TITLE: Surviving Separation: A Cinderella Story
By Bernice McDonald
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Surviving Separation: A Love Story
I want to tell you a love story. It’s actually about a girl named Cinderella. I’m sure you’re familiar with the fairy tale but I’m going to tell you the TRUE story.
I know it’s true because I am Cinderella. And my story is found in Ezekiel 16 in the Bible. It starts like this:
“On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.”
By all appearances, my birth was not as bad as this sounds. Though I had parents who cared for me and loved me as best they could, it was in the heart that I felt something missing. As in every girl’s life there were hurtful words and bad experiences, disappointment and things that caused me to fear. I loved to have fun and laugh with my friends but, even from young, I was so aware of being good or bad. Like a black cloak covering me, I felt that I was never quite good enough and that fact surrounded me all the time.
I didn’t know that Someone was watching over me. He was my Prince – like in the fairy tale – Prince Charming. Listen to a little more of the story. This is where He enters the picture:
“Then I passed by and saw you kicking about…and I said to you, “Live!” I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels. Your breasts were formed and your hair grew, you who were naked and bare.”
I heard about this Prince from my family but He seemed to be Someone they revered yet feared. He was supposedly good, kind, generous and talked a lot about love BUT you had to be careful of His reactions to doing wrong – especially if you knew what was good for you!
They told me He would punish me if I was bad! And that there wasn’t much I could do about being bad except ask for forgiveness a lot and try to be good! Looking at the black cloak around me, I knew I was in trouble. So I tried to say all the right words and do nice things so He wouldn’t notice me and get mad at me.
Little did I know that the Prince Himself was watching me – closely. He saw the bad – the black. He knew every thought I was thinking. He saw everything I did – even the secret things.
He observed from where I couldn’t see Him and, like a seed that He had planted, He told me to GROW! I wasn’t aware of His smile as He saw me developing. I had no idea that if you had asked Him during those growing up years what He thought of me, He would have said, “She is becoming the most beautiful of jewels!” Of course, I never would have believed it if I had heard it and you may not have either if you had known me…but He was the Prince and He never lies.
That much I did believe. I knew He was Someone special…in fact, I heard that because I was so very bad, He had even died in my place so I wouldn’t have to take the punishment.
He died? Because I was bad? I pulled my cloak more tightly around me and huddled inside - ashamed. I promised Him, wherever He was, that I would forever be grateful for that and I would try my hardest to be worthy of that death. After all, they said that His death had saved me from a forever in darkness.
My Prince watched and waited. He had introduced Himself and now waited for the right time when I would be ready to know the whole story.
He watched me live with a heart that passionately sought to be loved. He heard the words that wounded me and saw me waste my time, my life, my innocence, my mind on things that devastated me. He watched me reach out to boys and then to men to fill this hole within me – to look to them to meet the deep desire to be chosen, to be the one pursued and romanced.
Every now and then – I would hear Him – just a whisper, “I love you…”
“I know You love me,” I would reply, “You died for me to pay for what I deserved. Thank you.”
“Cinderella, that’s not all…do you know how my heart sings when I look at you? Can you not hear the music?”
No, I could not hear the music…..because I was always looking and listening somewhere else.
That is until the man I married and thought would make all my dreams came true walked out on me. Devastated, I felt that I had been thrown out into the field and left to die.
“See?” I raged to this good God Who was supposed to keep these things from happening, “See? I tried so hard to hide this black…I trusted him to stay, to love me just the way I am…and it’s as I always feared. He doesn’t love me because I’m bad – I’m not good enough. I always knew it!”
I wept! I screamed! I hated and I ……..broke. Alone. I had to go there alone because it was my road to walk. I began to shrink back inside myself because every dream I had ever had crumbled to the floor. It was over – everything was over.
Let’s go on with the story:
“Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you… and you became Mine.”
One day during that dark time He came to me as never before. I had been reading these verses and it was as if He picked me up in His arms – for I was too weak to walk. And He carried me to His castle – a cool, dark secret room where He laid me bleeding and trembling, on a bed of soft comfort.
For the first time, I looked straight into His eyes. And I saw that He had been there all along, waiting. He didn’t say anything – we just looked at each other. I knew He saw every dark and weary place inside me.
He looked right at the black cloak – every part – I felt naked and embarassed. Gently, He took a corner of His cloak and covered me with it. When I looked at myself, I saw that the black cloak I had always worn was gone. What was left was His covering and I began to understand the real story.
He explained it to me like this: “Precious one, when I died for you it wasn’t just because you were pathetically bad. It was because you were in the clutches of my arch enemy, Satan, and he was holding you captive to get back at Me. You were following your natural inclinations to be as he is – out for himself, cruel, selfish. He knew how much it hurt Me for him to blind and wound you! He swore he would snatch every one of you from Me so I would lose you forever – his goal was to take you for eternity – never to be with Me!
So I stepped in. I offered him a chance to war against Me – and in the end I let him kill Me.
He thought that he had won – and laughed for 3 days. But it was all a part of the plan….
When I came back to life, he no longer laughed. In fact, he cowered in terror because he knew I had taken the power that death had over all of My creation and had BROKEN IT. I turned death into something GOOD! It now represented LIFE. When you believed in what I did, you became one of Mine. I marked you as my own and now it’s my love, not your good life, that will change you to live like one of Mine.
You know the hunger, the desire in your heart? I put it there so you would search for Me. Your husband is meant only to be your partner and to walk with you to give you companionship while you live on earth but he is not meant to fill you up. He can not. He is also searching like you.”
At that point I didn’t want to talk about my husband any more so He left it there.
Listen to the rest of the story:
“I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress... I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry…and a beautiful crown on your head…
During those days of cleansing and healing…honest face to face time with my Prince and a counselor He gave me, I began to believe that I was loved, that I had worth beyond what I had ever dreamed and that I was meant to live on this earth for a purpose!
And when I could begin to believe that, TO MY ASTONISHMENT, He removed another layer – beneath the robe of white lay a robe of gold. The gold was His dream for me – the dream that He had had since He had created me in my mother’s womb. The jewels and the gifts were my personality, my laugh, my passion for people, my love for music, the color of my eyes.
“You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect…”
After the healing was near completion, He turned me around in that quiet place we had lived in together and He pointed to the world outside the window.
“You, My Beloved, are so precious in My sight and I long to keep you here with Me forever. But not yet. There are others who are wounded and lost…they don’t realize that I am watching them, too, and waiting for them as I was for you.
I have given you gifts and a dream in your heart to help them discover why I have made them – to assist Me as I release them to be who I meant them to be.
He turned me to once again look into my eyes.. “Battle beside me against the harm my enemy does here. Your assignment as my princess is to reveal the robes of gold that others wear but don’t know yet…”
And that’s when Cinderella left the throne room – confident, her identify changed from seeing herself as black to seeing herself as gold. I go back there often and talk over what is going on with my Prince, sometimes for healing, sometimes for a crash course on what it means to be on God’s side. And He is always there waiting for me. As He is for you.
Oh, yes, the toughest thing He asked of me was to forgive my husband, to meet him half way in all that we needed to change. At first I could only be willing to be willing but, I didn’t want to miss out on a miracle and I gave it the tiniest of chances. We have been back together for 3 years now and it is a marriage I never thought I would have – not perfect but it no longer needs to be.
I find my perfection in my Prince. And now, I work together with Him to free others.
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