Gifts from Wanapix – a review

I love personalised gifts, something that shows you’ve put a bit of extra thought in and that is unique to the person you are giving it to.  There are plenty of places nowadays that offer this service, but I was recently contacted by Wanapix, a Christian company that has some really unique and special gift items available for personalising.

 

table with floral tablecloth on

After spending hours on their website, I decided on a tablecloth for our home.  We love hospitality, having people over for meals, and we also run a Pudding Club every other month, so this seemed like a great item for us.  We affectionately call our house “Ridlerville” so I wanted a tablecloth that reflected that, and this design was perfect!  All the designs are modern and you can customise in many ways.  There are also some great Christmas themed tablecloth designs if you want something to make you Christmas table extra special.

The other item that I thought was really unique is the personalised doormats.  These items get regularly worn through in our house anyway, and if you have someone who is harder to think of ideas for this might be a good one.  They have cute family doormats with pairs of shoes (or pet paw prints!) on that you can add all your family names to.  But I loved this Beauty and the Beast inspired one.  I have covered the name over as this will actually be a gift for some friend (shhhh!!!).

doormat

What I also loved about wanapix was their attention to detail and little extras.  The website is really easy to use and makes customising items simple.  When I received my parcel there were also some extra goodies included!!  Gummy bears always welcome, but on the bottom of a very generous return offer there were some cute stickers that you could use in your diary/on presents or elsewhere.  What a lovely touch!

I did receive these good for free in return for my review, but I will be using wanapix again for future gift inspiration.  Wanapix have generously offered my readers a discount code  which will get you a whopping 50% off on tablecloths, placemats and doormats!!!!  Just use “MUMONAMISSION”  when you get to the checkout.

Enjoy!

Book Reviews – A Fruitful Home and Head Heart Hands

Thanks to 10ofthose.com for sending over copies of two new resources for me to review – one aimed at Christian parents, A Fruitful Home, and one aimed at teenagers, Head Heart Hands.

A fruitful home

I get sent lots of books, and I try to provide honest reviews of them.  So occasionally I come across some books that I just don’t get along with or click with.  We all have our own styles of writing that we enjoy, and personally I just didn’t click with Ann Benton’s style of writing.

Writing from the perspective of a grandparent who was parenting in the 1970’s means that some of the examples and viewpoints are maybe slightly outdated, despite Ann herself referring to how damaging this can be!  The language used is quite formal, so instead of feeling like I had a friend or mentor journeying with me and providing advice, it felt more like an instructional manual that I was trying hard to understand.  There were many references to traditional literature and stories, such as The Wind in the Willows and Mansfield Park, which I found quite alienating as I am not familiar with and don’t enjoy those classics.

If you click with that kind of writing then please do buy this book – there is a lot of wisdom and advice inside to help you set up the culture of your house and really start to think and consider whether our parenting is gospel focused or not.  The book is available for only £4.99 from 10ofthose.com. 

Head HEart Hands

Head Heart Hands is a new collection of bible study resources aimed at young people and teenagers.  In three volumes, they split up the book of Matthew into manageable chunks, highlighting the themes and the big picture of the book.  There are anecdotes mixed with insightful questions and space to write answers.  There are simple prayer suggestions in response to each study, and 40 studies in total in each book.  There’s plenty of blank space and pages for own notes and sketches, as well as pleasant artwork illustrating each study.

These books would be ideal for a young person who wants to start being more independent in their own bible study, or to use as a group together.   The set of three books is £12.99 (multi-buy discounts are available if buying for a group!).

 

GUEST POST – How to Journey Creatively Through Advent as a Family

Welcome everyone to November, the month where I am starting to make sure all my plans are in place to have an awesome December and festive period!!!  So I was over the moon when a friend in blogging approached me to write a guest post for us all so get us thinking about advent this year.  So without further ado, I will hand over to Lucy to tell us more…..

How to Journey Creatively Through Advent As A Family

Lucy RycroftI think we can all agree that December is a busy month.

