She is lovely beyond compare. Kind, compassionate, and perfectly proportioned, Cinderella embodies the feminine ideal. The gentleness she displays in the face of adversity inspires even mice to champion her cause.
By Andrea Peters
As a child I loved this story. My mom will still teasingly recall how I would play “Cinderella” and bossily appoint her to the role of Grand Duke. She would be assigned the task of holding the slipper and exclaiming with joy when “the shoe fit”.
These days when I play “Cinderella” it’s a little more awkward. You see, I’m a (gulp!) stepmother. No, not just for pretend. I’m a real stepmother. The kind with a job, children, stepchildren, and a non-villainous laugh. A stepmother who used to be a little girl, carrying a single glass slipper around in her preschool pocket, awaiting the time for the “grand reveal” of who she truly was.
So where does that leave me and, for that matter, other princesses-turned-stepmothers? Stories are tremendous influencers. Are we to keep on embracing the beauty of fairy tales or should we fear their ability to make an already difficult job even more difficult?
The answer to that is contingent upon where we put our trust. If our trust is in the perception of outsiders then yes, absolutely yes, steer clear of fairy tales. If pop culture is the scale by which you weigh yourself then you will want to skip the movies and edit story time. Stepmothers are almost always depicted as evil villains and who needs to give one’s husband’s ex any more ammunition, right?
What if, however, our trust is not in others’ perception of us but in who we know we are in Christ? Wouldn’t the Cinderella story be embraced as, once again, our own? If our trust is in our position in Christ we can exclaim with true joy, because we are not just pretending a story but we are rehearsing our story! We have met the Prince of Peace and we are in love. We, in our rags, were chosen to be the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27). There were many more likely candidates. Our backgrounds made it a near impossible match. Something happened, however, the day we met the Prince. A mystical encounter, a visitation from the fairy godmother, propelled us from our helpless state into our truest, most beautiful selves. In that moment, we were shimmering in the clothes of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). Unashamed, we were able to dance with the one for whom we had been longing. Earthbound, our dance couldn’t last forever. The curse of our past overtook us as the clock began to strike. We ran from the Prince, terrified he would see us back in our rags. Slowly, the original magic subsides and we are left, slightly stunned and completely changed. Outwardly, we have every resemblance of the slave-girl in rags. Inwardly, however, something shifts. Hope begins to grow. And that is when we feel it. The glass slipper is in our pocket! It was not just a dream! The slipper is our seal, our promise, our proof of princess-hood.
Days pass, life seems routine and yet, we feel it, the blooming awareness of given destiny. We treasure this beautiful gift left to us, and yet, are a little confused. What purpose does this gift have? Is it simply a leftover from the most enchanting experience of our lives? Suddenly, we overhear the news. There has been an announcement that a “wedding ceremony” will take place (Rev.19:7-9 21:1-2) and that the bride and groom will live happily ever after. The groom, Jesus, is looking for the ones who possess the spiritual slipper, the seal of ownership (I Cor. 1:22), the sign of the chosen.
Our hearts thump wildly, our minds attempt to understand the significance of what we have just heard. The pain we have had to endure is about to be forgotten. Every tear we have cried will be wiped away by our beloved groom (Rev. 21:4). How can this be? Our hands flutter down to the glass slipper, still tucked safely in our pocket and we KNOW. We have Cinderella’s slipper, the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are going to an eternal kingdom. We are the bride of Christ. The shoe still fits.