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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I am not Esther…

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your fathers family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?
Esther 4:14 (NIV)

Because I am not Esther,
t would be easy for me to miss
myself in her story.  We are there. 
I am not an orphaned virgin raised in a harem. I will be never be presented as a bride before the king. That doesn’t mean that I don’t know Esther’s story, and it doesn’t mean that there isn’t resonance to be found there for us all.

I am not Esther, but the last few years of my life convince me, as nothing else could, that I was born to, I was brought to this moment for such a time as this.  To write my stories. To write my own way out of the desert, leaving a trail for those still lost, afraid, desperate for a way out. Every experience prepares each of us to be the people we must be in this things that we must do. I have lived every moment of my life in order to be here, now.

Because I am not Esther, it would be easy for me to miss myself in her story.  We are there. Esther’s journey is described as “God’s Perfect Work through Imperfect People.” That might sound like a big job for a large and powerful contingent, but each of us is called to be available to a Perfect God, precisely as we are right now. I am not Esther, but I was called for such a time as this (and so were you).

When I walked away from the life I once knew (or, when it walked away from me) and I began to write, among the first words I wrote were these…
When life gets particularly rough there is comfort in that in an imperfect world, a perfect God loves us, and abides with us, through all things.
I hadn’t any idea that I was already on my way to participating in His Perfect Work in my own imprecise, imperfect and thoroughly broken way. I hadn’t any idea that I’d been born to stumble; born to surrender, born to be broken only that I might be made useful in His Hands. Kind of like Esther.

I find her fascinating, and so inspiring, for so many reasons.  The book of Esther is quietly but powerfully about God. According to biblical scholars, it is the only book in which God does not appear by name. There are no prayers; no miracles. That is the life I desire to live. Quietly powerful, clearly filled, but in a steady whisper.

She is unremarkable. She is beautiful, yes, skilled in the ways of the court, but powerfully, entirely available to be used when the need arises. Charles Swindoll’s commentary offers the following insight…
Life can be hard. Difficult times happen, and pain cannot be avoided. When life doesn’t make sense, do you turn to God or away from Him? … Trust and obey, as Esther did. And watch God silently weave all events for His glory . . . and for our good.
The last four and a half years, the last 6 months would have not been what they were had I not been entirely available. Available to be broken. Available to be stilled. Available to be set aside, impotent, stripped of so much of what I believed to be my power that I might be clear that everything happening was ONLY God. Kind of like Esther.
                So that I would be ready to mother fiercely.

                So that when my mother had a stroke, I could get on a plane the very next day. Go, and                 stay, doing what she needed until she didn’t need me to do things for her anymore.

                So that I would be available to advocate for my protector, my beloved, when for once, he         needed ME to be strong.

                So that I could finally understand what this place, what this time in my life represented…my  Wilderness.  A place of learning, but never a destination.

                So that like Esther, I would be ready for my moment, for such a time as this.
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