoted to the needs of government, society, and home, instead of being consumed in the struggle to obtain their birthright of individual freedom? Until this be gained we can never know, we can not even prophesy the capacity and power of women for the uplifting of humanity."
Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D. (1821-1910) Abolitionist, women's rights activist, and first female medical doctor in the United States "For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women."
Amanda Smith (1837-1915) Female evangelist and missionary who overcame a life of slavery; worked for orphaned girls 'Now, therefore, perform the doing of it, and as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.' (2 Corinthians 8:11) I said, 'Lord, I thank Thee, for this is Thy Word to me, for what I have asked of Thee. Praised be Thy Name."
Charlotte “Lottie” Moon (1840-1912) Missionary to China for 39 years "I wonder how many of us really believe that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’? A woman who accepts that statement of our Lord Jesus Christ as a fact, and not as impractical idealism, will make giving a principle of her life."
Hannah Whitehall Smith (1832-1911) Author “ A feeling of real need is always a good enough reason to pray.”
Maria Woodworth Etter (1844-1924) One of the best-known preachers in both the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements "While we stood between the living and the dead, preaching the Gospel on the Apostolic line, earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, proving to the people that Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, according to the Lord's promise. He was with us, confirming His Word with mighty signs and wonders following."
Isabella Lillias Trotter (1853-1928) Founder, Algiers Mission Band; missionary to North Africa; translator of the New Testament into Algerian tongue “ Through eternity I shall thank Him for the silent flame in the hearts of those two friends, and what it did for me. Neither of them has ever had her path opened into foreign work, but the light of the Day that is coming will show what He has let them do in kindling other souls.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) Author, pioneer "It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
Elliot J. Sheeks (1872-1935) Apostle, preacher, overseer, scholar and pastor “ And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom..." (Exodus 28:3)
Anna S. Hancombe (Unknown) The first woman ordained in the Church of the Nazarene (1892) "The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power!" (1 Corinthians 4:20)
Aimee Semple MacPherson (1890-1944) Founder, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; preacher, teacher "What is my task? First of all, my task is to be pleasing to Christ. To be empty of self and be filled with Himself. To be filled with the Holy Spirit; to be led by the Holy Spirit."
Kathryn J. Kuhlman (1907-1976) One of the first worldwide, internationally known female evangelists in history "I believe in miracles because I believe in God."
Betty Williams (1943- ) Head of the Global Children's Foundation and President of the World Centers of Compassion for Children International; Nobel Peace Prize Winner (1977) “ There’s no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution.”