Ruth

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I am Ruth and I live in Moab. When a famine hit the family of Elimelech moved here, his wife, Naomi and sons Chilian and Mahlon. Orpah and I were married to them, but of time, all the men died and Naomi was grieved and bitter, even calling herself, Mara, like the bitter waters.

She urged Orpah and I to return to our own families and remarry and that she would return to Bethlehem. Naturally, we did not want her to leave but she insisted, making the statement that she could no longer bear sons and if  she could it would be a long tie to wait for them. We knew she was distraught.

For whatever reason, Orpah decided to go home, bit I was persistent and told Naomi that her people were mine, her God, my God and wherever she went that I would go. So we set off to find her old house. After a long journey, we arrived with very little.

There was a lot of work that had to be done. We swept floors, and there was a little water in the well. Then we slept a while before eating our last bit of bread in the morning. Naomi told me of a kinsman with a nearby field and said that I was to go there and glean, so we could eat. I took a basket and left, it was all so different to me, but it felt right.

After a while in the fields, I was tired. Boaz, the owner let the poor and widowed glean from the corners of the field. That even we had some soup, it was all I could do to stay awake. Then I met  Boaz, he had been told of me and that I was caring for Naomi. He had ordered the men not to bother me and that the women give me water, I found out that he was having handfuls of grain being left on purpose for me. My work was lighter.

Boaz even came to visit us and brought food, some livestock and wine. We had a wonderful dinner. Then he sent servants to repair roof and pens and to dig a new well. When the time of harvest came Naomi told me that I should go to field at night after the celebrations and sleep at his feet, if he covered me, I would be his bride. She said it was the custom among kinsman redeemers.

I was not sure if I was ready to love again, but I had promised to go with her and do as she bade me too. Boaz was handsome, and rode a magnificent steed. He was a dashing figure as he cut across the green hillsides and disappeared into a blue sky every afternoon. More than that, he had been kind to me, protected me, and lightened a heavy load. Naomi’s bitterness was fading, and grief was becoming joy, now that she was warm, clothed and fed.

There was nothing for me in Moab. But God had a plan for me here. After it was dark and most everyone had gone home, I returned in the moonlight and sought out Boaz. I found him asleep and lay at his feet, in the morning I awoke covered in his cloak and asked for my hand in marriage but told me there one other kinsman to consider and he would have to tell him of this, now I was concerned, ” Who was this man, and would he claim me? ”

Boaz went to meet him and sat in a meeting of elders. He was given a shoe as proof that the claim was renounced and we were free to marry. It was a wonderful wedding and feast and I was never happier. I could stand outside and see the fields as mistress of the house, I would sent handmaidens out to leave grain for the women less fortunate, made sure they had water and even took them wine and cheese, clusters of grapes nd figs. I knew what it was like to be alone. a widow and be hungry, to work hard to care for someone else.

I looked across to see Naomi’s house. She was overjoyed to hold my son Obed, and for years to come she would care for him. I was safe and happy in the arms of Boaz, and our son would have a son, Jesse, who would have seven sons and one would one day be a king. God was good to this Moabitess,  I am even in the lineage of Jesus. I was grateful that Naomi’s people were my people and her God my God, and she was grateful for a daughter in law who stayed and was her closest friend.

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Avi Richards / Unslpash

Elizabeth

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I am Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin. For a long time my husband, Zacharias, have wanted a child. One day, as he tended the duties in the temple an angel of the Lord appeared and spoke to him saying we would have a son and to call his name John.

When he questioned the word of the Lord, he was made mute and has not spoken a word for months. He can only write what he needs to say. Now, Mary is coming and n my belly I can feel the son I will bear leap for joy with the Spirit in his heart.

I took Mary aside and she confided in me that she was with child and had also been visited by the angel. I knew my cousin to be pure and truthful. She was betrothed to Joseph. Then Mary told me that he was not the father, nor any man but the child was a gift of God. The Spirit had indeed place a babe there, for she began to show and stayed with us a while before returning to marry Joseph.

