Becoming Esther

I have heard this call – this whisper – for a while.  It has been an ongoing monologue that breaks in to my mind when things get hard.  I walked through a time where I could not quite quantify its depths.  I did not understand why I felt such a Holy discomfort.  This week God has made clear what he is asking.  He has been telling, directing, anointing and leading behind the scenes for a while.  Just as He sovereignly does.

I am reminded of Esther and her coincidental call to speak up.  In an odd turn of events, Esther found herself as queen by winning the Old Testament version of The Bachelor.  Seriously, read Esther 1-3.  She eventually faced a decision that put her life in sincere danger.  Should she stand up to the king on behalf of her friends + family and jeopardize her life?  We read in Esther 4:11 that she was fearful.  But her people needed her.

Esther’s moment of fear was eradicated by the words of her uncle, Mordecai:

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.  And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

One thing I have learned throughout my life is that it is hard to be heard if you are not loud.  This hurt me for so long because I took loud at surface value and qualified it by volume.  If you aren’t loud, people won’t listen… and if people don’t listen, your thoughts are invalid.  Right?

I have been afraid to be vulnerable with my words.  Words are powerful for me.  I am not the loudest or most commanding voice when I enter a room but I still have something to say.  I use my words with caution because I understand the deep importance of rhetoric.  In so many ways the Lord has told me this is worth it.  This is time.

But as I sit down to write, I still find myself wavering… wondering if instead I should remain quiet.  Remain in my own selfish place of comfort that doesn’t appear as disruptive.

However.

Last week I read a post by Jess Connolly and was shaken.  She spoke of vulnerability and discontent and standing up for those who are marginalized.  Her words are sobering:

“We are ambassadors. Sent not just to speak life and encouragement, but also to comfort and rescue and fight for redemption. The Spirit is gentle and patient, but also impatient. May we love all of Him – all of the Lord. I won’t blindly find comfort in the fact that my kids are ok when so many kids are NOT ok. I’ll thank God for His grace and let it spur me on to use my hands, my heart, my words, and my time to love my neighbors and my enemies: all of them.”

This weekend I was able to listen to some incredible teaching from the ladies at IF:Gathering.  Each speaker echoed a common motif:  Our time is now.  We are not to wait for others to step up.  Use your voice.  Tell your story.  We have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.  

We are the Esther generation.

This is a unique opportunity.  We are so connected, so digital.  I have Facebook friends in Jamaica and Ukraine and the great state of West by God.  Who would have ever imagined?  It took Paul months to travel to his people but with two clicks, we can talk to ours.  We can fly across the country in a matter of hours.  That’s not just a coincidence.  It’s a gift and needs to be stewarded for God’s glory.

I shared some intentional time with a group of women this weekend and one thing was clear:  We are not afraid of the hard work of discipleship.  We are not afraid to ask friends to coffee and look them in the eyes and tell them they are not alone.  We are ready to turn our stories of shame into stories of redemption.  God has placed us here – in our cities, in our homes, in our work place – for such a time as this.

The words of Ann Voskamp are ringing in my ears today.  She proclaims, “We are in a crisis of discipleship because we are in a crisis of worship.  Are we formed by the world or the word; the news or the good news; the culture or the cross?”

Sisters, I exhort you to let your voice be heard.  Use your words and your gifts with intention and leave your fears at the feet of Jesus.  Not only can you do this, you are called to do this.  Listen to the words of Mordecai as he reminds Esther her life is not her own.

Go on the mission trip.  Talk to the young mom at daycare.  Pay for that man’s groceries.  Start a Bible study.  Pray out loud (yes, out loud) over your friends.  There is no reason to be afraid of the world because you are not of the world.

Stand up.  Speak truth.  Feel the freedom of the cross and lead with grace.

 

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