Two years ago I was invited to speak at an event for women leaders in the Middle East. At my meeting with the missions organization putting together the trip and the event, their representative in the U.S. said, “We are focusing on the leaders so they can spread the message to the rest of women in a way that they can work on developing real fruit. These leaders will be the influencers to every home by establishing a connection with the leader of each home, in each town.”
You know whom they referred to as “the leader of each home?” Nope, they were not referring to the men — they were referring to the women. And yes! In the Middle East!
Please come with me to Esther chapter 1 and let’s read the whole chapter.
How crazy is it that back in 486 B.C. men were so afraid of women rebelling that they had to create decrees stating the men had to be the rulers over each household?
The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed. 22 He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household.
Queen Vashti decided not to obey the King’s desires for her to show up at the party he was throwing, and the men freaked out. Why? Because they knew that a woman in a royal position could influence all the women in every province the King ruled over.
Then Memukan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, “Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17 For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ 18 This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord. 19 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. 20 Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”
I’m definitely not suggesting for us to rebel against our husbands or authorities, but what I want you to realize is the power of influence a woman has when she realizes who she is. Even kings tremble at a woman who realizes just how influential she is. Women truly have an immense authority in their homes. This is powerful because God has given us the position in society to influence the next generation. Do you realize how amazing that opportunity is?
So if you are single, lead in your current sphere of influence and the communities you’re invested in and take some time to prepare for becoming a good wife and mother. If you’re a wife, lean on God’s wisdom to help your husband make good decisions. If you are a mother, don’t take this time lightly — you are in the midst of greatness and the future leaders of this world are in your home right now (even though they might be running around in diapers.) To the empty nesters, good job, but your work is not over. Many women out there need mothers, friends and leaders who can help them understand who they really are!
“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” ―Malala Yousafzai
Featured image by Olenka Kotyk