With presents to buy, cards to send, food to prepare, and road trips to plan – on top of all the other daily pressures of having a family – it can be all too easy to allow ourselves to be distracted from who we’re celebrating.

And yet there is so much potential, as the nights draw in and we spend more time indoors with our families, to use this special pre-Christmas period – known as ‘Advent’ – to focus on Jesus.

As a mum of four children aged 5-10, I have tried and tested a huge range of different approaches and resources over the years, always knowing that we wanted our children to be in no doubt about what we were celebrating each December.

One thing we have always stressed is telling the Christmas story interactively throughout Advent.

Don’t rely on school or church or outside influences to do this work for you! As we know, sometimes the story gets distorted (anyone remember Octopus no.8 in the Nativity play featured in Love Actually??).

But even if it doesn’t, our children need to know that the Nativity story is important to us as their parents, and they will know this if we prioritise sharing the story together with them. We can also take time to explore different thoughts about the story, answer their questions, and ponder with them the unanswerable ones.

We are much more likely to remember things we do than things we read, so why not use a Nativity set to share the story simply with your children? This could be over breakfast, after nap-time, just before bed, or whenever suits your family best.

As your children get involved in moving the figures and saying the words, they will absorb the Christmas story from head to toe!

Another activity our children love is our Advent basket. It comes out at the start of December and you can read more about it here, including what we put in it.

Very simply, it’s a basket full of Christmas story books, toys, games and puzzles. Most – not all – are focused on the Nativity. The novelty of it only coming out for one month every year means that our children get excited to see it, and re-connect with items they haven’t seen for 11 months!

Why not group together all your Christmas resources into an Advent basket this year? If you have a few pounds spare, you could even buy a new book or two to add to old favourites – and this is a great time of year to scour charity shops for Nativity books and toys.

The beauty of an Advent basket is that it encourages unstructured, free play around the story of Jesus’ birth. You’re doing the ‘structured’ stuff of sharing the story most days – but the free play bit is where our children get to really absorb what they’re learning. Often we will be challenged too, if we take a moment to watch.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t LOVE an Advent calendar! Instead of – or in addition to – a secular calendar, why not buy a Nativity advent calendar which tells the story each day? This can become your daily storytelling, or add to what you’re already doing.

If you have a perpetual Advent calendar (i.e. one with pockets or drawers which you can use each year), why not fill it with small Nativity figures, pictures representing the Christmas story, or words/Bible verses telling the story?

You could even link it in to a Jesse Tree, with a new ornament to hang on the tree each day.

Along with this, our family have always appreciated having a simple Advent candle (you can buy them from Eden, or your local Christian bookshop or Fair Trade shop, if you’re lucky enough to have one).

When it comes to sharing what you’re celebrating this Christmas, don’t underestimate the power of decorating your tree in ways which point to Jesus. I’m not saying burn all your Santas or snowmen! And I’m definitely not saying you should only buy twee Christian ornaments with Bible verses and bad art.

But how about a subtle shift from celebrating Stuff to celebrating God-Made-Man? I’m a big fan of hearts on our tree – love, after all, was the motivator to God sending Jesus to live, die and rise for us.

Lights are traditional, of course, but we can ‘reclaim’ these to share our belief in Jesus, Light of the World. I love having loads of lights up around our home during Advent!

Small Nativity figures, crowns, babies, angels – when you spot something which will help communicate what we’re celebrating to our families, friends and anyone who visits, snap it up!

And, finally, don’t neglect yourself this Advent. We parents spend our lives caring for others – but if we don’t care for ourselves, we’ll be no good for anyone else!

Make sure you’re topping up your tank this Advent by making a habit of spending time with God. You could use an Advent devotional to do this – my book, Redeeming Advent, was written to help busy people doing All.The.Things to connect with Jesus. Each of the 24 days starts with a typical Christmassy family anecdote, which leads into a Bible reflection, questions to ponder and a prayer suggestion.

There are plenty of other devotionals out there if mine doesn’t appeal. Or maybe you’ll make a habit of weekly meeting with a prayer triplet, or joining an Advent course.

