Ever fought so hard to get somewhere only to question if it's really where you belong? Escape the tower with Maid Maleen as she rescues herself from her physical prison and finds the valor needed to shatter the chains binding her heart and reclaim her rightful place.
Author Melinda Michelle
All About Nettles
Rise Above This: Episode 3
“Maid Maleen”: Maybe It’s Maid Maleen?
Welcome to Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales ™. I’m your host, Autumn Woods, and I’m so excited you’re here. We’re continuing our adventures in Rise Above This, tales of women who seem to be swallowed up by life, unable to rescue themselves from circumstances beyond their control, until they find the courage to rise above the past, seizing new life with both hands. Last time, we talked about breaking free from generational curses and the hardships and joys that come with accepting salvation. We even looked at what happens when the enemy partners with others to carry out his plans against you, and the strength Jesus gives you to overthrow these wicked schemes. This time, we’re looking even deeper at the battle to reclaim godly identity once it has been assaulted. It isn’t enough to simply survive the attack. That’s just step one. Afterward, you’ve got to be bold enough to declare the truth God has spoken over your life and walk in it.
Like the goose girl, our next heroine is barricaded from her destiny and supplanted by a usurper. We’re taken on the journey with her as she rescues herself from her physical prison and finds the valor needed to shatter the chains binding her heart and reclaim her rightful place.
So, let’s get lost, as we read the story of (Maid Maleen).
Don’t wander away from the campfire. We’re about to shed some light on the incredible treasure hidden in this story, after a brief message.
(Monday Madness Ad).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
Darcy Stone is the first lady of a thriving ministry. Her secrets have just caught up with her. When she comes clean with her husband about it, his reaction creates opposition in their home. Just when she thinks she can see light at the end of the tunnel, darkness intervenes and sends her faith plummeting. If she loses her faith, she will cost the Light an essential soldier for the battles ahead.
Grey has finally found someone she believes she can spend the rest of her life with. There’s only one catch: He’s a homicide detective. She tries to overlook the constant demands of his job. When the bodies start piling up, she lends a hand to help him figure out what's going on. Together they begin to uncover something very dangerous, but this is just the beginning of what destiny has placed them in the middle of.
Jamal and Lindsey are new to Tallahassee, but they find their way to the Kingdom Builders Worship Center. The closer they get to God, the more things about their past are revealed. One troubling night changes everything they thought they knew. Lindsey can’t help the downward spiral she’s on that could cost her not only her own life but someone else’s. Time is running out, and judgment is coming. There are plenty of angelic warriors on standby to assist. The demonic forces are pulling out the big guns this time around. They are about to bring in their most deadly forces, a kingdom that has been active since the earth existed. The dark side also has its own humans in play, who are strategically infiltrating the city. The madness that unfolds leads only to the temptations that await them on Tuesday.
“Monday Madness” book 2 in the Chronicles of Warfare Series by Melinda Michelle. Available wherever books are sold online.
Alright, back to the analysis. We begin with our heroine and her prince. Passionately devoted to one another, the royal couple wishes to marry, but the prince’s suit is rejected by Maid Maleen’s father. Unlike the Grimms’ story we just read, the earliest version of “Maid Maleen” collected by Karl Müllenhoff doesn’t indicate that the king has another suitor in mind, but says that he “will not admit” the love between Maleen and her prince. Unfortunately, this implies that, like the wicked king in “Thousandfurs,” Maleen’s father has unbiblical intentions toward his daughter. This despicable idea is further cemented by the storyteller referring to the heroine as Maid Maleen rather than Princess Maleen, defining her by her purity of heart and body rather than her royal connection to her father.
Already, we’ve seen the first brutal onslaught against Maid Maleen’s identity. Her father seeks to objectify and misuse her; treating her like property rather than the beloved princess she is. When Maleen stands up to him, boldly professing her love for the prince, our story’s Christ figure, her wicked father lashes out with diabolical vengeance. Denigrating her further from property to prisoner, he incarcerates her in a dark tower without doors or windows for seven years in order to break her spirit. As we see in “Rapunzel,” the tower is a symbol of the heroine being trapped in her own body, cut off from the world as she retreats further into herself to cope with her maltreatment. However, Maleen’s confinement is even crueler than Rapunzel’s, as her prison sentence is more than twice as long and she has no window to the outside world. Suspended between the earth and sky, Maleen and her maid are frozen in time and space, arrested in their development with nothing but each other and a seven-year food supply for company. Entombed in darkness, they are isolated from any source of hope and light, including Maleen’s beloved prince.
