Women today are inundated with an incredible amount of information. We receive suggestions and advice from friends, family, coworkers, church family, talk-show hosts and bloggers. With so much to sift through, it can be a challenge to make decisions with confidence.
Over the next three weeks, I will be introducing you to three women who inspire me. The stories of these women: Hannah, Ruth and Esther, have encouraged me to be bold and confident.
Today I want to introduce you to Hannah.
Hannah is an old testament woman whose story holds nothing back. We're given a glimpse into the life of a woman who struggles with low self-esteem, infertility, jealous family members, bullying, depression, and an eating disorder. (1 Samuel 1:3-7)
To top it all off, her husband, a well-meaning man, is simply not able to connect with her struggles or understand her emotional pain. His attempt to help her feel better ('Buck up! You have ME!' Yes, he did say that. Check out verse 8.) simply adds to her difficulties, because now she's received the message that he wants some peace back in the house and she'll just need to be emotional somewhere else.
We meet Hannah years into her emotional turmoil, as she hits her lowest low. She can't cry at home, so she does the only other thing she knows to do.
She goes to church.
In her pain, she loses her decorum, her poise, and simply talks to God. No sacrifice to offer. No priest to stand in and plead for her. Her broken heart gives her the courage to simply come to God himself. (Unheard of in those days.)
She challenges God to really consider her situation. “If you'll take a good, hard look at my pain,” she pleads, “If you'll quit neglecting me and go into action for me by giving me a son, I'll give him completely, unreservedly to you.” (1 Samuel 1:11)
He approves of her boldness, and approves her request. He gives her a son. (vs. 20) Then three more sons and two daughters. (Chapter 2:21)
Hannah's story has provided me with insight as to how a woman can be bold, and be favored by God:
And God honored her. From what I could see in my reading, each year Hannah would visit her first born son, bring him a new set of clothing, and upon leaving, the priest would bless her and her husband, calling on God to honor her sacrifice by providing her with more children. And He did!
THAT is how God feels about bold women.
We have the permission, the ability and the mandate to be bold. And we don't have to be 'put together' before we can ask. We don't have to wait for our tears to dry, our weight to come down, our hair to grow out, our kids to straighten up, our husbands to understand, or our pastor to intercede for us. We can go straight to God.
Are you coming?
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)