When John was born people were asking what we would name him. Zacharias wrote John and his tongue loosed. John would be a second cousin to Jesus and live in the wilderness proclaiming baptism and repentance. Many came to believe and would declare upon seeing Jesus coming forward that He was the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

When Jesus was baptized it was face forward, afterwards, people will be baptized backward. The Bible calls it John’s baptism. Jesus will baptize with fire and the Spirit. Mary suffered greatly as He was crucified. We were all grief stricken, I had know that suffering from my own son’s death, and even he had begun to doubt Jesus.

Yet, He rose again proving He was our Messiah, and I was blessed to have been with He and Mary, and to have them in my family.

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Mohammed Abdelgeffar / Unsplash

Mary’s Heartbreak

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Look at my face. I have a special reverence for my God, my name is Mary, I am not much more than a girl yet chosen by God to bring forth His Son. The Immaculate Conception, the Holy Spirit gently dropped a holy seed into my womb. A miracle some refuse to believe, that  a virgin bore a child or that He was crucified as the Savior of the World.

But for believers, who live by faith, they can accept God’s Word. Look at the face of a girl who lived in a time we can scarcely imagine. Under Roman rule, no modern conveniences. I changed diapers, baked bread and did laundry, much like any mother, was very busy

I was  a little weathered and worn after the long trip to Bethlehem, holding my newborn son, that she will have to hide from Herod, and later watch Him minister, perform miracles and ultimately die, the worst death ever.

I placed a swaddled babe into a stone manger, that’s what a real manger looks like. It was like a little tomb, the swaddling tight like burial clothes. I kept things in my heart, a heart that would be broken, as I saw Him crucified and place in a real tomb.

Did I know all I face? I really doubt it. God is not cruel no matter what people think, He would have to extend grace to me to even be a witness to that horror. I was chosen. It broke my heart and it broke God’s, but He so wanted to redeem mankind. He so love the world to give His Son. I was so blessed to have seen my gentle boy grow into manhood, minister and be raised by the Spirit, that descended on Him and later would fill the Upper Room and the hearts of so many.

I hope we will all pause and thank God for our many blessings, given by His grace and the mercy extended by a willing Jesus on our behalf. God had to look away from Jesus. I had to, as John held me close would. He had to look away from her, and from God into the very realms of death and hell. Father was now God forsaking Him, for a while, so He would not have to forsake us forever.

Mary did you know? I don’t think I could have ever dreamed my life would be as it was.  Jesus changes everything with His love.

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I could not find someone to credit for the photo.

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Deborah The Judge

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It is a warm day and I have seen so many people in the shade of my palm tree, I am Deborah, a judge over Israel. I hold a high office, not many women in this day are so esteemed. It is the end of the day and I have seen my last person in a long line of complaints.

I should be going home to my husband, Lappidoth, yet I am summoning Barak to gather men from the tribes to go to battle against Sisera, who has oppressed us for some twenty years. The commander of the great army said to me that he would go if I would and if I would not.

I said that I would go but that he would not get the glory for the battle or the victory. Being a prophetess, as well as a judge, it was given to me to know that Sisera would be delivered into the hands of a woman.

So Barak went to Mt. Tabor with ten thousand men from the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, I told him the Lord was giving us the battle against Sisera and his nine hundred chariots of iron. Barak had pursued them and all the men killed. But before Sisera was slain with a sword, he escaped on foot and to the tent of Heber the Kenite, whose people were descended from the father-in-law of Moses.

His wife, Jael came out and spoke to him. He was tired and asked for water. Realizing there was peace between Heber and the Canaanite king, he took refuge there. Jael offered him milk and a place to lie down. She opened his milk and covered him with  rug. But while he slept, she took a peg that was used to pitch tents, theirs was far off, and she nailed it into his temple and he died.

While Sisera’s mother watched for his chariot and mourned him, Deborah’s prophecy was true and he had been delivered into the hands of a woman. And Barak would arrive at the tent and Jael offered to show him the man he sought. And the people fought even harder against Jabin the Canaanite king.

Deborah wrote a poem about Jael, she was also likely a writer of songs and poetry. The other Deborah in the Bible is Rebekah’s beloved nurse back in Genesis, this story is in Judges 4.

