A neon green Post-It note appeared on my counter this morning. On it is sketched a smiling girl in a floor-length dress and matching cape, a three-spiked crown on her head and long, flowing, hair pulled into a ponytail. The note reads, “I am gong to be a prinsess wun I groe up.”
Clearly the work of my oldest daughter.
Princess fever runs high in my house. Recently, my two older girls had their first true playdate when a good friend visited our house. Within moments, all three tiny ladies had stripped their outer garments and were frantically donning ball gowns and slipping into plastic high-heeled shoes that clicked on the kitchen linoleum (and scared me to death for fear they might slip!). They adorned themselves with long beady necklaces and bangles around their wrists. Atop each head sat a sparkly princess tiara complete with pink hearts and diamonds. Grabbing purses and mirrors and other accessories, these stylish princesses sat daintily around a little table and sipped tea and lemonade from tiny plastic teacups, of course holding their pinkies out like all true princesses do.
This is a mystery to me.
I did not twirl around in princess skirts as a girl, decking myself out in finery to await the prince’s arrival. I did not host tea parties for my teddy bears or clip-clop around the house in deadly high-heeled shoes as a child (or as a grown woman). Nor did I set out to turn my three daughters into pink-and-purple-loving, dress-wearing, nail-polishing lovers of all things fancy, sparkly and feminine. This has somehow been innately placed into their tiny hearts by a God with a sense of humor.
My daughters arrive at my feet some days with dresses from my closet hanging over their arms. “Mom, why don’t you ever wear this dress? It would make you look pretty.” Because of course the most appropriate attire for folding clothes and cleaning toilets is in fact a black dress with a swirly skirt.
Frequently, my oldest princess wannabe—with some exasperation—explains to me that she simply cannot wear pants because “pants are for boys. Princesses don’t wear pants.” At which point, I look down at my jeans and sneakers and trudge back to her room to exchange her playclothes for a dress and stockings.
And so I am a mystery to them.
Sometimes I look deep into their flashing blue eyes and explain to these precious girls that they will always be amazingly beautiful on the outside, but what is so much more important is the inside of their hearts and how they love God and love people. I say this to them because I know “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30, NIV).
I want them to know that they are not merely external creatures, striving to meet arbitrary standards of perfection. Instead, I tell them “let not yours be the merely external adorning of the hair; the wearing of jewelry, or change of clothes, but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which is not anxious or wrought up, but is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4, AMP).
And while I so often fail to display for them a “gentle and peaceful spirit” that isn’t anxious (read here stressed and freaking out), it is nevertheless my true desire to show them a woman who is at least trying to be “very precious in the sight of God.”
This is the mystery I explain to them.
When my oldest girl prayed her little earnest plea for Jesus to come into her heart and forgive her sins, we told her the most amazing thing had happened to her. She had become a daughter of the King of kings. “Do you know what that means?,” I whispered into her ear. Slowly I could see her piece it all together and she announced with pride, “I’m a real princess now!”
She takes that very seriously. To her friends, she explains, “I’m not a pretend princess like the ones in the movies. I’m a real princess of God.”
It’s an amazing gift—this role as princess. It means she is dearly loved and given a place of blessing and honor by the holy and awesome King who watches her with love.
It’s also an amazing responsibility.
A princess is kind to others (and talking animals) and always serves and shows concern for the feelings and well-being of those around her. A princess works hard at her chores and doesn’t shirk dirty work (like caring for seven men who sweat all day in a mine while whistling). A princess develops and uses her gifts to bring glory to her King (like singing songs in the forest and reading books from an enchanted library). A princess is beautiful inside and out and always strives to find the good and beautiful in others (including beasts and little old women). A princess has good manners and is modest and virtuous, with beauty of character and strength of mind.
These are the mysteries they explain to me.
We princesses and daughters of the Most High King don’t all emerge from our houses each day with long, flowing hair, pink ballgowns, glass slippers, and multi-colored accessories. Some of us head to work in power suits or rock sick babies in our pajamas or shop at Wal-Mart in our jeans and flip-flops.
God’s creativity knows no bounds and we are a daily display to the world of God’s heart for beauty and variety.
Yet, to all of us, He can say, “The King is enthralled with your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord” (Psalm 45:11, NIV).
That is a gift. It’s a special role He’s given us, to reflect His aesthetic flare, to represent grace and beauty to a world that is sometimes so harsh and cruel.
But it’s also a responsibility. We are to “honor Him” for He is our Lord. I ask my daughters at times, “Would a princess behave that way? Would a princess hurt someone else’s feelings? Would a princess say those mean things?” And so we can ask ourselves, “Would a Daughter of the King make those choices, use those words, hurt those people . . . ”
There are detractors of course. Those who try to convince us that we simply fall too short of God’s standard to be a princess. Others who point to our outward appearance and question our unique beauty. A world that constantly reminds us we are not enough.
However we are dressed, no matter our outward appearance and regardless of our hairstyle, God draws us close and whispers truth into our hearts: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV). Uniquely created by a God of infinite imagination. Specially designed to be loved by a King.
This is the mystery He explains to us.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King