Women Who Rise



She’s the woman I think of when I think dangerous. With her cement church she literally built from the ground up, in a small village she never wanted to return to. The village where the scent of vodka floats on the air, and peppers grow as long as your arm. Where those who were meant to protect her had abused her instead. The village she was run out of as a young teenager after converting to Christianity.

She tells her testimony in her own tongue, even though her English is just fine. After she was turned out of her own home, a pastor with many mouths to feed shrugged, saying, “What’s another,” and welcomed her into their family. It was a dangerous hospitality that welcomed her, a hospitality that changed her life.

Years later, as a missionary in the big city, she told God she was willing to go anywhere—Africa, India, wherever—but it was back to her village where God sent her, and she was obedient. Back to the place she was driven away from. A place where women do not preach, build, church plant, or even remain, she did all those things and more. Obedience to a wild God can be a dangerous thing to the status quo of women. 

Back in her home village, this woman willingly fed her abuser daily, despite that fact that he also turned her mother out of their home after she, too, encountered Jesus. All the children gathered around this woman, and she prayed for their parents, prayed for the ones who had left to find work. She circumvented bitterness by speaking life over the abandoned.

Dangerous women speak life.

Another dangerous friend, Becky, introduced us to her. You might remember Becky as the girl who hiked Mt. freaking Everest to raise funds for an anti-human trafficking project in Moldova. Dangerous hope takes on massive challenges, even physical or social ones. 

Perhaps you also remember Christina, the American woman living in Cape Town who debriefs victims of violence in a police station. She willingly enters into the most horrific stories in order to bring just a little bit healing. Dangerous love listens to the voices of the abused and challenges apathy. 

This week a beautiful wife and mother I knew from South Africa was in a car accident that put her in a coma. Her love story was special and it just didn’t seem finished yet. Her family and friends stood strong for a miracle. But her healing was to be found on heaven’s side in the presence of Jesus and not here on earth. And that aches. It doesn’t seem right. Even when we live out a dangerous life, we don’t always get what we would hope for here on earth. Dangerous faith believes in the impossible and the unseen. 

The thing about each of these women is that the dangerous parts of their stories are not even the most dramatic parts. I don’t know any dangerous women who haven’t had to struggle for their story, whether it is spending months preparing to climb a mountain, or facing a great sorrow head-on, or choosing joy in the midst of injustice. Dangerous women are willing to write a bigger story than what they were handed.

Dangerous doesn’t mean we will be protected from harm, or immune to the aches of this world. It doesn’t mean walking with our eyes closed to the real struggles of life. It is not a promise that we will come out successful or strong. Sometimes our most dangerous steps lead us into failure and heartache. But dangerous is having a faith and a theology big enough to encompass those mistakes and the failures and losses.

Dangerous women fall down, yet they rise up.

I know I could be better at living dangerously. All too often I let fear be the force directing me. It scares me that most of the dangerous women I know were formed in the fire of trials and loss and hardship and injustice. They are the ones who let their love run wild and vulnerable, even when there is a risk that it could hurt.

Dangerous women do the hard work.

They don’t just talk about prayer or justice or the Kingdom, they work it out in their day-to-day lives.

And that kind of dangerous has the power to shift the status quo for women around the world.

Who are the dangerous women in your life? What does dangerous look like for you?