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The Liar Delilah

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I am Delilah, I live in the valley of Sorek. My story continues the end of a judge’s life, Samson. Now he is causing the Philistines trouble and they have come to me asking if I could be the one that will discover the secret of his strength. I had no idea of the true God. My people worship Dagon and some many gods, I am not interested in pleasing them, rather, how men can please me.

And it pleases me to see the wealth poured out before me upon the cloaks of kings. They have a deal, and Samson, is as good as theirs. Samson has carried away the gates of a city, slew a thousand men, demanding a wife from another town  Samson sent his father to get him one and he is a man or riddles and when she tells the answer, he kills men to pay off the bet of new clothes. When people kill her and burn the house, he goes and burns fields tying torches to foxes tails. Having  already lost a wife, he sees himself as a ladies man. It will be easy to entice him.

He was born to Hazeleponi and Manoah, after an angel visited them, I would find out later that this Angel of the Lord was none other than Jesus. Samson may have been a man of God but he was foolish at times. Yet, he a thorn in the side of the Philistines, they are taking advantage of his womanizing and hiring me, Delilah, to find out his secret. Why is he so strong? We will soon find out.

Samson has found himself in the company of a beautiful and desirable woman. Our eyes met from being my best veil. He was smitten. I am is not above using myself as bait for the Philistine trap, after all, I am being well paid.

Night after night, I entertain Samson, and encourage his riddles and games, even lust, in order to find out the source of his strength. Fine food and wine persuade him and passion drives him. And night after night, I bind him and he breaks free as I call to him, ” Samson, the Philistines are upon you. ” But one night, whether just giving in, tired of games, drunken or drunken in the arms of wicked passion, he told me, and fell asleep.

As he lay across my knees, I had a servant shave the seven locks from his head. So much for Nazarite vows. This time, when I called out that the Philistines were upon him, they had him, I was not expecting them to gouge out his eyes but hey did. I took my money and left the tent while they bound him and took him to Gaza, where he was made to turn a mill.

Later, they had not noticed his hair growing back and took him to an arena to celebrate their false god. They had him tied between two pillars to continue to mock him and make sport of a man they had once feared. I was at the coliseum for the ceremonies. I had to see him one more time.

Occasionally, I had thought how my deception lured him in, but he was just as much to blame with his own ego and I was not the cause of his blindness, he brought that on himself thinking no one could defeat him.

As the ceremonies went on Samson prayed and asked God to let him die with his enemies, and he was strong enough once again to crack the pillars and cause a ripple or domino effect on the supports, and the man who was a fool was not being laughed at now as he died with many Philistines, and as I ran from falling stone, I fell with my money and was trampled by crowds. I was his betrayer after all, Delilah. And now I am paying the price for my lies.

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Remember, Samson was strong because the Holy Spirit came upon him, after Jesus came the Spirit is in believers and there is a subsequent baptism. Whether Delilah, which means delicate, knew they would blind him or was killed with him, I don’t know for sure but will add any further research.

Hazeleponi

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I am called Hazeleponi or just Zeleponi. though I am not named in the Bible, it is a traditional name, there I am simply referred to as Manoah’s wife. I was walking in the fields one day, as I have done so many other days when I had a strange encounter with a man who appeared to know me, but how could He?

I had never seen Him before, but it was if he could perceive my thoughts, that I had wanted a son, and He told me that I would have one. How could I not believe Him? His face and manner was kind and when he was gone, I wondered if I had been visited by an angel of God. He gave me instructions on raising my son.

I ran home. I must have been spilling grain and fruits. Manoah took hold of me, ” What is the matter with you? ” he demanded to know. When I caught my breath and breathed a sigh of relief, I told him my story, I don’t think he believed me at first but he prayed for the Lord to send the man again.

Manoah wanted me to show him where I had seen the Angel of the Lord, I did. But no one was there when  I took him later to see the place it was nearing sunset the next day. We walked and walked. So we went home.

