Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reign Real Now! Your Place is on a throne with a sword.

I want to give credit to the amazing artist who created this, but I cannot find the name. 

Greetings Princess Warriors! I didn’t quite make my seven day posting commitment … but I am close. I’m hoping the following teaser for my upcoming book: Reign Real: Becoming a Princes Warrior for Christ makes up for my lapse! I’d be thrilled to have your thoughts, suggestions, and comments, and I hope you take time to complete the activities at the end of the chapter. I believe they will challenge you and draw you closer to the One True King.
(Please note: The “sidebar” boxes will be on the sidebar in the actual book, not smack dab in the middle of the text. So use your imagination!)

Introduction
Ding-dong! Ding-dong! The doorbell chimed impatiently.
With my overflowing candy bowl in one hand and my Gospel tracts in the other, I courageously opened the door to a crowd of dancing, hopping, and very noisy costumed characters. A kitty-cat, Superman, Batman, and one, two, three…little princesses squirmed anxiously, anticipating more tasty treats to add to their already overflowing buckets, bags, and plastic pumpkins.
“Mom, I wanted to be a princess, too,” the incredibly cute kitty-cat whined at her mother who hovered protectively nearby looking none too pleased by her daughter’s public proclamation. 
Considering the manner in which Miss Kitty-cat was eyeing Disney Princess number three, I thought a hiss and loud meow might be forthcoming. Thank goodness the animal control truck was rounding up critters in another neighborhood! Hurriedly, I handed out candy and the story of salvation to eager hands.
“Thank you,” they all chorused.
As the group scampered down the walkway, Kitty-cat stopped in front of Princess Three. “I wanted your costume because I’m a princess, but my mom said I had to be a kitten this year.” Her shoulders sagged with obvious regret.
To my amazement, the princess offered this fascinating explanation, “I wanted to be a ninja warrior, but my mom said I was a little princess. You can have my crown if you want.” Before her mom could protest, she dramatically removed her sparkling, jeweled treasure and placed it on Kitty-cat’s head, just behind the fuzzy-leopard ears. “There, now we’re both princesses, and I’m a warrior, too,” she added, proudly.
“Me, too.” Princess number two agreed, nodding enthusiastically.
Me too, I thought, still amazed by Princess Three’s generosity. A bit selfish at times, I’m not sure I would have parted with such a prized possession.
Thankfully, though, as a daughter of the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, I am royalty, created to reign forever with my Lord. Just like the delightfully dressed-up-princess, sometimes I reign with a wand and other times I brandish a sword. Living as a Princess Warrior, seated on a Throne of God’s glory, isn’t always easy, but it is the most rewarding and exciting position any woman could possibly have. Really.
Not to mention there are enough crowns for all God’s girls!
So, if you dream of becoming a princess — crown, gown, scepter, and all the royal trimmings — you’re not alone. If you sometimes envision yourself lifting your royal ruffles to launch a swift kick at an unrelenting enemy, or unsheathing your saber instead of your scepter, keep reading.
Ladies, when you belong to the Ultimate King of Heaven and Earth, you truly are a priceless princess and a worthy warrior. Although the two titles may seem decidedly incompatible, please, consider again.
Should you be reading this book with hair rollers dangling from the very lochs they’re supposed to curl, your mascara clumping on areas other than your lashes, and un-matching socks with holes in the heels (don’t ask how I know about this stuff) there is still a throne for you. The King says so!
Indeed much has been written about understanding our position in Christ and how to fight the good fight of faith. But, have we as women accurately embraced our inclusive identity as both princess and warrior?
If not, don’t worry. You can join me as together we discover how to reign real in an increasingly wicked world, accepting the thrones our Heavenly Father fashioned just for us. And remember, in this Kingdom, women with ample behinds (that’s me), messy hair (okay, me again), and a ton of imperfections (need I say more?) fit perfectly on the thrones they've been given.
A hallelujah moment: There’s no need to “get pretty,” lose weight, or visit the hair salon before sitting on your throne, scepter and sword in hand. Jesus Christ has taken care of all the details. It’s simply up to us to believe and hold on to Him.
And remember, because of Jesus, we really can live happily ever after, not like a false, fairytale princess, but as a godly warrior princess. Our happiness will not be fully realized in this world or this lifetime, but by reigning real here and now, we will reap riches and rewards beyond our wildest expectations in our eternal Kingdom to come. After all, the Kingdom we belong to will always exist; and not just in our childhood dreams, but forever and ever (that’s a long, long, time) in the presence of God Almighty.
Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.
                                         Deuteronomy 14:2 NIV 

