In HER Shoes – Esther (Week 10)

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The end of Week 10, and this week we have all been challenged on how we deal with big life changing situations.  Esther was certainly facing one, and although she had made the decision to approach the King, she wasn’t rushing in to it.

“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16

Putting God First

The thing that has kept coming back to me this week, is that Esther looks for God’s help in this situation.  She has accepted Mordecai’s persuasive argument and is going to approach the King as he suggests, but she’s not rushing into it just because he has said so.  Part of his argument was around God using her to save the Jews, and so she wants to make sure that that is what God wants too.

Esther takes a breather and seeks God on this.  She decides to fast for three days.  Now, we could very well say that this gives her time and space to get her head round what she has to do, maybe she is stalling and hoping that something else will save them in that time, but she is taking time out to put God first in it.  She is actively denying herself food, her own pleasure and comfort, to make sure this is the right decision.   And its not just a little fast – she is giving up food and water, for the whole three days.  Sometimes people will fast just one meal, or just during the day and then eat at night.  But this is a full on proper fast.

Whilst looking at this verse, we were challenged as a group to fast ourselves and show God that he is first in our lives – I am always amazed at what God reveals and does during times of fasting,  It is sooo hard to do it (and there are many excuses as mums as to why not to – breastfeeding, being pregnant, needing energy to keep up with the kids!) but it is worth it to show God that we put him first.  It definitely paid off for Esther.

Putting others Second

When we discussed this verse in the Facebook Live discussion last Monday, someone mentioned that this action of fasting, and the way that Esther gets her attendants to fast with her, would have been an amazing ministry and teaching opportunity for her.  She had kept her nationality and relationship with God a secret up until now, but here should would have had to share with her attendants as to why she was doing such a strange thing, and what she hoped God would do through it.  She could easily have just done this by herself, or said she was feeling sick and not wanting to eat, but she doesn’t.  She gets those closest to her involved and shares the experience with them.  No doubt, when God does deliver the Jews from death, the attendants will then see Gods glory and come to know and understand Him better.

Esther isn’t selfish in the way she approaches this, but looks to put others second after God and include them in the miracle too.  She does this by asking the Jews in Susa to fast with her – she is allowing them to be part of this.  When God does deliver them they will be able to say that they had fasted alongside Esther and been part of taking her prayers up to God.  What an awesome thing to share!

I know when I have been asked to pray for someone who is ill, if they do receive healing it is an amazing moment of praise and thanksgiving to God, but also of being a part of something bigger than myself and a little part of God’s plan to heal them.

Not Facing Her Fears alone

I have great respect for Esther in this verse – she really is showing wisdom beyond her teenage years and is a great example to us in how to approach challenges in our lives.  She knew that she couldn’t do this in her own strength, so not only does she go to God but she also gathers others to face her fears with her.  She asks for prayer and fasting from others to help carry her through.

This has really challenged me as a leader of a bible study group at my church.  How often do we share prayer requests and half pray for things?  How often do we offer to fast with others for the issues they are facing in their lives?  How often do we ask others to fast with us when we are facing big things?  Often me and my husband will fast together if we have a big decision to make, but we’ve never asked others to do it with us.  I wonder how that would make me feel to know that others where sacrificing their comfort just to stand with me in prayer?  I am going to consider saying to those I know well that I will fast with them now, and see what a difference that makes to them.

putting herself last

The last past of this verse is quite a sad bit.  At first I thought it was a flippant teenage girl type comment, done with the flick of her hair and with a sarcastic tone in her voice!  As if that defiant attitude would change her having to see the King.  But after a bit more thought and meditation (and some helpful comments in the Facebook Community) I think there is more to it than that.   She is counting the cost and deciding that God is worth it.  She is accepting her fate, whatever that may be, and laying her life in God’s hands.  Are we ready to do that in our own lives?  To accept wherever God may take us and whatever costs may be involved in it?

