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Thursday, 25 July 2019

It's Brilliant How Esther Did It

Another thing that caught my attention in the book of Esther was the wisdom in which Esther handled her issues. I can tell you for free that no matter how beautiful you can be, it is not enough to hold a marriage. But God’s wisdom embedded in good character and prayers will take anyone to the greatest height attainable in marriage. Proverbs 24:3 says, “Through wisdom, a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with precious and pleasant riches.”
The book of Esther chapter 3 was where Haman began to plot the destruction of the children of Israel and when this got to Esther, the first thing she did was to highlight her restriction, but that was not good enough for her Uncle Mordecai. But what really gave me so much respect for Esther was how she handled the matter.
For some, she should have just walked up to the king, demand her right as the queen and insist that her people be spared, and Haman be destroyed. After all, she was the queen. But Esther took a different route, a more subtle yet technical route. A route that was devised in wisdom and covered with prayers, that she knew could never fail.
So, the first thing Esther did was to pray. You might wonder why a wife would need to pray before approaching her husband for a request that she was entitled to. Well, I learned to use the prayer approach too in my marriage and it works well for me. Building a marriage on an entitlement mentality is not too good. Always have it at the back of your mind that your spouse owes you nothing except what God has laid in his/her heart to deliver to you. With that, you seldom get disappointed and learn to trust God more irrespective of your spouse. 
And after her prayer and fasting which she did along with the whole of the Jewish race on the land, she decided to take the bull by the horn and approach her husband whether tradition allowed it or not. Although the tradition of the land at that time did not permit Esther to approach the king when she was not called on but through prayers she had prepared her path, she knew that she had secured the intervention of God in the matter. And to the glory of God, she got what she wanted.
So many times, there are pressing issues that I want to discuss with my husband and with the emotional weight that I carry in me, I was sure the discussion would most likely lead to a fight. And all the time that I have prayed before speaking up it always ended in praise. You might wonder if I can’t approach my husband on issues without first praying about it, at least he is my husband and not my God. Well like Esther I love to choose the prayer route first so that I get to laugh after all said and done. Sometimes when I pray, I might not even need to discuss with him anymore on the issue no matter how pissed off I may be because the Lord will speak to him on my behalf and the matter is resolved without me venting my anger or airing my views.   
When I need something that I am sure my husband has to give like the case of Esther, I have learned not to trust that my husband will give me because he has it to give. With this approach, I seldom get disappointed because my expectation is little and I have killed totally any form of entitlement mentality that I should have in my marriage. So, when I have a request, I present it to God even when I know my husband has. It is now God’s choice to determine how He chooses to make available my request. He could choose to use my husband as a vessel to answer my prayers or decide to find other means suitable to Him. But one thing is sure He answers me when I call.
Applying God’s wisdom and praying in all situations brought about victory not only for Esther but for all the Jewish race in the 127 provinces. Applying God’s wisdom in your marriage gives you peace, joy, and love in your marriage far more than you can ever achieve in your limited effort. There is absolutely nothing too trivial in marriage to pray about. Disturb God about everything because that is what He wants you to do. When you free yourself of the burden and put it all in the hands of God things begin to happen for your good. Not because you did it, but because you let God do it for you.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

What About You

There is no time more appropriate to be mindful of one’s appearance as a woman than when you are married. I do understand the pressure of being a wife and a mother but in the midst of all the various important things that vie for your attention as a woman, the way you look and care for yourself is also very important. And that takes me to the third thing I learned from the book of Esther in the Bible.
After the exit of queen Vashti, there was a need for a replacement and a search began in the 127 provinces under the rulership of king Ahasuerus. In Esther 2:12 we read that each woman gets twelve months of beauty treatment before presenting herself to the king for consideration as queen according to the regulations for the women. So, in the days of Esther, the women were required to undergo twelve months of beauty treatment. I want to believe that this regulation is not only for those vying to be queen but for all women in the land as it was a regulation for the women.
Sometimes I just want to think if such regulation should be reintroduced in our days where it is compulsory for women to pay attention to how they look and smell. One of the things that qualified queen Vashti as a trophy to her husband so much that he wished to display her to the princes and nobles of his province was her beauty. It is so easy for a beautiful woman to relinquish her beauty if she doesn’t take time to care for her beauty. Just as it is easy for a woman who was considered ugly to become a beautiful pride of her husband when she begins to pay more attention to herself and her appearance.
The importance of one's appearance and hygiene cannot be over-emphasized. Your appearance does not just qualify you as a trophy to your husband, it also boosts your self-esteem. The way you dress and carry yourself goes a long way to determine the way you will be addressed. Beauty they say is deceptive but nonetheless, beauty attracts. Being a lover of God does not undermine the need for us as wives to take care of our appearance in a decent and modest manner. 
In as much as "character" is the number one value of a wife, but good-appearance is a value that is a wife must-have. Even if it on a ratio of 8:2, a wife must make efforts to look good for her husband. There is something about you that made your husband decide you fit enough to be his wife; always ensure you maintain the freshness of that one thing. I totally agree that beauty cannot hold a marriage and I preach same. But the way you look is a catalyst in marriage. A good look is required for you to earn the respect of those who see you, your husband being the most important one. So while not overdoing it and keeping your marriage and its health in focus, ensure you pay attention to yourself as a wife. It’s the least you can do for you.






