Prayers appreciated for my family. My step-mom is in the final days or weeks of her life and it’s been hard. Pray that she is taken home to heaven with a minimal of suffering and discomfort and comfort for my father who will deeply miss her.
Instead of our normal question and answer format, today in light of recent news stories, I wanted to talk about a woman who is rarely mentioned in a positive light in the Bible. Only one chapter is devoted to her story and then she is forgotten. Yet she set an example for woman today to emulate in light of rampant sexual harassment, misogyny, and the objectification of females.
A Courageous Woman
“On the seventh day of the feast, when King Xerxes was in high spirits because of the wine, he told the seven eunuchs who attended him…..to bring Queen Vashti to him with the royal crown on her head. He wanted the nobles and all the other men to gaze on her beauty, for she was a very beautiful woman. But when they conveyed the king’s order to Queen Vashti, she refused to come.” Esther 1:10-12 NLT
From a young age, many women are trained to give, to go along, to accommodate, and to not hurt anyone’s feelings. “Be nice,” we’re told, “Or people won’t like you”. We’ve learned to please, to placate, and to pretend so as not to make waves. To keep the peace. To be loved and accepted.
Before marriage and after, I was told to obey authority and to submit to my husband, even if his requests seemed to me foolish or unreasonable. Passivity and dependence seemed to be the Biblical definition of a gentle and quiet (feminine) spirit.
Yet the Scriptures reveal many women who were strong and stood firm. They didn’t always obey or submit. Like the Hebrew midwives, they disobeyed the authority, and like Abigail, who didn’t submit to her husband’s foolishness.
One of my favorite unsung heroes is Queen Vashti. (Has anyone ever heard of her spoken of in a positive way in Sunday School or from the pulpit?) She refused to allow herself to be treated as a sexual object for her husband’s friends to ogle.
In a culture where females were often devalued and disrespected, Queen Vashti said no to her husband’s drunken demand. She refused to be objectified or submit to his orders. As a result, she lost her position as Queen but she preserved her integrity and she set an example for other women to follow.
There are many other Biblical examples where God empowered women to stand up for themselves, for others, and for what was right.
How about you? Are you a pretender, a peacekeeper, or a courageous warrior? [Tweet “Ask God to give you the courage to stand up and say “No”. It may cost you, but what does it cost you to stay passive and accommodating?”]
Where have you been too nice, too accommodating, or too passive? What has it cost you?
I’d like to invite you to attend my free webinar August 19th Four Lies that Christian women believe that keep them scared and stuck in their destructive marriage. https://leslievernick.com/joinwebinar
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I had never thought about Queen Vashti before I attended a Bible study on Esther. In that study Esther was of course the focus but the leader of the study praised Vashti for her courage! Made me realize she wasn’t rebellious or disrespectful to the king. She definitely was not going to let him parade her around even though it meant she was going to suffer punishment for her actions. Thanks Leslie for this post! Women definitely need good examples of godly women staying strong in the face of abuse. Bless you. And I’m praying for your family and your dear step-mom.
I never thought of that before with Queen Vashti! Thank you
Praying for your Step-mother.
Queen Vashti was indeed courageous and followed her convictions. I wish I could be more like her.
I am thankful for this unique perspective. I love the story of Ruth. Perhaps we can also note that Ruth in her opportunity of testing and need to be strong, performed opposite of what was “safe” for her as she chanced being put to death [no one could come before the king without being summoned or be put to death if the king did not put out forward his scepter]… but she did come before her husband and king for the sake of asking for protection from the evil plans to obliterate her people and herself eventually. A favorite movie that depicted this story is “One Night With The King”. So in other-words, Ruth did dare to chance going against the law of the land for the brave action to save her people. Could we also consider that we too, women in difficult circumstances need to have courage to live a godly CORE? I am faced with doing this and I will wait to see how it all turns out… In my church, I am working with 2 other women in a ministry as neither one of us wants the title of “Director”. During our working on this ministry, my 2 young adult children have been corrected by the elders since they listened to a person who had a negative perspective on their motives (yes, I am being vague). This has been going on in different circumstances, and becoming a pattern. I addressed this at first and was told, “Yes, a mother would think this way…”(I think I was being ‘dismissed’.) It seems to me that I have come to not trust in the love and safety of these elders, though well meaning and though the Lord will be teaching our adult children discernment in the future, I decided to let go of this ministry. Not a quick leaving, but working myself out of a job and handing it over smoothly. The ministry is also showing me how I continue to “over-function.” It just isn’t my vision. It is time for me to “get out.” I have other things I feel the Lord can use me and just other layers of reasons to move on. Some how there is a fear to step down. Perhaps it is due to challenges with people pleasing too. All in all… as I am practicing working towards being in healthy relationships and practicing working on boundaries, and growing in CORE, and practicing on getting healthier in my destructive marriage… I sense a part of me being happier and healthier for choosing to step aside from this ministry.
Your post was so encouraging to me, and balanced in your obvious desire to please the Lord, not man.
It is a joy to those of us who have experienced a destructive marriage, to find kindred spirits devoid of bitterness and still growing in the struggle to set an example of holiness and strength for our wounded adult children.
Walking away from a ministry takes courage. Doing it gracefully takes the Lord’s guidance, and your words are full of grace, even in your “vague” allusions to a painful situation.
You are surrounded by other warrior-survivors. You are not alone. We who have spent a lifetime trying our hardest to “please” a man may have to work at letting that go all our lives, until we meet Him “face to face.” I know after thirteen years out of the 23-year marriage, I am still working on boundaries. Certainly, healthy friends are a gift along the way.
Thank you for being brave enough to post.
Thank you so much, Dear “Delivered”… you have greatly encouraged me!!!!
It took me a long time and Leslie`s teaching of the word to understand God does not love my husband more than me. Without realizing it, I had been thinking that way, once I put words to my thoughts I knew God loves me just as much. The word of God says ‘If a mate is content to dwell” no one can consider what my husband has done as being content to dwell” I have also been afraid that my husband will harm me and or that my grown sons will be angry with me for leaving their father. My thoughts stray to how will I ever start over at 74 years old? “The Lord did not give me a spirit of fear but of a sound mind boldness and love.” This is where “faith works by love”, I must forgive him but not let him manipulate me any longer. “Faith becomes effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing in me in Christ Jesus”, testifying of God`s mercies and grace toward me and him. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” leaning on the word constantly & consistently. “It is impossible to pease God without faith” So I step out in faith to “see God Grace/Love in the land of the living”Thank you Leslie