Topic: A Time to Say “No”

Hi Sweet Friends,

This weekend I had the awesome privilege of speaking at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Johnstown, PA not only for their women’s event but also for their Saturday evening and three Sunday services. God truly was present and it doesn’t get any better than being a vessel that He uses to help people grasp transformational truth.

Thanks for all of you who hold me in your prayers. If you’d like to be a part of my prayer team, let me know and I can let you know of special requests.

This week I’m going to be sharing with you a devotional I wrote for a new book out by Moody’s Mid-Day Connection team called Tending the Soul: 90 days of spiritual nourishment.

God’s Empowered Woman

“On the seventh day of the feast, when King Zerxes 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

“Why did it take me fifty years to wire up enough courage to stand up for myself?” Sara sighed. “I’ve always put everyone else first. Now I understand that I’ve only enabled my husband’s selfishness to flourish.”

From a young age, many women are trained to give, to go along and to not hurt anyone’s feelings at all costs. “Be nice,” we’re told, “Or people won’t like you”. We’ve learned to please, to placate, and to pretend in order to not make waves, just to keep the peace.

Before marriage and after, I was told to obey authority and to submit to my husband, even if his requests seemed foolish or harmful. Passivity 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. They sometimes said “No”. Queen Vashti is one of my favorites. She refused to allow herself to be treated as a sexual object for her husband’s friends to ogle. Another woman, Queen Esther, approached the same king hoping to right a terrible wrong even while knowing she could face expulsion or execution for her boldness.

Scriptures tell the story of Abigail, a wife who overruled her husband’s foolishness and took charge when her family faced the wrath of David and his men (1 Samuel 25). Earlier in Jewish history we find two midwives who refused to obey the pharaoh’s orders to murder Hebrew babies (Exodus 1:17).

In a culture where females were often devalued and disrespected, God empowered women to stand up for themselves, for others, and for what was right.

Lord, give us the courage to stand up and say “No” when it is necessary.

Reflection: Identify the times that you been too nice, too accommodating, or too passive. What has it cost you?

5 Comments

  1. Jo Anne on May 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Leslie it was awesome having you at Emmanuel Baptist this past weekend. I have read your book "The Truth Principle three times and even made a bracelet with TRUTH on it! Deb Nickel

  2. Anonymous on May 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I have struggled with not saying no and being "nice". I feel like the church teaches this more than showing examples in the Bible like you just shared. Even the Prov. 31 woman is often used to show that women should stay at home, but she worked too. It is very confusing. Thank you for sharing examples of strong Christian women in the Bible. I have been too nice in my marriage and with friends and it has cost me my dignity, safety, mental peace.

  3. Leslie Vernick on May 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Jo Ann

    I'd love to see the bracelet you made with TRUTH on it. Take a picture and post it for us. My Truth Principle book has been retitled for those of you interested. It is now called How to Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong and is available on my website as well as amazon.com and christianbook.com

    Warmly,
    Leslie

  4. Anonymous on May 5, 2011 at 2:11 am

    I think Leslie's Truth Principle is excellent, too. The new book title has made it hard to gift to others as it is like telling someone that their life has "gone wrong". It really has helpful content for anyone to implement in their life.

  5. Anonymous on May 5, 2011 at 2:13 am

    I have recently felt the need to take a stand as my husband kicked my teenage son out about 8 mths. ago without asking my opinion. And ever since, it seems he has been on a "power trip", being very controlling of me. My stand has led to a separation & most likely a divorce. He told me he wants a divorce, & that I could have prevented this if "I would just…", …whatever it is that he can think of that I should change. He says I'm 100% of the problem & takes no responsibility. He thinks there is nothing about himself that needs to change. It's sad, so unnecessary, & it's all being left up to me to fix it all on my own. I still take my stand; although I'm so saddened for us & our family.

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