My Personal Cinderella Story

Today in church, Pete (the pastor) asked us to open our Bibles to 1 Peter. I didn't think much of it as I obediently began turning the pages in my gently worn Book. But upon arriving at 1 Peter, I was overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of PINK that swarmed my eyes. Apparently in my journey through the Bible last year, I became quite fond of 1 Peter. It seemed as though almost every other verse were highlighted. I was both surprised and a little saddened by this sight because it demonstrated to me just how quickly I had forgotten all those things I had wanted to desperately to remember. At one time, those words spoke so beautifully to my heart that I deemed them "important" enough to be highlighted, and yet apparently they weren't important enough to be revisited... until today.

The sermon was amazing, don't get me wrong, but it left me with a little time to "wander" through the sea of pink that lay before me. There are so many things I want to write about right now, but I'm going to filter my thoughts through the words of someone else. This devotional was written by Connie Neal, and I think it absolutely gorgeous.

A Royal Princess
While every woman's life story is unique, there are longings of the heart that seem to be universal: the desire to find true love, the desire that someone will affirm our inherent value regardless of our situation, the hope that we can change. In this regard, we each need a Cinderella story of our own. God finds each of us in the cinders of a less than perfect world, held back from the life we dream of living. He longs to raise us up to a high position, transform us and grant us his power, so he seeks us out, inviting each of us to dance with him. And yet each of us needs someone to affirm our inherent value and encourage our transformation. We each need a Cinderella story of our own. Each woman's relationship with God is such that he finds her in the ashes, held back from the life she dreams of living. He seeks her, invites her to dance with him, transforms her by revealing the beauty hidden beneath the ashes, then confers on her his power and position.

Dancing in the arms of God is a relationship between you and God that is based on love and mutual respect. The two of you communicate in a close, intimate setting. He holds you, but his embrace is the embrace of a lover, not the restraint of an oppressor. As partners in this dance, God leads, and you let him, moving with the flow of his leading. You are not enveloped in God, losing your identity as a unique person; you are who you are, retaining your freedom and individuality at every turn.

Isn't that beautiful? I love the imagery she creates of a dance with God. In my life, I can only think of one man who really tried "dancing" with me, and I can see his kind frustration as I stubbornly refused to let him take the lead. I'm an independent little lady and the idea of being "led" by someone else, of my next steps being in the hands of another, well... it just doesn't sit right. If I can't even sincerely let someone I care about take me for a spin on the dance floor, how much more hesitant am I to let my Heavenly Father take me for a spin through my life? Sure, I smile and laugh and pretend like I'm having a good time. I give the illusion of relinquishing control to someone else. But internally, I'm clutching my next moves tightly to my heart, fearful that if I loosen my grip for even a second, they may fall and become disordered and even (gasp) broken. (I have another blog on broken pieces saved up for a different day, so remind me to come back to that)

How ironic that I would stumble upon this devotional today, at the pinnacle of my uncertainties. Never in my life have I been more clueless as to what my next move is. And furthermore, I've never been more frustrated with God for "abandoning me" here. I prayed so fervently for clarity over the MSW program. For once, I felt like I genuinely "let go and let God." I physically prayed over the meticulously prepared application packet, sent it off in the mail, and then committed my heart to NOT worrying about the results. I graciously allowed others to pray for me, but I really tried to just give it up to the Lord for myself. And I greedily expected a clear answer in return. Instead, I received a maybe. And I have no clue what that means.

So what's left? Prayer. And lots of it.

Jesus, you know how terrifying this is for me. You know just how hard I've worked to prepare myself for a future that I felt certain would please You. I feel so lost and confused and even a bit hopeless as I continue to trudge through the daily struggle that has so suddenly and unexpectedly enveloped my life. I feel like I've been held back from living this life I dreamed of living. I have no idea what my next move is, and I so desperately want to know. My heart yearns for clarity in a way I've never felt before. Lord, come quickly. Whisk me away into the kind of dance that not only lightens my heart with joy, but brings joy to those who witness it.

I post this prayer for you all to see because I asking for your help. I need you to keep me accountable. I need your assistance in letting go and remaining hopeful, even amidst the tremendous amount of stress that so easily burdens me. Please pray for me as I carry out the next few weeks of my life. I want to do so faithfully and joyfully, as if I were dancing to the melody of my heart.


Vanessa's Dad said…
Prayers goin' up...

Prayers can be, should be, two way conversations. We give lip service to that. God spoke to me, when I was burning with the need to have an answer to a particular question that had been plaguing me. It was a 'yes' or 'no' question, I thought. But, God's answer was neither, and yet it was just what I needed to hear, and gave me peace... "Don't worry about that so much, my son." May God's tip for me also apply to you, my daughter.

Amanda said…
It's after midnight. I'm tired and drained. It's been a long day. I can't even begin to post a comment that is worthy of such a beautiful, heartfelt and articulate blog entry. So instead, I'll just say, I love you Blondie. And I'm so proud of you. Thanks for being my sister (as if you had a choice!) and thanks for being you!
Kendra said…
Wow, that was beautiful Natalie, thank you for sharing it.
Praying for you.
David Brown said…
Hi Natalie,

This is your uncle David. I saw your 4/26 blog sometime ago, and this part especially caught my attention. "I give the illusion of relinquishing control to someone else. But internally, I'm clutching my next moves tightly to my heart, fearful that if I loosen my grip for even a second, they may fall and become disordered and even (gasp) broken."

Natalie, most people would be afraid that if I let go of control, then I would be hurt, but you express concern that if you let go, ie.,"loosen your grip for even a second", they may fall and be hurt.

I had this thought of where your feeling came from. I encourage you to ask God, "Ok God, what do you want me to know about where this feeling comes from?" If you want me to share what came to me, then email me and I will tell all that came to me. Be forwarned, that I will also want to know what came to you when you asked God.

I still think yoy are way cool,

Uncle David