Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Our Cinderella Stories


My eight-year-old niece Devon and I were driving to the historic Rollins College campus to watch her school stage a production of “Cinderella,” when she casually announced that she already saw it.

“How? What are you talking about?” I asked her. 

My sister got the tickets for us months ago when she asked if I’d take Devon since she’d be out of town.

“The high schoolers rehearsed it for us second-graders yesterday so we took a field trip to the theatre and I got to sit in the front row,” she said. 

Well, that certainly beats our balcony seats by a mile. 


When we first talked about seeing it, Devon wan’t very interested. She said she didn’t even know who Cinderella was {this seems implausible for a child who lives in Orlando}, but she prefers puppies over princesses and fairy tales have never held much fascination for her.

But I think the story drew her in, as it does for most of us girls. A prince, a magical evening at a glamorous ball and a shoe that fits perfectly. 

Cinderella gets me thinking about dreams like no other story can. 

But it’s the fairy tale part that trips me up. 

Cinderella's life seems to change overnight. One day she’s a scullery maid, toiling away in obscurity and the next she’s marrying the prince and moving to the palace.


But in this rendition of the story, it was what she did with the time in-between that made the difference. Despite being overlooked and feeling neglected and unloved, she sang, she dreamed, she hoped.

It’s not easy but there’s great worth to be found in this waiting space if we approach it with a heart set on perseverance

It’s what we do with this great gap between what our past holds and what is yet to come that impacts our story.

I don’t know about you, but I feel as if I’m always waiting for something. 

I’ve waited for acceptance letters and job offers and houses to sell. I’ve waited for changes to reshape me, new habits to take effect and fresh patterns to emerge. 

And I’m still waiting. 


On future plans and ideas, and wondering {every so often} if there’s still a prince roaming around out there with my {high-heeled} glass slipper that matches the one buried in my closet.

But I’ve learned to welcome the wait. Because it’s here in this vast space that I can savor the breathtaking and awe-inspiring heart of God. This hard and holy place is where I’ve encountered him in surprising and startling ways. 

Waiting gives me the opportunity to invite God into this sweeping expanse of my uncertainty. 

Distance and difficulty make room for miracles. 

It’s here that my faith gains confidence and I’ve fixed my heart securely on the assurance that God is writing my Cinderella story.


It’s taken a few years but I’m beginning to regard differently these days of my life.

I have something different for you. 

Those were the words I heard when I asked God why this story of mine seemed so different from my friends and other women my age. When even I fumble to answer the oft-asked, “Why haven’t you ever gotten married?”

But these days are for him. To encounter the one who pursues me because when I seek him, God promises to be found. 

Maybe you’ve long ago given up on a dream, a pathway or plan or even the seed of an idea planted in your heart. 

When the clock struck midnight and Cinderella found herself back in the middle of her old circumstances, she thought time had ticked down and her dream was over. 

But a new chapter in Cinderella's story was just beginning.


Can I tell you that it’s not too late? 

Even if it looks very different than you first thought it would, your God-whispered dream can still come to life. 

For me. And for you too.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. - Hab. 3:17-18

Turns out, I think Devon actually liked seeing the play twice since she seemed a little star-struck by Cinderella. As we drove home she told me her class got an unexpected surprise on their field trip.

“We got to meet Cinderella,” she said. “She saw us having lunch and came over to take a picture with us.” 

I told her that sounded just like what a real princess would do.

“Well you know, she’s not really a princess,” Devon said. “Her real name is Sarah and she’s in eighth grade.”

I think she wanted to make sure I had the story straight. 

Just in case I still believed in fairy tales.


I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Click the image to join us there for more posts from my blogger friends!



18 comments:

  1. Oh my, I LOVE LOVE that wonderful old plate!

    And this, too ... 'I don’t know about you, but I feel as if I’m always waiting for something.'

    Every visit here is oh-so-good, friend. I'm really grateful that He's allowed our paths to cross in this season.

    Oh ... and did I tell you I adore that PLATE????

    ;-}

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  2. Linda,
    Isn't that plate great?! It's the scenes of Cinderella -- and it was a little hard to capture with the camera --but I came across it in a vintage store years ago and I think it's quite the find! Linda, I am so glad that our paths have crossed and I'm just delighted to share your journey on your God-sized adventure -- love your encouragement here -- always!

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  3. Hmmm how do you know exactly what I need to hear?? ♥♥♥ Your sweet words are a balm to my soul and I love this truth "I have something different for you." One thing that's been on my mind is to worship in the wait.... that's the most God honoring thing we can do. Honored to be waiting here with you friend ♥

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    1. Thank you Heather! Worship in the wait -- beautiful words -- love that! :)

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  4. Love the part about waiting space... I feel like that is almost always applicable, but I never thought of it in that way! Beautiful post!

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    1. Brittany,
      Waiting has its treasure but I've found I have to dig deep to find them but it's always worth it!

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    2. I agree! And such a great way to look at things!

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  5. Valerie- Thanks so much for this- It is hitting a perfect spot in my heart tonight. I have been struggling with something all day- Letting it go has been so hard for me, and I asked God today about that- about why it is so hard and what to do about it- accepting His different plan is so hard for me in this situation- I like my plan- it seems so much better - and in the middle of it -it is hard to see the good sometimes- I will think about the waiting as being a good place to be- Thanks for reminding me that He isn't finished and that the closeness that can come in the wait is so beautiful and is precious time well spent with Him- Anyway thank you so much for this- a answer to my morning prayer. sending love and hugs tonight!

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    1. Susie,
      Your encouragement is so very much appreciated, friend! I love how you said you liked your plan -- it seems so much better but you feel like God has a different idea for you. I wonder if in this hard situation for you, he wants to bring something beautiful out of the more difficult task of accepting his plan? Praying for that for you today and hoping you sense his presence!

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    2. Thank you so much Valerie!! I am thankful for you! :)

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  6. I love how you give us such hope in those waiting places, Valerie. "Because it’s here in this vast space that I can savor the breathtaking and awe-inspiring heart of God. This hard and holy place is where I’ve encountered him in surprising and startling ways." Thank you! Hugs!

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    1. Trudy,
      Always love your encouraging words! Waiting is a hard spot to be in but I think if we continue to hope in what God has for us, that pleases him!

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  7. God is writing my Cinderella story.
    As a girl who grew up loving Cinderella, I love that line! :)

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    1. Sarah,
      What girl doesn't like Cinderella?! :) Even my niece does now that she's met her! :)

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  8. Hi Valerie! I enjoy hearing about everyday experiences, and then how they can teach us about our selves and our spirits. This was great!
    "I have something different for you." What exciting news! It might seen confusing, but what a gift to know there's a plan with love behind it.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Ceil,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I've learned to try to see my everyday experiences through the lens of God's perspective. Love what you said -- that God has a plan with his love behind it -- yes! :)

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  9. What a beautiful perspective on the Cinderella story, I like to think that she was busy thinking positive thoughts and that's what brought Prince Charming around.. he was attracted to her radiant positive outlook on life.. just like yours:D

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    1. Barb,
      I'm so delighted when you visit my tiny online space! And I think Cinderella is a lovely example to aspire to -- and oh, your words are too kind! :)

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