An Unexpected Hero!

How far we’ve come since the days when we sought to protect and cherish our women. . . . Have we forgotten that it is our glory to die in their place?Greg Morse

Some evangelical leaders are alarmed at the thought of a female hero. Every time Hollywood releases another blockbuster movie featuring a female superhero—Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, or a bold protagonist from Disney’s animated collection of heroic princesses—naysayers come out of the woodwork to warn us that these movie heroines are a negative influence on women and girls. (See Morse’s “Behold Your Queen.”)

In the opinions of some, the notion of a female fighting battles (especially on behalf of men instead of counting on men to protect her) violates God’s design for his daughters. 

Instead, the truly alarming fact is that in the real world it is both foolish and fanciful to imagine that, when danger threatens, some man will step in and save us.

Recently, I listened as a father protested the mindset that his young daughters don’t need strong female role models and the false assumption that God won’t call them to fight tough battles, perhaps even for their brothers. His little girls are growing up in a world where #MeToo and #ChurchToo abuses happen—when daddy or husband or brothers aren’t around 24/7 and where sadly even the church can’t be counted on to be a safe place. 

If we socialize little girls to depend on others coming to their rescue, instead of to be strong and courageous, we are putting them at risk. 

Besides, female courage and valor aren’t Hollywood inventions. That kind of language describes women in the Bible. After all, God didn’t create his daughters to be dependents or spectators. He commissioned us alongside our brothers to be active kingdom agents. We bear his image. He empowered us at creation to represent him and to do his work in the world. This high calling comes with monumental responsibility. The creator commissioned his daughters and his sons to rule and subdue. That’s an explicit call to look after things in his world, to promote flourishing, to participate in Jesus’ rescue effort, and to battle for goodness and justice.

Need I mention that we are ezer-warriors?

The Origins of Female Heroes

We don’t need Captain Marvel or Superwoman to empower us. The Bible has already empowered us by giving us a strong line-up of bold, heroic female role models. Some of these heroes were very young teenagers. 

These women courageously answered God’s call, often risking their lives to engage the battle for his kingdom. Miriam, Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, Hannah, Abigail, Esther, the Marys of Nazareth, Magdela, and Bethany, and Priscilla are just the short list of women who refused to shrink back. And the men in their stories are not emasculated by their actions. They are beneficiaries. 

These bold female stories provide rich fodder for the kind of 21stcentury conditioning little girls and grown up women need for the struggles we face in our own stories and on behalf of others.

We are working hard to restore these courageous, yet all-too-often minimized, female stories to the limelight where they belong. And the good news is that now this courageous message is reaching little girls who face battles of their own to fight.

The Battles Little Girls Must Fight

I’ve just returned from Seattle Children’s Hospital where my 4-year-old granddaughter Arden bravely faced two major surgeries (over 12 hours total) for a severe case of hip dysplasia. To be sure, she was surrounded and supported by those who love her and who would trade places with her in a heartbeat. My daughter was by her side during some of the toughest moments.

Yet each time there was a point when Arden proceeded to the O.R. all alone or faced dimensions of the aftermath that no one could spare her. The road ahead for Arden won’t be easy. She faces over 2 months in a Spica cast, the inability to walk or do anything for herself, and weeks of physical therapy and wearing a brace to get back on her feet again.

Even at the tender age of four there are fierce and frightening battles to fight. If we fail to teach her to be strong and courageous, we do her an enormous disservice.

Already Arden is responding valiantly in ways that astonish me and would put most adults to shame. She’s my “Unexpected Hero”!

Recovering Rahab’s Story for Little Ezers

So the urgency of getting out the powerful truth about these biblical women’s stories could not be more serious. We need to affirm and embolden the youngest and the oldest among us. No one gets a pass. God’s call rests on all of his daughters.

The 4th volume in the powerful Called and Courageous Girls book series is the story of Rahab, An Unexpected Hero. These books are reaching young girls ages 4-7. Rahab is one of my favorite biblical heroes!

Storytellers Rachel Spier Weaver and Anna Haggard, along with gifted illustrator Eric Elwell, have done a masterful job of bringing Rahab’s story and the stories of Miriam, Priscilla, and Deborah to light for this promising young audience. 

This newest book corrects the typical mischaracterization of Rahab. Instead of being defined by regret and shame, Rahab emerges as a true hero. She alone in all Jericho dared to embrace Israel’s God and risk her life to protect the Israelite spies.

