Fire in Her Belly

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I grew up in the church. The story of Esther was one I’ve heard many times. It’s one of those Bible stories that always compelled me to perk up my ears and pay attention because, coupled with Mary and Martha serving Jesus, it was one of the few stories told about women from the pulpit.

The narrative in cliff notes is a story about a humble woman whose beauty was so great that a king took notice, married her, and then her beauty allowed her to influence the king, mesmerizing him, really, thus freeing her people from slavery.

Growing up, it seemed that as a female I really had two options to be impactful and influential. One was to be stunningly beautiful, thus mesmerizing men into making decisions on my behalf, and one was to have a servant’s heart, washing feet and doing the dishes not only without recognition, but almost invisible.

I recently read the book Raise Your Voice by Kathy Khang. I have the pleasure of being on her launch team and, let’s be honest,—I just knew I needed this book in my own life.

This book was a breath of fresh air for me. Kathy weaves in the story of Esther in Scripture in a way I have never heard it told. It became clear to me that the teaching I’ve heard on Esther has been filtered through a more patriarchal lens in which Esther was always portrayed as having her way with King Xerxes based on her beauty alone. How refreshing it was to be welcomed into a much more feminine and diverse approach in which Esther’s ethnicity, her mind, her ability to hear her mentor Mordecai, her increasing self-awareness, as well as her courage are all a part of her ability to raise her voice.

Esther had a fire in her belly. She leveraged everything God gave her to use her voice. For me, even terms like “leverage” could sound manipulative. Sometimes I link “assertiveness” with “leverage,” thus making me wary to raise my voice by utilizing the gifts I have been so graciously given. But: These gifts are meant to be utilized.

We as women need to stoke the fire in our bellies.

And every type of voice is needed. Every type.

“Some of us are the feet, or hands, or eyes, or ears, and thankfully we all are moved by our hearts and souls to figure out what role we play,” writes Kathy. “The things that make us move our hearts and souls to express and embody our values will be different.”

We leverage our voices differently, but every voice is needed.

This also means that we need to honor the voice in one another.

We need to reject tone policing or trying to silence other voices because it makes us uncomfortable. We need to do a better job of asking questions when we do not understand. We need to expand the platform of female voices, not diminish it. I want to be a woman who amplifies the voices of women around me as they amplify mine. I want the world to see the love of God reflected in the linking of arms and the choir of female voices raised toward the heavens.

As we raise our voices in our spheres of influence, Kathy also offers cautionary wisdom as to how we need to be careful to not burn out, nor leverage our voices for personal advantage.

“Despite what social media gurus tell you, your voice is not part of your personal branding or there to expand your platform. You are not a brand. You and I are created in God’s image, the Imago Dei, which means that we can reflect and communicate God’s healing and beauty into hopeless, broken, hurt, and empty spaces. Our voice is meant to be and bring good news.” —Kathy Khang

Wherever you are in this journey of learning how to raise your voice, it is important to be reminded that we, dear Sisters, were created with fire in our bellies. We were created with unique, God-branded DNA to live out that passion. It will look different in each one of us.

“God is inviting you into a deeper understanding of who you are …
May you test your voice, make some mistakes, work through the reasons you stay silent and find courage to speak up …
The world desperately needs the good news …” —Kathy Khang

I do not know about you, but I desperately need this good news.
I am grateful to be re-introduced to Queen Esther.
May I leverage all that God has given me to raise my voice with that fire in my belly.
And may I amplify yours as well.

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Carrie Kuba
I am a writer, a mother of a medically fragile kiddo and a Habesha, a wife to a Czech Renaissance man, an activist, an empath, a friend. I am also the content and copy editor at Ready Publication. When I am not writing for other publications, you can find a piece of my heart at carriekuba.com.
Carrie Kuba

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