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Hi there!


I am Michelle Layer Rahal. (The middle name is my maiden name, in case that rings a bell with anyone.) I live in Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC, with my incredible, smart, and funny husband, Greg. Every day is an adventure waiting to happen. I’m happiest when I’m grocery shopping, cooking complicated meals, or reading a thick, non-fiction book in front of a roaring fire. Greg, on the other hand, is happiest when he’s building something, socializing with friends, and listening to NPR—all at the same time. It makes for an interesting marriage!

My first book, Straining Forward, was published in 2018. Prior to this, I wrote a lot of educational reports and articles at the local, state, and national level. My writing focus took this 180° turn when I felt God’s call to write for him instead. I now write a monthly blog entitled, A Glimpse of Holy, which guides readers toward recognizing God’s presence by focusing on God’s goodness. (Philippians 4:8-9) I am currently writing a second book that addresses the various voices God uses to communicate with his people. If you have a story to share, I would love to hear it!

At one time or another, I’ve held these titles (or perhaps they’ve held me): news radio anchor, elementary school teacher, Youth and Family Ministry Director, Director of Assessment, spiritual formation leader, worship leader, and educational consultant. I now call myself an author, even though that title seems the most pretentious of all. Perhaps it’s because I gave it to myself.

If you’re into the Enneagram, I’m a 1, the Reformer. I have an insatiable desire to do the right thing and do it well. If you’re into Meyers-Briggs, I’m an INTJ with J (for judging) off the charts. In my mind, there is always room for improvement. If you’re into Strength Finders, I’m a Learner. Diligent about examining what needs to be revised or fixed, I feel most alive when I’m studying facts and sharpening my skills. If you’re into Spiritual Gifts, I rank highest in Faith, followed by Discernment, Wisdom, and Teaching (all tied for second place).

I hope this gives you a better glimpse into who I am. First and foremost, I am a child of God, a daughter of the King of Kings. It’s this assurance that inspires me to keep straining forward. I hope it inspires you, too!


MICHELLE LAYER RAHAL served as the youth and family ministry director of her church before devoting herself full time to writing for God’s kingdom purposes. She is passionate about spiritual formation and leads women, students, and the homeless in weekly Bible studies and annual retreats.

The Indie-award winning author of Straining Forward enjoys collecting “God-sighting” stories and publishes a monthly blog on providence and perseverance.


Michelle is a published educational consultant and former news radio journalist who holds an undergraduate degree in Theater Arts and a graduate degree in Education. She lives in the Washington, DC area with her fun-loving husband, Greg.

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As a former news radio anchor and current worship leader, Michelle is quite comfortable behind a microphone. Michelle is available for podcast, radio, and T.V. interviews. Check out the samples below:

Bill and Odell are Finding Common Ground


Writing for Your Life with Brian Allain

Stories of Inspiring Joy

Connecting Faith with Carmen LaBerge

Christ United Methodist Church


Media Kit available upon request.

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Her experience as a teacher and educational consultant makes her an ideal speaker for conferences and church events. Michelle would be happy to discuss any theme you have in mind. Here are a few of the topics Michelle addresses:

Keep Straining Forward: God’s Big Plan Amid Life’s Struggles

Keep Straining Forward: God’s Big Plan Amid Life’s Struggles

The Creator of the universe sees the world from a perspective we cannot comprehend. We wonder why He doesn’t answer our prayers when, in fact, He is working at a different level. It is in only in retrospect that we see his presence and, God willing, his purpose. Our goals will change; life circumstances will alter our course; but God’s promises can be trusted.

Pure Religion: Looking after Orphans and Widows

According to James, the “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” (James 1:27). What is the Christian definition of an orphan or a widow? And how do we know if they are in distress? The early church had a way to answer these questions that can serve as a blueprint for how we address these concerns today.

Loving Your Neighbor: We are All Children of the Same Father

Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50). It’s not always easy or comfortable to reach out to people who do not look like us, but it can be immensely rewarding. Discover the simple steps to opening your mind and heart to loving others the way Christ loves you.


Are you part of a book club that is interested in reading Straining Forward? Contact Michelle directly for the opportunity to obtain books at a discount and have Michelle and/or Minh Phuong participate in your book club discussion in person or by Zoom. 

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