Esther rises up to be a great role model

The first half of this series, I felt sorry for Esther and her family circumstances, I stepped into her shoes as she made her way through the harem and tried to set herself apart and show how she was different.  The last few weeks we’ve seen how fear has crept in and tried to take that from her, but this week she has stepped up again and shown wisdom and strength beyond her years.  She has proven to be a great role model, in showing us how to approach difficult things in life – to breath, take time, and give it to God.  To fight that fear, with the help of others around her, and to really trust in God.  I doubt that if she hadn’t had such a rough start to her life she would have had the strength to do that.   God had clearly made her resilient through those times and reliant on him.

next week

So next week is crunch time – we see Esther take that step of faith.  I am really looking forward to stepping in to her shoes in this verse:

“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.  When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.” Esther 5:1-2

I do hope you’ll join me in discussing it this week in our Facebook Community and meditating on it yourself at home.

 

In HER Shoes – Esther (week 9)

 

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We are now past the half way point, and we have really started into the dramatic part of this story.  We are at a fork in the road, and Esther has a huge decision to make.  Last week we saw Esther’s argument against action, this week we heard Mordecai’s rebuttle (and he really does pull out all the stops!!!)

“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 your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

the final word

The thought that was swimming through my head this week is that this is one amazing argument winning speech.  Not only does he mention what will happen to her (in the verse before – Mordecai says that she will still die even if she stays quiet), but he refers to her family being wiped out (as she was the last one of her father’s line that makes sense) and the shame it will bring on her father’s name, but also that she will be disappointing God.  A three point punch.  Just reading this I can feel the desperation in Mordecai’s voice, this is his last chance to save his, and many other people’s, life.  You would go all out in that situation wouldn’t you!  And most people will be moved by one of those things – either a consequence to themselves, a consequence to their family, or the thought of letting God down.

As I put myself in Esther’s shoes and imagined hearing this, it felt like a battering ram at my heart.  I could picture the words being spoken out, and then her just sinking down on her seat and realising that there’s was no way out doing the scariest thing she had ever done in her life.  She did not want to let her family and her God down, and Mordecai knew that to suggest she did would hurt her and move her into action.

Sometimes we have to say the hard things.  Sometimes we have to hit people where it hurts to make them see how desperate the circumstances are.  Sometimes we have to pack a punch and trust that God will use those words for his will.

Seeing God in the midst

There is no doubt that in this verse Esther is being seen as a stubborn teenager, which is probably what she is!!  The word “remain” is translated as “persist” in the Message version, and I like that better.  Persist is to “continue in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition” and it is doing so “stubbornly, despite warning”.  These harsh words were needed to break Esther out of that stubborn teenage mood, but something else was also needed.

Mordecai hints at what God might be doing through her.  You know, we all want to be used by God in some way don’t we?  We all want to be part of his master plan, to have an impact in this world for God, whether that is bringing one person to know Jesus or to do something entirely different.  But we don’t always know what God is doing through us until after the event has happened.  It is easy to look back and say “oh yes look what God did there!”.  So sometimes we have to guess at what God is doing, and try to see him even in the gravest of situations.  Mordecai here says “who knows?” and admits that he doesn’t know, but suggests the possibility that God might have positioned her there for such a time as this.  That little suggestion was enough to lift Esther’s spirit and give her the confidence that God IS on her side.  Instead of feeling trapped and powerless, she felt connected to the most high God, to the maker of all.

What about us?

I don’t know what situations you find yourself in, but maybe you need to channel this question – who knows?!  Who knows what God is doing through you, who knows why you are in that situation?  I can tell you who – only God!!  But by realising that God is possibly working through you, we can be empowered to do above and beyond our capability.  He has put you in your world for “such a time as this”. 

Next Week

So this week was the turning point, and next week we will see Esther moved to action.  I do hope you’ll join me in meditating on the following verse:

Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16

I will be kicking the week off with another Facebook Live Discussion over in our Facebook Community on Monday evening at 8pm, so please do join me there (and pray my internet holds out!).

 

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Are We There Yet? An Easter Book Review

Disclaimer – I received a free copy of this book from 10ofthose.com to review, but all opinions are my own. 

