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May 27 2015

I CHOOSE TO BE A #genESTHER

Be a #genEsther

Image courtesy of abcdz2000 at FreeImages.com

It may seem a bit ironic that my six-year-old son’s favorite Bible story is that of Esther, but I love that it is. Although the Bible is chock full of heroic men and fantastic stories of valor, the story of Esther reads like the perfect movie plot with exactly the outcome for which one would hope. He has had me read it to him over and over because he gets such a kick out of seeing a strategy on the side of God’s people that triumphs over the wicked plans of Haman. I had no idea that in reading this story repeatedly, God was preparing my heart for–of all things–a hashtag. He was laying the foundation for me to be a #genEsther.

If you’re not that familiar with Esther’s story in the Bible, you should totally read it. It’s fantastic.

God turns a young, unassuming girl into a queen, and when the very existence of her people is threatened, she is challenged with this: Who knows but what you were made queen for such a time as this?

Defy ISIS.  Be a #genEsther.

Many of you have read Ann Voskamp’s recent articles about the atrocities that women and young girls are forced to endure in Iraq at the hands of ISIS. They’re enduring a torment too abhorrent to tell yet too urgent not to hear.

One of the stories Ann tells is of a nine-year-old girl who has been sold as a sex slave T W E N T Y times, and after each “owner” decided he was done with her, she underwent surgery to “restore her virginity” before being sold into the next nightmare.

I wanted to stop reading, but I couldn’t. My heart can’t handle a story so devastating, and I thought to myself, “What good does it do to know of this horror and be able to do nothing about it?” Everything inside me kept saying, “There HAS to be something that can be DONE.” Thankfully, I didn’t stop reading, because Ann didn’t leave us with just heart-wrenching stories. She cried out for each of us to be what she calls a #genEsther. And the story my kiddo has had me read and reread to him over the last few months instantly created an urgency inside of me and the feeling that I CAN make a difference, and I WILL.

As I continued to read, Ann voiced the same questions and emotions with which any one of us would wrestle when hearing such stories. I automatically thought of my nieces and my own childhood. At the age of nine, a little girl is supposed to play hopscotch and jump rope and dress up her Barbie dolls. She isn’t supposed to be sold for $172 into torture. I kept thinking, “Why am I so priviledged to have been born here along with my family? Any one of us could have just as easily been born there. Why? Why did I get special treatment?”

Ann answered with her hashtag. Her words cried out for me to be a #genEsther. And there it was. Through what seemed to be an unlikely chain of events, Esther became queen and entered a position of undeniable privilege. Why? What made her more special than all the other girls that the king chose her? It was quite simple. The cousin who raised her suggested the whole reason she was in this privileged position was “for such a time as this”. The special treatment God gave her was to put her in a position to save others.

I believe that is our answer as well. It’s easy to forget in our privileged state just how blessed we are. Most of us are surrounded by more comfort and safety than we even realize. Even most of us in first world countries who are thought of as less fortunate would be considered affluent by many other nations.

What if we were born HERE so we can help THERE? What if we were born into our privileged state so that we could reach out and make a difference for someone in need somewhere else? What if we were born here for such a time as this?

Ann’s rally cry jump started a campaign that raised over $500,000 in three days because so many of us stood up and said, “I won’t be silent. I won’t live with my head in the sand. I will wage love and peace in the face of evil, and I will be a #genEsther.”

Those currently being held captive desperately need our prayers. That is absolutely the only thing we can do for them, and we must stand in the gap on their behalf. I will start posting prayers for them on my Facebook page and would love if you would whisper a prayer along with me when you see it.

As for those who are at risk or who have been held captive by ISIS but managed to escape, the funds raised are used to empower them and rehabilitate them. As I see it, the money is used to overcome evil with good.

There’s a million worthy causes that need support. God may not be calling you to this one, but if He is, please answer.

I have been unable to get these girls off my mind, and I have no doubt that God has called me to do SOMETHING. So I have thrown out my previous thoughts: “But what can I do? I’m a single mom on the other side of the world!” And I’ve replaced these thoughts with, “I will do what I am enabled to do. I will be a #genEsther.”

1. I have submitted a financial contribution and will pray about further donation.

2. I have prayed and will continue to pray.

3. I am using my blog, the platform God has given me, to be a voice for these girls.

Is God calling you to be a #genEsther? You can make a difference too. If you feel the Lord tugging on your heart to reach out to those vulnerable to ISIS, please pray.  If God is urging you to give financially, click here to give to Preemptive Love Coalition. (You can also check out more about their financials, etc. here.)

Wherever you make a difference, whether in Iraq or next door, I believe in you. You, my friend, are a #genEsther, and God has put you where you are for such a time as this.

From the heart of Dixie Mama… always say grace.

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