I wish I’d had these books when I was in that age bracket. I guarantee I would have looked at my own life differently instead of holding back. Even more, I wish I could have read these stories to my own daughter when she was that age. The good news is even mothers who grew up unaware that the Bible contains such empowering female stories can get the message by reading these stories to their children. It’s never too late.

Thankfully, the books have arrived in perfect time for my little grand-ezers, Arden and Avery (3). I’ll be taking Rahab with me when I head to Anchorage to help with Arden’s care.

Order copies here for every little ezer you love!

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ARDEN UPDATE #11: Entering the Anchorage Phase

Arden and Allison are on the plane and finally (and happily) on their way home to Anchorage.

We are entering the Anchorage phase of this ordeal: Long days stuck in a Spica cast (that is crucial to her recovery, but a tough confinement for an active little girl), multiple trips for x-rays to make sure everything is progressing nicely, and needing others to help with everything.

I expect she’ll find ways to keep busy.

Avery and their daddy Tony arrived in Anchorage yesterday and have been busy getting things ready for Arden—including assembling a new bed for her.

Even a three-year-old can and wants to help.

Please continue praying for Arden’s endurance (which so far has been impressive), for stamina for Allison and others who will help out with Arden’s care, and that God will do the kind of major healing we need for Arden to get back on her feet.


Reminder: Don’t forget Arden’s GoFundMe! She’s begun the long road to recovery from severe hip dysplasia. From what we’ve seen so far, we’re convinced she’ll go the distance.

Help us go the distance to our GoFundMe goal!

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ARDEN UPDATE #10: Heading Home!

Post-op X-rays this morning show that Arden’s femur remains in place!

One little person is mighty glad to be getting out of the hospital and away from all the poking and prodding and being wheeled into yet another exam or X-ray. She’s had a great morning. And this good news tops it for all of us.

The road ahead is long. 5-6 weeks in this Spica cast with more follow-up X-rays in between. Then a return to Seattle Children’s Hospital and to the O.R. for recasting in a slightly less confining body cast and another 4 weeks or so. Tony, Hilda, and I will be taking turns helping Allison with Arden’s care.

After the last body cast comes off, she’ll have physical therapy to learn how to walk again. Arden will wear a brace for anywhere from 3-months to a year after that to make sure everything stays in place.

We are more thankful than words can express for the love, prayers, and generosity of family and friends who are helping this little family get through this crisis. God’s mercies have surrounded our little one, and we are trusting his help in the days ahead.

Please keep Arden in your prayers. I expect to post more updates in the future as we continue the fight for Arden to walk and run and dance again.


Reminder: Don’t forget Arden’s GoFundMe! She’s begun the long road to recovery from severe hip dysplasia. From what we’ve seen so far, we’re convinced she’ll go the distance.

Help us go the distance to our GoFundMe goal!

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ARDEN UPDATE #9: Second Surgery in a Week

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Nothing like a return to the Operation Room to take the sparkle out of Arden’s eyes.

This time she knew what was coming. She has been such an incredibly good sport about everything, it was harder than ever to see her go through this again.

Repositioning her femur did require reopening the incision, which was another disappointment for us all. Here’s the update Alli just posted:

After a long 5 1/2 hours Arden is finally in recovery. She did really well, and our surgeon is much happier! We’re admitted for one night and, as long as X-rays look good tomorrow, we are Alaska bound on Saturday! ❤️

Disappointed as we all were when X-rays Wednesday revealed the need for another trip to the O.R. and then again when it turned out that an open procedure was necessary to do the job, good friend Peggy Mindrebo lifted our spirits with the email message below.

Peggy is married to an Orthopedic surgeon and also understands first-hand what it’s like to spend anxious hours in a children’s hospital waiting for news of her own dear little ones.

“Here’s the comfort I might add . . . by doing an open procedure instead of closed, they might have a better chance of assuring it won’t happen again. If they popped it back into place, it might have an equal chance of dislocating again. I’m praying for Arden. She is deeply loved by her Heavenly Father. May she sense His nearness in this time. I’ve spent way too much time in the waiting rooms of children’s hospitals these past years. May each of you also sense the Spirit hovering in your space. This is holy ground. You can do nothing. God is with you.❤️

Just a couple of hours after surgery, Arden is once again demonstrating her resilience. After 5 1/2 hours of surgery, already this!

Once again, we want to thank you for your love, prayers, and support for our little one!

