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A Jewel in His CrownRediscovering Your Value as a Woman of Excellence
By Priscilla Shirer
Moody PublishersCopyright © 1999 Priscilla Shirer
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDiamonds in the King's Crown
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Have you ever stopped to admire the dazzling gems displayed in a fine jewelry store? Spotlights ignite beautiful sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds, setting them ablaze with color. Gold gleams, silver shines, and a glittering array of gemstones captivates us with its fire. It's difficult to walk by a jeweler's window without taking a moment or two to look a little closer.
A jewel is an exquisite object, sparkling with light, something that is prized and treasured. It is looked upon with awe and wonder. Those who see it partake in its beauty, finding themselves delighted simply by having been in its presence. Usually when we have the opportunity to see a fine jewel on display, we feel a longing to possess it, wishing we had the money to buy it. Most of us can only dream of obtaining something of such fine quality. It is far too expensive for us. More exquisite than any other is the rare jewel we call a diamond. A diamond is not easily attainable, and its value far exceeds the worth of regular jewelry. Women everywhere dream of the day when a man who loves them will buy a beautiful diamond ring to symbolize the rare eternal love that exists between them. For most women, a ruby or sapphire will not do. Although they are both beautiful stones, they are not worth as much. A diamond is more precious because it is uncommon and nearly indestructible. A diamond does not declare its value in a flashy or obnoxious way; only subtly does it reveal its quiet beauty.
The lucky person who has the opportunity to own such a treasure will certainly handle it with care. Diamonds are often kept in security boxes not brought out except on a few occasions-very special occasions. A diamond is protected and cared for with great diligence. Why? Because it is not only a jewel of great beauty it is also rare. Webster's dictionary describes a jewel as "a precious stone or any person or thing that is very dear to one." The dictionary goes on to describe the term rare as "not frequently found; scarce or uncommon: unusually good or excellent." By putting those two definitions together we can infer that rare jewels are things or people who are precious because they are good, excellent, and not frequently found.
Jewels for the King's Crown
In our lives the Lord blesses us by placing different people in different seasons to give us what we need at those particular times. He uses their weaknesses and strengths to remind us of what He expects of us. I have encountered some women who exemplify, dignity and distinction-they are rare jewels. I have learned from them by observing them, and I hope that you, too, can learn from them and their struggles.
You've probably heard of Elisabeth Elliot. She is a woman of God if ever I have known one. I've never had the privilege of meeting her, yet I feel as if I know her. I have faithfully listened to her radio broadcasts. I have read every, book she has authored that I could get my hands on. My name is on her mailing list, and I want to hear everything she has to say. Why? Because I'm convinced that Elisabeth Elliot is a woman of distinction.
In her writings she will tell you that she has never considered herself to be a beautiful woman. She sees herself as an average person. However, she does not let this deter her from presenting herself as a woman of the King's court. She has followed the Lord and lived for Him in every way that she can. She was and remains a quiet woman who is disciplined in her service to Jesus Christ. Elisabeth ministers to thousands of people all over the world. They are touched by the godly confidence she has in herself, and she teaches others to gain the same confidence.
Most people know of her because of her wisdom regarding dating and relationships. She is an expert not because of academic studies, but because of what she has been through: Elisabeth Elliot has had her heart broken.
Years ago Elisabeth met a man named Jim Elliot, and the two fell in love with each other. For five years, they waited on God to bring them together. This entire time they remained pure and holy before the Lord. Elisabeth esteemed herself highly enough to wait for the appointed time for her union to the man whom she believed was the one for her. She did not chase him, even when he seemed disinterested or when she felt impatient. She waited on God to move. At last they were married, and only a year and a half later he was killed-martyred in South America while doing Christian missionary work. What immense pain and anguish Elisabeth must have felt after the loss of the only man she'd ever loved. But still she served God wholly and loved Him all the more because of His goodness. Much more than that has taken place in the life of Elisabeth Elliot-she has been through both good things and bad things. The way she has handled both the triumphs and the heartaches of her life speaks of her high view of her position in Christ Jesus. She is a woman of excellence whose life's goal is to adorn the crown of her Master. Elisabeth Elliot is a diamond in the King's crown.
Anne Graham Lotz
About a year ago I had the privilege of meeting Anne Graham Lotz. She amazed me with her sense of dignity, and pride as God's woman. Anne Graham Lotz is the daughter of Billy Graham. She is a speaker who boldly proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ. Before I was introduced to her at a conference in Atlanta, I had heard about her and was delighted to finally meet her. I immediately recognized an air about her that made me want to get to know her better. I automatically wondered what made this woman tick. What was the force behind her power? She is stunningly beautiful on the outside, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the amazing presence that she has.
My mother had told me that a group of friends were sitting down to eat dinner one evening and Anne was asked to pray over the meal. My mom couldn't help but open her eyes and watch her as Anne talked to the Lord. The tone in her voice and the power that filled the room through her words were awesome. To hear Anne Graham Lotz speak is an experience, but to hear her pray is amazing!
When I met Anne, one particular experience cemented my opinion that surely she recognized her position as a woman in the King's court. At one point during the conference, she walked right up to me and smiled sweetly. She took my hand and said some words that I will never forget:
"Priscilla, both of our fathers are famous guys who have a huge following. People always want to know and hear what they have to say. But I want to encourage you to do what the Lord has called you to do and not worry about how big your father's ministry is. God has not called you or me to do what our fathers are doing. He has called us to do something different."
We were standing in the foyer of a very prestigious hotel. There were big-name authors, musical artists, and preachers everywhere. Anne looked around and said, "Priscilla, half of these people with these big ministries are going to get to heaven and find out that they weren't even on the front lines. I just want to be on the front lines. I want to get to heaven and find out that God was pleased with what I did for Him here."
