Today’s post is from Hearts at Home speaker, Connie Neal. Connie is the author of over 30 books including one of my personal favorites, Holding On To Heaven While Your Marriage Goes Through Hell. Today she’s offering a free e-book re-release of one of her favorite books Dancing in the Arms of God. (You’ll find out how to get your free copy at the end of this post.) You can get to know her stories better at www.amazon.com/author/connieneal, or visit her at www.connieneal.com or on Facebook.
Last week, my adult daughter invited me to see Disney’s animated 1950 classic, Cinderella, in a theater. Casey had never seen Cinderella on the big screen. Familiar scenes were larger than life. The towering doors and shimmering turrets of the castle, the magical mouse-drawn coach, carried us back to the little girls we once were. I reflected on how scenes and songs from Cinderella narrate our lives.
I recall seeing the movie in a theater as a child. When the glass slipper shattered, I didn’t know the ending. Imagine, watching Cinderella without knowing the ending! The opening where bluebirds awaken Cinderella from a happy dream reminds me of waking up when I was about six with birds chirping outside my window. I would while away long hours dressing up in Mommy’s frilly lingerie with a toilet-paper veil pinned to my hair. I would lean on the windowsill gazing longingly into the night sky, wishing little-girl wishes. My step-father would scoop me up in his arms, twirl me around, and call me HIS princess. Those kinds of days…
“A dream is a wish your heart makes…”
Remember the scene where the prince is at the ball. He’s bored, distracted; then he sees Cinderella and only has eyes for her. He leaves the others and they dance to the song, So, This is Love. That reminds me of when I was in college and saw the play of Cinderella. One moment I was bored waiting for the show to start, the next I fell in love with the young man playing the Herald. As he sang, I grew starry-eyed with hope that one day he would only have eyes for me. Two years later, when we married I could have hummed…
“So this is the miracle I’ve been dreaming of… So this, so this, is love!
Then there’s the scene where Cinderella is cheerfully down on hands and knees scrubbing floors while singing beautifully. Meanwhile, Lucifer (the aptly named cat) romps about leaving muddy paw-prints to mar her work. This reminds me of the years when the kids were small. I had two little girls — who watched the Cinderella VHS tape until it wore out – and a little boy who rooted for the cat. You know, those years when life feels like one chore after another. Just when you think you’re making progress you look up to see a mess and have to start over again. I wished I had Cinderella’s sweet spirit but my attitude was often more like the screeches of the off-key stepsisters at their music lesson.
“Sing sweet nightingale, sing sweet…
The pivotal scene comes when Cinderella runs into the garden crying after her stepsisters tore her down leaving her once-lovely gown in tatters and dreams disappointed. She says, “Now I’ll never get to the ball, never. I can’t believe.” Her fairy godmother appears saying,
“Oh, but you must have a little faith, dearie,
otherwise I wouldn’t be here, and here I am.”
In the years after I experienced bumps on the road to “happily-ever-after” I wrote Dancing in the Arms of God. That was my season of disillusionment when God had to remind me…
“Even miracles take a little time.”
And I held on to the refrain…
“No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing,
the dreams that you wish will come true!”
And, they did! As I sat in that darkened theater with my 27-year-old daughter, with my kids grown, and our marriage intact, I was back at the beginning:
A dream is a wish your heart makes…
I was inspired to believe again! Wherever you are in your Cinderella story, I hope you’ll watch Cinderella again sometime soon. Believe again! I also hope you’ll read the revised version of Dancing in the Arms of God: Discover Your Cinderella Story and share it with your friends. I’m offering it FREE on Kindle Oct. 3-7, 2012 here.