“Whatever comes,” she said, “cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.” – Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess
*I realize this post is a lot about my personal story and it’s long. I promise I’m not trying to be presumptuous. It’s just here for people who are wondering why on earth an adult woman would call herself a princess…
I stomped down the hall, bound for the teacher who was overseeing prom. During yesterday’s announcements my world fell into a blur of confusion when the school-wide broadcast included my name. Apparently I was nominated for prom queen. Votes would be cast that day during homeroom.
This must be some sort of joke, I thought. Maybe someone is trying to poke fun at me. I was not really popular. I did not party. I did not cheerlead or star in any sort of extracurricular. Sure, I was involved in some sports. And I worked for the yearbook. But even still, hardly anyone really knew who I was. I was the goody tushu white girl.
I had every intention of going to take my name out of the running. There was no need to be the subject of humiliation, and there were plenty of other students who were prom queen material. In fact, my heart actually ached at the idea that this was probably a joke I was not “in on.”
I spent the remainder of the day trying to squeeze in time to talk with the teacher in charge of prom. Perhaps she would have mercy on me and save me from this joke. I planned to go into school early the next day to have a conversation with her.
At family breakfast the following morning, my sister, who attended the same high school as me, shared with my parents that I had been nominated for prom queen. My parents were thrilled. Elated. They said “that’s so great, Ashley!” I told them I was not going to do it. They urged me to reconsider.
I left for school early and sat in the parking lot for time with Jesus before consulting the teacher. In the silence He began speaking to me about my journey. Of why this was significant. It was He who could make me queen. Not because of anything I did, but because of who He is. He will shine through His children, and He will move the popular kids aside to do so.
I had been marked by the idea of royalty since early in my childhood. Like other girls, I loved princesses. I loved the romance associated with Disney fairy tales. When I was in middle school my mom bought me a frame that decoratively displayed the phrase “I am a princess because my Father is the King of Kings.” As cheesy as that quote is to some people, it rang a bell in my heart that resonated with my calling in this world. And suddenly pieces of life began to carry powerful significance. I began to understand God’s design and delight in calling us a royal priesthood. I began to see the power He placed on me as a child of His. Simply because He lives in me.
I studied the book of Esther and other Scriptures associated with royalty and empowerment. I began to understand how He co-labors with us, how He commissions us, and how He authorizes us to rule and reign in this world.
When I first entered high school I was terrified. I was a white girl in a sea of ethnicities to which I had never been exposed. I hated learning. I hated homework. I did not love sports. To me the halls of the place were sterile and actually made me sick to my stomach. I felt out of place. All of my friends from middle school attended the ‘good’ high school. All of my friends from church attended ‘the country’ high school. And here I was, stuck in the awkward middle. The one with a strange mix of people. I felt so out of place and alone.
It was in that loneliness that the Lord met me. He began to solidify this royal journey I had started in childhood. He began moving mountains in my heart.
I cried out to Him and told him how alone I was. How embarrassing it was to be friendless. He drew near to me and began to show me how He could use me to carry breakthrough and revival into the halls of the school. How He was commissioning me as an ambassador of heaven –how I carried the authority of His Kingdom wherever I was sent. And He began to bring me friends.
Sophomore year I was loading the bus for a tennis tournament when announcements came on the intercom and my name was listed as one who was on homecoming court. It was clear this was supernatural. I had very few friends. I had some good friends! But very few compared to other students. This was God’s doing. I knew it.
In the wake of being named ‘Sophomore Princess,’ I knew God was up to something. He was teaching me how to lead a life marked by royalty. How to walk in authority and love and humility and grace. He spoke to me through movies like Princess Diaries and A Little Princess.
As I walked in this new found understanding of royalty I started to see people meet Jesus and discover healing. I saw people become physically and emotionally healed. I was able to speak into the lives of people who needed encouragement. I truly felt like an undercover princess. And I really enjoyed the undercover aspect.
So I sat in the car that morning before revoking my name as a prom queen contestant, the Lord played this movie in my head – the movie of my journey from middle school until that very moment. I cried as His Spirit touched me and reminded me that it was not about me. It was about Him shining through me. It was about me learning to appreciate how He made me and accepting responsibility and authority as a princess. It was about me surrendering and getting out of His way.
And so there I was, stomping down the hall in search of the teacher in charge of prom. I wanted her to know my fears and apprehension. I wanted her to know what I was learning. I wanted to be transparent with her and obedient to God.
When I opened the door to her room she said “Ashley, you are leading the votes by a lot, this is amazing!” I told her how surprised I was. How it was an act of God. She probably thought I was kidding – but I was so serious.
Shortly after being named prom queen I left for college. He gave me opportunities to teach others about the heavenly authority they carried as princes and princesses. How Heaven can kiss earth through our laid down lives. And how He calls us to step into our position as a royal priesthood and recognize this authority given through humbly surrendering our hearts to Him. I read the book Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson. They articulated this revelation beautifully.
And so that is why this blog is by a “princess in process.” Some people may find that cliché, some may find it girly, some may not resonate with this revelation the way I have. And that’s okay. I’ve discovered power in my being who I am through allowing God to teach me the ways of princess living. It doesn’t always look dainty. In fact, lately, it looks like a lot of diaper changing and spit up. But that’s okay, too. I am a princess in process. And my desire is for others to know their royal calling, too.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” 1 Peter 2:9
“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building” 1 Corinthians 3:9
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
“The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind.” Psalm 115:16
“You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” Isaiah 62:3