Reminder: Don’t forget Arden’s GoFundMe! She’s begun the long road to recovery from severe hip dysplasia. From what we’ve seen so far, we’re convinced she’ll go the distance.

Help us go the distance to our GoFundMe goal!

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ARDEN UPDATE #8: Setback

Today our little champ suffered a serious setback. X-rays taken this morning during Arden’s post-op at Seattle Children’s Hospital showed her femur is out of the socket.

Alli wrote this:

So, things have not quite gone as planned. Arden’s femur has dislocated (which was a concern) and will have to be repositioned & re-cast tomorrow morning. We are hoping for a non-surgical option, however it is still a possibility for the best outcome. More X-rays will be done on Friday, and we have our fingers crossed for a Saturday return to Anchorage ❤️

We are heartsick over this setback, as you can imagine. But we are in the battle full-throttle for our little Arden whose response to this new normal has been better than we could have imagined. And now, either way they resolve this problem, she faces another round under anesthesia, and she’ll probably be back on pain meds too. Hopefully, they’ll be able to readjust things without a surgical procedure, but either way, this is a tough development.

Thank you for your prayers, your words of encouragement, and for being in this battle with us.


Reminder: Don’t forget Arden’s GoFundMe! She’s begun the long road to recovery from severe hip dysplasia. From what we’ve seen so far, we’re convinced she’ll go the distance.

Help us go the distance to our GoFundMe goal!

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ARDEN UPDATE #7: On Wheels!

Saturday couldn’t have turned out better. This was Arden’s first day up and about. Seattle Children’s Hospital provided an incredible reclining wheel chair, so she was able to ride down the halls of SCH and out into a little garden.

She later said, “I want to sit in that wheelchair forever!”

Once she met all the requirements for discharge (which happened late in the day), she was exuberant. Tata (her other grandmother) had given her a singing Elsa doll. And yes, we’ve already lost count of how many times we’ve heard that doll sing “Let it go!” with Arden and Avery enthusiastically singing along.

Saturday evening, she was exuberant as her daddy wheeled her out of the hospital to the waiting hotel van. Arden, her little sister and Elsa were singing “Let it go!” at the top of their lungs all the way out of the hospital—much to the amusement of people who were watching.

It’s Sunday, and Arden and her family are now settled into the hotel for the duration of their stay here. Things are going smoothly. Arden is chipper, playful, and thankfully not in pain. Her mommy and daddy are already pros in managing her care. A ride outside in her wheelchair was a glorious break from sitting in bed. I took Avery to hunt Easter eggs at the home of my friends, Terry and Ken McNichols, and she proved more than equal to the task and brought home sweets to share with Arden.

Arden’s post-op is April 24, including x-rays to make sure the Spica cast is lined up perfectly to do its job. Once they get the thumbs up (which we pray they will), Arden and her family will be returning to Anchorage. Please keep her in your prayers. She’s just in week 1 of 6 in her Spica cast.


Reminder: Don’t forget Arden’s GoFundMe! She’s begun the long road to recovery from severe hip dysplasia. From what we’ve seen so far, we’re convinced she’ll go the distance.

Help us go the distance to our GoFundMe goal!

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ARDEN UPDATE #6: The First Battle

We are relieved and grateful to be on the other side of Arden’s surgery. She did exceedingly well throughout a very complicated and long surgery. Her recovery has been steady and strong. She is eating solids, talking, moving toes on both feet, and watching cartoons on an iPad. She even downed a chocolate donut with sprinkles.

As her mommy commented on Facebook, “Arden is in and out of good spirits but she’s safe and healthy!”

And for that we are exceedingly thankful.

Mainly her “out of good spirits” is because she keeps hoping someone will help her escape her purple Spica cast. It’s hard to imagine anyone being okay with such confinement—especially such an active, energetic little four-year-old. It will take time to adjust.

Much as we dreaded the surgery, an awareness is sinking in for all of us that, despite our since of relief that the surgery is over, this was only the first battle in the long, hard battle that lies ahead to get Arden back on her feet.

Please pray that she’ll adjust to this new normal, that the Spica cast will do its job to get her leg and hip in working order, and that Jesus will do a lot of healing to get our little Arden up and running again.

Thank you again for all your love, words of encouragement, prayers and support.


Reminder: Don’t forget Arden’s GoFundMe! She’s begun the long road to recovery from severe hip dysplasia. From what we’ve seen so far, we’re convinced she’ll go the distance.

Help us go the distance to our GoFundMe goal!

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