However you connect with God this Advent, I hope and pray it will give you the fuel to ignite not only your passion for Christ, but your children’s passion to get to know their Saviour more.

JOIN ME BACK ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE LATER TODAY (5th November 2019)  FOR THE CHANCE TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF REDEEMING ADVENT!!!

 

Christianity and The Class Bear

Hey everyone,

It’s been a while.  Life has taken over, with school work, job changes, new ministries and lots more.  But I want to be back here encouraging you all to keep going in your mission as a mum.  I want to share some stories of things that have been happening in my life where I’ve had a chance to provide a small glimpse of Jesus to people in my community.

The first story I want to share is called “Christianity and The Class Bear”.

If you’ve got a child in nursery or school then you’ve probably encountered the class bear.  If you have a baby then at some point in the future you may well do!  My three year old has a class bear (although his name is Peter Puppy!) that every member of the class gets to take home one weekend out of the year.  Whilst visiting the class member, the bear gets to experience life in that household and the lucky parent gets to document it in a book that comes with the bear.   Photos, drawings, tickets, etc can all be added in so that the other members of the class can see what the bear has been up to.

Well, I overheard a lot of parents saying what pressure there was to do something exciting whilst the bear was with them.  Trips out or exciting activities will surely show the other class mates what a great family you are.  So when Peter Puppy came to stay with us I had high standards to live up to!

But instead of buying in to that theme of trying to outdo the other parents for what we had planned, I decided to see it as a mission opportunity.  As a family we are quite unique, because we have Jesus tying us all together.  I wanted that to show through in the photos we shared and the activities we did.  So I included a picture of Peter Puppy worshipping at our church service.  I included a picture of him meeting our lodger, because our family welcomes people into it even if they aren’t flesh and blood.

So if you are the recipient of the class bear anytime soon, what window into your life can you share?  Maybe you can show the parents and children in that class that there are others ways of living, and the difference that going to church and having Jesus in your life makes.

What I’m Reading This Summer

Who doesn’t love a good reading list!  Since getting a kindle, I’ve been reading lots of fiction books, but I’ve also got a big pile of normal books that I’m looking forward to reading.  So if you need some inspiration for over the summer then here we go…..

(DISCLAIMER – I was gifted copies of The Heart of God and The Mind Muddler by 10ofthose.com and gifted a copy of Are We Brave Enough? by the author)

THe HEART OF GOD

A devotional style book, this has three months worth of material to help you pray through the scriptures.  I am finding this book really interesting, as my prayers are normally quite freestyle, so this is challenging me to increase their content and form.  In the introduction the author explains that over the centuries people have tended to two extremes – either excessive form (too repetitive) or excessive freedom (whatever comes to mind).

If you find yourself in one of those categories with your prayers then give this book a try.  Each day has some scripture to read and pray and also some questions to inspire prayer around that scripture, so it is a good mix of form and freedom.

The Mind Muddler

Ok, so this is technically a kids book, but its been an interesting read and sparked some thoughts about concepts I wanted to teach my kids.  It is tackling the subject of sin and how to explain that to children through rhyme and fun graphics.  I still think its a bit confusing for children, as sometimes the concept is lost through wanting the words to rhyme, but overall it is a helpful book to add to your collection.  It talks well about how our thinking gets skewed and tangled and we don’t see things clearly without God.  There are also lots of resources at the back of the book to help parents and downloadable resources online to go along with it.

 

52 Uncommon Dates

Early this year I read the 5 Love Languages for the first time, and found it to be really helpful in the way I looked at my marriage. However, its not always easy to put everything into practice!!  Gary Chapman who wrote the 5 Love Languages does a foreword in this book, and the author takes the love languages into account all the way through this.

It is a really fun clash of practical ideas and including the bible in our marriages.  It has 52 ideas for dates that married couples can do, with a bible verse to inspire it, things to pray around it, how to make it happen and ideas on how to use it to love someone with different primary love languages.  All in all its a bit of fun with the bible thrown in too, an idea match in my opinion!  I have yet to put one of the dates into practice – I feel they might be once a month and so this book will last us an eternity!