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I love love love that there are so many great resources out there to equip up to use every opportunity to connect those around us with the gospel.  With Easter coming, I am sure you are all thinking about how to use this time of the year to share the message of the cross.  In kids work, toddlers groups, your local school, there are loads of kids that we can connect with, and I want to tell you about a new book which I think will help you in this.

are we nearly there yet cover“Are we nearly there yet?” is a short booklet style book, but with a strong card cover so its doesn’t just feel like a throw away pamphlet as some books like this can.  The front cover design is modern and eye catching, and because the title isn’t really “in your face” Christian, I think it would work really well as a giveaway in non-Christian environments, such as schools.

The story itself follows a narrative of a family in a car, and the familiar question of “Are we nearly there yet?”.  Whilst they are waiting to get to Granny’s for Easter, their parents tell them the Easter story, and all the way through they see the disciples asking similar the question of “Are we nearly there yet? When will you be king?”.  The pages go through the familiar Easter sequences – palm Sunday, Garden of Gethsemane, the crucifixion and the stone rolled away at the tomb, but not just in a plain story telling way which the kids will be all too familiar with.

The illustrations and use of speech bubbles throughout the book is very good and engaging for kids.  I would probably say that this book would be useable for 2 years up to mid primary age (maybe 8) as it could be read to children, or they can read by themselves.

At the end of the book, there are included some ideas for taking it further, discussion with the children and playing through the story too.  These would be useful for parents, toddler group leaders or teachers if they wanted to include it in their pre-Easter activities.

All in all, this a very well thought out book, and one that will work well as a giveaway instead of chocolate this Easter (who needs more chocolate!!).  10ofthose.com sells the books individually for £3.50 if you want to grab one for your family, or if you are planning to give them away then you can take advantage of their offer of a box of 50 for £50 (RRP £175!!!!).

Why not invest £50 into your world this Easter and use some of these ideas:

  • Buy a box to give to your kids class teacher to give out to the whole class
  • Buy a box and go round your neighbourhood and give to kids at their doorsteps
  • Bless your church’s kids ministry by buying a box so they can give them out free to anyone who comes into church over the Easter period.
  • Take a box down to your local library and ask if they will give them away to any children who come in over lent/Easter

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In HER Shoes – Esther (week 8)

 

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We are now HALF WAY through our Esther Series!!  It has been great to really get underneath this story and look at the details, and this week has been no different.  The verse we meditated on was:

All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” Esther 4:11

This was Esther’s rely to her cousin Mordecai after he asked her to approach the king and beg for the Jews to be saved.  Behind this verse we can be sure that there was a heap of emotions and thoughts and conversations taking place that we don’t hear, so this week we have been trying to think through what those might have been like.

Real fear

On initial reading, Esther’s response is pretty understandable – we would probably all do the same.  When faced with almost certain death, the answer is no!  No I won’t do that favour!  At this point in the story, Esther’s nationality was still hidden amongst those in the palace, and so she probably thought she was safe.  Self-preservation would be kicking in here, and Esther can see that if she does nothing and keeps her mouth shut then she will be safe.  But her cousin and all those other Jews won’t be.  Esther is experiencing real fear.

Compounded fear

week 8 lock screenThis is a huge decision for Esther, and in the Mummy Meditations Community we talked about similar decisions that we had had to make (none of them life or death!) and how our brains became a jumble of thoughts, perhaps we couldn’t sleep properly because of them,  we get nervous, it feels stressful.  We have to consciously step away from those fears and thoughts and try to stop them taking over.  It sounds like perhaps Esther is wrestling with this decision in the same way, trying to play out every outcome in her head and figure out what the best one is.  But going over and over it in your mind only serves to compound and exaggerate the fear, making this all the more worse for poor Esther.

Peer fear

A lot of us mentioned have trusted counsellors or friends who we could turn to when making big decisions, but Esther probably wouldn’t have had any.  Yes she had eunuchs and servant girls, but despite their willingness to share an opinion, they wouldn’t have had all the facts and hence their counsel wouldn’t have been all that helpful.  None of them would have known Esther’s fate due to her Jewish heritage.  We also see that she mentions that ALL THE KINGS OFFICIALS know she would be killed, and EVEN THE PEOPLE IN THE ROYAL PROVINCES.  That peer pressure of knowing that everyone would think she is stupid and ridiculous and clearly insane for approaching the king uninvited would have been huge on Esther’s shoulders.

