The most complicated watch ever created, and the most expensive watch to be sold at auction is the Patek Philippe $11 million pocket watch. It took five years to build, and for that amount of money, it surely tells really good time.
I just love a pretty watch. The bigger the face, the better. The more bling around the circumference, the prettier I think it is. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Just big and blingy. Accuracy would be nice, as well, although I have been known to wear a pretty pink watch that didn’t even work. I just liked the bright color of the band and the glistening stones around its big round face.
Speaking of telling time, my granddaughter and I are memorizing 66 faith-building Bible verses in a pretty short amount of time. In one year, we plan to be able to rattle off all 66 to anyone who asks. Although, it will more than likely be just the two of us asking each other.
Before I started this journey of memorizing 66 verses with Kynzie, I had no idea how much pure joy it would bring me to hear her voice utter the words.
I also had no idea how difficult it would be to put into words the way memorizing these verses is adding to my own faith.
A few years ago, I studied the book of Esther with a group of women at church. We didn’t just study it from a knowledge perspective; we got to know the person. Esther. Who was she? Why was a book of the Bible named for her? What was it about her that stood out enough for her to be memorialized on the pages of the greatest story every told?
I’m already tearing up.
Maybe that’s because I’m remembering. It’s all coming back to me. You can study Esther all alone on your patio or at Starbucks or propped up on your bed pillows, and you’ll still need a box of tissues. But to study this book in a living room filled with other women, each at different life stages? Ahhh, now that’s even better. How could we have helped but collectively capture the calling on Esther’s life and not attach it to our own? We couldn’t.
Here’s how the story plays out.
The year was 480 B.C. The emperor was Xerxes, who called for a six-month war-planning summit, after which he hoped to be able to conquer Greece. At the end of the six months, Xerxes planned a week-long, extremely extravagant banquet.
Xerxes decides to parade his wife before all the guests once everyone was intoxicated and entertained, but Vashti was completely unwilling. As we say today, Vashti wasn’t having it. This was a crowd of mostly men, mostly drunk, and Vashti must have been mostly modest, so she refused.
If Vashti had realized what was going to happen next, she might have been a little more accepting of her husband’s party game, but she stuck to her principles and laid down the law in spite of what might befall her choice. Xerxes was furious. He saw her action as insubordinate, and furthermore, as a possible precursor to a woman’s movement that would lead all the women of the land down the path of feminine resistance.
So what happened to Vashti? She was demoted. Scooted all the way out of the big bed. Dropped like a hot Persian potato. No longer was she Queen Vashti, the empowered. In the blink of a fully-clothed eye she had become just plain ol’ everyday, just like everyone else Vashti.
Four years go by before King Xerxes gets around to finding a replacement for the royal seat next to his own. He was busy for a while with his war efforts, and when things settled down, it was time to find a new wife. (I choose to believe ol’ Xerxes had learned a thing or two about women by the time he started hunting up a new one.)
At this point in the story, in the middle of 50 million people governed by the Persian ruler, Xerxes, we meet a Jewish man named Mordecai and his younger, orphaned cousin, Esther. The search for a new queen had now become a far-reaching interview process of 400 beautiful virgins – the most beautiful in all the land – and guess who was collected into the group? Esther.
After an entire year of beauty treatments for all the girls, Esther alone makes it, round after round, to the finals. While this might have been the giggly dream of every other girl in the gaggle, for Esther, it was so much more. Out of the entire group of polished-to-perfection beauties, Esther won the favor and approval of King Xerxes and was crowned as the new queen. However surprised Esther might have been by her new normal, her enchanted existence inside the palace walls, none of it was a surprise to God. Each day and every beauty treatment had been preordained by God for a mighty big purpose, and Esther would soon find out just exactly what that was.
Mordecai is never far from the palace gates, and one day overhears that a plot is underway for the genocide of all the Jews, so he sends a message of warning and a message of wisdom to his cousin.
“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape,” warned Mordecai.
And then the words of wisdom.
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”
Having kept secret the fact that she was Jewish (at Mordecai’s instruction), Esther becomes fully and completely aware that she, and she alone, must use her favored influence to save her own entire race from an underhanded plot for their demise.
The amazing story of what happens after Esther receives Mordecai’s message can be found here, but the pivotal point of the whole kit and caboodle is the one verse I chose for us to memorize from this entire book. What I want Kynzie to deeply grasp as we recite this verse over and over in our list of 66 are these three things:
Girls need a Mordecai. I pray that Kynzie will always seek to listen to godly men who warn her, who provide her with wisdom, and who encourage her to fulfill her destiny.
Beauty isn’t just for beholding. Here’s the thing. You can spend a whole year doing nothing but getting facials and spa treatments, but without some inner beauty, you’re just going to be a pretty face. And there’s a flip side to that coin. Inner strength and sense of purpose always make a woman beautiful! I hope she always uses her beauty for good and fully understands that beauty treatments and expensive watches (or even pink ones adorned with rhinestones) may get her into someone’s palace, but it’s really the favor of the King of Kings that sets her completely apart.
“For such a time as this” wasn’t just for Esther. God also intends for Kynzie to gain favor from unlikely sources, receive words of warning and wisdom, prayerfully prepare, and then to use whatever influence she might have, wherever she may be, with whomever she may have it, and whenever they may need it, to do the great and mighty things God has preordained for her alone to do!
And if she wears a blingy pink watch while she’s doing it, all the better.
Encouraging intentional adventure – for such a time as this,
PS – Memorization ideas: If you have several grandkids, or if the whole family will join the fun, assign them parts and let everyone act out the story of Esther. When Mordecai speaks the words from chapter 4 that motivate Esther to action, everyone can recite the verse together. Enjoy some after-performance hummus and veggie sticks outside on a chalk-designed Persian rug.
Kynzie and “Uncle Keaggy”. May he always be her Mordecai, spurring her into her destiny with wise and timely words.