Wednesday, 3 July 2019

The Sin of Vashti

The next thing that caught my attention in the story of Esther that I read was the resolution of the advisers of the king over the punishment that should be dished out to Queen Vashti. As read in Esther 1:16-20, it's not the punishment to dethrone queen Vashti and give her place to another that is the big deal to me but the analysis of her action. The adviser of the king said it wasn't just the king that was wronged, but all the princes, nobles and the entire men within the 127 provinces under the rulership of the king.
You might then want to ask that how can a simple refusal of one’s husband’s request become such a big deal? Well, Memucan the king’s adviser explained it to us in Esther 1:16-20. He says, when the women in the province hear what queen Vashti did with no repercussion or consequence, they will adopt that kind of behavior and the impunity within the province will be widespread. That for me is the main focus of today’s post. In my last post we discussed being your husband’s trophy but today we will take it a little further to understand the impact of our private actions on the watching public, those we never knew were watching us.
One of the reasons I started getting interested in marriage issues is the way and manner I hear some pastors’ wives talk about their husbands just like an unbeliever would. They trivialize marriage as though there is no hope ever for a beautiful marriage simply because they lack the understanding of what it takes to make it work yet what they refuse to understand is that they are not just been hopeless about their own marriage but they are killing the hope of a good marriage for those who are watching them or looking up to them as role models.
One Saturday morning, I went for the Parents Teachers Forum meeting in my children’s school and was leaving. Another mother who lives close to me asked me to give a ride home and I agreed, while on my way home, I received a call from my husband who was babysitting our children in my absence. He wanted to go out and wanted to know how much longer before I got back home. Meanwhile, the woman in the car with me couldn’t help but hear my conversation. When I got home, she dropped from the car and trekked the little distance left to her home.
I met her a few hours later on the roadside talking with someone I knew, apparently, they were talking about me. I walked up to them and she couldn’t help but bare out her mind. She told me she was just discussing with the other person about her experience while inside my car. She had overheard my conversation with my husband and assumed I was talking to my husband due to the way I was talking on the phone. She said I spoke with so much respect that she thought it was my father on the other line but when I reached my house and she saw my husband standing at the gate waiting, she realized it was my husband I was conversing with all along.
She told me sincerely that she learned something new from me that day, she said now she understands what her husband meant when he was complaining of her not showing respect to him as her husband. She couldn’t imagine anyone speaking with so much respect to a mere husband. And till date, that incident has not left me. That I could unconsciously minister change into a marriage just by the way I handle mine has left me grateful to God.
In Proverb 31:23 we read something about the virtuous wife, it says, “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.” Why this is included in the characteristics of a virtuous woman calls for thinking. Obviously, there must be a value-add in the life of a man married to a virtuous wife as a result of the positive actions of his wife. The NIV Bible version says, “the husband is respected at the city gate,” a wife who has learned to respect her husband as laid the precedence for others to respect him. And much more than that, she has laid an example for onlookers who might not know otherwise to learn to respect their own husbands too. And for this, she will be rewarded.  
You might say that as a wife your husband does not respect you so why should you respect him? Well in my world you don’t correct a wrong with a wrong and as a child of God, you are called to be the light in the darkness. When you shine your light no matter how little, you illuminate your husband’s world and drive away the darkness within him. Remember that God called you to be a suitable helper in his life. The more you respect him, the more you teach him to respect you in return. 





Monday, 1 July 2019

The Husband's Trophy

Again, I got to read the book of Esther in the Bible and sincerely there are loads of things to learn and share from the book. So, I will be sharing a lot from that book in my next couple of posts.  
The first chapter of the book of Esther tells us about a king named Ahasuerus (the NIV Bible version called him king Xerxes). He reigned over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush (Esther 1:1). And so, this very powerful king decided to show off his wealth and splendor and the Bible tells us that he took 180days doing that, and then capping it up with a 7days banquet. And just to crown his show of splendor, he decided to put his beautiful wife on display. That beautiful queen was his trophy that he was very proud to show off. And just like the Bible didn't see anything wrong in that, so also do I not see anything wrong in it. The first question I would want to ask wives reading this write-up this, are you the kind of wife your husband would delight to put on display to show off to the world? 
What king Ahasuerus sought to show off in his wife was her beauty (Esther 1:11), but you would agree with me that beauty is relative. What is beautiful for me might be ugly to you. But for your husband to deem it fit to marry you, then you are beautiful to him. So, what then are you doing to sustain the beauty he saw in you that caused him to pick you amongst the many women around him to be his wife?
I attended a women's program in my church where we were taught on ways to spice up our marriages, and my pastor's wife spoke out my mind on the need for a woman to pay attention to her physical appearance. Indecent dressing is not prescribed for a covenant child of God but a beautiful appearance in modesty and decency is a must for a wife who desires to be her husband's trophy. 
But dressing isn't the only thing that a wife needs to make herself her husband's trophy. Some wives are a disdain to their husbands simply by their attitude as we read of Queen Vashti. Interestingly, God clearly instructed the wife to submit to her husband without exemptions. I totally understand the fact that King Ahasuerus had had more than enough wine and was in high spirit from too much alcohol as at the time he decided to put his wife on display, yet that was not a good enough reason for his wife who should be a woman under submission to her husband to decline his call. 
We read in Ephesians 5:22-24 and in 1 Peter 3:1-6 that wives should submit to their husbands, but God didn't put an adjective to qualify or describe the kind of husband wives should submit to. So, whether good or bad as long as he remains your husband, the instruction of God concerning your life in that marriage is to submit to him as you would do to the Lord. 
Queen Vashti would have just been a perfect trophy when you combine her outward beauty with the inner beauty of a noble wife. But she had one good attribute and lacked the other. She possessed the outward beauty but lacked the inner poise that would have qualified her as a trophy in and out. She was a beauty to behold but a disdain to her husband by her attitude. 
Every wife loves to be appreciated and praised; a wife loves to be a trophy to be displayed by her husband to the world, but this just doesn't happen by chance, as a wife you need to make it happen. A combination of prayers and Holy Spirit led actions will get you there and believe me when I say it's a sweet thing to be your husband's trophy.