Spiritually speaking, this is what the enemy attempts to do to us. He’ll use anyone and anything that gives him a foothold to try to block us from communication with Jesus, the true love of our lives, hindering our prayers like the Prince of Persia in the book of Daniel. When we boldly take a stand against anything that would come between us and the Lord, we have to be ready for persecution to come and test our resolve. One of the accuser’s favorite tactics is to attack your knowledge of God’s identity as well as your own. He returns to this Eden strategy because it has proven effective again and again. Your best defense is to have the word of God drawn and ready, entrenched so firmly in your mind and heart that, like Jesus in the desert, your submission to God and resistance toward the devil forces him to flee (James 4:7).
Maleen’s identity has been called into question because the first man who is meant to guide her and have her best interest at heart has cruelly abused her. Is she truly a valuable daughter? Is she really destined to rule a kingdom and be cherished by her prince? She doesn’t have anyone to reassure her of these truths in the face of adversity. Instead, she has a maid who laments and complains with her rather than encouraging Maid Maleen to remember herself and plot her escape. The prince campaigns loudly around the tower, calling to the women by name and seeking an entrance to free them, but they cannot hear him through the thick stone walls and the sound of their own grief-stricken voices. The pair intends to miserably complete their prison sentence instead of engineering a rescue.
How often has this happened to you? To me? We’re so wrapped up in our hurt and misery that we don’t hear Jesus calling us to let Him into our darkness so that He can destroy it and make us whole. The bondage is so strong and made stronger through our agreements with it that no light can enter our tomb; when it comes to the human heart, the light that shines in the darkness will not enter if He’s not invited. “Do you want to be made well?” He asked the man at the pool of Bethesda whose infirmity had lingered 38 years (John 5:5-6). Instead of immediately saying “yes” and recognizing the one Who’d come to rescue him, the man complained to Jesus of the unfairness of his condition, implying that his inability to take a cure in his own strength was the problem (v. 7). But the man must have had more faith than he cared to admit, because when Jesus commanded him to “Rise, take up [his] bed and walk,” he obeyed without hesitation (vs. 8-9). Clearly, he was able in that moment to put aside his pet wounds and by faith, hear and obey the voice of the Living Word who spoke him into being. Again and again in scripture, we hear Jesus say, “Your faith has made you whole.” “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Until you can see beyond your circumstances through the lens of faith and confidently look to God for deliverance, like the women in the dark tower, you’ll be stuck in your stronghold.
Maid Maleen and her servant do not even attempt to free themselves until the seven years have passed, realizing that although their supplies are dangerously low, no one has come to let them out. All this time, Maid Maleen begrudgingly accepts her bondage and dutifully lives less than half a life in hopes that someone will come and save them after their sentence is complete. She endures to the end because she was promised an end to her suffering. Again, the tower mirrors the condition of Maleen’s inner self: no one can set her free from the outside of her prison—release can only come once Maid Maleen actively seeks her freedom. You are an active participant in securing your freedom. Jesus won it for you. But your battle is to maintain your claim on it, refusing to relinquish it to the enemy.
Remember that seven is the number of perfection and new beginnings. Instead of breaking her spirit, the seven years have given Maid Maleen a greater desire to live. If no one is going to save them, she will do it herself. Seizing a breadknife, she stabs it into the mortar, planting a flag of defiance between the stones of her captivity. Taking turns with the blade, the women dig their way through the wall Count of Monte Cristo style. Our daily dose of the word of God is discussed metaphorically in the Lord’s Prayer as daily bread, the essential food needed for survival, emphasizing our dependence on God to meet both our physical and spiritual needs (Matthew 6:11). “…The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12a). With those scripture in mind, plunging the breadknife through the mortar and digging out the stones is symbolic of Maid Maleen and her maid recalling truth and the word of God to their minds, wearing away at the enemy’s stronghold around her their hearts as they erode the wall of their prison. Maleen doesn’t knock the whole tower down, but she and her maid are able to roll enough stones out of the way that on the third day of digging, the two women are able rise from their tomb and step out into the sunshine.