Are We Brave ENough?

I was gifted this book by the author and was really excited to get reading it as the author has been instrumental in the church unity movement here in Doncaster for many years.  Having been a part of many different denominations of church and seeing the different styles of worship on offer, I strongly believe that the church as a whole is stronger when we work together instead of pitting ourselves against each other.  This book provide 5 changes/challenges to ourselves and our churches if we want to see our local areas transformed by the church as a whole.

Peppered with lots of illustrations and first hand stories from the front line, this is a challenging read for all Christians to see the church as a whole body and not our own separate kingdoms.

 

 

Plastic Free July, Parenting and Powering Down

So its been a little while since I’ve had head space to write on my blog.  Personal circumstances have been stressful, and whilst we’ve been trusting God in the waiting, its not always conducive to coherent thinking!!!  But I wanted to pop back and share a few of my thoughts from the last few months, and hopefully inspire you in your parenting journey.

Plastic Free July

The first thing I want to talk about is Plastic Free July.  Now, you probably think that I’m mad for signing up to take part in this whilst my head is already swimming, but I decided that I had ignored my part in plastic pollution for too long now and it was time to do something about it.  Now, our monthly budget is pretty slim so we haven’t been able to make all the changes I wanted to, but the boys have really enjoyed thinking about how to use less plastic.  So here are some of the things we have done (or are thinking of doing) if you want to do the same:

  • switch back to using bar soap (or rubba dubba soap as the boys call it!).  Its mega cheap compared to liquid soap and lots less plastic used.
  • consider using a local milk man with glass bottles.  We are still considering this one because there are many pros and cons – one being financial, but also we use a lot of milk in our house and there is the possibility of it going off on the doorstep.
  • Order toilet roll from “Who Gives A Crap where it is wrapped in paper, recycled and delivered in bigger boxes for economy.  If you want £5 off your first order here’s a voucher for you!
  • Start making ecobricks with your single use plastics.  It stops whatever plastic we do have coming in from just being thrown away into landfill.  Find out more here.
  • buy reusable lunch boxes, packaging and beeswax wraps for food out to stop the use of clingfilm.
  • Take a travel mug with you wherever you go and remember to ask for take out drinks in it (you might even get a discount!).  I have a “keep cup” and I love the swivel lid that locks into place to keep your hot drink from spilling.
  • Take reusable shopping bags with you EVERYWHERE
  • Try to choose lose vegetables in the supermarket

Ok, so we’ve not done amazingly, but I’m quite happy that we’ve made a start with some little changes.  Hopefully if we all do it will start to send a message to the suppliers that this is the way we want it.  Find out more about Plastic Free July here.

What can you do to help reduce plastic usage this July?

Parenting

So we are all aware that the summer holidays are here, and I have been meticulously planning our calendar and summer holiday bucket list.  Parenting has been up and down over the last few months, with a few blips in behaviour, so I want to make sure this is a positive summer where our boys grow in faith, love and knowledge (and have fun along the way).  Amongst our daily tasks as drum practice, chores, bible study, reading, cooking dinner together and handwriting practice.  We are also planning a charity event too for our neighbourhood.

What do you have planned for the summer?

Powering down

Me and my husband lead a youth weekend at the beginning of July, and the theme was “unplugged”.  It really got me thinking about making sure I have time to power down from life and connect with God properly.  It’s a bit depressing that this is constantly something I have to remind myself to do.  But technology is an addiction that is tough to break.  I am really valuing the “HOLD” app on my smartphone to help me with this (it gets me rewards like free popcorn at the cinema!) as it stops me from serial checking my phone all the time.

What helps you power down so you can connect with God?

 

In HER Shoes – Esther (Week 16)

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It’s the LAST WEEK studying Esther!!  Who else is sad to say goodbye to this woman from the bible?  I think this has been one of the biggest characters we have studied so far, with her story quite well known by all of us.  But even so, by stepping into Esther’s shoes we have discovered far more depth to the emotion of this story and the things that might have been playing out for her.

