I am a member of a Chicago-area speaker group - a group of like-minded women who write and speak and are passionate about sharing messages that resonate with and encourage women. At our last meeting, after sharing some discouraging news I received about a writing project, a couple of these friends encouraged me to start blogging more regularly. Like every week.
"Every week?!? I can't do that! I don't have time," I pushed back because what they were suggesting felt overwhelming to me. One of the women graciously shared her observation that if I continued to write blog posts the length of a book chapter that are perfectly edited and polished, then no, I probably couldn't pull off a blog post a week. But if I were to write short snippets, to write about moments as a mom and a writer, as a wife and a friend, and just put them out there, then I probably could write one post a week. They encouraged me to connect authentically and not worry about doing it perfectly.
When it comes to writing, I am a perfectionist. I painstakingly labor over every word, send my "book chapter" off to a few people to proof, sit with it for several days, make edits, and then often mentally debate back and forth over whether it is worthy of posting. I want my writing to be clean. More importantly, I want to say something of value. I don't just want to be another voice in a sea of voices.
My friends convinced me to give it a shot. They know my journey. They believe in the work God is doing in and around me. These women are some of the "Mordecais" in my life. Remember him? In the story of Queen Esther, he is her cousin who was really more of a father figure in her life. When she is taken into the King's harem, Mordecai keeps his eye on Esther. And he keeps his ears open to the sinister plot developing from inside the palace to destroy the Jewish people (which included Esther and Mordecai.)
Esther may be able to do something. But it is risky. She could lose her life in the process of trying to save her people. In some of the most beloved words of the Old Testament we read this charge to Esther:
"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 your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14)
We love these words filled with inspiration and courage. These words have been the theme of women's conferences, have graced the covers of books, have been written into song lyrics and sermons.
Who knows whether everything that has happened to you in your life, the good and the bad, the blessing and the suffering, has led up to this divinely-inspired moment, when God may do something beyond what you could ever imagine?
We so love this verse, but have we considered who said these words? It wasn't Esther; it was Mordecai, her watchful, wise, faith-filled cousin. He challenges Esther to see beyond her life in the palace. He encourages her - which literally means "to fill with courage" - to consider the possibility that God may be up to something. That maybe He has been working His plan in all of the circumstances leading up to this moment, and maybe He wanted to use Esther the queen to save her people.
Now to be clear, few of us will ever impact a nation of people the way Esther did. Mordecai's words held immeasurable influence over Esther's life, and her brave actions changed the course of history for the Jewish people. And, I am certainly not comparing myself, my influence, or my platform to Esther's in any way. But I believe that we can, in big and small ways, be Mordecai to the people God has put in our lives.
Several friends have been Mordecai to me over the years, in various areas of my life. Truth-tellers and encouragers have helped me be brave in parenting and marriage, trust God in the most heart-wrenching situations, and find courage to say yes to things that terrify me.
We can fill others with courage. We can say, "I know your story. I've been with you through the ups and downs. I see how you have struggled and the ways you have doubted God's work in your life. I see the fear and insecurity you have about stepping out and speaking up. It's understandable. But I also see the beautiful ways God has gifted you. I see what you've overcome. I see your faith and your surrendered heart. And I just can't help but wonder if maybe God has been working in your life in ways you haven't been able to see? I can't shake this feeling that maybe He wants to use you and your story for His purposes. Take courage! Be brave! Be bold! Together, let's see what God might do."
Who are the Mordecai's in your life? And for whom can you be a Mordecai? To whom can you speak words of truth and faith? Whose heart can you fill with courage today?
Categories: for such a time as this, encouragement, courage, brave, Esther, Mordecai, God's plan, words of truth, fear, anxiety, discouragement, friendship, writing, speaking, faith, Christian blogs