Monday, February 23, 2015

Soul Sister's Series #3, The Beautiful Woman

Even as a young girl, Esther’s loveliness was striking. Her young beauty was like a budding rose. You are in anticipation at what is to come. Yet when it spreads its petals, somehow it still exceeds your expectations. Now that Esther’s beauty had fully blossomed, she drew more lingering stares. You just couldn’t help but admire her beauty. 

Yet under the surface there was much insecurity and uncertainty about her future. And deeper still was a longing for what she had missed. 

Her parents died a long time ago. Thankfully her older cousin Mordecai took and raised her as his own. She never lacked anything in his household, yet there was a hole in her heart that he just couldn’t fill. Add to that the sad reality her people were far from their homeland. Most had settled and was quite comfortable in Babylon. But they never forgot Jerusalem. 

Even though Esther never saw Jerusalem, she knew in rich detail the city and the temple of Jehovah. The elder members of the family spoke wistfully about the sinfulness that brought them so much loss and pain. 

Esther was much acquainted with loss and pain herself, yet she felt a stirring, a restlessness in her spirit. She wanted to help her people. She wanted to make a difference. But how could this happen in her situation? All she had going for her was a pretty face. How far could that take her? 

Can you identify? Have you felt the stirrings, the restlessness in your own spirit to be more than you are, to do more? Do you look at your circumstances and feel trapped? Do you look at yourself and think this is all I have going for me? Does you seem to live in obscurity, unknown and insignificant? 

Esther’s vision was limited by the present; God’s vision went far into the future. The Israelites would need deliverance from imminent destruction. God chose this orphan girl for the mission. 

All she had going for her was a pretty face and that is precisely what God used to place her in the position where she could bring that deliverance. His plan began to unfold the day she was brought into the palace for the ultimate beauty contest. Whoever caught the eye of the King would become Queen. 

But first she had to undergo twelve months of beauty treatments to transform her from a lowly orphan to a breathtaking beauty. The treatments only added to her attractiveness. The day she was brought before the King, he was so gripped by her beauty he instantly made her Queen. She now was the wife of the most powerful monarch in the known world. 

Yet this was only the beginning of God’s plan. He had a higher purpose. When Haman’s evil plot to exterminate the Jews revealed itself, Mordecai implored Esther to go before the King to plead for her people. She wavered in fear at the suggestion for she knew the implications. You don’t just waltz into the throne room uninvited. You could lose your life for such an impulsive act. 

This was her moment of destiny, yet she didn’t feel ready or confident. The words Mordecai spoke encouraged her to step out in faith. “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14

Esther stepped out in faith and God came through in a big way, delivering His people from destruction. 

It took a year of beauty treatments to make Esther ready for the King, but the Master Craftsman had been at work her whole life using every element to shape her into a vessel of honor. 

I’ve felt the restlessness to be more than I am, to make an impact on people’s lives. Yet there always seemed to be overwhelming circumstances holding me back. My husband was backslidden and involved in hurtful things. A job I couldn’t quit demanded much time and energy. My past included sexual molestation, rejection and pain. I have no education beyond high school. I’m not a polished person by any means.  

I’d look at all of these things and conclude there was nothing of worth that would make a difference. I couldn’t see past my inadequacies and weaknesses. Yet God saw potential that I couldn’t see. There were gifts and talents hidden inside just waiting for the Master’s touch. In His perfect time, He would bring them out of that deep place and by His power use them to minister to others. 

Yet I was reluctant to step fully in the position of a leader. I sincerely felt I was the last person to be in this position with all of my insecurities and issues. 

I was like Saul in 1 Samuel 10 who hid among the baggage when his defining moment came. Samuel anointed him with oil, gave him three confirmations, which proved true. The Holy Spirit came upon him in power and he was a different person. God chose Saul, and equipped him thoroughly. Yet when it was time to stand before his people, the man who stood head and shoulders above everyone else cowered in fear. Literally the Lord brought him out from the baggage. 

Believe me; I’ve had a lot of baggage that I hid behind for most of my life. Grimy bags of dirty laundry. There were boxes of negative recordings and stacks of files broadcasting failures and weaknesses. I was reluctant coming out of my “safe place”. 

What if I fail people? What if they reject me? The unknown fears haunted and taunted me, keeping me firmly entrenched. God was determined to use me and drew me out gradually by His gentle touch. I wanted to resist, yet even the resistance began to be less formidable. 
My opportunity came when I was asked to be the women’s leader in my church. I was hesitant and quite scared to take this position. I didn’t feel qualified or ready. Every step was a step of faith, yet God showed Himself over and over again. As I remained faithful to my call, He began to use me in greater ways. He developed me further as a leader. 

God placed “Mordecais” in my life to help me find my place. A Pastor’s wife saw potential and drew me out. She gave me the opportunity to be the women’s leader, and to teach an adult Sunday school class. She always believed in me and supported even when I made mistakes. 

My accountability partner and friend, Nancy encouraged me during a time of turmoil in my church. Her prayers helped me to stand strong during this time. She spoke words of life into my spirit. It was during this time of struggle that I finally stepped into my place of destiny. 

God had prepared me and also the people in my life and brought us together at a key moment. It’s no quirk of fate, it’s a Divine appointment. So why would He set me up to fail? 

God prepared Esther thoroughly, and placed her in the right spot. It was more than twelve months of beauty treatments, it was a lifetime treatment. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” 

Dear sister, I urge you to come out from behind the baggage and take your place. God has prepared and equipped you for the mission. He has prepared hurting, needful people and placed them in your life. They need deliverance and healing. You are ready to meet those needs because of what He placed in you. 

He is not looking for assertive, strong, socially elite women with drop-dead looks. Otherwise I wouldn’t have stood a chance. He’s looking for someone who will dare to believe, dare to trust, so He can show Himself strong. He desires a broken and contrite heart. After all, it’s not all about you, but about God getting the glory. “He must become greater, I must become less.” John 3:30

I wavered in fear for many years. Yet, when I finally stepped out, all those unknown fears didn’t materialize. Why did I take so long? Did I ever miss out! My precious Lord is so faithful to His beloved. He moved on my behalf, and ministered through a broken vessel. 

I never cease to be amazed by this. It’s a sweet, wondrous experience to be used by the Almighty God; to feel His touch through me. It’s even more beautiful to witness that Divine touch through others. There is no doubt that God is in it. 

This is your destiny. Act now, and you’ll witness the miraculous in your life. 

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