Separation fear

Thirty days.  Thats a month since she had seen her husband.  And yes it probably wasn’t exactly the same as our relationships now (we would clearly all fall apart if we couldn’t see our husbands for that amount of time – some of us can’t last a few hours without texting our spouse!) but there would be a certain sense of fear that came with the unknowing.  If she had seen him the day before she might have known what kind of mood he was in, what political challenges he was facing, how likely it was for her visit to be approved with the gold sceptre.  But with not having seen him there is a bigger element of unknown.  There are thoughts that start to creep in that perhaps  he doesn’t like her as a wife anymore, maybe he’s looking for another new one to replace me, maybe I am out of favour with him.

Fear upon fear upon fear upon fear

That is a lot of negative emotion and fear building up in Esther.  And lets not forget that this could be a teenage girl facing this decision.  How on earth could she break through that piling mound of fear??!  I think I would be crippled by it all.   We will have to read on in the story to find out.

Next week

Well it is poster verse week, yes the one I’m sure you’ve heard quoted before:

“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 your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Do join us as we see if there is more to this verse than meets than what is on the surface.  You can join the discussion with questions and prompts during the week, as well as a Facebook Live Discussion at 8pm on Monday night over in our Facebook Community.

If you’ve joined us halfway through, then great!  There’s still loads to get out of this story, and you can find some helpful resources over in our shop.

 

 

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In HER Shoes – Esther (week 7)

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Hello Mummy Meditators!!  Welcome to week 7 of our Esther series, and to a summary of what God has been revealing to me and others this week.  Our verse this week was:

“He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.” Esther 4:8

Mordecai’s desperation

I think the first thing that struck me in this verse was the desperation in Mordecai’s message.  Here is a man who is weeping and wailing outside the palace, making a scene and refusing to stop.  Here is a man who desperately wants to see his last remaining relative but can’t.  Here is a man who is going to be murdered in a few days time, along with many other people from his nationality.  Here is a man thinking of any crazy idea to try to get out of this predicament.

And that is when it comes to him.  I don’t think that in any way this was planned or that he sent Esther into the palace “just in case something bad happened”.  No, I think he is just standing outside the palace grieving and wailing, and then it comes to him.  ESTHER COULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!!!!

You know that tone people get in their voice when they are grasping at straws, at any possible way out of a bad situation.   Begging, grovelling, wild eyes and crazy voice.  I imagine Mordecai speaking so quickly and excitedly that the messenger had to ask him twice what he was saying.  And I imagine him hopping up and down with nervous excitement that it might work.  Yes, he might have just sorted out this pickle that they are all in.   And so he sends his message to Esther…

Esther’s realisation

Up until now, Esther was probably unaware of what it was that had made her cousin go slightly crazy and refuse to come see her, despite her best efforts to send him clothes.  And so I can imagine her nervously pacing up and down in her quarters of the palace.  Perhaps her servants are telling her to relax, trying to comfort her, but she is having none of it until the messenger she has sent comes back.  He walks in and she rushes over to him, desperate to hear what Mordecai has to say.  But its not good news.

In our discussions this week, some of our community members highlighted how alone Esther would have felt receiving this news.  Yes, she was probably surrounded by people (servants and eunuchs), but she was the only one there whom this message had deadly consequences for.  As this news was read, I can see her staff being confused as to why this was affecting Esther so much – she hadn’t told anyone she was a Jew.  Perhaps at the reading of the edict she just crumpled in grief and pain at the knowledge of what was going to happen to her people.  To her beloved cousin.  To herself.

And yet there was one pain more than that.  A personal pain that Mordecai had requested of her.  To go into the King’s presence.

