One night the girl named Dirty crept close to the Celebration fires, the place where the subjects of the King celebrated Kingdom living. Dirty watched from a distance as ordinary people passed through the great ring of fire and were transformed into their real selves...princes, princesses, the Captain of the Guard, dukes and duchesses, lords and ladies of the King. There was music and dancing and delicious food inside the Celebration fire and she couldn't imagine what it would be like to feel so happy.
She longed to join them, but she was afraid. The girl named Dirty was afraid of the fire...afraid it might hurt. But she was mostly afraid that when she passed through the fire, she would be exactly who she was now, a girl named Dirty.
She felt something touch her and she turned to see a old man beside her. The hand on her shoulder felt warm and his eyes were kind as he asked her if she was joining the Celebration that night. She shrank back from his touch as the fear rose up inside her again. The old man invited her to go with him through the ring of fire, but Dirty refused. She watched in amazement and wonder as the old man walked through the Celebration Fire and was welcomed by all as the King himself! And then she felt shame, remembering that the King had invited her to go with him and she had refused...would he ever invite her back again?
The girl named Dirty remembered the King's invitation however, and eventually found the courage to step through the cleansing circle of fire. It did hurt a little but her love for the King impelled her and she emerged on the other side as a true Princess, daughter of the King...complete with radiant clothing and a delicate crown on her head. And best of all, she was clean, both on the inside and the outside.
Every time I read this story as a child, it would bring strong emotions and feelings to the surface...I soon avoided reading that story entirely in order to avoid the pain and that became a pattern in my life. I would do just about anything to avoid the pain inside. I knew how the girl named Dirty felt...I didn't like it that I felt like her story felt like my story and yet I had covered up the hurt so well I didn't really even know why that was.
I just knew that I felt dirty, bad, unlovable and unwanted...I tried to cover it up with laughter and bounce and fun and masks, but in those moments of quiet solitude, the voices were there with their sinister tones, "...you are ugly...you are fat...you are bad....you are lazy....you want too much...you are too much...you are not enough...you are worthless...there is no hope...if your friends knew who you really were, they would never like you...you are shame...you are guilty and you will never be free of that..."
The King invited and yet I was too afraid to trust, too afraid to believe...too afraid that nothing would change even if I did...too afraid of stepping into His Kingdom only to be revealed to be nothing more than a worthless, dirty reject in the midst of the children of the King. And so I watched from a distance, the smell of smoke on my clothes, as it were, but never getting close enough to actually be warmed by the fire...putting my hope in eternity but having no hope for a fulfilling and joyful life here on this earth. Able to trust God for eternal salvation, but not for earthly redemption. Believing that God loved me enough to save my eternal soul, but that He probably didn't like me very much in the meantime...
And so the King allowed me to live, always inviting but never forcing, until I came to a desperate place of need...where the desire to be free became greater than the ability to hide the pain and I made a choice to trust...to believe. It was as if I stepped into the fire...and while the fire was holy and cleansing and good, it was still fire and it still hurt. But it was a good hurt and it was a healing hurt and I am very glad that the King never stopped inviting...and there He was on the other side, waiting for me to step into my beautiful robes and my lovely crown amidst the cheers of my fellow Kingdom-dwellers.
Most days I may look the same as I always have...but if you notice that I walk a little taller, have a little more confidence and if you see that sparkle in my eye...it's because inside I know who I am...I believe...I'm a daughter of the King...
Every once in a while those old voices might come back for a second or two, but mostly they are drowned out by the shouts of Who I Am in Christ...
I AM ACCEPTED...
- I am God's Child (Jn. 1:12)
- I am Christ's Friend (Jn. 15:15)
- I have been justified (Rom. 5:1)
- I am united with the Lord, one spirit (I Cor. 6:17)
- I am bought with a price; I belong to God (I Cor. 6:19-20)
- I am a saint (Eph. 1:1)
- I have been adopted as God's child (Eph. 1:5)
- I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
- I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14)
- I am complete in Christ (Col. 2:10)
- I am free forever from condemnation (Rom. 8:1-2)
- I am assured all works together for good (Rom 8:28)
- I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31-34)
- I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39)
- I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21-22)
- I am hidden with Christ Jesus in God (Col. 3:3)
- I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil. 1:6)
- I am a citizen of heaven (Phil. 3:20)
- I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7)
- I can find grace and mercy in time of need (Heb. 4:16)
- I am born of God; the evil one cannot touch me (1 Jn. 5:18)
- I am the salt and light of the earth (Matt. 5:13-14)
- I am a branch of the true vine; a channel of His life (Jn. 15:1, 5)
- I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (Jn. 15:16)
- I am a personal witness of Christ's (Acts 1:8)
- I am God's temple (I Cor. 3:16)
- I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor. 5:17-21)
- I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6)
- I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
- I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3:12)
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)