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I was not an attractive child. Every time I look at photos of myself from the ‘80s and ‘90s, I cringe. I had dishwater blonde hair, chubby cheeks, frizzy bangs, and a fairly noticeable lazy eye. I never heard anyone mention it, but I’m pretty sure some of my teachers uttered a few “bless-her-little-heart” comments after our interactions. Fortunately, while I lacked natural beauty, I was blessed with a sharp wit and a sunny disposition, so I had plenty of friends. Unlike most of the other young girls, though, I can’t remember ever feeling enchanted with the dream that someday a prince would ride up on a white horse and sweep me off my feet. I guess subconsciously I had accepted the idea that fairy tale romances just weren’t in the cards for girls like me.

Imagine my delight when, after those awkward years subsided, my college sweetheart chose to marry me! We built a home together, brought two beautiful (thank you, Lord!) children into the world, and lived a nice little suburban life together for a while. But when our marriage ended, I wondered if I had been right as a young girl: perhaps I was highly likable, but not lovable.

In my most challenging moments as a single mother, I was tempted to reject the God who – I thought – let my life fall apart. I wanted to act out in defiance against Him and walk away from church and my Christian friends.

Instead, feeling equally disenfranchised with the world, I buckled down and clung to my faith. Over time, whenever I felt invisible in the world, I felt God pursuing me relentlessly. When I was overcome with doubt and cynicism, He planted seeds of hope. In my exhaustion, He gave me the strength to keep going. In my sadness, He showed me “pearls” of joy each day. When I felt misunderstood by my peers, He wrapped me in His arms and became my best friend.  At my loneliest time in this world, I felt myself falling deeply in love with Him. Before long, I realized that I had been swept up in a fairy tale romance not by a charming prince in a fictitious kingdom, but by the real King of the universe. I have always been His – and He will always be mine.  I weep as I write this, just thinking about it.

A few years into my new life, I married a handsome, wonderful, godly man. We have an unbelievably beautiful life together. Every once in a while, someone hears our adorable love story and refers to it as a “fairy tale.” I just smile.

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“The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

– Jeremiah 31:3 (NRSV)

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Emma-ReynoldsEmma Reynolds
Southern Field Director

Inspiration

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