But the world that meets their eyes is no longer the one they left behind. Unwitting survivors of an apocalypse, they gaze at the devastation and destruction wrought by enemy hands on the land they once called home. Maleen’s father’s castle lies in ruins. No sign of life peeks out from beneath the rubble. The town and each village have been ravaged and pillaged. It seems the women have been spared a great calamity through their incarceration. Sometimes that’s exactly how it works. Like Joseph in Egypt, your captivity can spare you from destruction and be used for God’s glory. It’s tempting to say that if Maid Maleen had begun digging them out earlier, they could have run off with her prince and begun a new life in his kingdom. But even that action could have sparked war between him and her father, resulting in the same desolation the women now trek through in search of food and shelter. What might have happened isn’t important. The key takeaway from the scene is that Maid Maleen’s father is gone. Stripped of his title, authority, and kingdom, he cannot return to wreak havoc on his daughter. But even though his physical presence no longer lingers, the emotional and mental damage is done. Maleen’s first thought as they wander through the country is not how to find her prince, but how to survive.
Survival mode is a dangerous place to set up camp. If you don’t guard your heart while you’re there, communication with God is broken and staticky at best. Your mind and heart are not ready to process all you have endured, and your body is fighting the visceral shock of trauma through your autonomic nervous system. Following the dictates of your body, you become increasingly willing to forgo everything that does not meet your basic needs. This can be used for you or against you in the heavenly realms. You can follow Jesus’ example of putting this time of weakness in God’s hands and drawing your sustenance even more deeply from Him, renewing your mind with His words and precepts, or you can become vulnerable to the suggestions of the enemy, allowing his maniacal whispers to infiltrate and further destroy your compromised system.
Unfortunately, we don’t see Maid Maleen fighting against the attack on her identity. At least, not yet. Right now, she’s too busy trying to make it from one day to the next. Unable to find food or shelter anywhere in the country, Maleen and her maid resort to eating raw nettles. Nettles are not pine needles. They are leafy green plants that are safe and beneficial to eat if you cook or steam them, but consuming them raw releases irritating chemicals from tiny hairs on the leaves. These chemicals cause burning, itching and rashes. According to Web MD, eating nettles raw or otherwise can also bring on low blood pressure, “digestive discomfort…bleeding…and uterine contractions.” Joy. The fact that Maleen is desperate enough to get nutrition from something so dangerous is a frightening reflection of her internal state. When you’ve absorbed the messages from the enemy blended into the abuse you’ve suffered, you begin to agree that you do not deserve anything good. You start to welcome poisonous barbs and rejection because at least you consistently know where you stand. I’m not talking about humbly acknowledging that no one is good except God. I’m referring to the tyrannical refusal of the spiritual inheritance God has set aside for you and called good because you have come to believe that you are rotten and deserve only the worst in spite of His grace. You speak death over yourself when you do this, and the effects show up to others as plainly as a bad rash, driving them away and furthering the cycle of rejection.
Marked by the nettles’ angry lesions on their faces and hands, the women are turned away from every door they darken. No one will offer them work or assistance. It isn’t until they unknowingly stumble on the service entrance to the castle of Maleen’s fiancé that they are finally taken in as scullery maids. From this point on, the servant girl fades out of the story. This is done for multiple reasons but the main one is to help the audience understand how far from her created state Maid Maleen has fallen. Instead of living the life of a princess who requires a maid, she has become the maid herself. Her title in the story is now a mockery of her former state. No longer is she seen as the valiant virgin daughter of a king, but as the lowly kitchen drudge whose blistered hands never seem to heal.
Deprived of her companion and dissociated from her true identity, Maid Maleen is unprepared to come face to face with her rival for the prince’s hand, a wicked princess whose evil character leaks out of her every pore, rendering her hideously ugly. Before anyone gets up in arms about the association between inner and outer beauty, let me remind you that Cinderella’s stepsisters were “beautiful and fair of face, but vile and black of heart.” Fairy tales break the rule of good being beautiful and bad being ugly as often as they reinforce it, depending on the needs of the story. You may have observed in your own life that when someone loves God, even if they are not conventionally beautiful, His loveliness shines through them and adds a gentle splendor to their features. And when a physically gorgeous person has completely given themselves to darkness, it flashes in their eyes like a nictitating membrane, unsettling the viewer.
