Certainly no other fairy tale has stirred so many girls hearts as the story of Cinderella.  Cinderella lives a life of drudgery only to be magically swept off her feet and loved by none other than Prince Charming himself.  The man every girl wants to marry.  He has charm, good looks, money and power.  When he first meets Cinderella she is beautiful and shiny, full of magical sparkle.  After just moments in her presence he knows he has met his perfect woman, she represents everything he has been looking for.  The next few hours are magical as they spin and twirl to the music, incapable of doing anything but stare into each others eyes–Until the  clock strikes midnight and the realities of Cinderella’s life cause her to run away.

Prince Charming heart is devastated and he pools all his resources pursuing her until he finds her.  His heart remains true, he is not deterred by others who try to fit their too-big-feet into the glass slipper.  He will not give up until he finds his true love.  But when he finds her, he discovers she is not the perfectly appearing shiny girl he met at the party.  No.  He see’s the real her, dressed in rags.  Real true love abides in his heart though and when her foot slips easily into the glass slipper he loves her despite her ragged appearance and whisks her away to marry her and live happily ever after.  This story does not include separation and divorce.  No, this is a story about being romantically in love, a story of forever wearing rose colored glasses.  Only a fairy tale?  Well, for many it is, but for some it reveals a truth they have discovered that has made the forever fairy tale romance a reality in their lives.

You see, most people who read the story assume that what causes Prince Charming to fall desperately in love with Cinderella is her perfect hair, immaculate make up and trend-setting, stylish dress, not to mention those awesome crystal shoes she wears that are both fashionable and sensible!  But if that were true, then the moment he saw her in the rags of a scullery maid, he would have dropped the shoe and made a run for the palace.  Since that’s not what happened in the story, I think that he saw the same thing both in her royal regalia and her rags and that would be her inner beauty that shone brightly through her eyes, smile and character.  That’s what he fell in love with, no matter what she was wearing on the outside, he knew what was on the inside.

I think God sees us like Prince Charming saw Cinderella.  What I mean is that I can go to church and wear the right church clothes, say the right Christian words and lead out in the children’s division all while looking pretty shiny on the outside.  I can feel pretty good about my “Christianity” or Christian image.  But, when the circumstances of life come along and reveal that the real me just really just wears rags–filthy rags at that– that’s when God’s love for me really stays true.  He looks beyond the obvious, deeper than the dilemma and more searching than the surface.  He sees what’s in my heart, the real me, and that’s the person He loves, even if He is the only one who can see it.  He wants a relationship with the real me even if I am in rags.  It’s that kind of love that brings joy and peace in a relationship even through all the ups and downs and highs and lows.  It endures through success and failure because the object of God’s love is the heart of his child, you and I.  And He promises to write into each of our stories, “And they lived happily ever after.”