Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's Tough Being a Woman When Beauty is a Treatment

Sandra -- Poor Xerses! He awoke one morning (albeit with a hangover!) as the most powerful man on earth. He ruled the vast Persian empire -- 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. Before nighttime, he was a sniveling mess who had been humiliated in front of all his buddies by none other than his wife; of all the embarrassments -- a woman! Then to make matters worse, he took the advice concerning what to do about her from his "wise" advisers who, if you remember, were also quite inebriated themselves. After all, they had been partying for six months and six days. The situation with his wife took place on the seventh day of the seven day banquet. What a way to end a party! Talk about drama!

Wow! There are so many lessons we could teach on the occurrences of just that one day. 1) Don't get drunk! 2) Don't make snap decisions when you're angry and drunk. 3) Don't take the advice of people who are drunk and/or who have their own personal agenda. 4) You are never too important/powerful/ etc. to make stupid mistakes. Our list could go on and on.

But the one I want to camp on for just a couple of minutes is that God is always at work in our lives even when we can't see or feel Him; He is never idle. He uses all kinds of situations to "grow us up" spiritually and to work His plan in our lives. While all of the uproar over Vashti's "disobedience" is taking place at the palace, Hadassa (Esther) is living her everyday life, doing what she normally does as a matter of routine with no clue that what is going on at the palace will change her life forever. God is busy weaving all those situations together so that eventually He can bring His plan to fruition, and Esther will become the queen who saves her people -- God's people.

Remember -- by this time Esther's people have been herded like cattle, treated like slaves, and taken into bondage. She had been orphaned earlier so she was exposed to all this mistreatment as a young child. Yet, God was working in her life to get her to the point/place/time that she, a Jew, would become Queen of Persia.

So -- have you ever found yourself in a really miserable, scary spot, wondering what's going to happen to you, how this situation will play out, and if God is doing anything to help? Maybe you're in that kind of situation right now. Please know that, while we can see only what's going on around us, God see the BIG picture. He knows where He wants you for the next part of His plan for you, and He is consistently working to move you there. Remember 29:11! And for some real comfort, read verses 12 and 13 also!

Don't forget to bring your wash cloth to class.

Kristy -- There aren't many girls who haven't played princess or dressed up like a princess, but have you ever been treated like one? I have a similar experience to Esther.

When I was a newlywed my wonderful husband bought a 1/2 day of spa treatments for me for my Christmas present and not to just any spa -- The Four Seasons in Irving. I had made an appointment to have a facial, massage and manicure. I saw they had a wet and hot sauna and a whirlpool, so I packed my backpack left over from college with my swimsuit, towel, flipflops, makeup and other little necessities because I had never gone to the SPA before. When I pulled into the parking lot of the Four Seasons in my late model Camaro, I realized I was in a different league. I parked my little sports car between two Mercedes. I saw BMWs, Cadillacs, limos, and a lot of higher end cars that I couldn't identify. Come to find out the Ben Hogan tour was at the Four Seasons to play a tournament. I was going to be hobknobbing with all these gorgeous, wealthy wives of golfers, pro athletes and socialites. When I realized this, the Keithville-raised girl in me started grinning -- the country girl had come to town. For some reason the theme from Hee Haw played in my head.

Marble tile, waterfall, tranquil music, soothing lighting and the most pleasant of personnel greeted me as I opened the door still grinning. I gave my name and was shown to my locker, given a plush, white bath robe and thick, white bobby socks. I was given the instructions to take my clothes off, put them in the locker and take the key. My grin dropped when she said take my clothes off in order to put on the bathrobe. Ain't no way on God's green earth I was going anywhere without my undies! So, I wore them under my robe, and as I sat in the waiting area there were some beautiful women sipping champagne or something pretty in a fluted glass, and I sat...grinning and looking like I didn't belong. I began to look around for the saunas and whirlpool. I caught sight of the whirlpool because an elderly lady who had obeyed the hostess dropped her robe and entered the water. I know in my naivety my mouth hit the floor, and I probably started chuckling (hopefully where no one could hear). Once I regained my composure and grin, I quickly checked the whirlpool and the saunas off my list of things to do.

I was called back for my massage where I was once again instructed to remove all clothing. I wasn't sure what it was with all these women wanting me naked! I explained I had never done this before, and I couldn't oblige. She explained what she would be doing, and I understood, but still decided to leave on one article of clothing. I was so nervous I was chatty and giddy and grinning, but by the time she was done with me, I had fallen asleep, and I was about to drool. Then it was time for the facial. I got dressed and moved to the next dimly lit room listening to nature sounds and music and was introduced to my anaesthetist. Do you know they really use cucumbers on your eyes? It's not just in the movies! After being scrubbed -- I mean exfoliated -- I was fumigated, I mean steamed. I was cleansed and had a mask. While the mask set, she put these things on my socked feet that warmed them up, and then she left the room. This time I did drool, literally. When she returned, she concluded the treatment and I was told to get dressed and go to the nail area. I was mush. I oozed to the locker area, and I shlumped into my clothes trying to be as modest as possible as there was no private place to change. Then I realized I hadn't tipped either of those ladies. I knew I was suppose to, but do I go back through the hallway and open doors to find them? What do I do? The nail lady told me I could give it to the hostess, and she would make sure the others received their tip.

Ladies, I went through a gamut of emotions -- excitement, anxiety, shock, relaxation, embarrassment. And then I had to drive home through Dallas rush hour. I was around 26 when I first experienced spa life and got hooked. Esther was probably around 10 years my junior when she was plucked from the home she knew since becoming an orphan and taken into a palace to receive all manners of beauty treatments. She must have been scared, anxious, shocked, maybe a little if not a lot excited. Who knows, she may have done a lot of grinning too because her eyes had never laid eyes on such opulence.

You know what I like about Esther? It didn't matter her age or level of power, she was obedient, submissive and observant. There is such profound wisdom to be found in a young lady, or any lady for that matter, who obtains those three. She was mature beyond her age. I wish more teens and young people would take note from her and follow her in her footsteps. I wish I was more like that as well. Where does your wisdom come from? Where does your confidence lie? Where do you get your value from? I pray that it's from the Lord.


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