As I walked into the Prayer Room yesterday, my eyes drifted over to a couple sitting with their arms wrapped around each other. They were both wearing face masks to protect against germs, and I realized right away that one or both of them must be really sick. I headed over to my normal spot, directly below a heater vent and began my daily routine of sitting quietly before the Lord, waiting on Him to speak to me. Just so you know, it's quite rare that the Lord speaks directly to me in that moment of quiet solitude. I usually wait several minutes and then if nothing comes to me I'll join in the worship, pull out my Bible, or begin praying for whatever is on my heart.
As I sat there yesterday, I glanced over my shoulder at the couple and I began to pray for them. A few minutes later someone caught my attention and I joined my fellow interns for an impromptu prayer ministry time for the couple. It turned out that the woman was suffering from a 6 year battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. My heart went out to her and as I began praying, I felt the Lord speaking to me that He wanted her to know that she was not forgotten and that He had been walking with her through this whole thing. So I spoke up and told her what the Lord was speaking to my heart and then I prayed that she would be able to lean into the Lord and trust Him to be her Strong Tower during this time.
This prayer time was one of the most powerful I have ever experienced because I could so tenderly feel the Lord's heart for this couple. As I continued praying I kept getting the phrase, "You were made for such a time as this." It was coming at me over and over and over again. I knew it was from Esther and I wanted to speak it out to the woman, but I didn't know the message the Lord had to go along with it. I kept trying to speak up in between the others' prayers, but it just never happened. Toward the end of the prayer ministry time I started feeling incredibly nauseous. I automatically assumed that the Lord was giving me a glimpse into the battle this woman was facing so I began to silently pray for her chemo, but the nausea didn't leave me until we finished praying.
Later that night I was thinking about the entire situation and wondering why I never spoke up and told the woman what I had heard, "You were made for such a time as this." I was wondering what I had missed. The phrase hadn't left me all day and into the evening. It was sticking with me, and the only reason I could think of was that I was supposed to speak it out loud during the prayer time. The fact that I hadn't spoken it out was gripping me in a kind of intense way, so I prayed and asked the Lord to send another messenger to the woman. But as I prayed that, I heard, "The message wasn't for that woman, it was for you." I kind of sat there, a little stunned and then just shook my head. I've been diving into Esther a lot over the last few months, and so I figured the phrase must have just been on the tip of my tongue. There was no way God was really telling me it was for me. I was just imagining things. Besides, why would He speak something like that to me while I was clearly praying for someone else? So I shrugged my shoulders at my ridiculousness and then went to bed.
Well this morning, before I went to the Prayer Room, I noticed that I had a couple new comments on my blog. I clicked on them and read some sweet notes from a few of my blog followers, and one of them hit me, really hard. One of my girls, Claire, (the one who I can credit for teaching me all things girly) wrote... "I love how even though you were a mentor, and in a place of authority, you always allowed us girls to see the growth and transforming work God was/is doing in you. You have a beautiful heart and you have so much to offer. You are definitely placed on this earth for such a time as this! God has chosen to use you mightily in the lives of young women! Thank you for the impact you've had on my life!!"
Needless to say, I was a little taken aback to read the very words I had shrugged off the night before (thanks Claire). I began praying and asking the Lord to elaborate a little. If He was really trying to tell me something, I wanted to know what it was. I drove to the prayer room and once again sat in my usual spot below the heater vent. As I sat there, I opened my Bible to the book of Esther and began reading, nothing really hitting my heart. Then I looked over my shoulder where the couple had been sitting the day before, and the moment I did that it was like the Lord burst my heart open and I could see what He was trying to show me. I began weeping as I saw this woman's 6 year battle with cancer in an entirely new light. The Lord was giving me a picture of battles, not just her battle, but other battles, battles of women who have been molested, battles of women who have turned toward men for all the wrong reasons, battles of young women fighting to understand their role in society, wondering if being feminine is really okay. I was seeing battle after battle, and the message in my heart was that these battles were spreading like cancer.
And then the nausea returned and I realized that I had felt this nausea before. I had felt it after being hurt by a man in Greece. I had felt it after getting leered at in the streets of Brazil. I had felt it the many, many times I talked with young women and heard the horror stories of sexual abuse and of being ridiculed for being born a woman. And I had felt it in the midst of battling temptation to give in to some false pleasure to mask my own pain from not understanding who I am in the Lord. So as I sat there this morning, weeping and engulfed in nausea, I knew I was just beginning to feel the heart of the Lord weeping over His beautiful daughters, His marvelous creation. And I knew that the Lord really had spoken to me the day before, "You were made for such a time as this." Only this time the message didn't end there. It went on, "The cancer is spreading and the battle is raging, but I made you for this. I made you to be a voice and to help fight these battles."
Then I looked in the margin of my Bible and saw where I had once written, "Esther was just a nobody who said yes." And I realized that's me. I'm just a nobody who is saying yes.