Chapter 1
Are you a Princess Warrior? No not Zena!
A Princess called Caraboo
Nearly two-hundred years ago in a small English town, a princess appeared. Ta … da! This striking beauty spoke an unrecognizable language, and was found dressed in exotic attire. A number of concerned (a nice word for nosy) and fascinated people attempted to decipher their mysterious visitor’s language, and the whereabouts of her native homeland.
Unfortunately, other than her highly unusual behavior that included sleeping on the floor (ouch), refusing to eat meat, dining on pineapple (fine by me), swimming naked (not fine by me), fencing, practicing archery, and praying to a god she called Allah Tallah, no one knew who she really was, or, where she came from.  She called herself, Caraboo, Princess Caraboo.
Eventually, a Portuguese sailor said he could translate her gibberish. A tale of intrigue unraveled, revealing the exquisite foreigner was actually “Princess Caraboo” and she had been captured by pirates who had kidnapped her from the island of Javasu in the Indian Ocean. Miraculously, Princess Caraboo had somehow managed to escape her tormentors by throwing herself into the channel and swimming ashore. (Is this girl for real?)
For several months, the lovely princess resided with a prominent and wealthy family who flaunted her exotic royalty to the local bigwigs, only to discover later that their infamous houseguest was actually a cobbler’s daughter named Mary Baker.
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: Hiding doesn’t work! In a game of hide and seek even the best “hider” is eventually found. For whatever we do in the dark eventually comes out in the light. So, why bother trying?
Miss Baker had created her own royal personage and a language derived from gypsy words and her imagination. Following this untimely disclosure, Miss Baker continued her façade, traveling to Spain, France, and ultimately back to England when her act finally proved unsuccessful. Many years later, after becoming a “saleswoman” and selling leeches (the blood-sucking kind) to local hospitals, she died as a lonely, old woman buried in an unmarked grave.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
After first reading this tantalizing, and somewhat scandalous tale, I was intrigued (nosy), shocked, and then somewhat depressed. Why would a beautiful young woman go to such extreme lengths to “be” a princess? Why would someone reinvent their whole identity?
Instead of allowing myself to pass judgment on this haunting figure, I took an extended look in the mirror of my own life.
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: Shining the light of God’s truth in your heart is like pointing your flashlight under a bed; you can no longer ignore the dirt.
There I discovered what many of you already know ― sometimes, oftentimes, we don’t believe we are worthy. We don’t believe we’re enough. We feel hopeless, helpless, hostile, and even hateful. We fantasize about what our lives would be like if only we had the perfect fulfilling career and lived in a luxurious castle, married to the perfect prince, with a perfect nanny and servants to help us raise our almost-perfect children. Did I forget the — if only I had the perfectly sculpted, toned, tanned, figure without having to work for it and all would be well syndrome? 
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: If only: The two words that best describe dissatisfaction. How often do you utter the terrible two? Tell the truth, girls!
Some of us have taken our own dissatisfaction a step further and determined to become somebody different. In fact, as a young teenager, I had already survived several years of relentless teasing from a group of girls on my swim team. I’m not talking about a few unkind words here and there; rather, I was assaulted with menacing words, not only by my female teammates, but by several team moms as well. During this time, my vocabulary expanded with words that even a seasoned sailor might find offensive.
Why this attack started, I can only guess. I assume it was triggered by some sudden swimming improvements on my side of the pool, and the fact that a previous swimming-princess was dethroned, while I became the number one seated ten-year-old.
You’ve all read about the “cheerleader mom syndrome,” right? Well, unfortunately, I’d become a target of one such mother. As I entered my tender teenage years, I developed a strong sense of dissatisfaction with who I was. So as I sought approval from others who didn’t know me, I’d often change my name, my age, and behave in a way that was not properly suited for a young girl of thirteen. Needless to say, this “identity” led me down some paths I wish I’d never traveled.
