(1) All the elements of a great story are present - a hero, a heroine, a villain, a great plot, humor, irony, intrigue, suspense, etc.
(2) It's a short book - only 10 chapters.
(3) While the name of God is not mentioned at all, His hand is at work throughout this book, just as He is at work in our lives even when we can't see Him.
(4) There are lots of feasts and celebrations - who doesn't enjoy a good celebration, right!
In preparation for the illustrated Bible journaling workshops I taught a couple of weeks ago, I spent time reviewing this book and adding illustrations in my journaling Bible. (A couple of these pages were created previously, but I'm re-sharing as I go through the story here today.)
Setting the Stage - Chapter 1 sets the stage for this dramatic story, so I traced an image from a coloring page. The page was finished with Micron pens, colored pencils, and a clear Wink of Stella pen (to add shimmer to the curtains). The first feasts, hosted by King Xerxes, are found in this chapter.
One of the very talented ladies (Jan) who has attended several of my classes actually draws all the illustrations in her Bible. She gets lots of INSPIRATION from Pinterest, then draws and colors in her own illustrations, which she's graciously allowed me to share here.
Tough Being a Woman - My friend Minetta used the subtitle to Beth Moore's Esther Bible Study as a heading for this book.
Queen Esther - We first meet Esther in Chapter 2 - an orphan who has been raised by her cousin Mordecai. She is taken to the king's palace during a nationwide "beauty pageant" designed to help the king find a new queen. Amazingly, in the midst of everything, she found favor with all who saw her. I used the Creating in Faith Esther stamp in the margin of my Bible and filled it in with colored pencils before adding a short caption with a Micron pen.
In the display Bible at Scrappin' Goodtime, I covered the background of two pages with Pure Sunshine Dylusions Paint, then used stencils and gelatos to add subtle hearts and circles. For the left page, I added punched hearts, a piece of washi tape, and a paperclip tab. I used a marker to add my handwritten journaling list. For the right page, I again used the Esther stamp, which I colored in with markers and colored pencils. [Honestly I'm not thrilled with how Esther looks on this page, however I enjoyed once again reading and meditating on this story as I illustrated this page. Remember spending time in the Word is more important than how the page looks!]
One of my workshop participants, Jerri, cut a photo from a magazine to use as INSPIRATION for Esther and it turned out fabulous. I also really like the way she used a border stamp as the header. Another class participant used that same stamp to create the valance for curtains on a page similar to mine setting the stage. I've had this stamp in my collection, but it has gone unused until now! I can't wait to try it on a page soon, too!
Jan drew another stained glass look for the page in her Bible introducing Queen Esther.
Haman's Plot - Esther's story takes a huge turn when Haman, the king's right-hand man, creates a decree that will annihilate the Jews - all because Modecai will not bow down to him! I added a few layers of torn washi tape to this page, but used most of the space for journaling the story in chapter 3.
Such a Time as This - Mordecai sends word to Esther in the palace that she must petition the king for the lives of the Jews. There ensues a back-and-forth dialogue which ends with Esther agreeing to go in to the king despite the fact that she could be killed for entering his presence without being summoned. During that conversation, Mordecai reminds her that she may have come to the position of queen for "such a time as this." I used a purple gelato to create the background for my page, then added stamping, white letters stickers, and handwriting to complete the scripture.
Sorrow into Joy - Of course, God was in control and the Jews were saved, which called for a celebration. Some of you might recognize this page from the Scrappin' Goodtime display Bible as one of my not-so-stellar Bible journaling pages, however, as I took time to cut the banner pieces from patterned paper scraps and choose letter stickers for the wording, I was also thinking about God's provision and how often He has turned my own sorrow into joy.
For this page in my journaling Bible, I added a polka dot napkin because polka dots go with celebrations, right. Then I simply used letter sticker for the journaling.
The primary reason for the celebration of Purim is to remember how God saved the Jews from annihilation, so Jan's illustration at the end of the book is perfect!
Lessons - There are so many lessons in this short book! Minetta listed some of them in the margin of her Bible using a combination of handwriting, stamping and letter stickers.
I've obviously simplified and shortened Esther's story here in this blog post, and I hope you're inspired to take a fresh look at this dramatic book! Have you read and/or illustrated the book of Esther? Which part of Esther's story resonates most with you?