Who can tell me the story of Esther in the Old Testament?
Esther was a Jewish girl. She was an orphan. Her parents died and her uncle raised her. The king wanted a new queen so word went out and women were selected and were trained for a year in how to be a queen. They were adorned with everything. Esther said she didn’t want that. She didn’t feel comfortable for that. They all went one at a time and were presented before the king. Esther stood out and he married her. She lived in the palace. One of the kings head leaders Haman was a proud man and he loved power and authority. He demanded that everyone bow down to him and Mordecai wouldn’t. Haman was going to have all the Jews killed. He told the king this tale about how they were bad. The king agreed. All the Jews were to be killed on a certain day. Mordecai told her about the plan and told her that this was the opportunity to save her people. There was also a law in the land that you can’t go before the king without an invitation. The penalty was death. Esther said if Mordecai would get the Jews together and fast then she and her handmaids would fast. “If I perish I perish.” She fasted for 3 days and dressed and went before the king. He held out his hand to her which meant she could come. She invited the king and Haman to a feast. They came to her feast. It was great. As the feast is coming to a close, Esther tells the king she is a Jew and about the plan. The king is angry. Haman is killed and Mordecai receives great respect in the kingdom.
Her purpose was that she was saved for this day for a certain purpose.
“Creating Places of Security” by Virginia Jensen (October 1997)
“Sisters, I do not believe that you and I are here at this unique time by accident. I believe that, like Esther of old, we are “come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esth. 4:14), when our influence, our example, our strength, and our faith may stand as a bulwark against the rising tide of evil that threatens to engulf our homes, our families, and our loved ones..”
You were held to come forth at this time because of who you were. You came because you proved yourself
President Ezra T Benson… (this fireside address was given at Brigham Young University on 4 March 1979.)
“For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not. True, there will be some individuals who will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head—even Jesus Christ. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. It is that God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the Kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God.”
President Spencer W. Kimball “Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters” October 1978….
“To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times. She has been placed here to help to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home—which is society’s basic and most noble institution. Other institutions in society may falter and even fail, but the righteous woman can help to save the home, which may be the last and only sanctuary some mortals know in the midst of storm and strife.”
Russell M Ballard “Women of Righteousness” April 2002
I have been drawn to an interchange between God the Father and His eldest and Only Begotten Son, who is the ultimate example of living up to one’s premortal promises. When God asked who would come to earth to prepare a way for all mankind to be saved and strengthened and blessed, it was Jesus Christ who said, simply, “Here am I, send me” (Abr. 3:27).
Just as the Savior stepped forward to fulfill His divine responsibilities, we have the challenge and responsibility to do likewise. If you are wondering if you make a difference to the Lord, imagine the impact when you make commitments such as the following:
“Father, if You need a woman to rear children in righteousness, here am I, send me.”
“If You need a woman who will shun vulgarity and dress modestly and speak with dignity and show the world how joyous it is to keep the commandments, here am I, send me.”
“If You need a woman who can resist the alluring temptations of the world by keeping her eyes fixed on eternity, here am I, send me.”
“If You need a woman of faithful steadiness, here am I, send me.”
Between now and the day the Lord comes again, He needs women in every family, in every ward, in every community, in every nation who will step forward in righteousness and say by their words and their actions, “Here am I, send me.”
Story: “Give Me Your Pearls”
He was waiting for her to give up the dime store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.
Heavenly Father wants you to give up the dime store image you have of yourself so he can give you the real image of who you are. Not who you can become. Not who you might be. Not if you pray 7 more times a week or 20 minutes longer. It’s what you are right now. You have the gifts. You have been saved to come now because of who you already are. It’s Satan who doesn’t want you to believe in who you really are. Why is it that we look at everyone else and say they are better than me. We have to stop comparing.
The reason is because women feel the same, think the same, hurt the same, are lonely the same. We have different experiences, but what is inside of us is the same. It doesn’t matter what we look like. The inside of women is the same because we came given the same gifts and responsibilities and we are all living in a wicked world. We tend to build walls around ourselves because we are the only one. We want to appear to have no cracks and no flaws.
We shut each other out. Part of that is because of last weeks lesson on communication. Often it’s because it shuts doors and we are afraid of how they will be received. People need to feel safe to talk with you.
If there is no one that can relate in this room when we are done I need to talk to you.
Story: “Torture of Buying a Bathing Suit”
I love that story because it’s the only story that unites women. You can relate to this story. Some of us more than others can relate. There is a commonality between women. The Lord intended for us to live in a very wicked world. The interesting thing is that he intended for us to be joyful. If we are going to be in a wicked place how are we going to find joy. Is the Lord giving us 2 opposites that are impossible to attain? No.
Which road map are we following. If we are miserable like unto Satan whose road map are we following? If you are joyful whose roadmap are you following? By their fruits you shall know them. That’s the roadmap you are following.
Satan’s road map with you (it’s different with children and husband) is to keep you focused on the great and spacious building. When you look to the world to tell you what happiness, success, and joy are then you are focused on the great and spacious building. When you look to the Lord then you are holding onto the rod. For women we need to find out whose road map we are following seeking to get to a good eternal end.
Are we being led away a bit in the fog and mist?
Scientifically he will tell you that this is true. It’s in Ted Talks on Youtube “Shawn Achor” “The Happiness Advantage” (12 minutes long). He is not LDS.