I remember later in life, one brave therapist asked that I bring my photo albums to one of our sessions. Although I found this request rather odd, I complied. As we carefully explored the worn photos, page by page, something fascinating was revealed. The therapist, looking closely at my sixth grade picture asked, “What happened at this point in hour life?” (yes, I was ten) He went on to explain that my eyes had changed. The twinkle was gone.
Are you with me, ladies?
That was the very same time the swim team debacle had started. Hiding our pain isn’t as easy as we might believe. That camera sure captured it. Our hearts sure feel it.
Perhaps you haven’t taken on a whole new identity like Princess Caraboo, or pretended to be someone else as I did, but I suspect somewhere in the painful valleys of your life, you, too, have sought a mask or two, or three … to hide behind.
Maybe we no longer fit into those frilly princess costumes of days past, but with excruciating efforts we can force ourselves to squeeze into identities not created for us. Yet, why would we do such a thing when right now, this very moment, an eternal King has unlimited royalty positions open, enough thrones to go around, and heavenly real-estate priced at the all-time, rock-bottom, no-hidden-fees or gimmicks price of ― free. Yes, free! 
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: Put away that checkbook! Heavenly real-estate prices and percentages never change. They are permanently secured at zero. No hidden fees to pay, no annual percentage rate increases, no late charges, ever. Jesus Christ covered the cost. With His life, He paid the price.
Ladies, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Heavenly King, we wear the robes of royalty. Our whole identity changes for the better. Not only do we finally find a real prince charming, but we also become destiny-filled, priceless princesses and worthy warriors who are able to reign real from thrones of grace. Hope is restored, and God redeems us and sets us free … indeed.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1a NIV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Xena, Xena, she’s not our gal
Before we go any further, we’ve got to talk about you know who — Xena “warrior princess.” Gorgeous brunette, curvy figure, leather attire, and an array of skin-slicing weapons with an unforgettable battle cry, yep, that’s the one. Please, don’t try the battle cry; it hurts.
I know; I shouldn’t have brought it up. So, if you’re curious (I can practically hear you begging me for more information about that notorious screech) go to handy dandy YouTube and do a Xena search. Just type in “Xena war cry.” After you’ve screamed like a banshee once or twice, hurry back to this page. Don’t tarry!
Now that you’ve returned, erase her image from your mind, most of it anyway. Certainly, we can find some parallels to our royal cause, but, quite frankly, a majority of the time, this captivating heroine stayed stuck in the warrior mode, and like Princess Caraboo, she was worshipping the wrong entity — herself.
For those of you who don’t know, Xena Warrior Princess was an American television series airing from 1995 to 2001. The show continues to have a cult-like following and anxious fans eagerly await Xena’s reappearance on the Big Screen someday. Like Star Trek’s infamous “to boldly go where no man has gone before” opening, the Xena voiceover proudly proclaimed its own unique message:  “In a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings...A land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle. The power...the passion...the danger...Her courage will change the world.”
Ah … can you sense the excitement, the danger, the adventure? Surely there were some defining moments as Xena fought to overcome her hateful and dark past. I’m certain many of you can somehow relate to that process. However, Xena went about it all wrong. Her mission, to save so-called “innocents” from harm and redeem herself sounds noble, but it’s a lost cause. She bravely fought a long list of villains during the show’s 134 episode run (not to mention her appearances on Hercules) in an attempt to find the redemption she so desperately desired — redemption she could never earn.
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: A sexy, leather-clad Xena may be worthy of a theme song, but it doesn’t make her deserving of a Throne. Real royalty is lifted from the ashes of sin and born again by the grace and glory of God.

