Ella and Her Prince
In a land of castles, mystique, and valor, there lives a young girl known as Cinderella. We assume the story starts here, but the grip of death has already wrapped its clutches around her mother, leaving Cinderella with a broken heart. Cinderella’s father seeks to pick up the pieces with a stepfamily, but they provide no solace or comfort for Cinderella. This father breathes his last and is forgotten in the shadows as the drama marches on, yet his influence remains. As long as her father lives, Cinderella holds her proper position and place in the household. Only after her father dies is the true nature of her stepmother revealed.

As time continues, acceptance gently rises from the wounds while beauty is formed, finding its way into the heart of Cinderella, as she becomes the envy of her stepfamily. Yet even beauty cannot change the painful routine of slavery which continues day after day. Suddenly, monotony is startled by the interruption of a letter, written in the royal style of the king and stamped by the prince himself. A grand ball is to be held at the castle and all eligible maidens are invited to attend.

The invitation might be for every maiden, but the stepfamily assumes it does not include Cinderella. After all, she is their servant, and servants do not attend balls. In spite of this, Cinderella bravely asks to go with them. Hope swells as Cinderella is convinced she can meet the conditions. She retreats to the attic, drawing from her mother’s trunk an exquisite gown, the only garment of beauty she owns. At the close of the day, her work complete, Cinderella whips on the dress and races down the stairs just in time to catch her family stepping out the door for the ball. Cinderella’s stepmother pauses in the doorway as she turns her piercing gaze towards Cinderella, sharp scrutiny tearing the gown to shreds. As her family departs for the ball, Cinderella is left behind in defeat, her thoughts turning inward to torment her. “I am not even worthy of the prince. What was I thinking? I will return to my ashes where I belong.”

The grand duke sighs with relief, "At last, a perfect fit!  But how can I possibly report to the prince that his true love is only a servant girl?"  This news does not faze the prince. He himself prepares a dazzling white bridal gown and lays it out for Cinderella. She need only put it on. He and Cinderella commit themselves to each other with the vows of marriage.

Contentment has never been a closer friend as Cinderella lives her wildest dream. The love of the prince is a soothing balm for her soul, healing the wounds of her past. Life as the wife of this honorable and prestigious man begins—such dignity Cinderella has never known before. The magic of the fairy godmother pales in comparison to the effect the prince has on the life of Cinderella. Talk travels fast. No longer will Cinderella be called by her old name. She is now Ella, Princess Ella. Association with her place among the cinders of the servant’s fire no longer defines her. She is free to live life to the fullest.

For Princess Ella, the story does not end at the wedding ceremony. In fact, it has only begun. The secrets of the kingdom, once hidden, now intrigue Princess Ella as she becomes her husband’s confidant. She enjoys sweet fellowship with her groom, thriving on his tender touch and gentle caresses, and they live happily ever after.

The story of Cinderella is often a fantasy of wishful thinking for little girls, and yet deep in the soul of every woman is a longing for it to be true, for God has placed that desire within all of us. As we progress through the book of Ruth, we will see many similarities to the Cinderella story, but find the Word of God reaching far deeper than any fairy tale to the very core of our being. The story of Ruth, and all the characters surrounding her, lead us into a relationship with God that is both intimate and fulfilling as we allow His Word to permeate our lives.

We can draw near to God or we can miss the blessing of His friendship depending on our response to Him. Our response determines the path we walk. God does not force Himself upon us, but rather invites us into His awesome presence.

As we study the book of Ruth, my prayer is not that we simply learn facts about God, (although this is good), but rather allow ourselves to be drawn into His very presence as He is revealed to us in the Word by the Spirit of God. We are incapable of understanding God’s Word unless the Spirit makes it clear and opens our hearts to truly see Him. This happens as we avail ourselves to His voice through prayer. For this reason, the importance of personal prayer cannot be overemphasized. Prayer does not have to be long or eloquent. Simply pour out your heart to God in humility. Then listen to His voice speaking to your spirit as you study the Scriptures. Expect to hear from the living God as you meet with Him.

My prayer is that God will reveal Himself to you as you journey into His presence. I pray you will find your heart delighting in knowing your God such that you cannot get enough of Him. Dare to go deeper. Be radical, not only in zeal, but in quiet confidence, for the people who know their God will be strong and do great things. May God’s richest blessings fill your heart as you embrace His truths and experience them in your life.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:13

“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To gaze upon the beauty of the LORD, and to seek him in his temple.”
Psalm 27:4

Taken in part from the Introduction
Accepted In The Beloved by Jewel Seacrest
Copyright 2011

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