The Size of a Life

Anika and I have been reading the Bible story of Esther. I don’t know what it is that’s got me seeing it in a new light – if it’s the combination of thoughts in my head right now, or if it’s stopping to explain and trying to put ideas into words Anika will understand.

Whatever it is, I’m loving Esther right now.

I had never, ever thought about the fact that she was forced to go to the king’s palace.

The Bible says, “…Many girls were brought to the citadel of Susa…”(Esther 2:8). As I read that chapter to Anika, it suddenly hit me what it will have meant for Esther to have been chosen as one of the beautiful virgins brought before the king.

It would mean leaving her family, and never living with them again. She would have to spend the rest of her life living in the palace with the rest of the king’s concubines.

She would never be able to get married and have her own family, her own home, her own life.

And she was Jewish, living according to her people’s laws and customs, so I’m sure spending a night with the king was not an appealing prospect.

But she didn’t have a choice, so she went, and spent her first 12 months in the palace with the kind of attitude that “won the favor” of the people around her.

In our culture, winning a beauty pageant and chosen to become royalty would be seen as desirable and successful, but I doubt Esther will have felt the same when she was chosen to be queen. (I often find myself wishing the Bible included more details on the emotions people experienced in these stories we now read!)

So there she was, living the life of a queen, and God gave her the chance to save her people. She was scared to do it. She was human, she experienced fear, and she did not jump at the chance to be a hero.

But her cousin Mordecai said to her,

“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?” (Esther 4:13-14)

So she had her brave and shining moment, and she saved her people. She was amazing.

But Esther was still human. She did not seek out the opportunity for greatness.

She simply lived her life, and did what she needed to do, when opportunities or expectations presented themselves.

That’s also very different from our culture. There is such a pressure to do great things, to build a platform for ourselves, to get noticed, and be great, influential people.

And those things can all be fantastic…if the opportunity presents itself.

How much do we pursue it? How much do we long for it?

And when we long for it, do we do so in a way that doesn’t breed discontentment for all of the simple, small acts of faith done on a daily basis, because we desire something big and more “significant”?

What about Ruth? Her great move was being loving and faithful to her mother-in-law. She left her home and family to go with Naomi, and showed amazing loyalty and kindness. But her big finale? She got married. And had a baby. And then turned out to be in Jesus’ family tree, but she never knew that while she was alive.

She was just living her simple, small life.

I live my simple, small life. I love my husband and our girls, and I look for joy in all the little things.

But I also dream of greatness, even though I know being a wife and mom is important, but sometimes I dream of different things – “bigger” things, that don’t involve quite as much laundry, or cleaning scrambled eggs off the floor.

What is my big, important, noble purpose, besides being a mom? Why am I here? How is God going to do huge, amazing things through me?

What will I do with this life of mine?

Well… I’m doing it. I’m living it every day, and maybe it doesn’t need to be great and glorious. I don’t think it’s wrong to dream about the future, but I do wonder if we put too much pressure on ourselves to want more than what we were meant to want.

Ecclesiastes says we should love our spouse, and work hard. And if we’re faithful in the small things, God will take care of the rest, right?

He makes some to be like Esther, well-known and in a position of power. And He makes some to be like Ruth, living a quiet life with family.

Both women powerfully impacted the world.

One knew it, the other didn’t.

Do I really need to know my purpose, or my impact? It might be revealed later…if at all.

God knows – is that enough for me?

Oh, to find joy in whatever circumstances come my way. To find contentment in the small, simple things, while always being prepared for the moments of courage He brings to me, whatever size they might be.

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9 thoughts on “The Size of a Life

  1. This is so true, Kendra. Thanks for the reminder. Lately I’ve been wondering if my life is just too “small”. Thankfully God can use us in all places. When I read this I also think of my mother in law. She will never know the true impact she had on my life. I also admire her in ways she’ll never know. I wish I could tell her…but that was not in the plan. I didn’t even begin to understand some of the ways I admired her until after I had children, and by then she was already gone. So I suppose in some ways she was a “Ruth”. She lived her life faithfully and created a legacy that will live on forever through our stories and memories of her. I have to believe her rewards in Heaven are great!

    • Oh, Juls! I wish so much you could have that chance to tell your mother-in-law all that is in your heart! And obviously, you will someday, but I bet that doesn’t always help for right now! Thanks for your thoughts on the legacy she left – such an inspiration for the rest of us to follow!

  2. There is a great truth to this, Kendra, and I use that word intentionally. Learning to live with the Lord’s power and strength in the ordinary, the simple, the present, is no small thing. It is a big thing, a great thing (not our thing) – a key thing – that we learn at the feet of Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing. Your posts often make me think.

    • Thanks, Carla! You are so right – learning to live in the power and strength of our Father could never be small!!

  3. My verse for the the day happened to be Isa 66:2. “This is the one I esteem: he is humble, contrite in spirit, trembles at My word.” Made me think of your post. Seems like if we could get that right-the humbleness, the right priorities, the simple living- then the rest would fall into place.

  4. Thanks for you post, Kendra. Coincidentally I am reading the book Hadassah: One Night WIth the King by Tommy Tenney. I’ve read it before but it is such a powerful story of Esther’s life written in a way that gives details and feelings to the story we read in the Bible that I just couldn’t help picking it up again. Of course it is fiction, but done in a way that brings the Bible to life! I’d gladly borrow it out if you would like to read it, Kendra. And you are right! Sometimes we feel the simple things we do as mothers are insignificant. I remember having to overcome the feeling very early in parenting that if only those little things that took up my day would be done then I would have more time to do “more important things”. It took me years, and at times I am still having to remind myself to cherish the seemingly insignificant moments. It is these moments that add up to something great – a lifetime shared with the people we love. Doing daily chores teaches our children discipline, responsibility, and perseverance as well as the joy that comes while working together. And of course there are more opportunities to teach than we can count. The fact is, who is going to impact our children as greatly as we can? How blessed we are to be able to pour into our children every day and grow them up for Jesus! That is pretty significant! Thanks for the reminder!

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Wendy! I would love to borrow your book – it sounds great! Today is an excellent day for me to be reminded, once again, of the benefits of teaching our children discipline, responsibility, and perseverance!!

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