Heart of Esther

"And who knows but that you have come to this position for such a time as this?" –Esther 4:14

A few words about him December 6, 2011

He’s the strong, silent type.

He doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, but I always know where he stands.

He’s calm and reassuring, even when the storm shakes him to his core.

He takes care of me-not just physically, but my heart, too.

He allows me to talk when I feel like talking, but he holds me in the silence when there are no words.

He makes decisions and takes care of things I cannot handle.

He lovingly has met all my needs to the best of his ability.

He is my buffer, and my guard.

He keeps me grounded in our faith.

He has brought me anything he thought might ease my pain and not judged me for it.

He has never demanded I move on or told me how or when to heal but has allowed me to work through my own heart.

His strength has carried me through and allowed me to be vulnerable.  

Even though he is in pain, he has not let it overtake him so that he can be there for me.

He has allowed me to grieve the way I do and I’ve allowed him to grieve how he does.  And its strengthened our bond.  Because no one knows the depth and dynamics of our loss but us.

I’m thankful for his strong arms and enveloping hugs that make me feel secure.  

For his quiet way of sacrificial living and loving and supporting and giving.

I could not have made it this far without him-my husband, my soul-mate, my friend.



Do you ever have those days where just ONE more thing will send you over the edge??  Yeah.  That was me the other day.  It was just those little things that added up all day.  It started out by being woken up early (4am early) by a little one that is learning to live (and sleep) without a pacifier.  With a nursing baby, my sleep is interrupted as it is.  Still, I woke up looking forward to a little shopping trip without any children-excited to have some space and thoughts to myself (which is rare) for a couple of hours.  You have to understand, I am NEVER w/o my children.  Honestly, I don’t crave time away or frequent breaks.  When money is tight, we have date night at home after the kiddos are in bed.  My husband works long hours and we don’t have any family nearby.  We are also extremely careful about who we allow our children to be watched by.  SO, I do not get time alone (you know what I mean, Mommy’s-not even in the BATHROOM), mkay?? 

Anyway, myschedule was already too packed this week and I was stressed.  Not to mention not feeling well.  It was little things all day like my toddler unrolling an entire roll of bath tissue and proceeding to tear it up in little shreds and spread it all over the house.  Yes, I was getting more and more anxious for my outing ALONE!   I wish I could say something major happened to make me lose my cool and you could relate, but it was something so small and silly…

Ready to walk out the door, I’m running around like a mad lady sprucing up the house (no easy task after a long home schooling day and sports after) so we don’t scare away the babysitter and I get the call that I would NOT have childcare after all and that if I wanted to get a few things I had planned to get done, I had to bring all the children with me.  Sigh.  To be honest, I usually don’t mind taking all the kiddos with me and really and truly enjoy their company.  But this had been a particularly rough week.  I was tired.  I needed a break.  I had even fallen asleep the night before imagining myself with my coffee in hand, being able to casually rifle through a favorite store before getting my “have to have’s” at my not so favorite store.  I literally at that moment felt as if my day had been ruined.

I wish I could say it was something major that put me over the edge.  It really wasn’t that big of a deal.  My toddler spilled a bowl of Cheerios (dry-thank goodness) on my sofa.  IN my sofa.  And crushed them in between my cushions.  Yeah.   And I lost it. Let me reassure you, ladies, it wasn’t pretty. 

Still cleaning up crushed up Cheerios and beginning to feel ashamed for loosing it, I kept praying, and I realized that my day was probably going so awfully because of my attitude and because, in my head, I had planned for things to go my way that day. 

Then, in His soft and gentle way, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me and gently ask how often do we this in our spiritual walk?  I began to evaluate my heart.  It’s not that I had a bad day.  It went much deeper than that.  How often do we say a prayer or expect God to do something, or even put limitations on Him as to how we allow him to work in our hearts; and then become frustrated or even bitterly disappointed when things are not as we think they should be?  It’s not just our daily happenings we get easily upset and frustrated over, but major things like money, relationships, even death of a loved one.  Often, we even let a part of our hearts shut down to Him because we cannot understand why things aren’t going our way.

The only way to make it through is to be utterly abandoned to myself and completely open to what His desire is for me…even in the small things.  If I’m not, do I really trust Him?  Do I really believe He is a loving God who wants good things for me?  Do I know who my enemy is? (Hint:  the Word says that satan is the one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy). 

I cannot always control what happens to me, but I can choose my response to them, and ultimately, my response to HIM!  After all, life big or small, is lived daily.  Especially as mothers and wives.  That’s why the Word says in Mathew to not even worry about tomorrow and to “Be careful, then, how you live-not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:15-16. 

“Now listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

And, when Paul writes in Philippians 4:12-13 “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength!”

