I have to admit I have never done a Beth Moore Bible study. I work full time, and these Bible studies have been during the day or at night when my kids are at home. I have always felt my first place of ministry needs to be my family. I did a book/Bible study this past fall over the Internet and blogging, and thoroughly enjoyed it and the women I was able to meet. But I was asked to facilitate Beth Moore's Esther Bible study for the spring. My mom will be doing the morning session and I will be doing the evening. I prayed about it, and then I asked Patrick what he thought about it. When he said he thought I should do it, I agreed to facilitate. This will be like nothing I have ever done before. I'm exhilarated by the new adventure and the possibilities. I'm excited about teaching...I love to teach. At work when there is an opportunity to train, teach or mentor I do it. Some of the classes I teach are challenging, but it's not because of the material or subject matter because I can teach it with enthusiasm because I love what I do for a living, but it's the audience. Those challenging students are typically packing heat, sitting with their arms crossed, sipping coffee occasionally, and just daring me to prove that I can teach them anything they don't already know. Yes, it's a room of law enforcement ranging from the parish, city, district and federal levels and typically men. I spend the first 15 minutes telling war stories and gaining status UNLESS there are some guys in there who know me and are willing to give me an "in" to the other guys.
I'm excited about facilitating the book of Esther for several reasons. First, it's one of two books in the Bible where a central character is a woman. Second, God is never named -- the unseen God. I have had a time in my life when it felt like God could not be found. I thought I was going deaf for trying to listen to Him, but was hearing what I thought was nothing...just the crickets. That is a mighty tough spot to be in, if you've never been there. I went through depression because I thought, "How can God expect me to call Him my Father when He's not even talking to me?" I just wanted to be in His will...plain and simple. Problem was -- I was. Had God moved? Had God changed? Had I finally ticked Him off or pestered Him to the point of getting the silent treatment from Him? No, no, and no. Just because we can't see Him moving in our lives, just because we can't feel His presence, just because He isn't whispering to our spirit DOES NOT mean He isn't there.
Esther didn't hear God. He didn't come down and speak to her about saving His chosen people. Esther didn't see God. She was living in a pagan land and had assimilated to that way of life to the point some, probably most, didn't even know she was a Jew. (Have you ever assimilated to a way of life to the point that no one knew you were a Christian?) And yet, God led her, used her, and moved her into the position she needed to be in to serve His purpose. Like Beth Moore says God can't fulfill your destiny without you, but He can fulfill His and Christ's destiny with or without you.
The third reason is Esther herself is an intriguing character with great depth, intelligence and courage. I think she was an observer of those around her. She followed sound counsel and was obedient, and when the time came, her past and the character traits that came as a result of it and her observations, put her in a position to go head-to-head with one of the top dogs of her day. And Haman NEVER SAW IT COMING! Love it! Absolutely love it.
So, as I study, I'm going to be blogging my notes, my thoughts, and who knows what else.