Ashamed of her appearance and fearful that she will be mocked by the whole kingdom, the false bride conceals herself in her room, taking meals directly from the lovely Maid Maleen. Like Queen Esther, Maleen’s beauty gives her improbable favor, even with her rival. Determined not to be ridiculed on her wedding day, the false bride pretends to have hurt her ankle and commands Maleen to attend the ceremony in her place. Our heroine, of course, refuses. She cannot abide receiving an honor that is not “suitable” for her. In reality, the honor of becoming the prince’s wife and partner in ruling the kingdom is exactly what she is meant to receive at the beginning of the story. Like Esau selling Jacob his birthright for a bowl of stew, events are falling into place exactly as they should. God ordained that Jacob would take the birthright, just as Maid Maleen is meant to become the prince’s bride. It might look different than expected, but the event is happening, nevertheless.
The trouble is that Maid Maleen no longer fully believes her destined life is meant for her. She has spent so much time locked away and fending off death that the concept of recovering what is rightfully hers is the furthest thing from her mind. Like Naomi, she is wrapped in a cloak of bitterness, so focused on the loss of what was that she cannot see the opportunity for a new beginning right in front of her. You may be asked to serve in an area where you’ve been wounded. In fact, I can guarantee it. You are always wounded where your giftings are in order to prevent you from confidently using them for God’s glory. But His anointing is on you whether you believe it or not, and other people see it. You will be given favor in some circles to do what you were ridiculed for doing in others because the charisma God gave you is undeniable. Maid Maleen is made perfectly for her prince and for ruling this kingdom with kindness, strength, and compassion. Even though the false bride does not understand it, she is being used to correct the course of Maid Maleen’s life by giving her this incredible opportunity to remember who she is and take back her destiny.
At first, she flatters Maleen to convince her to go. Then she tries to bribe her. It is not until she threatens the young woman’s life that she agrees to put on the bridal clothes and jewels and come down to the prince. It is interesting that the false bride wields the authority of the true one so effortlessly. Maleen herself should be invested with power over this woman, not the other way around. Our enemy is present in the heavenly places, along with all of the spiritual blessings we have been given through Christ, and he will try to make us believe that we are powerless to access our spiritual inheritance, the same way that Maleen has begun to think that she is unworthy to walk in the authority of a princess (Ephesians 6:12; 1:3) The good news for us is that Christ, not Satan, reigns supreme in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:20). As joint heirs with Jesus, we are seated there with Him in spirit, endowed with the authority to maintain victory against the evil one (Ephesians 2:6). There is a double meaning to Maid Maleen’s comment to the false bride. While she is struggling with her worth mentally and emotionally, her spirit rebels against the notion that she could have no greater honor that pretending to be the true bride. She is the true bride! This is the nasty Eden trick all over again. Maid Maleen’s adversary tries to sell her what she is already destined to have. The subtext of this retort indicates that our heroine is gearing up to put aside her despair and reclaim what is rightfully hers.
Upon meeting Maid Maleen, the prince is awestruck, enraptured by this woman who looks so like his long-lost love. But he doesn’t say this out loud and Maleen, though she recognizes the prince, does not reveal who she is. Consequently, their journey to the church is like the Walk to Emmaus gone wrong.
Why doesn’t Maid Maleen tell the prince who she is? In addition to battling herself over the truth of her worth and identity, she needs to ascertain whether or not the prince is still in love with her. She doesn’t know about his valiant efforts to rescue her years before and has no confirmation that he carries a torch for her still. We don’t always know what God is doing to heal and restore us, but we know that He has loved us with an everlasting love and drawn us with loving devotion (Jeremiah 31:3). We don’t have to despair and distance ourselves from our identities as daughters of the Most High God just because we are isolated and hurting. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).
Maleen’s prince never stopped loving her. In fact, the longer the story goes on, the more we come to understand that he knows who it is walking beside him—he’s just waiting for her to have the courage to admit it. It’s the same with God. He’s never stopped loving us. He calls us daughter, Beloved, ezer kenegdo, friend. He knew us before he made us in our mothers’ wombs (Jeremiah 1:5). He knows the plans he has for us, plans to prosper and not harm us; to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Like the Good Shepherd in Hinds Feet on High Places, He gently laughs when we hold up our deficiencies as excuses not to go on with our mission, because He loves us as we are and sees us as we will be and calls us to climb up to that perspective with Him. His strength is made perfect in our weakness and He will patiently walk with us as we catch up to His vision throughout the healing process, listening to us as we go over our doubts and insecurities and presenting us with the ammunition and opportunities to reject them and give ourselves over to Him wholeheartedly.
The prince, too, gives Maleen many chances to publicly reclaim her true identity. While he seems not to know her at first, there can be no doubt that by the end of the trip to the church, that he is certain the true bride walks beside him.
