The night before my first day as a freshman in high school, my older sister wrote a quote on my bedroom mirror.
“Don’t be afraid ... for the heroes of all time have gone before us.”
This quote was from a book by Joseph Campbell that both of us had read as part of our summer reading requirement prior to our freshman year Honors English class. That dry-erase quote stayed on my mirror for a large majority of high school. In fact, I would literally clean around the quote when I would wipe down my mirror because having it there meant so much to me.
This memory has been so wildly meaningful for me. I even referenced it when I asked her to be my Maid of Honor last year. In so many ways I have loved being a younger sister to Megan. I have looked to her example and watched her in order to imitate her. I often joke that I am the ultimate little sister. I have waited for her approval on an idea and an outfit and her opinion carries nearly the greatest of weights in my life. I was far less scared about high school because I knew she had gone ahead of me.
Like Megan, there are countless women in my life who have gone ahead of me. They have shaped me and prayed for me. They have corrected me and raised me. They are the heroes who have gone ahead of me. And they have taught me, whether they realize it or not, who to look for when I look for Jesus.
They have taught me how to keep watch.
I think about the heroines in my story and my mind can’t help but wander to the heroines throughout scripture — the women who have gone before all of us. The women who are often glossed over in a list. The women whose entire lives can be reduced to a brief summation of facts and genealogies we are tempted to skip over.
I think about Rahab, Esther and Naomi, Mary and Martha, the bleeding woman and countless others.
These women who went before us. These women knew who to look for. They teach us who to look for. These women kept watch for the coming Promise.
Rahab, whose name is often tied to her profession (more than likely a profession due to circumstance and survival rather than by her choosing), was the absolute bottom of the social hierarchy in her city. She wasn’t anyone worth noting. For those in Jericho, she was nothing more than the body that she had to offer for a time.
Something that has always puzzled me about her story in Joshua chapter 2, was how quickly and certainly she knew who the Israelite spies were when they arrived. Not only that, she knew who they were coming in the name of.
“I know that the LORD has given you the land…,” she said to them.
She goes on to explain how she heard about how the Lord delivered them out of Egypt and continued to deliver them throughout the land. I wonder, did she sit in her house, the house built into the side of the city wall, waiting for evidence of this delivering God? Perhaps this God who delivers would deliver her, too?
She knew who she was looking for. She knew who this God was. She kept watch for her Deliverer.
Like her, the woman who suffered from chronic bleeding, whose story was documented throughout the Gospels, would have also been seen as a social and religious outcast — deemed unclean and unworthy. Her condition causing her to be jailed to a state of isolation.
And yet, when Jesus passed by in a crowd, she grabbed the hem of his robe. I can imagine the sheer franticness of this unfolding in her as she saw him. Reaching, perhaps even pushing through the crowd just to touch him. Knowing that he had healing in his wings, she just needed to touch the hem of his robe.
She knew who she was looking for. She knew who this man was. She kept watch for her Healer.
These women have kept watch for the One they have waited for. They knew who to look for and could recognize him when he was with them, even in the most unlikely of places.
They have taught me who it is I should look for. And because they have gone ahead of me, I know who to wait for. I recognize him when I see him, even in the most unlikely of places, like dry erase mirror quotes and genealogies we are tempted to skip over.
Written by Lindsey Bandy Blodgett