Then when I was alone again suddenly, there He was and He shone in God’s glory. I ran to get my husband. Manoah thought we were going to die, but I had believed this man. When once again He confirmed His words to my doubting husband, Manoah asked Him His name.

The Angel of the Lord asked him why he wanted to know it, that it was secret. Once again after refusing a meal but accepting an offering, He was gone. But I did become the mother of Samson, and made sure he kept the vows he was supposed to, at least until he was grown and I had no longer a mother’s influence on him. He was a judge over Israel, and a problem for the Philistines. Samson caused this mother’s heart great concern.

One day, he demanded Manoah get him a wife from another land, I reminded him of his vows but he laughed and picked me up in his arms, telling me not to worry.  But how could I not? Samson was always joking and spouting his riddles, he lost his wife Naamah because of them. In retaliation he burned their vineyards, tying burning branches to foxes tails. My son was with many prostitutes before winding up with a woman in Sorek.

She was responsible for his  capture, blindness and death. Yet, Samson was not without blame, he sinned before God, and Delilah and the Philistines were upon him. And my heart was broken, I turned to prayer once more.

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I embellished this a little, his wife is not named, but Naamah is a Biblical name. And the Angel of the Lord is very likely a pre-incarnate Jesus, He says that His name is secret or wonderful in some translations. The Hebrew word for secret can translate to it and Isaiah calls Him wonderful, 9:6.

Milad Shams / Unsplash

Sheera

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I am called Sheera. I am not as well known as many of the women in the Bible. My name is recorded in 1 Chronicles 7:24, when it mentions my birth and the fact that built three cities. Women did not usually fill such roles in society, yet, I was a woman of strength and courage, and made many plans, I could work with men and so I saw my cities take form.

I built three cities, two of them were Lower and Upper Beth Horon, located in the hill country of Ephraim, Joshua 18:13-14, as well as Uzzen Sheerah, which there is no location recorded. However, it is the only Biblical city names for a woman.

I used my inheritance and influence to inspire builders and craftsmen and forged dwellings in the hills where people would be protected from attackers. There were many homes and family had many children to fill them.

There were many shops and a marketplace in Uzzen Sheerah. And a  fountain where women could draw water ad caravans would water their camels. There was bread, fruits, figs and melons, wine and grapes from nearby vineyards.

Cheeses and fleece were brought from the hills, and I myself, was afforded a place of luxury as I used my wisdom to create, when others would destroy. I went on to become the Proverbs 31 woman written about much later.

Though few have even heard of me, I made a name for myself, by building cities and having a career and family. I hope my story is an inspiration to other women that you can do what God wants you to do and be what He wants you to be, my name means related by blood and I hope that I am considered a kindred spirit to women of today.

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Sheera is relatively unknown and I had to guess at what she may have been like. She might have had her own remodeling show today.

For Such A Time As This

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For such a time as this,

I walk alone…

Dare I open golden doors,

To my king upon his throne?

I am exhausted from the fast.

Every step is an ordeal.

Here I am at last,

Not knowing how to feel.

I can only hear the words of Mordecai.

For such a time as this, here am I.

Not here at his command,

I pray he will understand.

There is my king offering me his hand,

And soon all the land will know.

I did what I had to do.

I must tell him I’m a Jew.

I sit beside him on the throne.

Because with God I never walk alone.

Haman is sipping his wine,

When I offer for them to dine.

Tomorrow, the sorrow will be over.

I shall prepare them a feast.

Then I tell the king I am to die,

Remembering uncle Mordecai.

For such a time as this,

It was why I was born.

Chosen by the king,

To be bejeweled and adorned.

” Who is to take my dear, your life?

You are my queen, my wife! ”

“It is Haman, that is who.

He wants to kill each and every Jew!

Now, you know your queen,

Is Jewish too.

Hadassah was my name,

It was changed for you.

God is my witness,

What I say is all so true. ‘

Now the king spared his Esther,

For she was brave and bold.

And rules again from a throne of gold.

For such a time as this,

Haman is no more.

All because I came boldly to the throne.

And did not walk alone, God opened every door.

I did not perish, I was cherished.

And Jews will rejoice this very day, forevermore.

