In 2010 I got the opportunity to speak at Joyce Meyer’s Love Life Women’s Conference. Joyce and I are good friends, and I’ve often appeared on her television show. On this day I chose to talk about how to live a fulfilling life, and about the importance of attitude. When I got up to speak, I told the audience that for ten years I had spoken to men at Promise Keepers events, but that I was glad that God had finally given me a greater audience to speak to. The whole place went nuts, and we had a wonderful time that day.

When I finished speaking, I couldn’t help thinking about my mother Laura, whom I’d lost the year before. No person has had a greater impact on my life. Mom taught me true love and modeled God to me every day. It didn’t matter if I was dealing with a scraped knee, a bruised ego, or a broken heart: she was always there to give a hug, share a tear, and provide a listening ear. I learned love and respect from her. I cannot put into words what I gained from her wisdom and her unconditional love. Every day I miss her. But I take comfort in knowing that she lived a full life for eighty-eight years, and that she is now with the one she loves most: Jesus.

My appreciation for Mom got me thinking about some of the influential women who have shaped who I am, taught me spiritual lessons, modeled leadership, and made my life meaningful. It all started with Grandma Minton, who interceded for me when I was a very young child. I can tell you, I was a very ornery child, so I really needed people to talk to God on my behalf. I believe she almost single-handedly prayed me into the Kingdom.

I spent a lot of time with my younger sister Trish. She was called Patty back when we were kids. She loved to tag along with my brother Larry and me. Believe it or not, when I needed to buy my first car after I graduated from college, she was the one who lent me the money for the down payment.

Of course there is Margaret, the love of my life. I fell in love with her at camp when I was in junior high school. The moment I first saw her I knew she was the one for me. Including our dating years, we’ve been together for over fifty years! Her love for God and family has been a great blessing to us. Her years of faithful ministry have been a blessing to many.

I have also been influenced greatly by the women whose stories are told in the Bible. From the time I was a child, Mom talked to me about these giants of the faith, people such as Ruth and Hannah, Abigail and Mary. The traits they modeled and the leadership they exhibited have provided invaluable lessons to me.

Recently, that got me to thinking. What if I could write a book focused entirely on the women whose stories have been so valuable to me? I decided that it would be inspiring to focus on nine giants of the faith, to learn more of their stories and capture lessons from their lives that anyone could use today. I decided to call the book Wisdom from Women in the Bible.

I’ve written two other “Giants of the Bible” books, Running with the Giants and Learning from the Giants, which include women, but don’t exclusively feature women. But they’re structured in the same way. In all three books, I imagined what it would be like to spend time with Biblical heroes and learn directly from them. For Wisdom from Women in the Bible, I was excited to imagine what it would be like to visit heaven for a day, see my mom again, and be introduced to these amazing women of the faith.

I really enjoyed delving deeper into the stories of these nine heroes, and I believe the lessons I gleaned from their choices and actions are inspirational and universal. I hope you’ll join me in discovering what these courageous women can teach you.

Adapted from Wisdom from Women in the Bible, which will be available on March 31, 2015, here and at participating retailers.

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