Asked to do the unthinkable

Have you ever been asked to do something you really don’t want to, but its by someone you really respect, trust, honour or love?  Have you experienced that sinking feeling that you don’t want to do it because you know its going to be awkward or uncomfortable or dangerous, but you know that that person wouldn’t be asking unless it was entirely necessary?  That would be the heavy sinking feeling Esther would be having right now.  That would be the lump forming in her throat.  That would be the tears coming to her eyes.  Her head would be in overdrive thinking through the consequences, the other option, any other way to sort this out that didn’t involve her having to approach the king.  Why?  Well that is for next week to discover….

next week

Esther sends a message back to Mordecai next week, and we will be meditating on this verse:

“All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” Esther 8:11

I hope you will join me in thinking and discussing this verse during the week over in our Facebook group.

There is also the chance to join in a Happy Mail exchange for Purim (the celebration of the story of Esther) later in March, so don’t forget to sign up here!

In HER Shoes – Esther (Week 6)

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Good Morning Mummy Meditators (or good afternoon/evening if you are catching up later today!) and welcome to week six of our Esther study.  This week has been an emotional one for me, as I’ve tried to step into Esther’s shoes and imagine what she was feeling during this verse:

“When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.” Esther 4:4

Something Awful had happened

We have jumped ahead in the story quite a bit this week.  Last week we left on a high as Esther had been crowned Queen, and a big party commenced.  But then a chunk of the story happened before we next saw Esther.  Mordecai uncovered a plot to kill the King (a side-note really but crucial later on) and then we are introduced to Haman.  Haman had risen in the ranks and it had kind of gone to his head.  He liked it when people knelt down and honoured him, but Mordecai wouldn’t do so.   We’re not told why exactly that Mordecai won’t do this – perhaps it is because he sees this as idol worship in a way, and like Daniel refusing to worship the king, Mordecai refused to taint himself by bowing down to anyone other than God.

Haman hears about this, and that Mordecai is a Jew, and gets the hump.  He decides to deal with it by blowing it out of proportion and making it sound like the Jews are about to revolt against the King.  The King acts appropriately and wants to quell any potential revolution, so allows Haman to issue and edict to kill all the Jews.

grief kicks in

So perhaps we read out meditation verse and thought Mordecai was over-reacting – verse 1 of chapter four says this:

“When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. ” Esther 4:1

But if you knew that yourself and all of your friends/family/relations (even if you didn’t have many) were going to be mass-murdered in a few days, what would you do????!  Would you carry on going to work?  Would you smile cheerfully as you carried on normal business?  Or would you cry like you’ve never cried before?  We deduced earlier in the series that actually it might just be Esther and Mordecai left from their family, and so Mordecai heads to the one person he wants to share his last few days with.  Esther at the palace.  Only he can’t get close.

“But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it.” Esther 4:2

Just reading this makes my heart go out to Mordecai.  It makes me want to hug him and make it all better.  So can you imagine what Esther feels when she hears this?

separated from each other

Esther is in the palace and probably isn’t allowed to leave the palace grounds.  Mordecai is outside the palace and isn’t allowed in the way that he is dressed.  So Esther thinks of the easiest solution that will mean she can comfort her cousin – sending him clothes.  Clothing is the barrier between them, and so she tries to fix that.  When I read this story as a teenager I always thought she was ashamed of Mordecai for making a big scene outside her palace, but reading it again I see the compassion here, the ache to be with her last remaining blood family member.  After losing her parents, it must have been agony not to be there with him.  It says in the verse she was in “great distress” and I imagine she was inconsolable by her many servants and eunuchs.  As nice as they may have been, they weren’t the one person she wanted to see in that moment.

In the Facebook Community we shared experiences of not being able to physically be with our loved ones during times of need.   We said we might feel sad, frustrated and confused as to why our help had been rejected when it would have brought us together.   We also mentioned possibly feeling resentful for the position that we were in that was stopping us from getting to our loved one – perhaps Esther also felt resentful that she was now Queen and now allowed the freedom to go outside and see Mordecai.  If she had just stayed at home and not tried to become Queen they would have been able to spend those last few days together.

Overall, it sounds like it would have been a very confusing and heart-breaking time for the two of them, and the phrase “great distress” is a very simplified way to describe all those emotions going on.  Lets try to remember the state that Esther would have been in as we come to next week’s verse.

