Esther is often seen as a story of bravery and courage - standing up for what is right, even when the consequences could mean your life. Those are all very prominent and relevant, but there are some incredible encouragements that are not as commonly talked about. Esther is also a story of how the Lord can redeem all situations, and how He is with us in the waiting periods. 

There is a crucial character in the beginning of the book who is overlooked by almost everyone. It is the person who made the story of Esther possibly. The person who's pain allowed a way for the Lord's redemption. 

Queen Vashti.

We don't know much of anything about her. She was dethroned and was never allowed to enter the presence of King Xerxes again. She disrespected her husband, the king, and lost all of her royalty. I think it can be assumed that her whole life changed. That one decision impacted her living situation, income security, relationship, friendships, comfort, stability. Her life was turned completely upside down because of one action that she made. 
An abundance of pain, uncertainty, and loneliness probably flooded her life. But that is all we are left with for the written narrative of Vashti. She is forgotten about as we turn our attention to Esther. Yet, through all of this, the story of Esther could not have happened without Vashti. Had she made a different choice that night, and done as the king had asked, there would have never been an opportunity for Esther to step into the role of queen. 
But the Lord redeemed her pain. Through her world shattering, the Lord was able to place Esther in a position of power to save the entire Jewish population. The Jews were able to rise up in the strength of the Lord, with Esther at the front as their leader. But this was all through the redemption of Vashti's pain. 
Our pain is not always redeemed in our own lives. Sometimes it is a catalyst for redemption in someone else's story. 

"Somebody, somewhere is depending on you to do what God has called you to do."

And then there's the waiting period.

Not only did Vashti have to wait for the redemption of her pain, but Esther had to wait to see the reason she had been chosen as queen. 
Let's break down the timeline really quick.
After the announcement had been made that they required all the women to come, after the travelling to the location where she was request - Esther had to go through a year of beauty treatments before she was even allowed to be in the presence of the king to be considered for being crowed the queen. 
After she was crowned, she waited at least another five years for Mordecai (her cousin), to come to her and disclose the plot that was being created against the Jews. 
When she decided that she would go to the king and beg him to save her people, she waited another week to give her request to him.
That is a lot of waiting. That's not even close to the amount of waiting that some of the people in the Bible have done. 

Imagine being taken from your life, your family, everything you know, to be the wife to a king who you don't actually know anything about. She may have been living a better material life than she was before, but she could no longer associate herself with her family and friends. They were Jewish and she could not risk exposing her nationality. 
Then waiting at least six years total for the Lord to use your position of power for his will.
I would have given up on the lord.
I would have thought that He didn't actually put me in that position for any particular reason.

Waiting periods can be full of mind numbing silence from the Lord. Feeling forgotten. Unimportant. Useless. 
It can be in a period of singleness. transition between jobs. After graduating college. or spiritual dryness and perceived silence.

But "I am with you always, to the end of the age" Matthew 28:20. 

"Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul. He's in the waiting." Kristen Dimarco. 

The Lord redeems pain. The Lord redeems waiting. He has not left you yet.

xx Syd