I found it rummaging through a mountain of clothes at a second-hand store. It was 25 Cent Sale Day and that princess dress was buried in among the jeans and the t-shirts and the much more practical clothes.
Toddler-Girl wore it everyday for a straight month and still pulls it over her clothes whenever she gets the chance.
That dress that cost me a quarter makes her feel like a princess. Not all high and mighty make-me-toast-and-get-my-slippers princess. (Though sometimes that’s there but then who doesn’t have a bit of diva to fight off?) No, it’s the confident I-am-known-and-cherished-princess and doesn’t-this-dress-just-make -me-look-beautiful?
No, sweet girl, you make the dress look beautiful.
And I want to whisper that this world can be harsh and cruel and kids are mean and they’ll try to rip the fancy right off you. Like those two ugly step sisters in that movie you like so much.
They’ll tell you that princess dresses are for little girls and who believes in all that stuff anyway? They’ll think they’re doing you a favor when they try to strip that princess title from your heart, like it’s something ugly to be feared. This is the twenty-first century and equality no longer means appreciating the differences, it means trying to become like a man and losing that which makes us woman.
But hear me loud on this, even when the dress no longer fits, when you think you’re way past dressing up, you’ll still be a princess.
This world will spit on your beauty, on your wide-eyed wonder and simple delight and I, oh how wish I could keep you from having to walk through that ugly. Keep you from the harsh whisper of boys, from the too-long gaze of men, from the constant drum beat of culture that all scream your worth is only as good as your looks.
What are we always telling you? You’re lovely because you’re loved. And girl, you are loved. But not just by your mommy and daddy and gaggle of uncles and grandparents and in-coming aunties.
You’re loved by the King of the Universe who stoops down daily to give you gifts in the form of sunshine, snowflakes and puddles for jumping in. That same King calls you Daughter and that makes you a Princess. Princess to a High Calling with a great inheritance. Princess to a King who gave it all up because He couldn’t stop loving you.
Someday you might trip up and fall. You might fall hard on that face of yours and be wondering how you’ll ever pick yourself up again. Because this world we live in tells us that our past determines our future, and that your beauty is subjective, that your value only lasts as long as you’re useful.
But girl, you’re lovely. Stunning. Breathtaking. And you’ll always be. Because you are loved something fierce. And that King that makes you a Princess, He’ll go to hell and back again to get you. And don’t you think I won’t be running right there behind Him.
He made you something special. He made you a girl.
In a world where so many little girls are daily forgotten, pushed aside, used, aborted or discarded simply because of their gender, it is a humble privilege to be entrusted with raising you and your sister. It is an honor we don’t take lightly.
Toddler-Girl, we’re praying hard and working long to raise you differently than what the world says it means to be a girl.
When the world tries to tell you all the things you aren’t, all the things you can’t do, or all the ways you’re not important, you just remember that you’re a Warrior Princess.
Before you and your sister ever left that cozy womb, we were speaking fierce these words over you. That you’ll fight for the good of other girls, remain tender in a hard world, and daily bring joy into it because you reflect Abba’s glory.
It’s not enough just to be a pretty face. How many pretty faces have we seen masking the ugly inside? And how many others that we bump into are princes and princesses just waiting to be reminded of their true selves? You be you and remember what you are and you’ll in turn remind others of the beauty they’ve lost sight of. Fight for them to know how much they’re loved by their King.
But for today, you put on that fancy dress and your beautiful shoes and twirl around. You’re a Warrior Princess, and the world is going to be better for it.