There's this verse in the Bible that's been on my heart since my mom passed. It lifts me up on the tough days, and brings me strength when I feel lost, alone, or betrayed.
"Who knows that you have come to where you are for such a time as this?" ~ Esther 4:14
It's a story where a woman - Esther - has become queen. She has the opportunity to save and deliver the Jews in Israel. Her uncle Mordecai asks her, "Who knows? Maybe everything you've been through has been orchestrated for this one moment in time. Your time to make a difference. Your time to shine. Your purpose is greater than you could have ever known, and everything you've been through was to bring you right here for this moment." People who recognize the story of Esther know that she became queen when King Ahasuerus removed his first wife Vashti as queen for disrespecting him. When you think queen, you think royalty, you think she had a great upbringing, and she "knew people who knew people." High society. Rubbing elbows. But that's not the case for Esther. She was an orphan - both of her parents were dead, and as a child, she was raised by her uncle Mordecai. She was a Jew. They didn't even live in Jerusalem, they lived in exile in Persia. There was no reason why she should be queen. But God doesn't ever base our future potential on our past circumstances. His plans for us are far greater than what we can even imagine. So where does that leave you and I? Imagining someone will come sweep us off our feet like King Ahasuerus? Clearly there aren't enough kings out there to carry all of us away from our problems. In Esther's case, she wasn't supposed to walk away from her problems. She had to face them head on, fear and all.
Here's the deal. Esther had a crap life. No parents. She lived in exile. She even lived a secret life when she was in the palace, because Mordecai had asked her to keep her true identity as a Jew a secret. She had every reason to be angry at her past, look at the things that went wrong, and assume that there was nothing good in her future because God had left her. She had every reason to look at the circumstances of her life until that point and be overwhelmed. She had every reason to think that once she was queen, she could leave her old life behind. But in reality, she was the ONLY one who could influence the king and save her people. She had to face the life that she grew up into because those circumstances, though not always perfect, made her into the woman she was as queen - a woman who could save an entire nation.
The wholeness of Esther can be summed up in this: There will be things that go wrong. There will be friends who unfriend us, situations that look hopeless, a diagnosis that no one wants to hear, or problems that make us want to run screaming in the opposite direction. All of these are not the end. What if. What if everything you’re going through is meant for such a time as this?  Maybe not to be queen, but because your very special, significant, unique light is needed for this very moment in time. What if everything you’ve gone through is coming together for right now, so you can shine the light you have to others? Yes, you. Yes, your light. Your light that is struggling to shine while you try to figure out why you're going through what you're going through. That light is a reflection of who you are. Uncover it, because it is beautiful. It’s a combination of the strength found in your struggles, the joy found in your triumphs, and the hope of all things to come. Even if you don’t see the purpose for this moment in time, know that your light - just like Esther - the light that only YOU can shine is needed for today. This moment. Own it, in all its sparkly shiny glory. XOXO, Karen SHINEblog Editor Karen is a mama, writer, editor, engineer, and chocoholic who loves anything sparkly. When she's not editing SHINE posts, you can find her on her blog, Perhaps This.