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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Women's History Month

Esther and MordecaiImage via WikipediaThe month of March is set aside as a time when we celebrate and honor women for the great strides they have made here in the US and around the world. The women's movement was started in 1848 by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a small group of friends as a way to air their greivances at being treated as second-class citizens. The movement snowballed into a widespread outcry that swept the world and changed the way women were seen and treated by their male counterparts.


I am proud to be a woman and proud of all we have accomplished, but this women's history month I can't help thinking about women in Biblical times who had no one to champion their cause and who, in most cases, were treated in ways that were less than honorable. Yet, some of them were able to rise to great heights. Let's look at some of them:

Queen Esther

Esther was an orphan being raised by her uncle Mordecai after her parents' death, when she was suddenly ushered into the king's presence. He fell in love with her, and she became his queen. This was something Esther never expected, but she filled her position with grace and dignity. Early in her reign, her faith and resourcefulness were tested when Haman, the king's aide, plotted to kill her uncle Mordecai and all the Jews in the provinces under King Xerxes' reign.

Esther risked her life by going into the king's presence to ask that her life and the lives of her fellow Jews be spared. But before doing so, she fasted and asked Mordecai to call on the Jews to do the same. The result was that the peoples' lives were spared, Haman and his sons hanged and the Jews were permitted by the king to kill  their enemies. Following that, the Jews rested and celebrated their victory in a feast called Purim, which is celebrated to this day. All because of one woman's courage.

Mary, the mother of Jesus

This young girl lived in a time when she could have been killed for becoming pregnant outside of wedlock. However, Mary said "yes" to the angel when he told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would have a Son and His name would be called Jesus. Mary didn't understand fully what the angel was talking about. She said, "How will this be, since I am a virgin" (Luke 1 : 34).

The angel explained it as best he could, but I believe even he didn't quite understand it himself. The thing is, we don't have to understand what God is saying because it may never make sense to us. Remember Zechariah, Elizabeth's husband? He was a priest and when Gabriel told him his wife would have a son, he questioned the angel. "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years" (Luke 1: 18). Because of this he was struck dumb until the child was born.

There is another lesson for us. When the Lord tells us to do something, we don't have to go and ask our pastor, deacon or priest what they think because they may be as much in the dark as we are. When God gives us a message, we simply obey God and trust Him to work out the details. This is what Mary did, and she changed the course of world history.

As twenty-first century women we have come a long way. We have made great strides in politics, education, science and the arts. We have also gained respect for our intuitiveness and resourcefulness. Now all we have to do is trust God, in season and out of season. You can read more about these great women in my book Women For All Seasons, now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com.



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