Our final verse to meditate on was:

“In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them” Esther 8:17

Zooming out

This week the verse is unusual compared to all the others we have studied, in that Esther is not actually mentioned in it at all!  But I wanted to close on this scene, where the author of the book (remember this would have been a male writer) zooms out from the action at the palace to look at the whole region.  It feels like Esther is not important anymore, now she has completed her part in saving the Jews, but for good reason.  The important thing is the reaction of those who depended on her – that there was joy and gladness and celebrating.

In a way it’s a little sad that Esther isn’t mentioned here – I mean surely this is her victory?  She put in the time, the effort, the risk.  But actually, God is the hero here.  He planted the idea in Mordecai’s mind, gave Esther to confidence to approach the King, gave the King a dream which put him in the right mind to agree to Esther’s requests, and ultimately save the Jews.  How often do we get caught up in getting the credit when really it all belongs to God?

It’s all ok in the end

I was reminded again this week that God never does anything the way we imagine or think.  Mordecai and Esther were purely focussed on saving the lives of the Jews, their own bacon!  But once again God has something bigger on his mind – not just the Jews but many many others too.  At the end of this verse, we see that people of other nations became Jews!  Maybe that was his plan from the beginning, the Jews and Esther were all just a detail along the way to the salvation of some more of his precious children.  How amazing is that!!

Our worst failures, our most complicated problems, our dilemmas and tragedies and curve balls in life are maybe just there so that God can bring even more of his precious children back to him.  Doesn’t that put things in perspective for us?

In Her Shoes

My biggest thing this week was to try and put myself in Esther’s shoes in the midst of this verse.  Yes, the author may have zoomed out from her at this point, but she is still there.  Where was she during this?  Was she alone in the Palace, not really getting to celebrate after her part in this?  Was she allowed out to see the jubilation?  Was she just completely and utterly exhausted after the emotional and spiritual battle she has just taken part in?  I think probably the later.  That she was happy and relieved that things have turned out well,  but well and truly exhausted.  Too exhausted to really celebrate in the way that the Jews outside the Palace walls were.

I hope that Esther was thankful too.  After spending all that time praying and fasting beforehand, I really hope that her first instinct after this result was to praise and thank God for answering her prayers.

What happened next?

The rest of the book of Esther (do read it if you get a minute) details the final points of setting up Purim as a holiday to be celebrated every year.  Nothing else much is mentioned of Esther after that, so we don’t know if she had a happy ending or not.  Did she have children?  Did the King love her more as Queen after this episode of their lives?  We simply do not know.  And it isn’t important, otherwise it would be documented.  Some parts of our lives we see God clearly moving, directing every step and making huge changes and advances with us.  Some parts we are simply getting on with the day by day.  And that is ok.  That is life.  If Esther teaches us anything, it is that we should remember to turn to God in those big moments, as he is the one who has the power to change the final outcome.

What was your biggest thing to take away from Esther?  And what did you learn that surprised you?  I’d love to hear!

New Series

We are now going to have a week off from Mummy Meditations whilst I finish preparing all the resources for our new series – Unnamed Women of the Bible (Part 1!).  I hope you will join me next Sunday 5th May when the first verse is announced!

In the meantime, head over to the new Mummy Meditations Website – all the summary posts for the new series along with all info about how to get involved (including our new Mummy Meditations Family membership….) will be on that dedicated webpage now:

www.mummymeditations.co.uk 

In HER Shoes – Esther (Week 15)

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Welcome to the second to last week of our Esther series.  I know some of you will be sad to see the end of our time with Esther, but don’t worry – the next series is really exciting too!!

