“I’ll meet you on the queen’s couch.”
Two weeks ago, these seven words were spoken often between my dear friend and I. Walking towards that couch our first morning at the conference together, my steps slowed and I paused to take it all in. This was not what I was expecting.
Beautiful. Special. Chosen for a purpose. Royalty. Incredulously, as I surveyed the scene in front of me, my brain was trying to connect these words with how I should feel about myself. No, this is not what I was expecting at all.
Just what was I expecting? Nerves. A bundle of nerves as I knew the appointments that were on my schedule later that day and the next. Insecurity. A heap of insecurity rooted in the awareness that I had no idea what I was doing. Anxiety. A shallow-breath-inducing anxiety, wondering if I had the physical stamina after all my surgeries to sustain a weekend packed to the brim with lectures, workshops, and conversations with 800 other women. And the worst of them all…fear. An unsettling fear as I knew, given some of the decisions in my past, that I had absolutely no business attending such a conference.
These were the emotions I expected to feel as I walked into the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks conference, held for women called to write, speak, and lead in Christian ministry. And yet, there I was, putting one foot in front of the other until I made it to the queen’s couch. Instead of feeling nervous, anxious, and insecure, I was beginning to feel something else altogether and it felt a bit royal.
“Welcome. We’re so glad you are here,” the smiling woman behind the desk said to me. Still taken aback at how I was about to spend the next two days, I took my registration packet from her and quietly whispered, “thank you,” with little more to say. Continuing down the hotel hallway, I wondered if the room on the left would be the room where I was to meet with one of the twenty or so publishers that were at the conference with me. My 32-page book proposal was tucked safely in my diaper bag, the only bag large enough to fit all my bits for the conference.
“Let’s sit for a minute,” I said to my friend, Kristen. “I need to get my bearings.”
But what I really needed was to thank God for bringing me through to this weekend.
How could it be that after all that I have been through this past year and after all the mistakes I have made in my life, that God would bring me to a conference full of women seeking to draw others closer to Him? That He would give me the opportunity to pitch my book idea, an idea that He started brewing in my heart last fall before the miscarriage…before the artery ruptures…before the diagnosis? That He was about to equip me with the training I would need to do the work He has called me to do?
But this is the way of our God. First He reclaims you. Then He ruins you. Then He unleashes you.
So I thanked Him for bringing me this far and asked Him to guide me through the next few days, knowing that my own strength, stamina, and wisdom were pitifully incompetent compared to His.
Letting a tear of thankfulness slip down my cheek and saying a quiet “Amen,” I looked up and once more took in my surroundings. The aesthetic environment at the conference was one of royalty. Lavish decor, delicious food, face after beautiful face of smiling sisters in Christ. This is how the “queen’s couch” received it’s nickname. And this is where I was reminded of my crown.
Some 2500 years ago, a young woman by the name of Hadassah walked into a similar setting. You may know her as Esther. She knew herself as a Jewish woman in hiding, not yet willing to reveal her nationality to her king. God simply knew her as daughter.
Orphaned when both of her parents died and raised by her cousin, I wonder if she, too, had to slow her steps as she walked into the palace at Susa. Did she also expect to feel anxiety, insecurity, and fear? Was she overwhelmed when King Xerxes placed the queen’s crown on her head? Did she cry tears of gratitude when she finally embraced her royal worth, after all that she and her people had been through? And did she have any idea of the incredible way God was about to use her to save His chosen?
Or was she, like me, simply putting one foot in front of the other until she reached the queen’s couch? Is that like you, too?
We’ll never know the exact thoughts that ran through Esther’s mind as she walked through those palace doors. But we do know this: once the crown was placed on her head, she did not disregard the power that came with it.
Four years after she became queen, she learned of a plot against the entire nation of Israel. With political prowess and cunning wit, Esther used her royal position to expose the villain and derail his plan to kill the Jews. The book of Esther uses the word “favor” often to describe how King Xerxes felt about her, stating that she had received his favor. But the Biblical term used actually means that Esther first found favor with God, and then He began to orchestrate the details in her life to serve His perfect will. God had a very specific purpose for Esther. And it was time for her to be unleashed.
