Written by Linda Crouch, friend of Legacy Coalition
Learning to stand for the truth in our secular world is an increasing challenge for our daughters and granddaughters. Some girls have been blessed by the intentional investment of a mother or grandmother. We’d all agree that the impact of a godly role model is invaluable.
Reading aloud together stories of brave women helps reinforce the message that “we win or lose by the way we choose”. Yet how else could we pass on our faith and values to our family today? In the face of difficult situations, how could we inspire them to dare to follow God?
The gripping story of Esther in the Bible is a logical place to start when we seek a godly role model for young women today. At a vital moment when enemies were determined to destroy the Jews and Esther felt powerless and outnumbered, she took a brave stand and spoke to the King in her people’s defense. By a surprising turn of events, the nation of Israel was spared.
In celebration, the annual Jewish festival of Purim, (named after lots used to set the date for the extermination of the Jews) was established. This worldwide, Scripture-based tradition, usually celebrated in February or March, commemorates the courage of this one woman.
Eighteen years ago, as my sister Ruth considered how to build on the story of Esther, she created a fun plan to celebrate Purim with a fresh, inspiring twist. She invited the girls in her family: her daughter, daughter-in-law with her mother and grandmother, and two young granddaughters to join her for a special luncheon in her home.
Their luncheon ‘ticket’ would take special effort. Each person was asked to research and write up the story of a woman living today or from history, who, at a critical time, showed godly character and courage. The young girls were free to draw their stories in pictures or have Mom’s help in writing it. Anticipation grew as each asked God to direct them to a strong story of a woman they had read about or heard of that lived out her faith in a practical, bold way. There were many to choose from!
God has been using women in His Kingdom-building work since the beginning! Daniel 11:32b was a foundational verse in their celebration: “The people who know their God will display strength and take action.”
Coming together for the luncheon, the ladies began by reviewing the story of Esther. They thanked God for using her to see a God-designed opportunity and seizing it. After enjoying the meal together, each one read their story aloud, sharing why they chose that lady and why her example motivated them to let God use them too.
By bringing extra copies of their story for each person, the ladies began their own Purim story notebook. As they heard each other’s stories, they were challenged by the lives of ordinary women who were often key characters in God’s plans. They saw how God had placed them in positions on purpose and chose to work through those willing to act for him. Many stories were shared over the years.
There were stories of Mary McLeod Bethune, an African-American teacher and advocate for race relations, missionaries Gladys Aylward and Amy Carmichael, a mystery writer named Dorothy Sayers, a humble Nigerian grandma called Halima, and Bible characters like Hannah and Abigail.
Each one in their own way calculated the cost of doing what was right despite the risk involved. Each one realized their lives were entrusted to them, not to be lived for their own benefit but for the purpose of serving God, stewarding well the role He had given them. They reminded each other that when it is within OUR reach to speak up and save others, we can follow Esther’s example: ask for God’s direction and act with confidence and courage.
Each Purim dinner ended with a fun, happy toast using mini dill pickles on toothpicks! “To brave, beautiful women who desire God to use them!”
When it comes to remembering God’s faithfulness, we sadly have short memories. Simple celebrations help us recall ways God has used others and wants to use us. They leave a lasting legacy of truth and courage for those who mean the most to us. As Jill Briscoe says,
“Being used by God is an adventure you don’t want to miss!”