Last updated on August 23, 2022
This week Allison shares some of the things she learned while attending the Jubilee Gathering, an interfaith event that provides an opportunity for women of different faiths to gather in worship, connection, and learning. Allison highlights the story of Esther and the importance of embracing the story that you are a part of and aligning your will to that of our Heavenly Father.
Pull up a chair … it is time to let your heart grow!
The Jubilee Gathering is an annual event for women of faith hosted by the amazing Multiply Goodness team. It is an opportunity to worship through word and song, share testimony, connect, and feel inspired. If you would like to learn more about Jubilee or to find out how you can attend please visit their website at thejubileegathering.com.
The Faith Collective is an organization who helps women share their stories of faith by recording them through words and photography. Each year they participate in Jubilee by putting together a beautiful gallery that is uplifting and beautiful. Visit them at their website to read some of the stories.
I reference the story of Esther from the bible. If you would like to read it, here is a link to the King James Version of the story which can be read here.
This week as we’re starting the podcast, I want to be a little bit open and express that things are a little bit different today in this episode.
As I normally prepare for a podcast episode, I sit down, I put all my thoughts on paper, kind of figure out exactly what I want to share; hopefully, have some inspiration and write it all down into a script form.
That way I feel organized and I don’t go off onto ADHD tangents as I call them.
But every time I tried to do that this week; things just haven’t quite gone the way that I wanted.
So, we’re kind of winging it this week.
I’m allowing my heart to guide, and I’m just going to sit and share the thoughts and feelings of my heart and a little bit about the experiences and lessons that I’ve learned recently.
I am a person who keeps a very busy schedule.
I try … I don’t like to say no.
I hate to tell people no when they need me.
And when I get an idea, I get really excited, and I just jump right in.
And because of that, I tend to be constantly balancing things on this precarious edge, so that I can get everything done.
Well Friday, my car broke down and that event kind of toppled the pile. The balance was off. Everything fell down all around me. It’s like when you see that pile of plates and they all fall on the floor, like this loud crash that you can hear all over.
Now cars breakdown, this particular time it was the transmission, so it’s an expensive fix requiring funds that I did not have. And it was kind of the tip of a week of depression and anxiety and frustrations and discouragement. And every day I kept trying to put on a happy face, start my day out and do what I want and have a good attitude about, and by the end of the day
I’m always exhausted and tired and drained.
But then this happened, and I felt like I didn’t have anything left to give, and I broke down sobbing as I got home.
As I tried to figure out where the money was going to come from, as I tried to figure out a way to get from point A to point B for work, and daycare, and school.
And then I thought about the fact that the very next day was something I have been looking forward to … I’d like to say about six months, but in all honestly, probably longer than that.
I had tickets as of April for this event on Saturday called Jubilee. If you’ve not heard of Jubilee, you can go to thejubileegathering.com to learn more about it and exactly what it is, but a quick overview is that it’s an annual event hosted by a non-profit called Multiply Goodness that is run by three beautiful ladies who have brought together women of various Christian faiths to worship, sing, be uplifted, inspired and connect and share their love of our Savior.
And anybody who knows me knows I love my Savior so much and these types of events just have my name all over them and it’s something I really, really wanted to do for a couple of years. But I haven’t had the opportunity or the funds. So, this year I’d saved up so that I could go and here it is, the day before I no longer had a car, and I’m the transportation for my friends. I don’t have transportation to take my children up to be watched. Mom was going to babysit. And I was so stressed and having panic attacks over everything that I almost bowed out.
I was like, “I can’t do this”.
This it’s just too much right now. Like maybe. Like I can sell my ticket and use that money toward the car.
And I mentioned it to a friend and she’s like, you know, you have to do what is best for you, but I think this might be something you need right now.
So, I said a prayer and it was amazing how things came together so quickly. Where my friend was able to work out to drive. My mom offered to come down and pick up the girls for me and help take care of them. And I was able to say a prayer and get a good night’s sleep and get the rest that I need so that I could be in the right mindset to go to this event.
Now I haven’t been to a lot of events since COVID started, so this was kind of a big deal and I took the invitation they gave us at the very beginning to connect and have love and make ourselves at home there very seriously and I just felt drawn to so many amazing people. I ran into old friends that I hadn’t seen in years and was able to catch up and talk with them. Met this mother and her two daughters at our dinner table and this other beautiful woman who had flown in from Wisconsin.
I got to talk to people during doing a service event to help refugees in the Ukraine and it allowed me to get some perspective. I was able to say a prayer and for the next 30 days. Pray for someone else.
I was able to read and look at pictures of stories of faith shared by the amazing Faith Collective and to learn from their testimony and to be edified and uplifted, and I was able to go and study the story of Esther. And consider her life and how she was.
