Today I read the book of Esther… again. Esther is one of the most beloved people in the Bible. The story of her bravery and how she saved her people is amazing, but there’s another story within that story I love too! It’s about a man named Mordecai. Mordecai adopted his cousin Esther and raised her as his own daughter. He was a Jew who worked at the King’s gate and he is the one who made Haman so mad that he decided to kill all of the Jews.
Haman had just been named the King’s most powerful official and whenever he passed by everyone would bow down to honor him. Well, everyone except Mordecai. He wouldn’t bow. When Haman got wind of this he decided since Mordecai was a Jew and he didn’t like him that he would get the King to pass a law to kill every single Jew in the kingdom. Short fuse that Haman. He pulled it off. The King passed the law and set the extermination date to March 7th of the next year.
Esther 4:1-2 When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail. He went as far as the gate of the palace, for no one was allowed to enter the palace gate while wearing clothes of mourning.
Mordecai was completely heart broken and went into a total state of mourning along with all of the other Jews. The burlap and ashes he put on were universal signs of very extreme grief.
As sad as Mordecai was he knew he couldn’t mourn forever. He came up with a plan and convinced Queen Esther to tell her husband King Xerxes that she was a Jew. He convinced her to plead for her life and the lives of her people. Esther followed the plan, putting her own life at risk, and the plan worked. Esther also let the King know that Mordecai was her family. The King brought Mordecai in and put his own signet ring on Mordecai’s finger. Modecai was able to change the decree and the Jews were saved!
But this is my favorite part.
Esther 8:15 Then Mordecai left the king’s presence, wearing the royal robe of blue and white, the great crown of gold, and an outer cloak of fine linen and purple.
Just a few chapters earlier Mordecai was dressed in ashes and burlap and greatly mourning what was going to happen to him and his people, but now he’s dressed in a royal robes and wearing a great crown of gold, his people saved.
This is an awesome “Beauty for Ashes” story.
Four months ago when I was on my way to the hospital knowing I was going to have to deliver a still born baby my friend Julie sent me this verse,
Isaiah 61:3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
I read that several times in the hospital. I couldn’t see the beauty yet, all I could see were ashes. I couldn’t feel the joy yet, I just had a spirit of heaviness, but I knew that this was a promise from God for all who were mourning, and I was mourning, so this promise was for me. I knew somehow He could give me a “beauty for ashes” story like Mordecai’s. I believed it by faith and it was only a matter of days before I changed out of my burlap and ashes and God put a beautiful crown on my head, anointed me with the oil of joy and clothed me in garments of praise that I’m still wearing today.
I was overwhelmed this morning thinking about how amazing God has been to us over the last four months. The healing that has taken place in our hearts is something that only He could have done. I could have never gotten out of the ashes without Him.
Even when things seem grim remember that God has a happily ever after waiting for you. Don’t get stuck in burlap.. it’s not a good look for anyone.
- My friend Julie sent that scripture to me and I read it at just the right time.
- God has given me beauty for ashes.
- God has given me the oil of joy.
- God has given me a garment of praise.
- Isaiah 61 ministered to us so greatly that night in the hospital we used Isaiah for Felix’s middle name.
- The story of Mordecai… I love reading about someone who lived out Isaiah 61:3 in such an amazing way.
- Josh cleaned up after breakfast so I could work out.
- Josh took Gus to school this morning and let Beau tag alone so I could have some time alone to get ready.
- Fun morning shopping with my favorite shoppers- Josh & Beau.
- Josh found 2 new pairs of shoes with his birthday money.
- I got some new jeans.
- Ice cream date with Gus after school.
- Dentist date with Gust after ice cream date. He did great, no cavities and his teeth are extra sparkly for Disney!
- I got my teeth cleaned and the dentist said I was doing a good job flossing… I usually get in trouble for that.
- Gus got to watch old Pink Panther cartoons while he waited for me to finish up. They are so nice to him there.
- Josh and Beau did some grocery shopping for me while I was at the dentist.
- I don’t have to hang my laundry up outside to dry.
- Fun lunch at the mall watching Beau watch the ice skaters and thoroughly enjoy her Chick Fil A.
- Had time to write most of my list at the dentist today.
- 2 weeks til Thanksgiving! Signed up to bring green bean casserole to my moms.
- Josh accidentally burned our dinner, yay for $5 foot longs at Subway!
- Found some Jesus stickers for Beau like they have in the Bibles at church for her Bible at home.
- The Hall’s brought Josh the most thoughtful birthday gift. New watch bands for the watch I got him.
- Josh & I got all of our clothes packed for Disney.
- The sunset tonight was beautiful and we got to see it!
- Both kids sound asleep by 7:45 tonight.
- Josh got us completely caught up on laundry.
- Beau was singing “Hey Ho” by Lumineers tonight at dinner. So unbelievably cute.