Passing a nettle plant on the way, Maleen experiences a flash of PTSD, remembering her solitude and poverty. Muttering under her breath, she recalls the days when she ate raw nettles in her desperation to survive. When the prince overhears her and asks her to explain, she says that she was thinking of Maid Maleen. He chooses not to press her for the moment. She is testing him, wondering if he will confirm her identity for her. But as is the case with her former prison, she cannot be released until she actively claims her freedom and authority on her own.
When they come to a footbridge, Maleen quietly begs it not to break while she crosses over it because she is not the true bride. Bridges of course represent connection and transition. If a bridge crosses a body of water, it is symbolic of the natural, earth, connecting with the supernatural, water. Maleen is being called to stop dissociating before she becomes one with her husband. Her body has to end its rebellion against the truth and catch up with her spirit, which longs for justice and redemption. When the prince questions her about her remark, she dissembles again, saying that she is only thinking of Maid Maleen. This time, the prince asks her if she knows Maleen. Denying the truth, she claims to have only heard of herself.
In light of her internal crisis, her answer, though untrue, makes sense. Even though she is moving forward, she does not feel like Maid Maleen yet. Her true self is a distant memory. Maleen knows that she’s where she is meant to be, but her tattered sense of worth does not permit her to walk wholeheartedly in the victory. Maid Maleen expected to marry her prince as herself seven years ago, not now while acting as a stand-in for some goblin bride while battling the demonic powers of depression and rejection. I don’t have answers for this problem because I get caught there myself frequently. When something doesn’t happen the way I expected it to, it’s hard for me to say yes to it, even if it’s for my benefit, because it didn’t happen the way I hoped it would. I don’t feel worthy of the gift or the victory, experiencing it with the sting of survivor’s guilt or anger because of the method or timing of the delivery. Even now, I’m wrestling hard with this issue. God’s remedy at the moment is to improve my agility in spiritual warfare. It’s one thing to stubbornly stand against an attack and fight in place until it’s over. Quickly neutralizing a threat and moving on is a different skill altogether. It isn’t easy. But like Maleen’s prince, God gives me as many chances as possible to learn to quickly claim the truth over my life and not get stuck.
Maid Maleen may not fully see herself as the true bride yet, but her prince does. After she begs the church door not to break at the sight of her alleged falsehood, the prince clasps a beautiful, jeweled pendant around her neck and leads her to the altar, where they are married. Notice that Maleen denies her identity three times on the way to the wedding. Twice she denounces herself to inanimate objects and once she blatantly dissociates from herself in conversation with the prince. Peter, too, denied his identity three times when he insisted that he did not know Jesus. Only hours before, Jesus had called him friend. Before that, Peter ha identified Jesus as the Christ. By saying that he did not know Jesus, Peter attempted to refute himself as a friend of God, and the rock upon which Jesus would build His church. But Jesus forgave him and gave him the opportunity to choose Him again, and by accepting it, Peter was reinstated in his destined roles. Maleen’s prince gives her a similar grace, bypassing her protestations and gently placing a beautiful jewel around her neck, signifying her real identity. No matter what she says, she is the true bride, and he will have no other. Once she receives the necklace, Maleen ceases to protest. Her heart begins to mend as she gradually accepts the arrival of her promised destiny in its unconventional form.
Everyone who confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord is made acceptable in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). That chapter also declares in verse 4 that God chose us before the foundation of the world. Even before you had the capacity to rebel against or ally with God, He chose you and waited eagerly for the day you would choose him back. Maleen puts aside her insecurity long enough to choose her prince. By doing so, she takes the first steps in reclaiming her rightful place by his side and on her throne. When we choose Christ, even though we do not see ourselves the way He does in the beginning, we have taken a formidable stand against the powers of darkness and begun the process of reclaiming our true identities as children of God, gifted with every blessing in the heavenly places, where Jesus reigns and made a way for us to rule with Him as joint heirs (Ephesians 1:3 and 20; Romans 8:16-17).
Significantly, even though Maleen changes back into the gray clothes of her trials, she keeps the prince’s necklace on. Like Cinderella, she wears a memento from her excursion to remind her that she is loved and valuable. This small act is a significant step in Princess Maleen’s quiet rebellion against the darkness that has kept her bound. Notice, too, that she puts off the gown and jewels the evil bride gave her to wear, rejecting the false identity of being a sham bride and embracing the truth of her testimony and solidified identity as a triumphant princess and wife. When a declaration of allegiance to Christ is made by a believer, the enemy will swoop in and attack, doing his level worst to make you question and revoke your decision. For Maleen, this means that in addition to winning her battle of the mind, she also has to contend with the scheming false bride.
