So much in life just happens. Things we just simply have no control over. What do we do with that? We plan our lives, even as a little girl, and we see perfection. We see that white house and picket fence. We see our children playing in the yard and our husband coming home from work and the dog barking to greet him. We see our mini van in the drive way and money in the bank. We see our family surrounding us at Christmas and on every Sunday for dinner. We see health that carries us through until we are one hundred and ten. We see groceries in the fridge and dinner on the table. We see our kids off to that perfect school that will not only teach them, but love them.
When does this fairy tale come into our minds? Maybe when we are young and watching Cinderella? But even Cinderella didn't have a perfect life. She lost her mother and father. She lost everything that mattered to her. She now is living with a step-mother and sisters who despise her. They envy her and their jealousy is only hurting Cinderella. She doesn't want to be envied, she just wants to be accepted. But something amazes me here. Cinderella doesn't just sit back and saturate her mind with her situation. She seems to find joy in everything. In the creation around her and even in her work. As she is scrubbing the floor you can see a beauty. Not just a beauty on the outside, but something deep within that just seems to flow. Maybe that is what bothers her family now. Maybe they see the joy inside and that is what they too so eagerly want. They just don't know how to get it, so what now? They try to steal hers away, but it just doesn't happen.
She is ready to go to the ball in a gown made by mice. She is ready to go and just dance. One night of joy. She knows it is going to end at midnight, but she doesn't say, "Nope, not me, not this girl." She puts on that gown and is ready to accept the time she has to dance. It just so happens she gets to share a dance with the prince. A little piece of added joy she didn't expect. But, isn't that usually when our joy comes? It appears when we least expect it and that is why it puts a smile on our face. If it happened every day would we not begin to take it for granted? I know I would. I think those little moments of joy are to show us little glimpses of what heaven will be. Can you imagine? What we feel here on this earth for a short while that brings a smile to our face is nothing compared to what heaven will be.
Cinderella has the great attitude to carry her throughout life. She sees not the situation, but she takes each moment and makes the very best of it. I want to do that!
We didn't sign up for job loss. Didn't sign up for struggle. Didn't sign up for illness to hit. We don't sign up for an empty house. We simply didn't sign up for loss of any kind. Tears are not on the list. Pain was not number one the list. Families are losing their dream homes. Men and women across America are losing their jobs. People are going hungry. Kids are not getting an education. The clock is about to strike midnight and we are running out of time. What are we to do? Our situation does not define who we are! Our situation does not define who we are! Can that be said enough?
Standing in line for food stamps is not a place people dream of being. Sitting in a hospital room is not the place we hope to be. Somewhere our dreams begin to change. Now, we are not hoping for that perfect house and white fence, but now we are just hoping for life. We are just wanting the simple things. We just want our bills to be paid and food on the table. We want a decent car to drive and we want just a few dollars in our pocket to do something fun for once. We want to take our family to the doctor when they are ill and get check ups before that illness comes. We turn from that perfect picture we dreamed of and realize we just want love. We yearn for smiles and laughter to echo in our home. We want our children to have better than we did. We want our kids to go to school and be safe. Dreams seem to change as time goes on. We no longer dream of taking trips and exploring the world. But shouldn't we be? When does the loss of those big dreams happen? I want my kids to dream big! I want my family to experience great and mighty things.
I am learning it doesn't have to be in Paris to do so. It doesn't have to happen in a shopping mall. We don't have to have thousands in the bank and go out every night. We don't have to have all those luxuries to make us have simple joy. We can have joy in the falling of leaves. In the white of snow covering the ground. We can take joy in mac and cheese. I am learning that in all these struggles that come we can still laugh. We can still see beauty in the day. We can believe there is something greater and far better than we could ever imagine.
In our struggles God is there. He is intent on letting us know He is there. Sometimes those circumstances do not change. Sometimes are dreams begin to change, but life in Christ is far more than a fairy tale. If you remember in all those fairy tales there is always an evil existence there trying to take out any light of goodness. It just simply cannot be done. Where there is light, darkness is no more. Just the twinkle of light, lights up the night skies. One candle can saturate the room with a warm glow.
I saw this quote yesterday, "Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you." — A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh) For me, this is a beautiful picture. I can see Pooh, filled with love and little Piglet, in all his worry, just feeling safe knowing that Pooh is next to him. Sometimes just having a friend there. One to hold your hand is enough. The Lord tells us that His grace is sufficient for us. He is enough. In Him we can find that perfect peace. We can find all we need. Simple as that. There is nothing in this world that will bring us more joy than the love of Christ.
My grandparents lived in the country in Arkansas. I remember being little and driving down for a visit. I remember that white picket fence around the house. In the back yard were these trees that took your breath away. Flowers were everywhere. It was like a fairy tale for me as a kid. But as years went on that fence aged. It was no longer white. The gate soon fell and the trees and flower were falling away. My grandparents were aging and soon they too were gone. The fragrance of flowers no longer graced that back yard, but in my mind? In my mind they did. I can still see that beauty today. The house no longer stands. It is all a moment of yesterday, but in the depths of my mind I can still see it clearly. I can still see my self out there picking fruit, smelling flowers and riding this little cement donkey with a cart behind him.
Everything here on this earth will fade. Nothing lasts forever here. We don't know what tomorrow will bring, but one thing is for sure, we have a promise that Christ is here with us. He is never leaving. He fills our hearts daily with His presence. He walks with us down the hospital hallway and he is with us at our dinner table as we set out bills out with wonder. He sees us walking into a company, humbling ourselves for work. Whether we are pushing a broom or entering a surgery room we can do so with a joy that makes our job lasting. Each moment of our lives is moving on to the next. Nothing happens without purpose. We might not be able to see it then, but as life happens, as God happens, He will show us and lead us to the ball.
Remember Cinderella and all that touched her life. Everything that happened only helped her appreciate the ball that much more. Whatever is touching your life today, look at it as it is preparing you for tomorrow. This is our life and I promise with with Jesus in it, it will end like no fairy tale you have seen. Your story is being unfolded as we speak.In each moment of your life a new page is beginning as another has been read. Your story is not complete yet. It has not ended. As if another were to read your story what would they see? Would they see pain and struggle? Would they see the slipper missing and the Prince coming back for His princess? You are a daughter of the King. You are royal blue blood!
1 John 5:4 "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith."
1 John 4:12-16 "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He is us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him."
1 John 17: "And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
1 John 1:5 "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all."
2 Peter 3:8 "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day."
1 Peter 5:6-7 "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."
Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"
Romans 8:16-18 "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
2 Corinthians 12:9 "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."