Marriage was always part of my princess dreams. My Prince Charming dreams. A man who found me when I wasn’t even looking for him. Matched all my wishes. Gave me what I didn’t yet have. Opened doors to new vistas for me. Took care of all my troubles. Treated me like, well, a princess.
I guess it all began in kindergarten. I was Sleeping Beauty for Halloween that year. The only costume my Mom ever bought for me.
When I put on that blue and pink satin outfit with silver sparkles, I was no longer a coal miner’s daughter. I was a damsel waiting for that daring Prince Charming to take me away to his castle.
In junior high school, I began testing real boys to see who matched my Prince Charming ideal. Who was going to open the door to the rest of the world and take me away with him? Who was handsome and brave? Who had a white horse waiting just outside the city limits of West Frankfort, ready to carry us into the nearest sunset? There were a few likely candidates, but none of them wanted to be the main character in my princess fantasy.
In high school, I had some potentials for the role of Prince Charming in my life.
One took me to my first live concert. One serenaded me on my front porch. One drove me around in a Lincoln Continental. One promised to be with me always. One was building white picket fences for us in his mind. But by the time I was a sophomore in college, all of them had disappeared from my life.
Then I met the man of my dreams. My Prince Charming who drove a sports car, Played the guitar and sang to me. Bought me presents when it wasn’t my birthday. Took me on trips to places I’d never been before. I was ready to get married, and I think he was, too. So we did.
But with a flimsy foundation like that, you can probably already imagine what happened. My fairy tale turned into a horror story ending in divorce.
I gave up looking for my Prince Charming. I worked and prayed and studied my Bible and spent my time with friends and family.
Then one day, my Prince Charming arrived at the airport in St. Louis. He came with some baggage, and so did I. But it didn’t matter because we were in love. We had a wedding in an old church. A reception in a lodge. A honeymoon in a boutique hotel.
Then I climbed onto his white charger, rode to his castle, and moved in.
What we didn’t know was how difficult and short our time together would be. The prince and princess quickly became regular people facing the regular challenges of life. Every once in a while, a glimpse of the dream kept us going.
When the prince died, I stopped believing in the dream. I gradually withdrew into the pit of self-pity and despair.
“You’ve been looking for your Prince Charming, and I’ve been here all along.” I heard that voice in my heart and soul one day. The voice of my prince: the Prince of Peace. Jesus.
As I watched the wedding of Prince Harry and Meaghan on May 19, 2018, I realized I would never marry a prince.
But I also realized that my Jesus, my Prince of Peace, is the only prince I need.
I want to avoid the temptation of trying to make any man into my Prince Charming. That’s a fantasy no man should have to live up to. With Jesus as my Prince, I have my priorities straight. For the first time in my life. That’s a difficult thing to admit. Especially at this time in my life.
Living in a fantasy does two things: distracts us from reality and isolates us from relationships with real people. Avoid both by keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus. He never disappoints. He always defends. He never leaves. He always provides. He knows you better than anyone ever has, does, or will.
Who needs a fantasy when we have that beautiful reality for eternity?
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2018 by Laura Warfel