When Happily Ever After Is Not Happy

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
As a young girl, I was convinced that the most beautiful sentence in the English language was "and they lived happily ever after." Every worthwhile fairytale had to end with this key phrase, it's was not a suggestion, it was a requirement.

Belle lived happily ever after.

Cinderella lived happily ever after. 

Sleeping beauty, Snow White, and Repunzel did too. 

So would I. 

Like them I would set out to find my prince... a bit of drama, and a couple frogs later... I would finally be swept off my feet by "the one" and we would get married. I would look flawless, feel flawless, and everything would fall into place perfectly. Then we would ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Because like the princesses in the stories, as soon as I was wed, life would be bliss and happiness from that time forward. 

Then I got married. 

And I realized that happily ever after isn't always happy.

When the wedding bells die down and the honeymoon is over, life will happen. You'll have to get up for work. You might find yourself hungry cuz you or your spouse will forget to pack lunch. You'll spend mornings leaning over the toliet, sick as a dog because of the young life you carry.  You'll say something, or be told something that just comes out so wrong... and hurts. You'll disagree on what room is the office or where to put the TV. You'll hurt each other because you are human and imperfect. 
But that's not all, some of you will lose a child or a spouse. Others will be lied too by people they trust. Many will find out their wife has cancer, or their husband was just in a horrible car accident. You might be betrayed. Your child might get involved in drugs. You may lose your job. You may lose your home. 
You may lose all your hope. 

And when these things happen the last thing you will describe your life as being is "happily ever after." 

I know because I've spend countless nights crying in ultimate pain, asking God why, after I had done everything right, my life felt so wrong. 

Life has thrown me trials so bitter and painful that I thought my heart would literally break into a million pieces. 

Then I realized I had skewed the true meaning of happily ever after. 

You'll never be happy if you expect everything to fall into place perfectly. 

You'll never be happy if you expect to be treated like gold 24/7. 

You'll never be happy if you think God will never send you a trial. 

So expect things to fall apart. 

Expect to sometimes be hurt by the people you love. 

And expect trials that push you to your very limits. 

But also expect to be happy. Because living happily ever after means that despite what life throws at you, despite the hurt you cause each other, despite living in an imperfect world, you have made a choice to smile, because you know that happiness can be found in the darkest corners, and that in the end God truly will make everything right. 

Happily ever after is not an event, it's a choice.  

So choose to be happy. 




Newflash: Mirrors Lie

Friday, April 4, 2014
Here I am.

It's 8:00 am on a Friday and I have done absolutely NOTHING. 

I have been standing in front of my bathroom mirror for the past hour... 

Originally I came in here to brush my teeth, but that was before I was met by the not so lovely reflection of myself in the mirror. You know what? Strike that..."not so lovely" is a serious understatement this morning. Maybe hideous is a better word to use. 

Yuck. 

My hair is falling out of the very messy bun I put it in last night. Just when I though a messy bun couldn't get messier, it just did. Plus I have strands of fuzzy lose ends heading east, west, north, and south. And don't mention the fact that I seriously need to shower... nasty greasy roots. 

My eyes... Well, if you can somehow see past the seemingly chronic purple bags under my eyes, you'll notice that I still haven't figured out how to cover up the section on my lower right eyelid where no eyelashes grow (stupid chicken pox). Or the fact that until I curl them, my eyelashes are straighter than a yardstick... And look especially thin today, why do they look so thin? 

My teeth are definitely not white... More like a yellowish-white... Or I guess I could say cream... That sounds more "elegant" right? And wowzy...my lips sure look dry...I gotta do something about that. 

My forehead is red from the allergic reaction I got from the cream I was using to get rid of the zits that I'm NOT supposed to be getting anymore (hello, I'm 21!!).

My right eye is a bit higher than my left. 

My nose is too big. 

My cheeks are too round. 

My chin is too pointy. 

My eyebrows need plucked.

I need a tan.

Or two...

Or three...

Except I can't tan because I don't want to add to my growing collection of freckles. 

Sigh.

The mirror has been leading me to believe, for the past hour, that I am not beautiful. 

And I was starting to believe it.

Until I remembered that mirrors lie. 

Billboards lie.

Television lies. 

The magazines lie. 

The internet lies. 

Ever beauty isle in every grocery store is lying too. 

Because lipsticks and perfectly smooth golden skin does not define beauty. 

The mirror doesn't know that the bags under my eyes came from staying up all night with a sick baby. 

The mirror doesn't know that I chose to read stories to my daughter, rather than take a shower. 

The mirror doesn't tell me that the wrinkles by my eyes come from laughing over and over again because life is good.  

The mirror doesn't tell me that my smile may not be perfectly white, but it's real. 

The mirror doesn't tell me that my hair is messy because giggling under the blanket with my child was more important that perfect locks.

The mirror doesn't tell me I'm beautiful. 

It tells me I'm flawed. It tells me I'm not good enough. It tells me I need work.

It lies to me. 

Because on a good hair day or not, make up or none, dress or sweats, I am beautiful.

Because being beautiful is more than having a pretty face, its more than wearing gorgeous clothes, and its more than looking like an airbrushed, photo-shopped, 5' 11 super model.

I am surrounded in very very beautiful people.

Like the lady who showed up at my door with freshly baked bread, for no other reason than because she wanted me to know she cared. Or the man who ran for a good 2 blocks to catch up to me when I dropped 20 dollars from my pocket. Then there was the boy who searched the store to find me and let me know I left the lights on in my car. And the girl who complimented me on my voice after she caught me singing in the bathroom at church.

Being attractive is merely an accumulation of good genetics.

But being beautiful... now that is something to be proud of... it is someone you become deep down in your soul.

So Mr. Mirror, who are you to tell me I am not beautiful?