What is it about the story of Cinderella that makes it so timeless that it continues to attract audiences from every generation? Maybe it’s the desire of our feminine hearts to get invited to the ball by the prince of our dreams, and if for some reason we got away, he would search the depths of the earth to find us.
I believe what speaks so vividly to our hearts is the invitation. We desire to be invited—to be noticed. Cinderella before the ball was an unnoticed, underappreciated young women who was made to feel like she didn’t matter to anyone. And then the invitation came—excitement followed. This great invitation gave her permission to live out her true calling and true beauty.
I must admit in all my travels in speaking to young women, I meet a lot of Cinderellas before the invitation. The girls who do not know their worth, their calling, or their beauty. Like the young woman who I have met many a times with a different face and name who gets all dressed up with a revealing top and a high cut skirt because today is the day that she is going to get the guy who works in the kiosk at the mall to notice her. After she spends hours perfecting her look, she goes to the mall and slowly walks by as she has done many times before, and just when she passes, he looks in a different direction. She thinks that thought she has had over and over again, “Why doesn’t he notice me? Why don’t I matter?”
Or, the beautiful, outgoing girl I met a few summers ago after a conference I was speaking at who came up and revealed to me that she had tried to commit suicide. When I asked her why she would ever feel so low about herself, she explained that the first time she ever heard her parents say “I love you” was when she was 13 years old. She is now 15 and has never heard them say it since. This young woman questions every day, “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I matter to them? Why am I not worthy of love?”
These are the young women who I meet everyday who are so blinded by those that make them feel as if they don’t matter, that they cannot see the invitation sitting right in front of them sent from the creator Himself. The invitation inviting them to live out their true beauty. The invitation detailing their worth and dignity.
We live on this big planet, and somehow the God of the universe created us, and that even when we don’t feel as though we matter to anyone else, we matter to Him. He “formed our inmost being; knit us in our mother’s womb” (Psalm 139) and “made us in His divine image and likeness.” We matter and He notices.
My friend Mary was twelve years old when she got caught stealing candy from the convenient store. The store owner caught her and immediately called her parents in to report to them that the daughter they trusted was a thief. Mary’s parents were so disappointed in her, but not as disappointed as she was in herself. Her punishment for stealing was that she had to help her dad paint rooms in the house. She began painting one of the rooms, but did so with great sadness and a sulking appearance as she was so distraught that she had let her parents down. She felt as though her image was forever tainted in their eyes. Her dad, who was helping to paint saw all of this, and said to her, “Mary, look behind you.” She turned her head, and saw that her father had painted in big giant letters on the back wall, “MARY, I LOVE YOU!” Mary’s sad face turned to instant joy as she realized that even though she may have let her parents down, they still loved her, so much that her dad wrote it in big giant letters on a wall.
This is a great reminder of the love God our Father has for each of us. God does not consult our past to determine our future. Even when we disappoint him, even when we forget that he is there, or when we are down on ourselves, he is trying to get our attention to say in big, giant, loud letters, “I LOVE YOU! You matter to me and that has to be enough for you!” If the only person we mattered to was God, He is more than enough for us! So, instead of focusing on all the people that are too busy, too naive or too distracted to notice us, we must look for the writing on the wall, or rather we must lock eyes with Jesus on the cross to see what has already been sacrificed for the love of our souls. We must see that the God of the universe, the greatest designer of all times notices us and is inviting us to live as the daughters and sons of a mighty King…no matter our age! He is the prince who is inviting us to live out our true beauty and calling. If we ever lost our way, He is the one who would search the depths of the earth to find each and every one of us. He is the Prince Charming we seek!