Why Esther? Part 1: Deep in the Heart of Texas
I did not wake up one morning and think: “I’d like to write a modernization of the book of Esther where my Esther character is a shy girl who goes on reality TV show to win a date with the President’s hunky son and along the way learns that God has plans for her that are far beyond her wildest dreams.”
That is definitely not how it happened. My typical morning thoughts are more like: “Coffee. Straightening iron. More coffee. Ahhh”
So how did I come up with the idea for this book? It’s a long story. Thus the “Part 1” in the title. This is going to take a while.
Like many good things in my life, though, it started in Texas…
When this picture was taken – January 9, 2001 (my younger daughter, Eliana was one day old, and I was VERY ready to leave the hospital and take her home!) – my husband and I were living in Midlothian, Texas. Dave was attending seminary and we were leading the Middle School ministry at church. Dave wanted me to teach a few lessons to the group. I was studying the book of Esther in my devotions at the time, so I decided to turn that study into my talks.
I had read Esther before, but this was the first time I really studied it. I took one of Dave’s commentaries, went verse-by-verse, and WOW. It’s a great story! And there was so much in it I never knew. I’d always heard how, though God’s name is never mentioned in the book, His presence is obvious. But as I studied, I saw just how many “coincidences” there were. Here are a few of them:
- The king’s wife just happened to refuse to parade herself before her husband’s drunken friends
- The king’s advisors just happened to suggest he hold a beauty pageant to find a new wife
- Esther just happened to be so beautiful she was chosen as one of the “contestants”
- The head eunuch just happened to make Esther a favorite
I could go on….and, in my study, I did. I ended up with pages and pages of notes on all the ways God worked behind the scenes to accomplish His purposes for His people.
That made me think about my life, the “coincidences” that took place to get me where He wanted me. One in particular was my back surgery (see previous post). I was held back a grade after that. At the time, I was very angry about that decision – even though it put me in the grade I should have been in to begin with. I watched all my friends move on to ninth grade while I went through eighth. Again.
But if I hadn’t been held back, I might not have gone to the Bible college where I met my husband. And even if I had gone, I would have met him earlier than I was ready, and we probably would not have dated. And if we had never dated, we’d have never gotten married.
All that from one “behind the scenes” glimpse.
So I condensed what I was learning into some talks for my middle school group. But the lessons stayed with me long past those talks. Over the next couple years, our lives would change dramatically, in ways I never saw coming. But, looking back, I see how – just like Esther – God prepared me for those next steps, and He guided me to exactly the place(s) He wanted me to accomplish His purpose in my life.
….But that’s for Part 2 🙂