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To celebrate International Women’s Day, debut author and blogger Sarah Bessey is hosting a synchroblog to celebrate Spiritual Midwives and Patron Saints, otherwise known as the women who shaped our lives spiritually. Why don’t you write a post about your Patron Saints and link-up with her? (Click here to tweet & invite others!) I’ve written often of three women—the most amazing ladies I’ve never met—who changed my life in a big way. Here are the most lasting lessons I’ve learned from their lives.

One: Do not fear the fire for Christ is with you. (Darlene Deibler Rose)
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As a young bride, Darlene Deibler accompanied her missionary husband to the Baliem Valley of New Guinea in hopes of ministering to the tribal people. Instead she ended up in a Japanese prison camp for the duration of World War II. During those turbulent years, she was imprisoned, beaten, starved, and abused. Yet she cherished a tender relationship with Jesus and never lost faith in His love.

“I was to discover that when I took my eyes off the circumstances that were overwhelming me, over which I had no control, and looked up, my Lord was there, standing on the parapet of heaven, looking down. Deep in my heart He whispered, ‘I’m here. Even when you don’t see Me, I’m here. Never for a moment are you out of My sight.’”

(If you haven’t read her poignant memoir, Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II, grab a copy now!)

Two: Let your life be always shadowed by the cross. (Elisabeth Elliot)
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To me it seems that Elisabeth Elliot has lived through every possible season of life a woman could experience. As an author she’s written about her firsthand experiences with loneliness, longing, heartbreak, passion, purity, and triumphant love. Of course, I loved reading about her courtship with larger-than-life hero Jim Elliot. In one of her books, she shares the details of a difficult parting on the night before she and Jim left Wheaton to go their separate ways, not knowing if God would ever bring them back together:

“Jim and I walked to a cemetery and sat down on a stone slab. He spoke of a story he had read in his Bible study that morning–the story of Abraham’s offering up Isaac. ‘So I put you on the altar,’ he said. Slowly we became aware that the moon, which had risen behind us, was casting the shadow of a stone cross on the slab between us. We were silent for a very long time, pondering this undeniable sign.”

Three: When God’s only answer is “I know,” that is enough. (Corrie Ten Boom)
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God planned for Corrie Ten Boom to become the heroine of The Hiding Place, rescuing Jews and standing for Christ against evil. But when the Nazis first invaded, He gave her not a vision of victory but of the tragedies to come. In her memoir Corri writes of her vision: “‘Betsie!’ I cried, jumping up, pressing my hands to my eyes. ‘Betsie, I’ve had such an awful dream!’ I felt her arm around my shoulder. Over coffee, standing at the stove, I told Betsie what I had seen. ‘Am I imagining things because I’m frightened? But it wasn’t like that! It was real. Oh Betsie, was it a kind of vision?’

‘I don’t know,’ she said softly. ‘But if God has shown us bad times ahead, it’s enough for me that He knows about them. That’s why He sometimes shows us things, you know—to tell us that this too is in His hands.'”

These precious women have meant much to me—though they will never know until Heaven. Who has touched your life for Christ? Who did God use to give you strength? Is there someone who has relived her hurts that you might be made whole? Thank God for that dear sister-in-Christ today!

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