Reading this beautiful story of deliverance, we can see that although the name of God is never mentioned in the book of Esther, He is clearly the star of the story, working faithfully, seemingly behind the scenes, to save His people from the enemy once more. He always does.
Beautiful. Special. Chosen for a purpose. Royalty. Yes, these words perfectly describe Esther’s identity…Hadassah…the Queen.
But what about us? Why is it that my brain so tentatively started to connect these words with my identity once I laid eyes on the queen’s couch two weeks ago? Why did I let loose the feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and fear to embrace the royal words ringing among the swaths of linen in that beautiful sitting area?
The answer is this reason alone: when my Father calls to me from heaven, these are the words of endearment He uses. And He chooses the same words for you.
Five hundred years after Esther was chosen as Queen, Jesus would bear a crown of thorns so that we might wear a crown of righteousness. Sinner that I am, Jesus still chose to claim me as His simply because He loved me so.
As I sat on that queen’s couch, the words of 1 Peter 2:9, written to Gentiles like myself, rang so loudly in my heart. My crown is real. I have been adopted into God’s royal family to declare His praises. And so have you. If your heart belongs to Him, you are His chosen, put here on this earth, at such a time as this, for a very specific purpose.
Let any feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and fear fall away to the truth that you are royalty. You are the daughter of a King who has moved heaven and earth to rescue you.
Beautiful. Special. Chosen for a purpose. Royalty. These are your words. This is your identity.
Now. What is your purpose?
Get Ready to Go Deeper
A copy of the text of the [king’s] edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
If you have read some of my story, you know that the words get ready are important to me. So, you can imagine my glee as I was reading through Esther this week and found these words in Esther 8:13:
…so that the Jews could be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
After Esther convinced King Xerxes to stop the evil plan against the Jews, Xerxes issued a decree giving the Israelite nation the right to defend themselves against any attack that may come in the future. God didn’t just unleash Esther to save the lives of the Jewish nation. He unleashed her so that they would be ready to fight.
The same is true for us. God didn’t send His son to simply save our lives. He sent Him so that, knowing the hope to which we have been called, we could then fight for His people. Returning to the book of 1 Peter, we see that just one chapter after Peter informs us of our crown in v. 2:9, he reminds us that we, too, need to be ready.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 Peter 3:15a
This is what we are preparing for. This is our purpose. Quite simply, we are to be ready to tell someone else about the hope we have found in Christ. Our earthly homes may not be as lavish as the palace of Susa and our robes may not be threaded with purple silk, but rest assured, that if your heart belongs to Jesus, you wear His crown to deliver His hope.
What in the world would God unleash us to do if we only remembered the jewels that sit atop our heads and the royal robes that drape across our shoulders, placed there by the Son of God Himself? How quickly would we recognize feelings of insecurity and fear as feelings that do not belong to royalty bought by Jesus’ blood? How boldly could we stop the enemy in his tracks as we remind him that he is attacking a daughter of the King? How many hearts could we bring to hope when we realize that we were specifically born for such a time as this?
Are you ready to be unleashed? You are beautiful. Special. Chosen for a purpose. Royalty. And God has big plans for you.
Don’t forget your crown.
Go Even Deeper
Take a few moments this week and read the book of Esther for yourself. Then read the book of 1 Peter. These books are short and it won’t take too long to get through them both. As you read 1 Peter, look for similarities between the language used there and the royal scene of deliverance told in Esther. Chosen. Royal. Precious. Ask God how He wants to use you to bring others hope.
Congratulations! You made it to the end of the post:) Here are a few pics from the #shespeaks2016 conference. And if you’d like to read more from the conference, check out the links in the blog hop below from some of the other gals who attended. Read and be encouraged…these women are stirring up hope as I write!