And then I got to hear from those amazing speakers, women who truly love our Savior Jesus Christ and have such a testimony and the words that they shared from the scriptures, from their hearts, their life experiences.
And there was so many things that stayed with me, but there’s one.
Two, let’s rephrase that.07:03
There was two overarching themes that kept coming back to me and that is what I want to share with you today, so I’m going to share. My interpretations of what was shared, my thoughts, my feelings. And I hope that I can do justice to everything that I’ve learned.
Most of you know the story of Esther, and so the theme of the day was, “A Day of Gladness, A Good Day”.
I’ll give a highlight of the story of Esther.
Esther was born and at a young age her parents passed away and she was then taken care of by her uncle Mordecai, who raised her as his own.
And he loved her and cared for her, and you could tell that she just respects and loves him too.
And the time came when the King needed a new wife. And Esther went to the Castle, Palace Castle, Kingdom to prepare. And it was about a year long process where she learns all the different things that she needs to do before she can be presented to the king as an option for marriage.
And immediately the overseer of all the women finds that she is a beautiful woman and he’s taken by her, and he assigns her seven maidens. And he gives her all these other options to help her prepare.
Meanwhile, every day, Mordechai comes and checks on her.
And the year passes. And it’s time to meet the king and again she finds favor with him, he is impressed with her and drawn to her, and he chooses her as his bride.
Now, having said this, one of the things that Mordecai admonishes her to do is not to share who she is, that she is of Jewish descent and who her people are. She trusts him, and so she listens to his counsel and does that.
Most of you know this story, but the concept is that there is a man by the name of Haman who makes some choices where Mordecai doesn’t bow down to him and worship as he has requested, and therefore he becomes angry with Mordecai.
And when he finds out that Mordechai is a Jew, he decides not to just go after Mordecai, but to go after the entire Jewish people, because of their faith in God.
And so he kind of tricks the king without giving him all the info into agreeing to command that all the Jewish people are killed. So letters are sent out and all these people are supposed to die on this specific day.
Esther finds out about this and Mordecai tells her like, “You need to do this.”
And she’s like,” I can’t go before the king. it’s against the law. I could die, like if he doesn’t want me to come in there.”
She’s really upset and he finally says to her and very sternly like, “God keeps his promises and so He will save his people, but it’s whether or not you’re going to be a part of it and whether or not you will be saved because you are not immune. You are also a Jew.”
Then he reminds her, “Is it for such a time as this that you were born?”
And I think that line right there is so important, and I want you to remember it because we will come back to it as we are talking.
And then she decides to fast and her seven maids fast with her and Mordecai and the Jewish people all fast together for guidance and when it’s over, Esther is committed to her people and she says, “If I perish, I will perish.”
And so, she goes before the king, and we know that he grants her petition to come see him and to speak with him. Long story short, they hold a feast, she calls out Haman in front of the king and shares the plan that this man had to kill her people.
In all of this, Haman ends up dying, the Jewish people are saved, Mordecai is promoted, and it becomes a day of gladness and rejoicing, and the people are well. And Esther becomes very beloved, not only back then, but even now, in our modern day as we study the scriptures.
She’s one of the most revered women in our scriptures.
And I think that that’s all very important. It’s a beautiful story that ends in a very good way.
So, I kind of want to emphasize a little bit about her story that I got out of it yesterday.
The first being that is when bad things happen do we wonder why? And we question and we put it all on the Lord like, “Why would you do this?” or “Why aren’t you saving me?” “Why is this happening to me?”
What if instead of asking why, we change the question to who?
“Who we ask”,
“How can I help get through this?”
“What is it that the Lord needs of me?”
“Where can I see him in this story, in this situation, in this trial?”
And “Who is guiding me right now?”
Because one thing that I’ve learned and I needed reminding, is that He’s always there with us. He’s in every part of our story.
I’ve learned this past year that the book of Esther was almost not included in. the Bible because God’s name is not using any form in this book. And therefore, they almost left it out. But while his name is not mentioned. We see Him throughout the entire story.
I was shocked to learn that, but it’s true. We see him throughout Esther’s story, even though His name is never mentioned.
Are we seeing Him in our story?
I’ve learned that if you’re looking for God not to be there, you will find that He’s not there.
If you’re looking for Him to be there, You will see him throughout every part of the story.
Whatever you go looking for, you’re going to find.
But by taking the time in the middle of a trial instead of waiting until the end to see what happens. That we start looking now to see Him, how will that change us?
In my trial with my car it was easy to question why or what or what if.
But here’s what I realized as I took the time to sit and, like look at the last few days. I was close to home. I could have been driving to Jubilee on the freeway when it broke down.
I could have been in a situation where I couldn’t have been there to pick up my daughter.
