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Soft and sweet...

There seems to be an anti-princess campaign going on around, well, everywhere.

Just so you know, I'm not into it.

This won't come as a surprise to those who know me now or knew me back when I was playing dress-up and had the tiara to prove it.  But the other night as I was driving back from gathering groceries for my little family, I was reflecting on the prior weekend.  We dedicated our second son, Travis Luke, to the Lord on Sunday morning.

I thought about the words that were said, the blessing that was given and the hopes we have for our little boy and our someday grown up man.  It's weird thinking of your drooling four month old as a grown man, but one day that will be the reality.  And out of thin air, as I was thinking about my son's bright blue eyes and his sweet smile and his already charming disposition, I thought,

"And he darn well better marry a princess."

There are new fairytales being written, these about seemingly strong women who don't need to be saved by any man, let alone a prince.  Everyone is of the mind that we need to raise strong, independent women who know their own mind and who aren't waiting on their prince to come.  But I want to argue the point that our fairytales reflect a greater... and true... story.

Aren't we all, as Christians, waiting on the Prince to return?

The notion of princesses, heroes, battles worth fighting for and beauty are not new or property of the Disney Corporation or Pixar.  In the Song of Solomon it details the love between a man and a woman; a husband and his bride.  About a man who plays the man, who plays the hero (and who was king!) to the woman who is his lady, who strives to be beautiful for her love and who desperately seeks and desires him.

"Why would a princess
put on an old dress to dance
with her beloved and a chance
to catch his eye?"
~  N i c h o l e   N o r d e m a  n

In the story of, "Cinderella", what is not admirable about a woman who serves others despite having everything that was rightfully hers denied and stolen away?  What is not to be taught about a gentle and joyful spirit that continues to work and serve and hope even when those around her seek to destroy?  She was waiting on her dreams to come true, but she wasn't miserable and selfish in the interim.

And what about the heroine of, "Beauty and the Beast"? For this one, she wasn't even a natural born princess.  She was just a good daughter who loved her father and sought to honor him.  And when it came down to it, she sacrificed herself for him.  What's not commendable about that?  And she learned to love someone based on who they were, not on the outward appearance or their royal lineage.  Love changed the Beast but love changed and shaped her every action.  Sounds good to me so far.

Beyond the Disney Channel or the Brother's Grimm, the greater truths emerge that it's not beauty that is bad - it's the focused pursuit of it and the jealousy that stems (think step-sisters and even an envious queen).  The heroines in these stories are not focused on their outward beauty or how much they have or what sparkles or even, ultimately, marriage.  They simply want to be part of a greater story.  They know instinctively they are meant for more and they desire it.  They dream about it.  They wait for that day, that happily ever after, when things will come together to reveal their larger role.  Their meant-to-be place.

This is not about a girly-girl vs. a non-girly-girl.  This is about what God created in us, as women, and what God creates and places in the heart of man.  Queen Esther made herself beautiful and approached her husband with respect.  Ruth submitted to Boaz, both out of honor and of need, but she did it with dignity and strength.  I don't see or understand where beauty means you aren't smart or desiring to love and give of yourself is a weakness.

If I ever have daughters I definitely want them to be brave.  I want them to be tenderhearted but I also want them to be secure in who God has created them to be.  I want them to know and believe all of the beauty that God has created in a woman.  Not only are we creative and organized (think Proverbs 31) but we give life - not just by creating homes and meals - but by actually growing and birthing life.  There is nothing weak about playing the woman.  There is nothing weak about being loved, protected and cared for by a man.  There is strength in submission, in childbearing, in daily dying to yourself to meet the needs of children, of husband, of family.

From the storybooks to the Bible, there are stories upon stories of women who ARE women - who, while beautiful, do not rely on their beauty for salvation, but use it as the gift it is to bless her husband.  Who don't rely on their gifts and talents, but seek to use them for others, even if they are mistreated or misunderstood or treated unfairly.

I have two boys and I want everything good and amazing for their lives.  When going over questions regarding the dedication service for Travis, we were asked what we hope for him.  And I teared up thinking of it all.  I want him to be a man of integrity.  I want him to be brave.  I want him to be solid and honest and Godly.  I want my sons to be heroes.  And if it's wrong for little girls to grow up thinking about being princesses and little ladies, then is it wrong for my boys to grow up learning to be superheroes?  If womanhood has been reduced to professionalism and feminist independence, then what are we really saying?  That they don't need men?

Biblically speaking, woman was made for man.  To be his helper.  His compliment.

Women don't create life all by themselves.  Love is meant to be shared.  I find little wrong with desiring to love someone and to have someone love you.  I don't think that makes you a weakling or any less independent and knowledgeable of your own heart and mind.  The more I serve and give of myself, learn my personality and my dependence on my Creator, the more I love my children and adore my husband.  Is every woman created to have babies and stay at home?  No, I'm not saying that.  We all have specific gifts and unique personalities and stories that are all our own.

What I'm saying is that dress-up is not the evil.  When I toddled around in my Mom's navy blue velvet heels back in the 80's, she was not setting me up for a lifetime of insecurity or focused beauty.  She was allowing me the chance to play and to put into practice what I saw.  When I put on those shoes, I got to be the lady I saw my Mom being.  I got to pretend that I was grown-up and strong and had the love of a good man, too.

I guess we should only be worried if fairytales are the only examples of femininity that our daughter's see.  Or that the only heroism our boys ever sense are those in movies.  True beauty doesn't come from dresses and happily ever after doesn't come from a fairy godmother any more than strength for a man comes from owning a gun or wearing boots.

It takes courage to be every ounce of woman we are created to be, including being vulnerable and giving of ourselves to those around us.  We shouldn't allow the desire to be feminine - to be separate but equal - to the men in our lives, strip us of all the intricacies of being women.  Men are great and to be admired, this is true.  But women are just as unique, qualified and created with the same masterful hand of the Almighty God.  We are just as needed, just as revered and just as vital to all the battles and the journeys and the epic story lines.

We play a huge role in how happy those ever afters actually are.

It's our adventure, too.



"... every woman wants to be romanced;
every woman wants to play an irreplaceable
role in a heroic adventure, not just to be 
useful but to be irreplaceable;
and every woman longs to have a beauty
that's all her own to unveil, both an
external beauty and an internal beauty...
to be the beauty... and to offer beauty."
~  J o h n    &   S t a  s i   E l d r e  d g e

Comments

  1. love it! every last word : )

    -jodi

    ReplyDelete
  2. THANKS, JODI! You're my biggest fan. I owe you. :)

    ReplyDelete

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