Vickie Kraft, a woman you may have never known, quietly passed from earth to heaven this week. She closed her eyes, falling asleep on earth, and opened them again in heaven, waking up to see her Lord Jesus face-to-face. I am one of thousands who will miss her presence here. But, I am one of thousands who are so grateful for her impact on my life — an impact that changed my perspective on Jesus and His love for me — forever!
Back in the 80s, I was going through some difficult times in my life. I remember one summer meeting in a local prayer group and asking the Lord to help me to cry more. That sounds silly, I know. But, I don’t cry easily, and I wanted to experience the relief of tears rather than holding everything inside of me. Well, He certainly answered that prayer! Within weeks, a couple of things happened that put stress on me, and I started crying. Daily. I’d drop my preschooler off in the morning, go home and cry on the sofa for 3 hours, then go to pick her up. I hadn’t lost my faith in God, but I felt hopeless. Have you ever felt that way?
After a few months of this hopeless feeling when I couldn’t even read my Bible and pray like I had been doing for years, someone told me about a women’s Bible study at a local church where a woman named Vickie Kraft was teaching a group of ~200 women every Wednesday morning. I had heard Vickie teach during the Youth for Christ conference here in Dallas in 1984 and knew she was a really good teacher. So, I started attending the Bible study. And, my life radically changed as Vickie taught through Hebrews 11 — “The Hall of Faith” — and showed me that many other women have gone before me, depending on Christ to get them through some very tough times. The Word of God restored my hope in the goodness of God. The crying every day stopped; I began to face the challenges with courage and hope that my God could and would get me through it. He did! And many times since!!
For several years after that, I sat under Vickie’s teaching, absorbing so much about how God loves me as a woman because He created me as a woman of worth and value to Him. I learned from her teaching through the life of Sarah (Abraham’s wife) that God gives women what we most desperately want — security and significance — as we trust in Him. He is trustworthy.
Vickie’s teaching also opened my eyes to how God lived among us women as the God-man Jesus. She taught that Jesus demonstrated His love for women in a way that no other man ever had. Contrary to His culture that devalued women, considering them property and responsible for the lustful temptations that men suffered, Jesus’ warmth, personal attention, tenderness, sound teaching, and compassion toward women were revolutionary. He taught them biblical truth and allowed them to travel with Him when no rabbi would ever think of doing that.
I remember Vickie saying that as our Creator, Jesus designed us with a mind to know God, emotions to love God, and a will to obey God. Our female minds need to be filled with the knowledge of Him so that our hearts may respond with great love for Him, and our wills can choose to obey Him. And, over and over, she would reinforce that our God is trustworthy of our confidence in Him.
Vickie always had a theme statement for every book of the Bible she taught. I wrote them in my Bible where they continue to guide me. Just a few:
- Galatians – You were born free so that you might grow free, stand free, and be free in the spirit’s power.
- Colossians – Jesus Christ is above all powers and authorities, in all believers, and is all we need for earth and heaven. (This is my favorite!)
- Romans — the gospel of God is the power of God to bring salvation to all who believe because it reveals a God-given righteousness acquired by faith!
- Women of the Bible series — God’s woman is a unique creation responsible to God—to love Him, to obey Him, to serve Him, and to be influential in her sphere. (Also my favorite. Can I have 2 favorites?!)
Vickie Kraft’s body may no longer be alive on earth, but the way she invested the Word of God into the lives of the women of God will live on for generations.
Thank you, Jesus, for the life and teaching of Vickie Kraft. That is one of many aspects of Your goodness towards me.
New Testament Women Bible Study (read online)
New Testament Women Bible Study (download pdf)