Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Cinderella Story

Everybody loves a good story. I am no different. I love a good story...and shoes. I love shoes and good stories. Now you combine those two elements, and you've got yourself quite a good thing. In fact, it's been done before -- maybe once or twice -- and quite successfully in the form of my favorite story, Cinderella.

I don't think I'm alone when I say, as a little girl I dreamed of my prince, riding up to take me -- unworthy, common, hidden by ashes -- for his bride. But there is irony here, an irony that the story of Cinderella doesn't capture. Most little girls -- unworthy, common, and hidden away beneath the ashes -- reject at least one prince, and choose at least one troll. I was no different. It wasn't until I felt completely worthless, believed myself to be beneath common, and had made myself quite comfortable among the ashes, that a prince came along who accepted me as I was, but loved me far too much to leave me there.

When I met him, he told me right from the door, "If you're sick of the way you've been living, and you want to make some real changes, then stick with me, but if you want me to treat you the same way you've allowed yourself to be treated your entire life, find someone else." What?! He may have been a prince, but this was a guy who had chased me for months; this was a guy who'd been told "No" more times than a six year-old at Toys 'R Us! And he thinks he's just gonna walk away like that? Yep. And he would have, too, if I hadn't straightened my tail out and made a commitment to be better to myself -- for him.

As parents, one of the greatest disappointments is watching your child do something that is going to hurt them. So many times, as I have corrected my children, their first instinct is to apologize, and mine is to say, "I'm not telling you this because you've hurt me, but because I know how badly this will hurt you." My prince loves me like that. He would have never been able to stand by and watch me self-destruct, and there is absolutely no way he could have helped me in it.

But, you see, my prince is merely a picture of another Prince; the Prince who had been there my whole life, slowly, gently, and despite my greatest resistance, coaxing me out of the ashes and into His arms. But I'd always run. I was sure I wasn't good enough -- and I wasn't, but The Prince accepted me exactly the way I was.

I just never saw it that way.

Being worthy, or being uncommon, or even being clean was where He was dying -- literally -- to take me, not where I needed to be. He wanted to walk me through it; to commit to being better to myself -- for Him.

I just didn't see it that way.

Besides, there were a lot of trolls to go around. And, at least a troll was just as filthy and contemptible as I was -- if you stay at the bottom, you never have far to fall. And a troll would never expect me to be anything but unworthy, common, and hidden in ashes -- no grief and disappointment in that. And a troll would always be a troll -- no nasty surprises.

No good ones, either.

Not everyday with my prince, or my Prince, is easy, and not everything works out the way I have planned. But whatever befalls, befalls us. And whatever burdens we have, we share. And the good stuff, we enjoy together, happily, and ever after.

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