Next week

From this place of emotion we now see Mordecai’s attempt to solve the problem, as we meditate on this verse:

“He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.” Esther 4:8

I hope you will join in the conversation over in the Facebook Group, and join me at 8pm on Monday evening for a Facebook live discussion to kick off the week! You’ll also find the free phone lock screen over in the group tomorrow morning so you can keep the verse central during the week ahead.

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Three Fab Books for February

I am so thankful to be sent some great resources for parents to read through and review on your behalf.  This month I want to share three books that I’ve been asked to review, my honest opinion on them, and who should read them.  Lets begin!!!

Lessons I learned from My Little Girl

lessons i learned from my little girlHave you ever realised something new about God from something your child has done?  I am a firm believer that becoming a parent helps you understand the father-heart of God in a more real way, and that is what Dai Hankey is trying to capture in this beautiful coffee table book.  Full of beautiful illustrations, endearing stories of his daughter and perfect parallels drawn into parts of God’s character and story, this book is a delight to read.  Each of the 8 chapters takes only 5-10 minutes to read, and so is perfect for a coffee break.

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This book would be a lovely gift to give an expectant or new parent, and with its gospel themes it would be ideal for those who are on the fringe of church or non-Christians to point them to God in that new season.

Buy it here for £7.99 from Christian Focus Publishing

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Idols of a mother’s Heart

idols of a mothers heartHave you ever wondered why motherhood is so hard and why it brings out the worst in us sometimes?  It’s because God is trying to sanctify us and make us more like Jesus.  This book explores how idolatry is something that really manifests itself in motherhood and how we can recognise and deal with that. The book is split into three sections – the first one setting the scene and getting you up to speed on idolatry in the bible (I found this quite a dull section to be honest, as I was already aware of what it was), the second section identifying what idols might be prevalent for mothers, and the last section helping you deal with those.

This book has been one I have had a love hate relationship with.  I have enjoyed reading some chapters, and others not so much.  But each chapter is finished with some questions to ponder over and a well thought out prayer that captures the heart of that chapter.  I have been forced to look at myself and what things might have taken the place of God in my heart as a mother, and just in general.  It is a necessary but not easy read, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to properly check their hearts are in the right place during this season of life.

Buy it here for £7.99 from Christian Focus Publishing

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Raising Kids in a You Can Do It World

raising kids in a you can do it worldI have loved this series of books as they are short, snappy and to the point, whilst dealing in a biblical way with some of the biggest issues we face as parents in our current world.  This one particularly deals with our over positive world, where you are told you can achieve anything and everything, and yet we have to balance that with what the bible teaches us about sin and needing a saviour.

I love the way that each chapter only takes 5 minutes to read – it is bitesize and perfect for parents to be able to digest in the time they have spare.  There are 8 different “signposts” on how to approach and deal with this world in a biblical way, and all are very practical such as “Thrill them with the gospel”, “team up with a faithful church” and “teach them God is awesome”.  I was left feeling equipped and as if actually this wasn’t a big problem anymore, as I am already doing lots of the things suggested in the book to give my children the tools to deal with the world we are in.  For the sake of a couple a quid (yup, the book is really that cheap!) it is worth investing in and preparing yourself, even if you only have young children, so that they have the best foundation to take on this current world from.

Buy it here for £2.99 from 10ofthose.com

DISCLAIMER: I was sent free copies of these books by the publishers for my honest review.  I have received no payment for doing this, and all opinions stated here are my own. 

 

In HER Shoes – Esther (week 5)

 

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As I came to think about this week’s verse I was acutely aware that I hadn’t found much time this week to ponder it and meditate on it.  I was gutted that I hadn’t given it enough time, as I don’t feel like I’ve got everything I could have out of this verse.  If thats you too, then welcome!  You are at home here with those of us who have rushed through this week with barely a moment to spare.  Instead of feeling guilty, I hope you read this post and that God reveals something to you through it, and I also pray that you (and me too!) can find just a bit of space in our coming week to meditate over the next verse.