So this week we were meditating on the following verse:

“Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews.” Esther 8:3

It’s still not over yet

Last week we thought we’d seen the last of Esther having to put herself out there and ask difficult questions – she explained the situation in a calm and reasonable manner and explained the problem well.  But the King, in his rage, didn’t really grasp what the true problem was.  He was angry at Haman, and acted to get rid of that problem.  But he didn’t actually address the thing that Haman had put into motion which meant the death of all the Jews.  So this week, when Esther is well and truly emotionally spent, after one terrifying approach to the king, two emotional and intense banquets, and witnessing a man be hanged (or impaled, depending on which translation you read), she has had enough.  She’s reach the end of her tether, her last ebb of strength and so she pulls out all the stops and approaches the king one more time.

Not giving Up

Esther could easily have given up at this point.  She had tried her best, she had done what Mordecai asked of her and it hadn’t worked.  But the word AGAIN really stood out to me this week.  She doesn’t stop until she gets the miracle she needs to survive.  Her life depends on it.  And so AGAIN she goes to the king, but this time it is different.  This time she doesn’t follow the etiquette or the do things the right way – she HAS to get the message across that this is a big deal to her, and so she pleads, begs and weeps at his feet.

What about us?

I’ve been thinking this week more about how the story of Esther applies to us.  What can we take from her life and be inspired for in our own.  Well for me it is a story of circumstances preparing someone for the future, despite how hard they are.  It is a story of a wise young woman who relied upon God to do step out of her comfort zone and do something really scary, but she was spiritually, physically and emotionally prepared.  It is a story of a woman not willing to give up until God does what he promised.  So let us remember that our past has been a training ground, prepare ourselves in everyway possible for what lies ahead and never ever give up praying, asking, pursuing until we get the miracle we need.

next week

For our final week in Esther’s shoes we will be meditating on this verse:

“In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.” Esther 8:17

I am still struggling with this cold and my voice is awful, so there won’t be a Facebook Live Discussion this Monday evening, but don’t worry – it will be returning for the new series!!!

After next week we will have one week break before the new series launches (yey!!!).  There will be lots more exciting announcements during that week, including the new website, how to join the Mummy Meditations Family and get some amazing goodies, and new resources for the new series.  WATCH THIS SPACE……

 

 

In HER Shoes – Esther (Week 14)

 

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If Esther was a film, we would be in the pivotal scene right now – she’s finally made the ask and now the King is responding. This week we were meditating on this verse:

The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.” Esther 7:7

victory or not?

This verse left a very confusing feeling in the pit of my stomach.  How about you?  In one sense, Esther should be celebrating here, as the King is clearly angry about what has happened and so will act to reverse it.  This means that Esther and her people’s lives are saved (yey!!!).  And yet reading this verse, I don’t feel that sense of victory or celebration yet.  There is anger and confusion and unfinished business that needs to be dealt with.

Anger is scary

Whether or not the anger is directed at Esther, being so close to someone who has lost control, and is in a “rage” can be a very scary thing.  Women are weaker than men (yes we may say that is sexist, but in general that is true) and so a man in a rage who would probably be considerably stronger physically than her is not someone you want to be around, even if that anger is not at you.  It only takes one wrong word or action and that rage could be redirected.  So when I stepped into Esther’s shoes this week I felt fear and that maybe she was shrinking back to try and become invisible as the King worked out his feelings in that moment.

One Facebook Community member shared that as a social worker, she is often in environments where people are angry like this, and that she tries to feel sympathy, love and understanding.  Perhaps Esther is empathizing with the King here, as really she has broken the news to him that someone is trying to murder her, his beloved wife.  Perhaps she was praying through this for protection, strength and for the King to make the right decision in the end.  It is not noted how Esther reacted to all of this so we can only guess as we step into her shoes.

Begging is scary

Anger can definitely make people act irrationally and irresponsibly, but the other thing that can do that is fear.  Haman, now realising the tables have turned, is fearing for his life, is desperate and grasping at anything that might save him.  The only thing left to grasp at is Queen Esther’s mercy, and so Haman starts begging and grovelling at her.  Again, as a woman, this would have been pretty intimidating to have a strong man so desperately begging her for something.  I imagine she was lost for words, trying to move away from him but he would be unable to stop given the state he would undoubtedly be in.    What would her prayers be about that situation, I wonder?

how will the story end?