Because I obeyed,

What my Lord had to say. “

These song lyrics are under copyright.

Rebecca Jones

Jennifer Marquez / Unsplash

Queen Esther

My name is Hadassah, it means myrtle tree. I live with my uncle Mordecai who works for the king. I was outside one afternoon when soldiers came and one tried to drag me away. He recognized Mordecai, who demanded my release.

He let me go and I slid from his horse but soon I was right back. Though he respected my uncle, he was on a mission for the king. It appears he has banished the queen, Vashti, for refusing to dance for the men at his feast. I could not blame her, really. But she was gone and Ahaseurus was looking for a new queen.

The soldiers were ordered to scour the land for the most beautiful of women. ” I am not so beautiful. ” I shouted. Mordecai took my hand and put me back on the horse, and brushed my tears away. ” You are lovely, Hadassah. And this may be the will of God. He will decide for you. Perhaps, you were born for such a time as this. “

At the palace, I was put into the care of a eunuch, I found out later what that meant, Ahmad was kind to me and the dozens of other girls in his care. He would often meet with Salman who was the bedroom guard. And he would be the one who would be in charge of the new queen’s apartment, as she did not live with the king but only came when summoned. I had so much to learn.

I went through months of beauty treatments and baths. I was bathed in myrrh and my hair was black and silky and combed with sandalwood. A woman named Yasmin would put on our make up and Farah would bring us clothes, scarves and linens, shoes, she had traveled far and wide and had rooms full of them, silks and veils. It was like a dream, but I was still lonely. We would listen to music and take walks in the garden. Every girl wanted to be the queen. Not me, how could Mordecai believe this was me, I saw him only on a occasion. The girls were under supervision of a matron named Avalie, she was strong and no one dared get her temper showing.

Finally, the day arrived when the king began to see girls, by the dozens, they were to walk to the throne, kneel and state their name, and look him in the eye or speak unless asked. Day after day, girls were sent home or given work around the palace. Some were even slaves or concubines, should their parents be debtors or having none. I was grateful for Mordecai to have taken me in. And fortunate to have been educated.

One day, Ahmad, came and told me that now my name would be Esther, explaining that it meant star. And he told me the magicians and astrologers were sure the queen would bear a heavenly name. I told him that it was not the practice of my people, but that astronomers could read the stars as God saw fit and that the sons of Issachar were given knowledge of times and seasons. So he listened intently, amazed that we only worshipped one God.

And then one day, I was called into a group and was to go before the king. I chose an Egyptian gown and beaded headdress, golden rings, bracelets and cape that was also golden and flowed as a passed before the throne. I bowed only slightly, not looking up. He had barely paid attention to several others, hopefully, I could go home.

But that was not to be. Mordecai was right, the king asked my name,  ” Esther, ” I replied. He asked me to look at him, and reluctantly I did. The king said I could go as Haman appeared at the door. I felt something like a cruel wind as I passed him and I told Mordecai of this. It was as if I had to warn him.

I found out later that I was chosen to be queen, many girls were happy for many and many reviled me. I did not know what to think. I was taken by Ahmad to Salman, who informed him that he too was to be a bedroom guard for me. They escorted me to a lavish room and soon Farah was bringing in clothes accompanied by four other girls who were to be my handmaidens and prepare me for my wedding day.

They were Cyra, Parisia, Khina and Rahele, they were all under my command as were Ahmad and Salman. I could see Mordecai more often. He too, was beginning to suspect something was wrong in the palace.

Then came the wedding day and I was now no longer Hadassah, a young girl with little life experience but Queen Esther and expected to be everything the king expected me to be. I dined with him only once before and now tonight, I am summoned once more to his chambers, there is a feast, wine, grapes. Golden goblets and plates and gifts for me, and plush bed as large if made from the cedars of Lebanon.

Later, I discovered that Mordecai had convinced the king to eliminate all the Jews, he had signed a decree. On the thirteenth day of Adar, the massacre was to begin. What was I to do. Mordecai was right, I must have been chosen for this time, but what was I to do.

