"In our endless search for strong, godly role models for women, we usually do not think of checking out the local high school for prospective candidates. Contrary to conventional wisdom, which teaches us to look for role models among Christians who are older than ourselves and to expect less of the young, the Bible often showcases exemplary young people whose hearts belonged to God and who gave up everything to follow him. Despite crushing odds, they held their ground against the Enemy and stood firm, and often alone, in their faith. . . . We make precious little out of the fact that the woman who plays such a central role in the unfolding of God's plan in history and in the church–Mary of Nazareth–was only a young teenager when first introduced in Scripture. . . . God’s redemptive purposes for all humankind dangled by the slender thread of a thirteen or fourteen-year-old Jewish girl. Who would believe that thread could be so strong?"
". . . life is full of unpredictable twists and turns—long lulls, disappointments, tragedies, and big breaks—that push us out of the shadows and force us to summon up courage, strength, and gifts we never knew we had. Esther's beauty didn't fade or, if it did, no one seemed to notice. Instead, other aspects of her character surfaced, showing the world and proving to Esther herself that she had serious responsibilities before God and a whole lot more to offer than beauty and compliance. When Esther faced the crisis of her life, the powers of face and form were not enough, and her ability to please stood in her way. The situation called for her to think and strategize, to exercise courage, to stand on her own two feet, and to rely solely upon her God. That's when Esther, long lost in her beauty, was finally found."
"From that day on Hannah was severed from the child she had longed for and loved with every fiber of her being. And, at the end of the day, she would go home with Elkanah and Peninnah—the same two people who had broken her heart a hundred times before by their choices and actions. Yet despite all of this, Hannah was secure and uncharacteristically confident, for she had come to understand that God is on his throne, and the one who trusts in him, though she is hurting, is standing on solid rock."