This is a bit of cliff hanger verse really, as Esther is sort of trapped between an angry man and a desperate man, with not much that she can do.  This is all after the very emotionally tiring week she has had, bringing herself to approach the king and ask this huge favour.  Its a miracle that she is holding it all together, and I am sure that after this event she would have collapsed into her chambers to recover and receive from God.  We’ll have to wait to find out…..

next week

There are only 2 weeks left in our Esther series, so next week we are meditating on this verse:

“Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews.” Esther 8:3

The story is still not over!!  There is no Facebook Live discussion this week as I am full of cold, but I hope you will add your own thoughts and ideas in the Facebook Community during the week. x

 

In HER Shoes – Esther (Week 13)

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Hello!!!  What a great week it has been looking at our meditation verse and the next part of Esther’s story.  I’ve also been planning the next series after Esther so I’m super excited about revealing what this is to you all soon!!

So this week we were looking at this this verse:

“Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favour with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life-this is my petition. And spare my people-this is my request. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.” Esther 7:3-4

The perfect timing

I spoke in our Facebook Live discussion this week about the importance of timing, and that this was the third time Esther had been asked by the King what her request was.  She finally comes round to saying what is really on her mind, but it intrigued me to know why she had waited until then.  She could have asked him in the throne room when she first approached him, and she could have asked him at the first banquet.  But no, she waits until a second banquet is arranged and then tells him.

All the while, events are taking place in the background with Mordecai and Haman, which are the undertone to the story and mean that the King is in the right place/mood to be appalled by what Esther has said and decide in her favour.   But did she know that?  Was she aware of this all happening?  Or did God give her nudges to delay until the time was right?  We can’t really know, and perhaps Esther’s fear just took hold of her the first two times and meant she didn’t have the courage to ask until the third time.  All we know, is that to God, timing is important.  It can be the difference between life and death.  And so sometimes, when things are delayed or we don’t see answers straight away (I mean the Jews were probably getting antsy by this point as the countdown clock was on for their murder), it doesn’t mean God isn’t interested – it means he is working in the background to everything ready for the RIGHT TIME.

Queen Esther

Did anyone else spot that Esther is referred to as “Queen Esther” in this verse, whereas in chapter five she is sometimes just referred to as “Esther”?  In this moment she is owning her role, she is acting as Queen, and she is important to the King.  She is not just another subject to be dismissed or who’s life he can play around with, she is his chosen Queen, and that makes a big difference to her request.

Method in the madness

So I guess I had been thinking, why another banquet, why all this pandering around, just get to the point ESTHER!!!  But I know there is method in her madness.  Someone commented in the Facebook Group that “a gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great” (Proverbs 18:16) – so hosting two banquets a giving the King a good time, is a way to access his favour.  She has buttered him up essentially, and is now able to go for the big ask.  She has not rushed into anything.  She had selected all the right words, explaining why she was asking and pre-empting his questions.  She was prepared and she was armed.  This was her last chance to stop her murder afterall!  Do we do the same?  Or do we rush in unarmed, unprepared and unlikely to get the right response?

How was she feeling?

After all the practical stuff, lets also step back into Esther’s shoes for a moment here.  Yes she has been very wise and thoughtful, etc etc.  But in that moment she was asking him to decide between life and death for her.  Can you hear the beating of her heart, the throbbing of pressure in her head, the spinning of her emotions?  I bet Esther was physically and emotionally exhausted about now, after the first two interactions with the King, and yet here she is asking for even more.  To stand up and do that from a place of exhaustion would have been hard.  She really was one brave woman.

NExt Week

So we have seen what Esther asked, and how big a deal that was for her, but next week we’ll look at the fallout, meditating on this verse (remember to put yourself in Esther’s shoes whilst this is all taking place!):

“The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.” Esther 7:7

I hope you will join me in kicking off the week’s discussion over in the Facebook group with a live discussion at 8pm on Monday evening.