Joy is not free. There is a price to pay. The price is being on the path. You have to have a ticket to get on the path. If you do these things you actually affect the chemistry in the brain. He will tell it to you scientifically. I will tell it to you by the gospel.
If you will do these 5 things daily for 21 days it will change your brain waves. You can reprogram yourself to be happy. They make all the difference in the world.
1. Joy comes as you learn to live in the present.
“In the Music Man…Professor Hill you pile up enough tomorrows and you will find you have collected empty yesterday. There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today. “Horace…whatever hour God has blessed you with take it with grateful hand…in whatever place you have been you may say you have lived happily.
Elder Ballard “Daughters of God” April 2008
“Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” (Loud and Clear , 10–11).
Living in the moment means we celebrate the now.
I remember my daughter had a child get into the flour. The child was covered in flour. She stopped and took pictures of it. That’s celebrating the now. Even when they are doing ornery things they celebrate the now.
1. Every night write in a journal write one positive thing that happened in the day. This allows you to relive that positive. As you continue to do that you train your brain to look for the positives.
2. Everyday record 3 gratitudes. Presidents Eyrings Talk “Remember Remember”. The power comes in writing them. As you write them you imprint them in your mind and soul. Something positive in the now experience
3. Get involved in Service every day. Random acts of service. Elder Bednar will sit in sacrament meeting and will look out over the ward and pray that the spirit will help her know someone that needs her this week. You do the do. Don’t be afraid to do the do. They can be big things. They can be little things. Everyone needs to be loved. Sometimes those you think are most loved are the loneliest because everyone thinks they are so loved that no one expresses love for them. Don’t ever assume that someone looks so self sufficient that they don’t need it. Don’t diminish your acts of service. Don’t demean yourselves. The Lord can’t give you the joy in the service if you are demeaning it. I want you to know ways the Lord uses you. You become his angels of mercy when you kiss the child’s skinned knee. You become his hands when you take his children one by one. When you sing away a nightmare. When you bear your testimony verbally. When you pray for your children and your friends by name and ask for heavens protection. When you listen to someone recount their burdens. You can carry them with them for a moment. You become the servant of the Lord by doing that. You just hold someone and help them feel loved. When you kneel in gratitude for your blessings. When you give thanks for knowing you are his daughter and he loves you. Service can be to anyone, but it is given with a joyful heart. It’s not given as a duty or an assignment. It’s given with joy. When it is you receive joy.
Class member: I always keep telling myself that it’s not my season right now to do the service. I have too many little kids. Sitting here just the little things. It was giving me that excuse.
When you go to the Lord with a willing heart the Lord will show you something you can do to serve.
Class member: My parents left yesterday for a couple weeks. I never appreciated what they did to help me. Yesterday I had to take both my kids to the doctor. This lady helped me hold the baby while I went and got my daughter. I realized that I need to be more appreciative of my parents.
4. Exercise. It doesn’t have to be go to the gym for an hour. Take a 20 minute walk. Do something physical. That process gets the endorphins running. It makes you feel good. It makes you more successful in everything you do. Your energy goes up. You are a better mother. Your mind works better. Your mind clears. As much as I dislike exercise it needs to be a daily part of being happy. It doesn’t need to be something.
Class member: I’ve been working on that this school year. I have a 14 year old that has started asking questions about how you feel. He said how have you been feeling. Has your exercise thing been working for you. I feel like you are a lot less grumpy. I have really noticed that. That’s kind of funny. The fact that he noticed is huge.
Class member: Here is a question for anyone to answer? Exercise at night?
Class member: It’s not a good thing because your brain will be going and going….you will be awake. You will feel better because you are exercising. It’s best to do it in the morning.
Class member: I agree with that it’s better in the morning, but any exercise is good. I always do it with someone too is because it helps with companionship. I can talk it out without those angry feelings. My husband has been the same way. He says you want to go running.
Class member: I read about this in a running magazine. While it depends on who you are. I can exercise and be down for the night. Those who exercise in the morning have more of a fulfilling day than those who exercise at night. But exercise when you can.
5. Read your scriptures and say your prayers. Invite the Lord into your everyday.
Heavenly Father wants us to be happy, but just like everything it’s not just a to do list to Heavenly Father to make us happy. He will tell us what to do to make ourselves happy. He made this body. Some of us take care of it better than others. He knows what it is that creates joy. He is saying I will help you through and give you strength to do everything if you turn to me and ask me. I will lead you and guide you. I will go before your face. I will send angels to buoy you up (D&C 88). It’s not a free gift. We have to do these things to earn the gift.
I challenge you to do it for 21 days…starting today.
I know the Lord has given us the answers. I know when we are miserable. I don’t think we are supposed to be laughing through the hard times, but even with the hardest times he will walk us through it. We can see his hand in it and see his face and now there is an end to Carthage. There is a way over Rocky Ridge. That knowledge can bring us joy.
Elder Russell M Ballard “Women of Righteousness” April 2002 “Every sister who stands for truth and righteousness diminishes the influence of evil. Every sister who strengthens and protects her family is doing the work of God. Every sister who lives as a woman of God becomes a beacon for others to follow and plants seeds of righteous influence that will be harvested for decades to come. Every sister who makes and keeps sacred covenants becomes an instrument in the hands of God.”
Celebrate it. It describes you.