A Coal-Smudged Princess


image via flickr

Maybe its because I’m not the starry-eyed girl of 17 with the world figured out and the moon in her hand. Maybe its because I’m old and jaded and pudgy and boring. Maybe it’s because the dreamy ideals I embraced have seen some real life. And the moon is further away then I thought.

I was chatting with my sister Kelly tonight, and talking about her upcoming job description at Calvary Bible School in Arkansas where she will be Dean of Women (aka mother to the girls, listener to life stories, turner offer of lights at 10:30, dispenser of hugs and cough drops.) We were discussing the different vibes and styles that deans bring to the table, and the messages that get promoted. Each is unique because it reflects on her own personal journey.

“Are we princesses?”, she asked, referring to the spiritual title that a lot of us grew up embracing. I understand the premise and technically we are, because we are daughters of the King.

He was also a Servant, which would make us scullery maids, but I digress.

Princesses, as the story books inform us, are fairly useless. They are basically a title and a bunch of pomp and ceremony. They are valued and protected because they have The Right Blood and that gives them a lot of immunity to the real world. Now, to be fair, the more modern princesses have tried to live normal lives and live more like the populace than their venerable royal ancestors.

I’ve been trying to find some way to wrap up this past little series on vibrant womanhood, and this clicked tonight.

More than princesses, with the fluffy demands and red-carpet treatment, our lives should be also of the scullery maid, who daily does her Masters bidding. Our Master happens to be the greatest, kindest, savingest Master that you ever did see, and that makes service not a drudgery, but a delight.

As women, we dream. And we believe when society tells us that we deserve certain things: good health, financial sufficiency, religious liberty, a good husband, etc.

We feel cheated when we don’t get these things because we view our relationship with Him as a contract. I do x, y, and z, and you will give me the above list. We wheedle and beg and promise and demand.

He hasn’t promised us good health, and money and husbands. You won’t find those promises in His Word. You won’t find the sign-up sheet for a contract in the heavenlies. Its not there. ¬†Our happiness is not His primary concern. Our obedience and our relationship is.

Beware of the program or book or speaker who tells you that God wants you to be healthy and happy and satisfied. Compare that to the stories of the Syrian refugee Christians and the ladies worshiping in secret. Their princess gowns are tattered and threadbare and look awfully like servant rags.

I don’t know if I’ve articulated everything that I’ve wanted to in this. What is a true woman, a real, sure-enough woman?

A true woman is the softness of Mary, and the strength of Esther. She embodies what is pure and good and right. She is ready for any occasion because in the valleys, and wilderness of disappointment and pain, she has learned how to live. The mundane decisions and the training of her mind prepare her for crisis. She is a collector of stories, of experiences. of moments. She worships regularly and deeply. She is plugged into life, into relationships and into the broken world she shares with others. She is ever learning, always growing, and constantly in awe of her Father. She is a listener and a soft shoulder. She is a microphone for truth. She is a kisser of babies and chef of good foods. She thinks and reasons and leads her emotions, not follows them. She makes the world a better place, not because of what she does, but because of who she is.

Sometimes in princess gowns, but also in scullery rags.