We need to stop fighting among ourselves. The time has come to call a cease-fire between our sisters and us. Why not dare to go a step further and actually declare peace?
I realize it's a bit naïve to think we could all just hold hands and make up. And I don't want a false kind of peace—the kind that requires many rules and giant consequences. The peace I'm thinking of comes from within, and it happens one person at a time. I'm looking toward a culture shift that will allow us to lay down our weapons of war and embrace a lifestyle of love.
To accomplish this, you and I will need to come to the negotiation table and begin again. Each of us must do the work of repentance and forgiveness. We need to make a conscious choice to change the way we think and the way we act. We have to decide to invest in the women around us.
One of the most powerful women in the Bible started out as an exile, an orphan and a peasant girl.
When Hadassah's parents died, her Uncle Mordecai took her in. Just as she was coming of age, word came to their village that the king was seeking a new queen.
All of the attractive single girls in the kingdom were to be taken before the king for his consideration. And Hadassah was very beautiful. She must have been one of the first young women chosen for this dubious honor.
As the guards were taking her away, Mordecai whispered in her ear, "Don't tell anyone about your nationality or family background." You see, the king did not treat exiles from Jerusalem very kindly. Fearing for his young niece's life, Mordecai suggested that Hadassah use her non-Jewish name, Esther.
Out of all the lovely women being considered to become the new queen, the king chose Esther. She didn't realize it at the time, but God not only knew what was happening to her, but planned this all along. He had a special reason for putting Esther in this situation.
When one of the king's top advisers, who hated the Jews, devised a plan to kill them, Esther was in a unique position to save her people from annihilation. When she hesitated to risk her life by going to the king without a proper invitation, confessing her true nationality and begging for her people's lives, her uncle posed this crucial question to her: "Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?" (4:14)
You and I are in a similar predicament today. The "Queen Vashtis" of our prior generations have left a life-threatening situation for us. They've opened doors to an enemy who wants to annihilate our gender and our offspring. Many of us have been left orphaned, abandoned and in spiritual poverty. Some of us are even using false names and denying our inheritance.
Esther knew that her role as queen was a tremendous responsibility. It was also a test. Being in that position presented her with a unique opportunity to save the lives of her people. Would she rise to the task?
Esther summoned her courage and faced the challenge before her. She asked everyone she knew to fast for three days. Then she followed the leading of the Lord in her sticky situation. She eventually made her request known to the king. As a result, she saved her own life and the lives of her people. The wicked adviser got his just desserts, her uncle was given a position of authority, and the messianic line was preserved. Esther reigned as queen for many years.
Esther changed her world because of what she believed, what she said and what she did. You can change the culture around you too.
Our civilization is created by what we believe, what we say and what we do. What you do matters. What you think has value. What you say is powerful. When we walk in unity with our sisters, the kingdom becomes stronger, more vibrant, more powerful and more visible. This "kingdom culture" unifies us and gives us the potential to change our world; this kind of change always starts with one person and one idea.
Adapted from Women at War by Jan Greenwood, copyright 2015 by Gateway Create Publishing, partnering with Charisma House for distribution. This book will help you embrace the gift of being a woman, bring healing in female relationships and give you tools and tips to turn difficult relationships into powerful ones. To order your copy click here.
Jan Greenwood is an integral part of the PINK (Gateway Women) team, helping to lead an amazing ministry that develops opportunities and resources for the women of Gateway Church, including their annual women's conference, Pink Impact. She speaks, writes and ministers on issues related to women, leadership and healing. She is also a breast cancer survivor who shares freely about her experience and encourages others to navigate with faith in difficult times. She became a part of a project of the National Breast Cancer Foundation called Beyond the Shock, where she is featured as a documentary participant, sharing insights and perspectives as a cancer survivor.
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