Ladies, we cannot liberate ourselves. No one, not even Warrior Princess – Xena can perform enough harrowing rescues or good deeds to obtain salvation. No matter how many toilets we scrub, noses we wipe, business meetings we attend, church committees we’re on, no matter what we “do,” we will never measure up … without God’s grace.
This book isn’t about powering through life in thigh-high boots, with a baby on one hip and a sword strapped to the other. Although, that makes an interesting picture, it doesn’t make sense, nor is it God’s desire.
Rather, in the following chapters we will discover what a godly, princess warrior does from her throne and the protocol that allows her live faithfully as her King’s daughter. I think you’ll be surprised to discover she spends a great deal of time helping others find their thrones, while eliminating those things that try to topple her from her own.
Royal Decree: The position of Princess Warrior is open to every woman who believes and belongs to Jesus Christ. If you have not yet accepted His gift of eternal life, please, don’t wait another moment. For we are not snooty princesses or ruthless warriors, we are the real deal, and reigning real only makes sense when you’ve been crowned as part of His royal court, God’s family. Dear sister, your throne waits …
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: All of Heaven applauds your decision to wear the Crown of Christ. Go ahead girlfriend … put it on!

Right now, I’d like to pray for you.
    Dear Heavenly Father, my mighty King and valiant Savior, I ask that you reach deep into the heart of my sister. As she reads this prayer and the words from Your love letters, the Holy Bible, may she find hope for her situation, and may she drink from Your living water in order never to thirst again. Allow her to see Your truth and the amazing fact that You died a horrible death on a filthy Roman cross to save her. Had it been only her, You still would have died to set her free from sin and death. Give her the courage to reach for You, Jesus. May she ask for your healing, forgiveness, and grace. In Your name, Jesus, we pray, amen.               
If you already belong to the King, hallelujah! I’d like to invite you also to pray the above prayer, inserting the name of any friend, coworker, or family member that does not yet know the King of Kings.
From the King’s Desk…God’s Love Letters to His Princess Warriors:
I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.
Psalm 18:3 Amplified Bible
Jesus is "the stone you masons threw out, which is now the cornerstone. Salvation comes no other way; no other name has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one." Acts 4:11-12 The Message
God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
 Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
 Romans 12:9 KJV
From the pen of a princess:
At the end of each chapter, you will find several questions or activities specifically designed to help you further embrace God’s truths and will for your life. Take time to explore and share what you are learning. Feel free to use these activities for small group discussion.
·         When you were a little girl, did you want to be a princess, or envision yourself as a warrior? If so, please explain.
·         Was there a time in your life when you, like Princess Caraboo, pretended to be someone else? What circumstances or feelings led you to take on a different identity?  What type of “masks” have you hidden behind?
·         What about Xena? Is there anything about her that you find appealing? If so, what? and why? If not, please explain.
Timeless Truth:
God loves His daughters with an everlasting, unceasing love. As a Princess Warrior there is no need to hide your face, ever, for you are free indeed.
Enter His Throne Room and Bring your Blunders:
All right girls, now is the time to lay it on the line, to air the dirty laundry, to take out the trash. Are you ready? A key to reigning effectively is the ability to confess our sins to God and one another. I call it “telling on myself.” When we keep secrets we become weighted down. One popular cliché states that we’re only as sick as our secrets. So … let’s lighten our load and stay spiritually fit.
·         Share at least one way that you have acted phony or fake in relation to others this past week. For example, have you been dishonest, devious? Do you pretend to agree when you really disagree? Are you pretending to be okay when you’re really not?  Let’s check our honesty levels, ladies. The truth will set us free.
Dear Holy King,

Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love. Your grace is truly amazing. Thank you for Your compassion, for You pursued me with love even when I tried to hide from You. Today, in this moment, I choose to lay aside any dishonest statements, actions, false identities, or useless masks, and instead put on the robes of royalty, a heavenly crown, and the powerful armor You have provided so generously for me. You have saved me from the law of sin and death. I am willing to serve You and reign real in this world, helping others see Your love shining through me. May I be Your light in the darkness, Your voice in the desert, and Your hope for the hopeless. I love You, my King, Jesus. Amen.

Thank you for taking time to read the introduction and first Chapter in my upcoming book. Again, I welcome (would love to have) your feedback. This book is for you. I will be posting chapters two and three as well. I hope God spoke to you and touched you in some small (or big, mighty) way. Blessings to you, my sister in Christ. You are indeed a Daughter of the King.


2 comments:

Glison Lehto said...

Oh, my! Thank you so much for addressing this critical need. I am a younger woman recovering from codependency, people-pleasing, approval-seeking, and legalism. I have been searching for a Christ-centered resource that might satisfy my thirst for God's special love for His daughters. I have been struggling in recent months to understand my warrior nature in Christ, and I believe God has lead me to your blog. Thank you for all that you are allowing the Spirit to do through you. I hope to continue to follow your posts and hear the encouragement God has for me as His warrior princess!

Sincerely, in Christ,

G.L. from Maine

Carol Van Atta, Princess Warrior said...

Thank you, Glison, for your encouraging words. It means so much to me that I am able to challenge and help draw others into a deeper, more abiding relationship with Christ. I'm so glad He uses imperfect people, or I'd be out of luck! And, yes, we are indeed warriors! Embracing our full identity allows us to better face the world and shine His light. God bless you in big ways!