It is weeks like this that I am so so grateful for the Mummy Meditations Community, for their comments and input and ideas, and I’ll be sharing lots of them below.  Our verse this week has been:

“Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favour and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.” Esther 2:17

That feeling

I read this verse in the King James Version and it threw open a whole new understanding of it.  Instead of the words “attracted to” it used the word “loved“.  The king LOVED Esther above any other woman.  He loved her.  This had stopped being a contest to find the best woman in bed, because the king had felt something.  He’d been moved.  He’d felt a connection to Esther.  The bible doesn’t tell us what or how Esther felt about the King unfortunately, but I’m sure she would have wanted to feel the same way.  The way you feel when you both click, and you could spend all night up talking to the other person about anything and everything!  That rush of connection and emotion.  Esther was not just any woman, she was the one.  Lets not overlook how amazing this moment could have been for this couple.  We assume that because it was the king and there were hundreds of other women involved that it was all forced, but what if it wasn’t?  What if Esther and the King were truly in love?

When I asked the Mummy Meditations Community to think about what it was like to fall in the love, a “spark” was mentioned and that “fluttery feeling”.  If that was how these two were feeling then it would have been one amazing night.  In fact it doesn’t mention in the verse that she was asked to leave and go to the different part of the harem for the concubines.  Instead it says that he put a crown on her head.  So maybe this was a night that lasted longer.  Maybe they were chatting and sharing their hearts and bodies with each other in a way like the King had not done with anyone else.

I always thought she was being groomed to be raped by the king, and forced into marriage.  But that one word of translation – love – changes everything when I read it this week.

That “thing”

From Hegai, to the whole palace court, and now to the King.  Everywhere Esther goes she finds favour, approval and gets special treatment.  What is that all about???!  We chatted about this in the Facebook live and some of our thoughts as to what made her different included:

  • her faith in God – even when she tried to hide her heritage it shone through
  • her dependence on God – she would have had to trust in her as her Father after losing her parents at a young age
  • her lack of dependence on physical things to win people over – she didn’t take extras in with her, just the bare minimum.

In the same way that the light of Jesus shines out of us for all to see, the light of God shone out of Esther as her hope, her confidence and her provision.  This would have been starkly different to the other virgins there who would have been mostly Persian, and trusting in other things to win the King over.

We may not always think we are different to the world, in fact sometimes we might hide who we are in Christ, but lets not forget that the light within us will always shine through everything we do and be visible to others.

Royal crown

The climax of this verse is that Esther is made Queen, and lots of you loved the imagery of the Royal Crown being put upon Esther’s head.  There were lots of parallels drawn to Christ with his crown of thorns – being elevated into this position was not necessarily going to be an easy place to be, and like Jesus on the cross, it would come with its own sacrifices.   It also reminded us that we wear a crown now because of Jesus, and that if we continue through life and stand during trials, we too will be bestowed with crowns of life.

Stepping in to Esther’s shoes, I started to wonder how she felt in this position.  The previous Queen had been humiliated and cast aside, and so there may have been some doubt in her heart about her future in that role.  I wonder if there was also a sense of being a winner!  Out of 400 women, she was the one he chose.  Did she boast in that news?  Did she commiserate with the other virgins in the harem who might have either been her friends or enemies for the past year?  Did she take the news gracefully and accept this new role well?  Again, we can’t be sure, but when I put myself in her shoes I felt this torrential mixture of emotions – pressure of a new role, joy of security, sadness for those who lost out, compassion and perhaps the dizzy feelings of new love!  One thing is for sure this would have been an exciting and confusing time for her with lots of new experiences (she had just lost her virginity – thats big enough on its own without throwing in becoming Queen!!).

next week

Well, now that Esther is officially Queen, we are going to jump ahead in the story.  The rest of Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of the book don’t actually mention Esther at all, but do read through them to catch up on the plot before meditating on our next verse:

“When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.” Esther 4:4

I would love for you to join me live at 8pm tomorrow (Monday!) night for a Facebook Live discussion to kick off the week!  I want to hear about how you deal with success?  Would you have reacted the same was as Esther when she “won” the prize?