Your voice matters. I meet so many women that don’t believe that, or no one has told them that. It’s one of the main reasons I wrote YOU BE YOU – to remind you that you have something to say, and it matters.
Enjoy this excerpt below from my newest book, YOU BE YOU, which releases on 10.1.20.
God seems to go out of His way in Scripture to show us women who spoke up for what mattered to them, who used their voices for influential purposes. Despite the fact that they lived in a time and culture where women were thought to have no voice, they overcame their fear and insecurity and said what needed to be said.
When Aaron and I were considering adopting from Haiti, and I imagined adopting a little girl from there, I wanted to name her Esther because of the story I love about Queen Esther in the Bible. The Bible story itself is inspiring enough on its own, of course, though there’s nothing like watching VeggieTales reenact Queen Esther! I used to love watching it with my kids. The premise is the same as the story in the Bible, except in the real story the bad guy was hanged, and in the video he’s sent to the Island of Perpetual Tickling. Much more family-friendly, I assume.
If you don’t know the story of Esther, I’ll summarize it for you really quick. Esther was adopted by her cousin Mordecai because she had no other family. They were living their normal life when the king of Persia—King Ahasuerus—got rid of his wife because she didn’t respect him. True story, you can read it for yourself. Then his officials suggested that he bring in many beautiful women so that he could choose a new wife. These women spent twelve months getting beauty treatments. (I love a beauty treatment just as much as the next girl, but twelve months is a lot!) Eventually the king chose Esther. Sounds like a modern-day “Housewives of Persia” episode, if you ask me!
What Esther didn’t tell anyone, however, not even her new hubby the king, was that she was Jewish—an oversight that became more important when one of the king’s main officials decided he wanted all the Jews murdered, and the king went along with this plan.
What should Esther do? Not only to save herself but all the Jewish people? At Mordecai’s encouragement—made famous by his exhortation, “Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”—Esther got up the courage to confront the king and admit his decree would mean killing his new queen too. She interceded for her people and asked the king to spare their lives.
And it worked! Esther’s action saved a whole generation of Jewish people—which is important for even us today because Jesus our Savior came from the lineage of Abraham and was Jewish. Esther’s courage to speak up kept God’s plan in motion.
Here’s what I want you to see in the story of Esther. She used her voice to speak into a situation that was right in front of her. Her voice mattered. She used it to make a difference, to stand up for what was right. And although approaching the king with that request was likely the most difficult thing she’d ever done, God had equipped her for the task. The voice she used was the voice she already had . . . whether she knew she had it in her or not.
It’s not just Esther though. I’m reading through the entire Bible this year in chronological order—my first time to ever attempt it. When I get to the end of this year and can say I read the entire Bible from cover to cover in the past year, it might be one of the top accomplishments of my lifetime. Around March of my reading, we were in the book of Numbers—sort of an unlikely place, you’d think, for having a moment in God’s Word where you really want to lean in close. But it was a story where God honored five women who used their voices boldly and confidently before their leader Moses and ultimately before God.
Numbers 26 is basically a census update. The people of Israel were nearing the Promised Land, and this population report would determine how the land was to be divvied up once they moved in and occupied it. Then, Numbers 27. The accounting was over, and five daughters of a deceased man named Zelophehad stood before Moses and pleaded their case. Their father had died without bearing any sons. And under traditional rules of that time, daughters did not inherit land from their fathers. Only sons did. If there were no sons, then brothers. And if no brothers, then on to the nearest male relative.
The girls were going to be left out. And if they were given no land as their father’s inheritance, his name would eventually be forgotten. So they stood up for themselves, as well as for the memory of their father, asking for land they thought they deserved.
I think of the courage and persistence it must have taken for these ladies to work their way up through the leadership structure, making their appeal to whoever would hear them. Moses, you see, wouldn’t have been their first stop. Tiers of judges were in place to handle people’s problems. Only if none of them could settle the issue would it get bumped up to Moses.
But these women, after taking their request to the judges, finally did appear before Moses, who then took it before God. The Lord instructed him to give these women the land their father was to inherit, then took it a step further by declaring a new law in regards to how daughters were treated in matters of land delegation.
And if I were still having babies, I would pick one of these ladies and name my daughter after her. (Maybe not Hoglah . . . maybe Tirzah.) I would then tell the story of that woman’s courage and strength to my daughter before tucking her into bed each night! These women had no platform, no position. They were just regular women like you and me. Yet they used their voice to address what was right in front of them. And God took notice. He used them to advance His own purposes.
I’ve interviewed hundreds of people for The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast and I love when I see people trusting their voice and using their voice to make a difference right where they are. Check out these great shows:
To pre-order a copy of You Be You today, CLICK HERE!