beloved

The Best Stories

Once Upon a Time

The very best stories, the ones that grab your heart and make the tears gather in your eyes are not the ones where everything goes easily along. They are not the ones where the characters have a picture-perfect childhood, fall in love at first sight at with the perfect man and then live happily ever after. Those are the boring (and annoying) stories. The best stories have conflict, an impossible challenge to overcome and love to be discovered.

We use the term “a Cinderella story” or “fairy tale ending” to express a classic love story with a happily ever after ending. I have heard more than one young woman bemoan these stories for the disillusionment that the modern woman has with love and the expectation of falling in love in one night with a man who will “save” you.

But I think that the real reason we love the story of Cinderella isn’t because of the “happily ever after” ending. I think it is because it is the story of a little girl who endures tragedy and heartache as she finds her way to hope and love.  She endures the death of her mother and then the death of her father.  It is about a young girl who finds herself an orphan in her own home and then is treated like a detested slave instead of a beloved daughter. We hurt for her and somewhere deep inside we understand her. Cinderella is a story about a young woman who becomes stronger than she ever knew she could be because of the loss she experiences.

Yes, the falling in love in one night is ridiculous and the chase is rather exciting, but the truth is that we all want to be pursued and embraced by love. I don’t think Disney or the story of Cinderella is to blame for our expectations. I think that there is something deep inside each one of us that craves belonging and needs love. God made us that way. God made you to belong and to be loved.

There is something in every man, woman, and child that longs to belong somewhere and looks to love to get us there. Any love –  no matter how unhealthy, how broken or how controlling it is. We are made to look to love to heal our jagged edges and put us back together but not to the lower case love, but to the higher case Love, as in God is LOVE.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  John 4: 7-10

What if the disillusionment that the modern woman has with love and the expectation of falling in love in one night with a man who will “save” us is because it is a seed of belonging planted in our hearts by God that could only be met by God Himself?

It isn’t a Cinderella Story, it is the real story of Jesus.

It is the story of how our connection with God the Father was shattered by sin and how the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus restored it. It is true story that the Prince of heaven left His kingdom and came searching for us.  How He pushed aside the world’s definitions of value, love, and acceptance and brought God’s definition of value, love, and acceptance to all. Jesus didn’t just love the rich and beautiful but also the poor and dejected. He ignored outward appearances and persued the abused, neglected and unloved.

Jesus came to find the lost, to restore the broken and redeem the unseen. This is not just a story, it is history.

There have been times in my life when I wanted to live someone else’s story instead of my own. There are times now that I wish I had a different origin story or wish I had a different past. But then I am reminded that the best stories have conflict, an impossible challenge to overcome and love to be discovered. My story has some tragedy, some heartache, and loss. My story is about a young woman who becomes stronger than she ever knew she could be because of the love of Jesus. My name is not Cinderella (although it is close) and have been rescued by the love of my Lord and Savior. I am learning to look to Love with a capital L, and walk in the Love of my Father in heaven one day at a time.

I know you may not like your story or wish that you could have someone else’s.  Maybe you even wished for a “Cinderella story” instead of your own but my friend, the best story is your story. Your life story with incredible conflict, impossible challenges to overcome and a lifelong love to be discovered in Christ.

Have you looked to the LOVE of Jesus to heal your jagged edges and put you back together? Have your eyes drifted to a “fairytale man” to come to rescue you? Then maybe this blog is a wake-up call.  Instead of looking to a human love to fix everything in your life, look to Love with a capital L.   Stop asking for a man or the man in your life to save you – look to Jesus. He is the only one who can and He loves you so much that He died to know you. Look to Jesus for value, worth, direction and hope. He will help you face the conflict, overcome the challenges and promises that His love will never leave you or forsake you.

Wake up, beautiful, and receive the love you have been made for.

-Cindy Grasso

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