Women’s stories have often been consigned to the footnotes of history, making it necessary to read them into the narrative based on scanty clues and tantalizing breadcrumbs that sometimes raise more questions than answers. Conversely, when there a written record does exist, it has often been suppressed and/or repackaged downplaying their contributions. Yet in their own time and because of their leadership and exemplary courage, these women were called “Mothers in Israel”—a designation that hearkens back to the biblical Deborah. And Wesley used the language of home and family to represent his ideal vision for a community of believers.
What compelled these strong, intelligent, pious women to stand fast in the face of obstacles? How did their faith give them a firm foundation on which to stand? And what were the reactions and roles of the significant men in their lives in either encouraging or impeding them in their ministries? Exploring their stories reveals a legacy of shared spiritual qualities that can still stir and inspire us.