For Rachel Held Evans, my friend and a Woman of Valor

Dear Rachel,

I'm going to try and write this letter without crying. Oops. Too late.

What I want you to know is how much I admire you. Your courage, determination and Berean commitment to search out the truth make you a true woman of valor. You never shirk the hard work of questioning assumptions and stereotypes--even when it places you in the crosshairs of previously unquestioned authority.

You never take the easy way out. You don't quit. You keep going.

You are tenacious, brave and above all, preeminently gracious. What I love most about you is your very in-real-life-ness. Your unabashed laughter, the twinkle in your eyes and your insightful, witty take on life saved my sanity more than once during that heartbreaking trip to Bolivia.

Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for allowing me to make mistakes in our friendship and most of all, thank you for being so kind and forgiving.

Oh, shoot. I'm full-on bawling now. Are you surprised? I'm guessing no.

When I opened your new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and read about your year-long experiment, I was so utterly grateful. It was the story that needed to be told. It was the story I'd been waiting to read for many years.

And then I found myself in your book. 

I was humbled and, of course, wept all over again.

Your unflagging support meant so much to me when I was asked to confront Michael Pearl on national television. I was trembling scared. Your support assured me that the speaking out against child-abuse done in God's name really IS true courage. True valor.

Thank you for being a light in the darkness.

Thank you for being a friend of Jesus. Thank you for being a friend of women.

Thank you for being my friend.

I love you with all my heart, Elizabeth Esther

**Rachel's new book releases today and we are throwing a party in her honor. If you'd like to write a note of appreciation for Rachel on YOUR blog, you can link up here. Let's shower Rachel with love!**