Unfortunately for the usurper, Maleen’s supposed weakness becomes her strength. By hanging back in her rags and allowing the false bride to go in to the prince unaware of what transpired on the way to church, she has set the wicked woman up to take a nasty fall.
Throwing the discarded bridal veil over her face, the ugly princess enters the prince’s chamber that evening. Immediately, alarm bells go off for the new groom. Why would his bride continue to be veiled after they were married? He’s seen her face at least twice already. Smart man that he is, he begins to test the woman, asking her to reveal what she said to each inanimate object on the way to the church that day. When she protests that she does not talk to nettle plants, bridges, or church doors, he retorts that she must not be the true bride after all. Determined to maintain the illusion, the false bride gets the correct answers from Maid Maleen, becoming more furious and threatening each time, realizing that in professing Maleen’s words about not being the true bride, she condemns herself. We know that it is our once and future destiny to overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). Your testimony consists of your personal stories of God’s power in your life, what you have seen, heard, and experienced. No one can share the intimate details of the trials God has led you through better than you yourself. Your war stories build your faith and encourage others. And they make the enemy look increasingly foolish. In them, God comes through again and again, shattering the lies the accuser spreads about His character and demonstrating “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). This cowardly woman can’t share Maleen’s words with conviction. Neither is the testimony complete. When the prince asks her about the necklace he gave her at the church door, the false bride is caught in her lies. Snatching the veil from her face, the prince recoils from her as she confesses that, driven by the fear of man, she forced the scullery maid to attend the ceremony in her place.
Did you know that there is a false bride in Christianity? Jesus told parables about her all the time. The false bride fears man rather than God. She is not ready and waiting for the groom, Christ, to arrive, allowing her oil lamp, her connection to the Holy Spirit, to grow cold. But she still expects to be welcomed to the wedding feast. She hides her giftings in terror rather than nurturing them and proving herself a good and faithful servant. She prophesies, performs miracles and casts out demons using the name of Jesus as a token for her own glory rather than being a vessel for His. She is ruled by fear, not God’s perfect love. And to her Jesus says, “‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (Matthew 7:23)!’” But those who faithfully endure to the end are His true bride and will be saved.
The prince rejects the imposter and commands that Maleen be brought to him at once. The wicked princess, however, perverts his summons into a kill order, instructing the servants to catch the scullery maid and cut off her head. When they lay hands on Maleen to drag her to her death, she screams for help, bringing the prince flying out of his room to her aid. At his word, the servants set her free, and the prince confirms by the necklace she wears that this is his true bride. As with other heroines we’ve visited, Maleen crying out for help is a visceral reaction to and rejection of the dark destiny her enemy would thrust on her. It’s the start of her confession of truth over her life. When we call on Him, God rushes to help us as surely as the prince in this story. It may not always look that way from our end, but it is absolutely true. In Psalm 91, God says, “Because he loves Me…I will rescue him…He will call upon Me and I will answer Him. I will be with Him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him.”
Before her enemy has been defeated, Princess Maleen claims her victory. Alone with the prince, she declares her identity out loud, names her sufferings, and says, “Today, however, the sun is shining on me once more. I was married to thee in the church, and I am thy lawful wife.” You can hear the smile in Maleen’s voice as she moves from death to life in her words. After suffering a little while for the sake of her love, she has been restored to her former glory and then some. She has triumphed against evil, strengthening her bond of love with her prince and the power of their story by enduring to the end and refusing to allow fear to have the final word over her life. The royal couple lives together in happiness and in true biblical fashion, the false bride suffers the death she prescribed for Maid Maleen.
Like our heroine, we, too, will experience restoration as a reward for our perseverance and we will see the wicked cut down. We are told in 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Paul relates in Romans 8:18 that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” We have our own dark towers marking the strongholds we’ve fought. And while we don’t forget what has happened to us, through God’s grace, we begin to see our story through redeemed eyes. In comparison to the glory ahead of us, our once proud prison cells become the broken ruins of a children’s rhyme. Because the Son has set us free, we are free indeed. Rise above the ashes of your past, and step forward into God’s perfect love, fearlessly living out the destiny of who He has called you to be.
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