God often gets my attention in the most unexpected ways.

As much as I resisted the allure of pink, ruffled, poofy things and girlish ways ... God taught me it's ok to be girly and like pink by giving me two precious girls. I'm still not really "into" princesses ... but that didn't prevent my oldest daughter from loving princesses. Especially Disney princesses, which somehow have been deemed "Noni." Every Disney princess is Noni. I don't know where Noni came from.

Frozen is of course a favorite (Anna is a Noni but Elsa is Elsa ... and it isn't the whole coronation thing because I've heard "Queen Anna" more than a few times around here). Another recent gift from Aunt Taylor was Tangled ... aka  "Untangled" (Shelby has beautiful curly hair - I guess I say that word a lot).

To say we've been through a lot this year would be an understatement. Perhaps I'll tell you about it someday. For now just know that as my 36th birthday has approached, feelings of failure have accompanied it. I doubt many would picture themselves where I am at 36. My favorite number. This is supposed to be an amazing year, right?

Victoria was taking a morning nap, and Shelby was watching "Untangled". Mommy was in a particularly self-pitying mood and plopped down to watch with her for a bit. It was the part where she is dancing in the square and the sun symbol is all around, including in the chalk drawing she has just finished. Her face is alight with joy. She ALMOST realizes who she is (the princess).

And then, voluntarily, she ends up right back in captivity. She realizes who she is but she doesn't embrace it right away, not really. Ok maybe it's more complicated than that, but my purpose isn't to retell Disney's story - they do a much better job of that.

I can claim the joy that I have at being God's princess, an heir of the One True King. But so often I retreat back into the dark towers He wants to free me from. Instead of dancing with joy and letting His light shine through me to others despite my bare feet, I'm moaning about wanting shoes. Quite literally! Instead of looking to the birds of the air and not worrying what I will wear, I'm crying because I'm afraid God will only give me ugly practical shoes. How sad.

True beauty doesn't come from outward adornment ... It's that joyful light from within that points to His beauty, the priceless inheritance I have as His child that NOTHING ... no government, no oppressor, no hardship, no storm can take away that never rots and never ages.

Like Rapunzel standing in her room and literally falling over from the gravity of her realization, I'm left reeling at how much He loves me and how important my life is to Him. I'll likely end up snooping around the cold towers in my mind again but I pray that He will keep reminding me who I am.

Shelby, sitting on her tricycle, looked up at my tear-streaked face and matter-of-factly announced "Mommy, don't cry. Play!"

Joy. Sheer joy for the taking.