The word is out, my people are to be annihilated. Mordecai has gotten word to Ahmad and we meet secretly in the garden. He tells me to fast and pray for three days, it is all we know to do to trust God to spare our lives somehow. I went to my rooms, the handmaidens agreed and we took one last drink of water, and ate one piece of fruit before removing it all from sight.

I sent everyone on their way, but Farah and Rahele wished to remain. I could not say no. They promised not to leave even though they had packed a trunk for us and had planned an escape route. I said we had to have faith, and we all went to take a nap.

By the evening hunger had set in, and thirst, worry filled our goblets in place of wine. I told the the stories of my people how God had saved them from slavery in Egypt and even parted the sea for them to cross. It was cooler at at night and we went to sleep peacefully after prayer.

But on the second day we grew weaker, it was hard to resist the temptation to eat or drink. We prayed all the more, then the third day, we were exhausted, drained of all sustenance and the possibility of death lingered like a shadow over the palace. Poor Mordecai, he had high hopes for me, was I truly the one?

On the next morning, the sun awakened me, and I drank some water. While the handmaidens were there with food, I summoned the strength to refuse. Seeing the king was more important, though I had not been summoned.

The handmaidens help me to dress, I am wearing the gown her first saw me in. I take my golden cape and head to the throne room, they ask me not to go. Even Ahmad, bows before me on the way and pleads with me to remember Vashi. How could I forget her? She is why I am here, for such a tie as this. I take his hand and tell him God is with me, if I perish, I perish, but we have believed, surely he will influence the king.

It took all my strength to open the doors, everyone is looking. Haman is there, but as I walk through the crowd, he extends the scepter. I sit upon my throne and ask him would he pleased if I prepared him a feast tomorrow. He agreed, and I told him that Haman was welcome to join us. He agreed too.  Then the king had wine brought to us, and I bade him farewell until tomorrow. I sent Ahmad to tell Mordecai.

The next morning was spent preparing the feast, I was still hungry from the fast, though I had eaten. When they had had their fill, I relaxed on my couch, the king saw that I was troubled and asked me why. I explained to him that my life was in danger. He was livid asking who had threatened me. When I relied that it was Haman because I was a Jew, the blood rushed from his face and fell upon pleading that it was not his intention, but he was arrested and executed on the gallows and the king rescinded the order to wipe out the Jews on the 13th of Adar, and my people rejoiced with the queen sent by heaven to save them, for such a time as this.image

Esther was my mother’s pick as well as several other ladies. Happy Mother’s Day! I’m attaching my next post as a bonus.

Hannah

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I am Hannah, my name means grace.  I am married to Elkanah, he has another wife Peninah and she has been fertile while I remain barren. I believe he loves me but I am heartbroken, and Peninah makes it worse always taunting me about being childless.

When I became so distraught that I could not eat or sleep, which was quite often, I would pray to God or even go to the temple. One day, when I had had enough, I sought out God in prayer to again plead with Him for a child. I even promised to give the child back to him if he was a boy and worthy of priesthood. I cried and prayed, for so long that old Eli, the priest thought me to have been a drunken or loose woman. I explained my plight to him.

Later, I had a son and named him Samuel, which means God listens or hears and He did. I took good care of him, and it silenced Peninah for a time. Elkanah was proud of his son. But the time came when he was growing and fully weaned, I began to recall the promise I made to God.

I would take him to the temple, but just before he turned six, I made him some new clothes and packed him a bag. I explained to him the promise though he did not understand. I told him he was to live with Eli and I would visit hi often, but we had to obey the Most High God, I had not lied about dedicating my son’s life to him, I prayed for the grace to bear our parting.

I saw Samuel and he was eager to learn from Eli, I was glad to see him laugh and smile, even though he would cry when I left. But as he grew older he began to hear the voice of God calling him, he even woke Eli who told Samuel that it was not he but the Lord, Himself.

Samuel became a great prophet of God, and gave me the grace to watch him grow after leaving the child I loved. I hope my story will bless someone and give them hope. If you are a woman of faith and desire a child, God will hear. He heard me.

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Amir Soltani / Unsplash