So, if I can learn to lean on the One who gives me strength and respond the way I know He would have me to respond first, if I can somehow squash this ME that gets in the way of what He is doing in my life (even if its responding well to spilled Cheerios!) then I can be refined and somehow reach toward the prize…


HONOR October 30, 2011

Honor one another above yourselves.”  -Romans 12:10

The other day, my husband and I overheard an advertisement for a popular “family” show on TV.  My husband commented to me, “On TV, they always have to make the Dad the idiot.”  I asked what he meant but quickly saw as in the 30 second clip of the show, the wife and the children all treated the father as if he had no clue, turning their backs on him and rolling their eyes.  Even the children were openly making fun of him.  That sparked a discussion between us and we reminisced about the older shows on TV-“Leave It To Beaver“, “My Three Sons“, “The Andy Griffith Show“.  In all of those shows, the father figure was respected and the one who gave sound advice and helped the children figure it all out in the end of the half hour.  Even the title of an older show “Father Knows Best” says it all.  Since when did our culture take a turn from viewing the husband/father with such disrespect and even disdain?

As we talked, we realized that from the time those shows were aired until now, two significant things had happened.  The first, the 10 commandments was taken out of school; reflecting the culture’s change and turn away from God and His Holy Word.  Second, the feminist movement.  The movement that said women are not only just as good as men, women are better!  The fact is, the Bible is very clear on both the male and female roles.  It is the Christian view, in fact, that always reveres women and respects men.  The Bible says that “man is not good alone”.  In the New Testament, women are to honor their husbands, but men are to treat their wives with love and even as they would themselves!  Only in cultures where the Bible is not followed are women treated as property…and worse.
I think, the demise of society and all the problems we see now (homosexuality, broken families, fatherless children, men who seek admiration outside the marriage and lead to infidelity, pornography, even the drug and prison problems) largely stem from society as a whole telling men they are not good enough, not admired, not respected, and ultimately less than women.  We have told them they must be like women to be worthy.  They must behave like women, think like women, get in touch with their emotions like women, act like women…

We wonder why they aren’t standing up and fighting for their integrity and that of their families.  We wonder why they aren’t taking spiritual leadership in their homes.  Women are taught not to respect their husbands, then wonder why men don’t respect themselves and why their children aren’t honoring them.
Raising boys, God has placed a deep purpose in my heart to show them how men really should be treated, contrary to the message culture is bombarding them with.  God made men to be the head.  To lead.  Deep in their hearts, they are warriors, wanting to fight a battle.  What battle?  Ultimately, the battle of the ages-between bad and good.  (P.S. If you’ve never read “Wild At Heart” by John Eldrigde-check it out!)  Men are made to do spiritual warfare and God made them to want to win because He wants us to conquer evil.  They are to protect and provide for their families.  They are to compete in the business or trade world.  They are to fight for the hearts of their wives and children.  They are made to do things that must be done that women cannot “emotionally” handle.
The feminist movement has changed women’s roles from being revered and treated as different because we were DIFFERENT then men, and has instead, set us up as men’s competitor-trying to battle for the head of the marriage, the children, the home, the church, the office, etc.
Our children are watching how we are treating our husbands.  Ultimately, our sons will learn how to treat their wives and our daughters will learn how to treat their husbands by our examples.  Are we respecting our husbands?  Do we watch what we say to our children about their father?  Are we building him up in front of them?  Or tearing him down and belittling him?  Do we complain and argue with his wishes or do we do it cheerfully because he asked of us?  How do we treat him when he comes home?  Do we respect him when we feel like it-or no matter what because that’s what the Word says?
The other day, I caught myself saying out loud in front of my children, “I wish your dad would remember to do ____ chore!”  No sooner was it out of my mouth, that I felt convicted.  I tried to correct it and said, “You know, Mommy shouldn’t have said that.  Your dad always works hard and takes good care of us.  Isn’t it helpful that he takes out the trash every morning so Mommy doesn’t have to?  That shows how much he loves Mommy.  What can we do for Daddy when he comes home to make him feel special?”

Are we respecting our sons?  Are we training them to lead well?  What about letting them take turns leading the family in Bible reading or prayer?  Are we equipping them to make sound decisions later?  Are we training them to guard their eyes and hearts, to be good with money, to work hard, to lean on the wisdom of the Word?  What about the way they treat their mother or sisters or sisters in the Lord?  It’s good practice at a young age to teach them to look out for their families.  Do they protect their sisters and help their mothers?  Are they using manners and considering others around them?

Men can learn to lead in ways that aren’t dominant and destructive.  The Bible never intended that.  That’s why it was clear that men are to love their wives as their own bodies and to treat them as a weaker vessel.  The Hebrew translation for that means “a beautiful vase”.  I don’t feel belittled when I’m treated as a beautiful, fragile vase.  I feel honored and special and very feminine.  Just as our hearts yearn to be treated that way, men’s hearts yearn to be respected, needed, and admired.  How can we purpose today to honor and show respect to the men in our life?

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