Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl named Cinderella who held the world at her feet. She lived a fairytale life with loving parents, a big house, and all the money in the world. Love. Protection. Security. Worth. She had what other girls only dream of. But tragedy is no respecter of persons. Like a pandemic, it visits the poor and wealthy alike. It knocked on her castle door and took her most valuable possession, her mother. Her perfectly woven world unraveled when her father married a cruel hearted woman before his own sudden death. Just like that, Cinderella became one of us. Vulnerable in a broken world.
Cinderella’s wicked stepmother had two daughters whose outer qualities reflected their inner ugliness. They were the spitting image of their mother. They moved into Cinderella’s room. Shoved their feet in her shoes. Adorned themselves with her jewelry. Lived her privileged life while she became an orphaned slave girl in the dungeon of her own castle. Cinderella grieved the life she once knew while scrubbing floors and waiting on her stepmother and stepsisters, hand and foot.
A knock at the door delivered three special invitations from the royal palace. The handsome prince was hosting a grand ball. The stepsisters danced with glee as they ripped open their invitations. They tossed Cinderella’s invitation aside. She would not be attending the ball. She had chores to do. Besides, why would the prince associate with the likes of her? A knot formed in Cinderella’s throat as she choked back tears.
On the day of the ball, Cinderella served as her stepsisters’ personal stylist. She fixed their hair in fancy waves and curls. Helped them put on expensive new dresses. Arranged their jewels just so. With each stroke of their hair, she longed for her mother. To sit at the dressing table for hours while her mother brushed her hair. To feel her mother’s gentle touch, adjust the jewels adorning her neck. She longed to hear her father tell her she was beautiful as she descended the grand stairway. But that girl was gone now. A frail frame was all that remained beneath layers of filth and rags. She had lost so much more than possessions and privilege. Stripped of dignity, vulnerability exposed her deepest insecurities.
As soon as she heard the giggles of her stepsisters fade in the distance, Cinderella sat down by the fire and wept. The tears held back, now poured like spring rains washing away the remnants of a long winter. She cried until there was nothing left within her to mourn. She dried her puffy eyes and peered through the midst that lingers following the rain. Much to her surprise, a beautiful woman stood before her with a silver wand in her hand. She politely introduced herself as Cinderella’s fairy godmother before handing her a supply list. Cinderella blinked to focus as she gazed upon the unusual list. A pumpkin. Six mice. A whiskered rat. And six lizards.
As Cinderella scurried back with the supplies, the fairy godmother touched them with the tip of her wand. To Cinderella’s amazement, the pumpkin became a coach. The mice became six grey horses. The rat became a coachman with the most enormous moustache. The lizards became six footmen. The grandest transformation of all was Cinderella. With one touch of the magical wand, her old dress bedazzled with sparkling jewels. Her feet were fitted with the prettiest pair of glass slippers ever seen, a custom fit just for her. As Cinderella stepped up into the coach, her fairy godmother said, “Remember, you must leave the ball before the clock strikes twelve because at midnight the magic ends.”
Cinderella’s beauty was showstopping. Even her stepsisters envied the girl in the sparkly dress. She captured the attention of the prince as she approached the stairway. His look told her she was beautiful. She had only seen the look in one other person, her father. The prince knew the girl at the top of the stairway would be his dance partner for the rest of his life. He met her at the bottom of the stairs and extended his hand. Cinderella lost herself in his embrace until the clock began to strike. One. Two. Three. She pulled away from the prince and hurried out of the ballroom. Four. Five. Six. One of her glass slippers fell off as she scurried down the stairs exiting the castle. Seven. Eight. Nine. She ran towards the coach. Ten. Eleven. Twelve. The magic ended. Cinderella returned to a world of despair.
The prince ran after her, but the glass slipper was the only evidence of her existence. The first light of dawn brought a search for the girl in the glass slipper. The prince went from house to house searching for her. Young women throughout the kingdom tried to squeeze their foot into the petite shoe, but there was only one match. The Prince was determined to find her.
The stepsisters greeted the prince when he came to Cinderella’s house. They were determined to make the slipper fit. The first sister tried to squash her foot into the slipper, but her foot was too wide and fat. The other sister’s foot was too long and thin. Cinderella slipped her foot into the glass slipper and it fit perfectly. The prince found her – the beautiful girl with the glass slippers. As he pulled her close, he whispered, “You are so beautiful.” His gentle words silenced the voices in her head that told her otherwise. The condemnation of her stepmother and stepsisters.
Love. Protection. Security. Worth. Our heavenly Father adorns us with these jewels. Like Cinderella’s stepsisters, the enemy attempts to rob us of our crown, our destiny. In her book, Having a Mary Spirit, Joanna Weaver writes, “He (Satan) insists we’re nothing more than barefoot Cinderellas, beggar girls trying to find our way back home, with no happily-ever-after to close our stories and no handsome Prince to call our own.”
Cinderella’s prince knocked on every door in the kingdom to find her. Your Prince is searching for you. You are chosen, cherished, and created to fulfill God’s plans for your life. Open the door to your happily ever after. The life you long for awaits on the other side of fear. Let’s go get your crown!