So…Cinderella’s playing in the background while I get dinner ready. The mice are singing, sewing, cavorting as I get a homemade pizza in the oven.
I come out of the kitchen, watch as the mice unveil their hard work to Cinderella and it hits me – I’m a Cinderella.
No, I didn’t have a cruel stepmother – I have a normal mom (and dad) who loves me very much.
I don’t have stepsisters continually pushing me down, crushing my spirit and making light of my trials and tribulations. My brother and sister are pretty normal, too.
I don’t have talking mice as friends or birds that help me shower.
I do, however, have a Cinderella story. Lifted up out of muck and mire and mean circumstances, I was clothed in a beautiful gown and presented to a Prince. He loved me and took me to be his own.
10 Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
Forget your people and your father’s house.
11 The king is enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.
12 The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift,[b]
men of wealth will seek your favor.
13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber;
her gown is interwoven with gold.
14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
her virgin companions follow her
and are brought to you.
15 They are led in with joy and gladness;
they enter the palace of the king. (Psalm 45, NIV)
My beauty, too, was a gift.
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
and then later:
10 I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61, NIV) (Emphasis mine.)
I have two lovely daughters. They, miracle of miracles (and ongoing proof of God’s sense of humor!), are girly girls. (See the above photo!) This has caused me occasional heart palpitations. I am not a girly girl. That is likely an understatement. Thankfully, I have some friends who are well-versed in the feminine arts. And, they love me enough to step me through things I (probably) should have learned as a girl.
In the past, I have wondered how much I should encourage/discourage this (to my mind) excessive feminity. Isn’t that sad? God has given us beautiful garments…why should I discourage my girls from putting them on?
I can hear detractors saying, “But, but, what about vanity? Modesty? Pride? Etc.?”
What about them?
I teach my girls that beauty on the outside is meaningless without beauty on the inside. That charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting. That their bodies are gifts from God and it’s appropriate to keep them covered. I tell them they’re beautiful on a regular basis…they are comfortable with that thought and hopefully inoculated against hearing it from strangers with less than honorable intentions. God made them beautiful — one of my jobs as a parent is to help in the refining process: To instill discipline. To chip away at character flaws. To help them learn what it is to die to self. To help the internal beauty come to life and outshine the external — the same way that a light bulb does. We can’t see the filament beyond the opaque, fragile shell of the bulb, but an intact filament is what gives the bulb value. There are a lot of beautiful people out there whose filaments are broken – their beauty is cold and brittle…skin deep.
Thankfully, God can fix them. He can give them a Cinderella story of their own, where they can sing with John Newton about finding new life and the ability to truly see. I long for the day when my girls fully understand that God sees value in them: value that surpasses shiny fabric and sparkly shoes. He made them. He can re-make them, re-writing and perfecting where my all too human parenting skills have fallen short…
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
When was the last time you reminded yourself that you are God’s workmanship?
Feel free to comment and thanks for reading!