Finding Esther

Posted: February 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

Face Book is a way to shamelessly promote our programs and almost daily I post pictures of adorable babies, ladies in labor and breast feeding.  Grandchildren and puppies also make appearances in all their cuteness.

Last week an unfamiliar name and a vaguely familiar face “friended” me and it took me a minute to recognize that beautiful face.   Tears flooded immediately – Esther!  My maid of honor from 37 years ago.   Esther was one of three women who mentored me as a new Christian.  She went the extra mile, no, many extra miles in forming my new found Christianity.  Esther would drive two towns away to pick me up for church and then return me home and act like she enjoyed it.  I was a young and silly teenager – it never occurred to me that this woman worked all day and was probably really tired.  She never acted like she was.

Then I landed in the hospital for six months after back surgery for scoliosis.  It was a hospital for crippled children and I attended school from my bed so visitors weren’t allowed all week.  Except for clergy and  Esther was a youth pastor.  Faithfully she visited me during the week when no one else could and she sweetly forced me to memorize scripture that I still know today.  Scripture that formed my new Christian identity.  Scripture that became my mindset.

Altar call was the norm at our church after the sermon.  I ran to the altar many, many times pouring out a confused, new believer soul.   It was a beautiful ritual, old time Pentecost and I miss it still.  The front of the church would be lined with hunched over backs, weeping in repentance or praising in thanks.  Esther would slip behind me and pray with me.   I could count on her.  She would often pray “God give me a tender heart”.  I barely knew what that meant but I prayed it too and God answered.  I have one.  I cry at the drop of a hat.  It’s embarrassing and I can’t control it – I lack many gifts, but I do have the gift of a tender heart and God gave it to me through the example of Esther.

I was telling John about reconnecting with Esther and he said “Did you tell her you are here because of her?”  Even he knew the impact Esther made on me and the Christian I have become because of her example.  I was a young sponge and drank in what Esther had to offer and it has borne fruit.  Who I am today is because of the examples I had many years ago.   Women that took time to mold me and invest in me.

Years later when our daughter Morgan was born she needed a regal middle name to go with her unisex first name.  John named Morgan and she is so like her dad.  I chose Esther for the middle.  Queen Esther after my darling friend who I hadn’t seen in years but stayed in my heart.  Queen Esther who found herself in terrible circumstances and rose to the occasion.   Who wouldn’t want their daughter named after a queen and after a beautiful, tender youth pastor who impacted the life of a lost teenager.

The famous quote from the book of Esther reads “for such a time as this”.  Esther had me in her sphere of influence for but a moment of my life at time when I was teachable, new and vulnerable.  She impacted my life when I didn’t even know what was happening.  I just followed her loving example of a Christian who gave to the youth around her and took an interest and went the second mile.

We lost touch.  Many years and complicated lives have separated us.  We’ve rejoiced at meeting again.  But Esther’s influence was here all the time helping to make the foundation of who I am as a Christian.

Some of us are fortunate enough to have mentors that mold us and shape us in ways that make us able to impact those around us later.  It was a window of time when I was clay to be molded and Esther stepped in for that moment.  Such a time as this.

Beth McHoul

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Comments
  1. Sarah D says:

    How grateful we are for your tender heart Beth! And for the ways you have “paid forward” Esther’s mentoring of you, into the lives of other vulnerable women. I am so blessed by your post! Love and miss you! xoxo

  2. Tara Livesay says:

    love this so much, thanks for sharing!

  3. Esther says:

    You honor me, my dear, Beth. You were and are a joy to know. My only desire was to honor Christ and help others to know him. That is still my desire. I praise God for you, your life, your choice to accept Christ as your Savior, your ministry and your desire to live for Him! By those things you honor our Lord! I am so proud of the woman you have become! May He give you strength and wisdom as you continue to work for His kingdom. I can’t wait to see you again!

  4. Deanne Hoekstra says:

    how do i find you on facebook? I want to see your daily pictures!

  5. Anne says:

    I love this story. I love that God uses His children to plant seeds that will eventually bloom and bring Him glory. Love your tender heart too, Beth.

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