A Toolkit for Women Explorers

Ours is a lineage of the road less traveled; the wild beyond and the risky unknowns; hope that propels forward buoyed by faith that remembers. She has led us through the years and courses through our veins. We are of the women throughout time and culture who have walked dusty plains, sailed turbulent seas, and climbed thorny valleys. The explorers.

She left a dreamy haven, made for her and meant for her, but expelled. Forced out to become the first one who would search for meaning with hope and faith. From Eve, we received the template: women explore.

Many followed. Hagar offered us chutzpah. Such cheeky confidence to leave her masters and return home, along a desert road, while pregnant! Hagar explored the blessing of Yahweh, receiving the same promise as did Abraham (Genesis 16:10).

Miriam gave us voice. Standing between two brothers, she led their people through the desert, singing of God’s faithfulness to remind them all. The first to proclaim: not all who wander are lost (Micah 6:4 and Exodus 15:20-21).

Naomi and Ruth offered us resolve. What loyalty bonds two women with a survival instinct! After traversing a different desert road, they risked their future at the feet of a kinsman.

Later, Mary, Joanna, and Susanna explored the gospel at the feet of the one kinsman redeemer for us all. They gave us the gift of ambivalence, showing us how to hold immense grief and gratitude simultaneously (Luke 8:3 and Luke 24:10).

Hope, faith, chutzpah, voice, resolve, and ambivalence: tools for the explorer. Tools for the well-equipped woman forced to wander in order to be found. For the pilgrims and immigrants, the refugees and the displaced. And, also, for the hope-seekers and faith-chasers. For the ones who believe their voice is needed and have the chutzpah to offer it.

We are born of these women. 

They are our mothers, our sisters, our role models, mentors, and friends. They are the ones who inspire us to keep going and lead the way when we’re lost. The sassy and defiant, who have risked and worried and struggled, and still. Still they are. They are our resilient heritage who have lit the way.

As an explorer of the feminine story, I search for them wherever I go. I look for markers, statues, street signs, and symbols…anything that cherishes the legacies that have shaped the place. I am looking for the fingerprints of sisters.

Sometimes, in their absence, I find a fellow explorer. One who is also committed to keeping the scent of women wafting through the streets she inhabits. In Edinburgh, I found Caroline. In Paris, I found Heidi. In Dubrovnik, I found Vesna.

I always cry on these tours. Because being an explorer is so very hard. Equipped or not, our sisters struggled to find enough hope, faith, chutzpah, and resolve to keep going. And more often than not, history forgot.

But we will not forget, will we? Because ours is a lineage of a road less traveled; the wild beyond and the risky unknowns; hope that propels forward buoyed by faith that remembers.

Everything about my life is made up of that right there. The decisions and regret. The seasons of plenty and want. So, I take comfort in the journey of the great company of women throughout time. I draw from the tools they modeled how to use. I draw from their strength. Mostly, I am glad to not be alone. And then, I go about leaving my own fingerprints.

Beth Bruno lives in Colorado where she and her husband lead a team of ReStory™ experts at Restoration Counseling Center. Additionally, as a podcaster, author, and content strategist, Beth guides women to raise fierce and lovely teen girls. When she’s not creating something new, she and her family enjoy the mountains, traveling, and good food.