When my youngest child, Sydney, was in preschool, I worked part time and had the privilege of hanging out with her most afternoons when she got home. Much of that school year before she entered kindergarten, we did the same thing day after day when she got home. We would snuggle up together and watch her favorite movie, Mulan. We watched it over and over. We watched it so many times that she could recite every line and every note of every song of the movie. I would try to entice her with other movies, but she refused every time. I’d like to say that it drove me crazy…that I just couldn’t watch that happily ever after Disney movie another time, but the truth about me is that I love a good fairy tale story. Mulan was good, but Cinderella has always been my favorite.
It seems silly, but I loved the Disney animated Cinderella movie when I was a little girl and it’s still one of my favorite movies today. Anyone else?
What is it about the fairy tale that draws us in every time? Well, I think it’s a couple of things for me in the case of Cinderella. On many levels I relate to the oppression of Cinderella, as a woman and as a child. Something about being rescued from that life hooks my heart every time. I mean isn’t that something we dream about? Cinderella existed and endured and served and then in a moment of great despair and trouble she was given a new life…a new life with a “happily ever after” ending here on earth….THIS side of eternity. And even during her times of trouble, birds and little animals were singing and taking care of her every need. Who wouldn’t want that, right?
Growing up in a somewhat chaotic household, I would dream of the day when a handsome prince would notice me, pursue me, rescue me, throw some sweet little talking critters into the mix, and then we would live happily ever after. THE END. And it would all happen as easily and as quickly as bibbity, bobbity, boo! But if we’re keeping it real, that way of thinking really set me up for some failures. What man could live up to that? Not a single one that I know and we shouldn’t expect them to. The truth is we don’t know what happened with Cinderella and Prince charming after the honeymoon ended.
Maybe “Happily ever After” looks more like our marriages than we were led to believe.
Maybe all the little critters left and they had to find each other amongst all of the trouble and housework and kids and illnesses and earthly circumstances that we all face. Maybe Cinderella’s happily ever after was marked with struggle and disappointment. We don’t know. But we do know what Cinderella’s life was like during her journey to happily ever after.
Now as a grown woman with a clearer vision of life’s messy realities, I have to wonder how different Cinderella’s life would have been if the other women around her would have been supportive.
How would her life have been different if her step-sisters would have lifted her up…would have linked arms with her to take care of a fatherless household? How different would her nights have been if her step -mother guided her in the ways of being a woman and comforted her and shared her experiences of navigating this world with her? How could her days have been filled if they shared their thoughts and feelings about losing a parent or a spouse? How rich could all of their lives have been if instead of jealously and competition they shared compassion and understanding?
What if the other women who were a part of Cinderella’s story would have sat with her in her pain and in her joy and shared the good news of Jesus with her?
What if they would have championed her and encouraged her and loved her well? I think it would have changed everything! I think she wouldn’t have been longing for a rescue from an earthly prince if she knew that the One True King had already come for her.
Now, don’t hear me wrong, we can learn a whole bunch from our brothers in Christ and I'm so grateful we get to link arms with them as well, but there is something unique and special when we as woman come alongside one another to wrestle through life’s twist and turns. There are some things that we can only learn from another woman. I mean, who can teach us about being a wife or a mother or a grandmother or great-grandmother…only another woman. Who else is going to understand what it feels like to carry and deliver a child than another mom? Who else knows intimately the heartache of the loss of a pregnancy or the inability to conceive than another woman? Who can understand and speak wisdom to the heart of a working mom or give hope to a stay at home mom…only another woman. Who will understand the complexities of being a woman in leadership…only another woman in leadership! Because of these special connections that we have simply because we were fortunate to be created female, we have direct access to the hearts and lives and minds of half the humans on this planet!
We can use our uniqueness to bond and to encourage and champion half the population just because we are chicks!
And I find that to be pretty incredible. What an opportunity we have…what an honor and a privilege. What a responsibility. The other side of this whole thing is we need other women in our lives to do these things for us. We need other women who have lived more life than us to show us how to be Godly women, and what that looks like in a world where our very person is constantly under attack. We need to bring all women along in this journey…younger women…older women…teen women…black women…white women…brown women…women with tats and piercings…conservative women…liberal women…women with different wiring…women with different opinions…women with different experiences…ALL women. We need to link arms with each other to push back the kingdom of darkness in ways that only the hearts of women can. We need to lift each other up and support each other in ways that only women can. We need to lean into our God given gifts and uniqueness to further the Kingdom of God in ways that only we can. And through it all, together, we need to keep reminding each other that our lives really are a bit of a fairy tale…we were, after all, rescued by the King.
Ladies, we’re just better when we’re for each other! End of story…period. I think it’s just more fun, too, but that’s icing, right? So I invite you to join me in the weeks to come as I invite women from all walks of life to share their thoughts and experiences with us to offer support…to bring us hope…to point us to Jesus…to grow us up…and to challenge us as we walk out this journey loving Jesus and loving people in ways that only we can. And then let's watch as God does what only HE can do in the hearts and lives of each of us.