Fairytales play a whimsical song on my heartstrings. I love them. Always have. I love the magic and the mystery and the adventure and the romance. I love the transformations. I love seeing the impossible become possible, and broken things be fixed.
Disney recently remade their own classic, Cinderella. The first time I saw the preview my heart jumped. No really, it did. Because whimsy isn't just child's play, and the stories that quickened my heart as a little girl still do.
I definitely wasn't disappointed. The remake was every bit as magical as my four year old heart and my twenty-four year old heart could have ever wanted. I especially liked the time the writers took to give a little backbone to what had previously been a pretty two dimensional story. Like, how the H did Cinderella end up being a servant in her own house? How did she get that name? Because no one's parents would actually name their kid Cinderella, ya know?
There was a scene where Cinderella gets her name, and it happens in a way things very often happen in real life. Her stepsister makes a joke at her expense, one that hit a little too close to home. Words have power, friends, and often the identity we give ourselves comes from lies spoken over us. Ella begins to see herself for what her stepfamily has named her, not who she really is.
Enter the fairy godmother. The stepfamily has left for the ball, Cinderella is grieving the loss of a dream and what feels like the final stamp of her new identity as unimportant and unwanted. But then. Then Helena Bonham Carter shows up in a bedazzled wig and makes magic happen.
This is the part I started to tear up.
My friend Tim loves to talk about identity and purpose. When people cry in movies, he asks, "Okay, why are you crying? What about this story is getting you?"
So of course as soon as I started crying, my brain clicked on and I thought, "Why am I crying?"
Transformation. I love the picture of transformation. I love that a common girl is remade into a princess. But the transformation doesn't mask her true identity, the transformation reveals who she truly is. Cinderella is beautiful, and so very worth royal treatment she is given. She is not her circumstances, and she is not the lies her stepfamily put on her. She is desired. She is loved. She is, truly, set apart.
My heart longs to know it is special. I want to be the ragged urchin transformed into royalty. I want the prince to find me and say, "Oh, she is worth endless searching with only a shoe as a guide." Don't we all, at least a little bit?
Friends, the fairytale is real. It is so, so real.
Two thousand years ago, a crucifixion happened on the side of a mountain in Jerusalem so that I could become a princess. I am set apart. You, friend, are set apart. And, the minute you turn around and take the gift, you can be given a new name and be transformed. Jesus loves (LOVES) to help you shed who you think you are and remake you into who you actually are. He died on a cross in order to have that privilege.
The other best part about this new Cinderella was the very end, when Ella goes to meet the prince and try on the glass slipper. As Ella descends the stairs, and you can see nervousness and excitement dancing in her eyes, the narrator asks the question, "She wondered if who she was, who she really was, would be enough."
Oh, how often do I wonder the same! Do you?
In the fairytale, of course she is enough. And Ella and the prince skip off into the sunset and it's a little bit (super) cheesy but also satisfactory. Because, okay, the story is a little bit cheesy. Whatever. But here's why I left the theatre with a full heart:
Even though Ella had to admit she wasn't a princess, the prince still looked right at her and said, "You are worth it." Which is exactly what Jesus says to us when we come before him as our broken, sinful, very real selves.
Who I am is enough. And not because I'm an angelic, courageous, kind soul with very few flaws to speak of. No. I am enough because Jesus says so. Because he died on a cross to gain the privilege of transforming me from urchin to royalty. He has stepped into false identity, painful circumstances, and darkness and said, You are not these things. You are treasured, you are loved, you are mine.
Today is Easter Sunday. I had no intention of writing a super sappy Easter post, but I guess I kind of did. Because a retold fairytale reminded my heart of some big truth in a very tender way. So, praise to the One who conquered death in order to bring us into new life.
He is risen. He is risen, indeed.