Or I couldn’t have gotten ahold of a friend to come help so that I could get both of my girls home safely.
I saw His hand in the service provided by my friends and family.
And I continue to see it even now.
I’ve always been a lover of rainbows, but like a storm comes and you wait for that rainbow to appear at the end. The light shining through as the darkness is starting to disappear.
Isn’t that basically what God is though, He is that light. He’s the rainbow in our stories. Even though it’s raining there’s a symbol of promise and hope. And transformation.
We are the ones that change in the middle of the storm as we look for Him in it.
He will always be there and we will always find Him in our story. if we’re willing to.
The final speaker of the night was Emily Belle Freeman and you will probably realize very quickly how much I admire this woman and her ability to share His light and His love with each of us.
And she started her talk discussing how she read a story to her grandson that started, “Once upon a time.”
And she started the story.
He’s like, “That’s not the right story.”
So, she’s like, “Oh, OK.” and she starts again and again. “No, grandma, this is not the story I wanted. This is not the right story.”
How often do we say that?
This isn’t the story I wanted.
I’ve said before that I’m a untraditional traditionalist, because my life has not gone according to the plan I wanted. I’ve craved certain things in my life and had desires that I thought were good, righteous desires but that’s just not what happened.
And as I look over my life my story isn’t the one that I would have written for myself.
In the Book of Esther, as it starts out in chairs like her parents died. Do you think that’s the story that she wanted?
But she learns to accept her circumstances and make the best of it and find a way to invite God into her story.
She’s aligning her will with His.
And that’s what I’ve been learning.
Not only do I want to find Him all around me and see Him in the trials and the good days and bad days. But I want to invite him to be there. I want to invite him … I want to align my will with His will.
There have been three words that have been going through my mind for weeks and it’s Let God Prevail.
This story that we have ran might not be the way that we thought it would be.
It might not be the story we wanted.
Maybe we wanted a great romance and we’re getting an adventure, or maybe we’re getting a drama instead.
But the one thing I have learned in my life is that He knows so much more than I do.
And when I’m willing to align my heart to follow His will … follow the story He is giving, the ending will always be a good one.
The ending will have His hand all over it.
There’s a movie called Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. and there’s a quote in it that Emily actually shared last night that I just love, “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”
Esther rose up and met the Lord and then did what she needed to do.
We see it in Abraham.
We see it in Joseph. Joseph did the same thing.
We see it in our Savior.
We have to rise up and meet our Father in Heaven and our Savior and align ourselves to do their will. To embrace the role that we’ve been given.
Have you ever looked, say you are a parent and you look at your children and you think, “I’m not enough for this, I’m not enough for them”?
Or have you had a job or responsibility at church, at home, at work … where you were given a promotion, whatever it is, and you think, “I can’t do this?”
You’re overwhelmed at the thought. Like “I am not out of put enough for this. I don’t have what it takes.”
But I want to remind you of something.
Heavenly Father – He knows you.
Heavenly Father knows those children.
When I doubt my capabilities with my kids because, man, I mess up. I do. I mess up all the time.
But I have to remind myself He knew who they were and what their needs would be, He knew who I was and my shortcomings and my inadequacies, but He still chose me to be their parent.
And He knows you and He knows your children. He knows who you are when He gives you that calling, that guidance to do whatever it is that He has for you.
If he has called you to do something, one, He knows who you are and exactly who you are is good enough, and two, if you are missing something, if we just turn it over to Him he will provide everything you need in order to meet the challenge that you are facing.
I mentioned that in Esther, Mordecai gives counsel to her and says, “Whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Were you brought here at this time for those children?
Were you brought here at this time for that calling? for that role, for that responsibility, for that person?
He’ll tell you. He will guide you, because he is always there in your story.
So instead of asking if you’re enough or why is this happening? Again, reword the question.
“Where can I find him?”
“Where am I seeing Him, right now in my life?”
“What does God need from me right now?”
“What does my family need from me right now?”
“Where do I need to put myself so that I can be the tool He needs, the instrument in His hands?”
Because He is there, He is in our stories.
He will buoy us up if we put our Foundation on Him.
And He will always provide a way so that the end of our story is a good one.
I just want to tell you that I know our Savior lives.
I know that He loves each of us so very much.
I know that He is my person.
And I know that no matter what, you are exactly what He wanted right now.
That the talents, the skills, the quirks, all the things that make you who you are, is the person that he needs.
All you have to do is invite Him into your story.
And He will use you to make great things happen.
Because you are a miracle.
You’re His miracle.
And through every challenge and every wind in every storm, He is going to be their shining light on. So just look for the sign of the rainbow of His promises, His hope, His love.
And always remember that you are exactly the person,
The person that He wants,
The person that He needs,
And the person that you were meant to be.