March is Women’s History Month in the US, and while the month is almost over, I believe it’s never too late to celebrate the women of the world. Our contributions to society are manifold but very often taken for granted.

In this post, I want to pay tribute to women who have gone before –the women of the Bible as they are usually referred to. Women of their era were often treated as second-class citizens. They could be used, misused, abused, and discarded at the whim of their menfolk. The Bible records their stories as a testimony to their strength, resilience and faith.

I have a written a book that will help you pass the time and lift your spirits as you “shelter in place” during this coronavirus outbreak. The title of the book is Women For All Seasons, and in it I highlight some of the issues women faced in Biblical times and which we still face today — infertility, sibling rivalry, infidelity, financial hardship, jealousy, marital problems, and so much more. I chose this title because the stories of these women reflect the seasons we all go through. Young and single, middle-aged and married, old and widowed, we are all part of God’s divine plan.

The tone of the book is light and engaging, so that anyone– believer or non-believer– will find it easy to read, but at the same time they will not miss the underlying message of faith it portrays. Each chapter is written from the point of view of the character, giving you an in-depth look at her thoughts, feelings and personality.

At the end of the chapter is the application or “Insight,” followed by questions for your reflection and a list of scriptural references. You may choose to use the book as a devotional, Bible study, journal or all three.

Following is an excerpt from the first story – Esther, Woman of Courage

Esther pauses in brushing her hair as her uncle, Mordecai rushes into the room, waving a scroll. He has been looking after her since her parents’ death and has taught Esther proper manners as becoming a woman of society. He is always telling her that she is destined for great things. His eyes shine with excitement and she knows he is up to something.

Esther smiles at him. “What is it, uncle Mordecai?”

He unfolds the paper to the center page and hands it to her. “Look at this.”

She reads the headline: “KING XERXES SEEKS QUEEN TO REPLACE VASHTI.”

“This is your big chance, my dear. You are going to be queen.”

“But … but, uncle Mordecai, I am a Jew. The king will never consider me.”

“Never mind. Come, get your things. We are going to the palace.”

Mordecai doesn’t give Esther time to question his assumptions. He hustles her over to the palace, where she joins the other young women who are being groomed for a night with the king. Hegai, who is in charge of the young ladies, is so impressed with Esther’s beauty and humility, he gives her the best quarters and seven maids to attend to her needs. And every day Mordecai goes to the palace to enquire how she is doing.

Finally, after twelve months of preparation, Esther is ready to go in to the king. Each young woman is allowed to take whatever she wants for that night, however Esther does not ask for anything other than what Hegai advises her to take. As she is led to the king’s chambers, Esther knows she has never looked more beautiful. Her attendants have helped her bathe in perfumed water, brushed her hair until it shone, then decorated it with exquisite ribbons and jewels. As for her gown. She has never expected to wear something so gorgeous, so extravagant, but now as she nears the huge carved door manned by uniformed guards, Esther wonders what she has gotten herself into. She wishes more than anything to be back with her uncle Mordecai in their humble abode. But the guards open the door and she is in the king’s presence.

King Xerxes immediately falls in love with Esther. “You are the loveliest of all the maidens I have seen so far. You shall be my queen.”

He claps his hand and an aide appears at his side. “Bring me the royal diadem.”

The crown, glittering with myriad precious stones is borne on a velvet cushion and the king places it on her head. Later, at a banquet attended by thousands of the richest and most powerful in the land, the king announces that Esther is queen.

Her eyes catch those of Mordecai in the crowd, smiling and looking very pleased with himself. Esther has risen from obscurity to become queen over one hundred and twenty seven provinces. However, she doesn’t forget her uncle Mordecai, who continues to sit at the palace gates so he can keep an eye on her.

Soon, however, Esther’s loyalty will be challenged. Haman, one of the king’s officials, plots to kill all the Jews because Mordecai refuses to bow down to him. Mordecai discovers the plot and informs Esther, urging her to intercede with the king on behalf of the Jewish people.

And now comes the dilemma. How can she speak up for the Jewish people when the king does not know she is a Jew? Furthermore, no one, not even Esther, can go into the king’s presence unless invited to do so. And Esther has not seen him in thirty days. The only way she will be spared from death is if he were to extend the golden scepter to her when she goes in unannounced.

Esther dispatches a messenger to relay this message to Mordecai, who sends back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 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?”

Mordecai’s words spur Esther to take action. She has to do something even if it means placing her own life in jeopardy. She sends a reply to Mordecai to call all the Jews in Susa to fast for three days while she and her maidens also fast. “When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish”

To read more about Esther and other women of the Bible, purchase the kindle version from Amazon at the low price of .99c. It will bless your heart this Easter season and for all the seasons to come. Get Women For All Seasons here.

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