Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The book of Esther

Today I had the opportunity to sit outside with some rare peace and quiet and read my Bible.  The last time that I had been studying, I had started the book of Esther and today I decided to finish it up.  I only had a few chapters left, but there is so much to learn from this book that it took me a little bit of time to finish it.  I thought I would share a few of the lessons that I learned while studying this morning.

1.  A sense of self importance, arrogance and need for power and money is a destructive way to be.  One of the important characters in the book of Esther is Haman.  He was made the most powerful person under King Xerxes and had much power, money and recognition.  He did not use his power, authority or riches for good.  He NEEDED recognition and wanted everyone to bow down to him and fear him.  He did not like the Jews and especially Mordecai(Esther's uncle and father figure).  He was angry that Mordecai would not bow down to him and he planned to have all of the Jews killed in retaliation.  His sense of self importance and his arrogance was the beginning of the end for him.  I find that sometimes I focus on things that I do not have or things I cannot afford.  I would love to have a new house, I would love to have a new car, I wish we made more money so we could make improvements on our home.  I sometimes forget to be thankful for what I DO have and I forget that "things" are not what this life is about.  I not only see this happening in my own life, I see it in others as well.  I know many people that go into debt buying a car they want even though they can't really afford it or don't really need it.  I see couples with children who both work full time to afford a house that they don't really need instead of choosing to live simpler so that one can be home with the children.  Keeping up with the Joneses has become an epidemic.  It is not my place to pass judgment on these people and I love them no matter what they may decide to do.  Part of loving like God loves is to meet people where they are.  To love them no matter what their choices may be and showing God's love by our own actions and lifestyles.  I have found myself praying many nights that God help me control my covetous attitude.  Over time I have seen what a giving spirit and loving attitude can give in return.  I have seen God bless my family when we give selflessly our time our money or our goods.  Haman in this story is a good reminder that the need for power, money, and recognition is not the way God wants us to live.

2.  God will bless those who pray according to His will.  Queen Esther found out through Mordecai about Haman's plan to kill the Jews.  She told Mordecai to have all of the Jews fast and pray for three days and at the end of the third day she would approach the King even though it could mean that she would lose her life.  Many Jews spent days praying and fasting on Esther's behalf.  On the third day, Esther went before the king and was shown mercy.  She was able to bravely ask the King for a chance to speak.  She was able to finally disclose to the King her heritage.  She was able to show the King what Haman's plan was.  She was able to save her people from the decree(of death) that Haman had ordered before his own death.  God used her to save thousands and he blessed the Jews for being faithful servants who prayed and trusted in Him.  The Jews were able to eventually beat their enemies and turn many others into Jews into the process.  How wonderful it is to be blessed for your faithfulness to Him!!!  Here are some verses that reinforce this lesson:

1 John 5:14~
 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Matthew 18:19-20~
19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

Esther was such an incredibly brave woman who wanted to serve the Lord.  I am inspired by her and her faithfulness.  I pray that when trials and tribulations come my way that I am able to stand firm in what I believe.  I want to be able to speak with love and respect so that others may see Christ through me even though they may not agree with me.

I urge everyone to take some time to study the book of Esther and see what it means to you and your life.  I know that everyone can use the encouragement that this book offers.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Today was D-Day.  

Today was the day that I gathered up the whole year's stress schoolwork, took it to the certified teacher and found out how they did this year.  I have been nervous the whole week, which is nothing new for me.  I get like this EVERY.YEAR.  I feel like I didn't do enough or the girls didn't do enough, or I didn't keep good enough track, etc....etc...etc!

So, I got to the building and had to wait a little while.  It was like torture sitting there.  Finally, the time came.  I sat down with the teacher(who is an AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL Christian woman and friend) and we started to go through Michaela's work.  She was aware of our struggles this year with the third grade and what we had gone through, so it was nice to have her up to date on how we were progressing.  

After she finished looking through Michaela's folders I was finally relieved to know that she was doing just fine.  She was right on track and there are only a few things that I really need to work on over the summer.  After she told me that, I finally felt like I could breathe and I wasn't going to be sick.

Then it was time for Alaina's assessment.  I wasn't nearly as concerned there.  Alaina is a lot like me when it comes to school.  It comes very naturally for her.  She doesn't struggle with new concepts and quite honestly, I felt like much of the first grade curriculum was too easy for her.  But, I decided it can't hurt to really cement those concepts into her mind, so we went ahead and stayed the course.  It was well worth it.  She did amazing!  Her work was great, she almost completely finished all of her books and she should fit into the Christian school next year without an issue.  She may even be ahead of her peer group.  Yay for her!!!!

After all was said and done, both girls got their papers saying they had completed their grade levels and we were on our way fairly quickly.  I had a chat with the girls to let them know what to expect over the summer and before school starts in the fall and we are finally at a place where we can really relax and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on my little girls.  Thank you for allowing us to have another successful school year under our belts.  I also thank you for giving my girls the ability to learn, comprehend and continue growing.

Now, we are moving on to a new chapter in our lives.  2012-2013 will be the first school year my girls have had that is not at home.  It will be an adjustment for us all and I am continuing to pray for success and a good transition for all of us.