How powerful those words were to me! Anne was not concerned with what other people thought of her or her ministry. She wanted what the Father wanted for her, and nothing more. She wanted to share Jesus with as many people as possible. She was not concerned if her ministry was not as big and recognizable as her earthly father's; she was concerned only with pleasing her heavenly Father. She is a woman whose eyes are fixed not on the things of this world but on the things of the Lord.
Anne Graham Lotz is a diamond in the King's court, an adornment on His crown.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a woman of excellence. She not only gave birth to our Lord and Savior, but she was the one who reared Him and loved Him so that He might love the world. In a day and time when pregnancy outside of marriage was punishable by death, this woman trusted God with her circumstances. She believed that God had spoken to her and that He knew just how to take care of her despite the problems that she might fair because of her situation.
Mary had just become engaged to Joseph when an angel spoke to her and told her what was in store for her life. How afraid she must have been! Not only was she going to have a baby, supernaturally fathered by the Holy Spirit, but she also had to tell the man to whom she was betrothed that she was pregnant, and that the baby was not his. I imagine Mary was very worried that Joseph would reject her and refuse to be with her. How ludicrous her story must have sounded! Can you imagine telling your boyfriend that, yes, you're pregnant with somebody else's baby, but an angel has appeared to you and told you that the child you're carrying will save the world from its sins? Joseph would surely think that she had lost her mind. Worse yet, he had the legal right to cause Mary to be stoned to death on charges of promiscuity. Yet despite all of these fears, Mary trusted God and believed that He was going to take care of her. Sine had faith in Him and His plan. She relied on His promises, even when the circumstances said that she was in big trouble.
How godly and upright Mary must have been to be chosen as the mother of our Lord. God looked down on the earth and saw many women who were potential mother for Jesus, but after the search was complete, He chose Mary. She was a virtuous woman who loved and cherished both herself and her Lord enough to go through what was undoubtedly the most agonizing experience of her life. No matter what the cost, she counted it all joy to suffer for the sake of her Lord. This woman, the mother of Jesus, was a diamond in the King's court. Today she still shines as an adornment on His crown.
Elizabeth Cannings is also a woman of excellence. She is my mother's sister, and my father describes her as the godliest woman that he knows. She is a beautiful woman who desires only to serve Christ. She has all of the qualities of the virtuous Proverbs 31 woman. She is a hard worker and is known for diligence in her service.
Elizabeth has been involved in ministry of some form or fashion for many years. She works without complaining or grumbling because she knows that her reward comes from the highest Source. She was very instrumental in raising us four Evans kids, and we all call her "Auntie."
To me, Auntie has always been a powerful example of the way a woman should be and act. She holds the Bible in high esteem and lives her life according to its precepts. She has had many suitors but has remained single and a virgin all her life. Her standards are very high because she is a rare jewel. At forty-three years of age, she doesn't allow men in her home unless other are there. This is a rule most people my age don't think to follow. My aunt Elizabeth wants to make sure that she glorifies God with her body as well as her mind and spirit. She is never in the limelight; she just quietly does her work with a smile. She is loving and caring and very dependable. She is godly and the world knows it, not because she tells everyone with her words, but because she tells everyone with her life. This is one woman whom I would love to pattern myself after Elizabeth Cannings adorns the King's crown as a diamond in His court.
Hannah, the mother of the Old Testament prophet Samuel, was a worn an of excellence. She prayed for years that the Lord would give her a son. She was heartsick because she couldn't get pregnant. But she did not let this ruin her relationship with her Lord. She kept her eyes focused on Him and on what she believed He could do for her.
In the ancient world where she lived, when a woman could not conceive, she was looked upon with contempt and scorn. She was considered worthless to her husband, her family, and her community. Because of her plight, Hannah could have become embittered toward God. There she was, serving and loving Him as she should be, and the one thing that would make her acceptable in the sight of others, He would not grant to her Yet even though Hannah was discouraged about her inability to conceive, she kept her eyes focused on God and His righteousness.
Hannah probably felt both worthless and powerless. She knew that she was disgraced in the eyes of the people. She knew that when others looked at her, they were dissatisfied with the outcome of her life. She felt like she had little value. However, we assume from Hannah's story that she believed that God had a plan that was bigger than either her longings or her timetable. She seemed to cling to the confidence that God was working to do something even greater than fulfilling her desire for a child. She seemed to know that her heavenly Father could and would accomplish something wonderful in her life if she would just trust Him and wait on Him.
Hannah recognized that her God was able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that she could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). God strongly supports women who rest in Him and are willing to wait on Him to complete things in their lives. He is pleased when women believe that He knows what He is doing and are willing to submit themselves to His timing.
Have you ever felt worthless? I know I have at times. Maybe your friends and family have been disheartened by the fact that you never finished high school or college. Perhaps you have not achieved what they thought you should have. Possibly you just don't quite measure up to their standards. If that describes your situation, you can be sure of one thing: God has a mighty plan for you just as He did for Hannah. And right now, this very minute, God is working all things together for the good of those who love God and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
If Hannah had been outside of the will of God, she would not have experienced all the joy and blessing that God intended for her. If she had given birth to Samuel any earlier than at the intended time, it would have been the wrong time. God had a plan that exceeded Hannah's deepest desire. He was interested in what her son would do for the entire nation of Israel.
What does God want to do for you? If you will wait to receive it, your blessings will be tenfold. If God does it according to your timetable, you might just miss out on the entire blessing that He has for you. Women of excellence must remember that God has far bigger, far better plans than ours.
Excerpted from A Jewel in His Crown by Priscilla Shirer Copyright © 1999 by Priscilla Shirer. Excerpted by permission.
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