When Your Happily Ever After Never Comes

Debbie McDaniel

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published: Sep 15, 2014
When Your Happily Ever After Never Comes
When life doesn't turn out so dreamy, what do we do?

We came to the end of the story and read the final words, just as we had countless times before…fairy tale princess world culminating in great happiness, living out the dream that so many seek. Beautiful princess riding off into the sunset with her Prince Charming, to the spectacular castle and kingdom that awaits. Treasures untold. Bright futures unfold.

“And they lived happily ever after. The end.”

I closed the book, kissed my daughter good night, and tucked her into bed. I turned off the light, and then sat. Very still. Quiet. Thinking of it all. As she drifted off into Never Never Land, dreaming of fairy tale endings and wonderful places, my own mind swirled with pressing thoughts and stifled worries.

Isn’t it the dream that every little girl longs for? To live…happily…ever…after.

We wait for our Prince Charming to come and sweep us off our feet, carrying us off to a beautiful castle filled with rich treasures and overflowing joy.

But what about when life doesn't turn out so dreamy? When you haven’t experienced the happy endings you long for, and most days, you feel more like the evil queen than some beautiful princess. Fairy tale dreams seem to loom far away. Dancing off in the distance...like a carrot on a string…cruel plot twist to your fanciful imagination.

Maybe you find yourself waiting. The prince never came. And the dreams haven’t come true either. The years tick by, and you feel forgotten.  You’re weary of hearing those well intended words from friends, “It’ll just happen when you least expect it.”  

Maybe you thought you’d met your Prince Charming, only to find yourself years down the road, hurt, betrayed, rejected, now divorced from your prince, and still reeling from the pain of it all.

Or maybe you did meet a wonderful man, got married, started a family, built a cozy castle with a white picket fence. But many days feel not so charming. As much as you love him, constant stress and pressures lead to fighting and struggles. There’s weariness in the routine, living out busy, hurried lives. Little things go unnoticed and big things start to mount up. Your castle sprung a leak in the roof, and the treasures have run dry along with the bank account, and the only things overflowing are the laundry baskets that call your name.

Disillusionment sets in. Like shades of gray over your bright dreams for tomorrow, reminding you of how dark things seem. Thinking you were in line for the fairy tale ending story script, you somehow got diverted to a cold waiting room instead. God’s timing seems off. Things feel messy.

Life stuff happens. Accidents. Job loss. Debt.  Illness. Infertility. Cancer. Betrayal. Broken Relationships. Prodigal children. Death of a loved one.  Or any other myriad of things that leave your mind spinning and heart bewildered, confused with how you got there, or where you’re going. The fairy tale dream crumbles down around the reality of brokenness.

But Truth still rises. Whispering meaning. Bringing purpose.

Because real hope was never meant to be found in fairy tale dreams and fancy free lives. Real hope is only found in the rich covering of His grace over messy life moments. Because it’s there you reach out…for Him.

She came downstairs early one morning, bleary eyed, wearing her favorite kitty cat pajamas, sparkly princess tiara sitting on top of tousled, tangled hair. She cuddled up next to me and smiled, "Mom, just because your hair's messy, doesn't mean you can't still wear a crown."

Ahh, so true.  And not only for a sweet 7 year old girl who just rolled out of bed and plopped a sparkly tiara on her head. But for you. For me.

Just because life is messy, doesn't mean you can't still wear a crown. Because of whose we are. We are daughters of the King. He crowns our lives with good. He crowns our lives with purpose. He crowns our lives with beauty. Even in the midst of things that look messy, the most difficult of days, or every dull, ordinary moment, He causes light still to shine. In the struggles and all. We may not see it. We may forget it's there.

Life tangled and tousled. Mess of struggle and cares. No matter what it all looks like or how bleak the future feels, the truth is this, we still wear His crown.

And it’s often in our darkest, that God’s power shines the brightest.

Maybe, when we get right down to it, our focus on the story is wrong. Instead of such attention on the “happily ever after,” maybe we should focus on what comes just before, ”and they lived.” They lived. They completely, all out, joyously, abundantly, even in the midst of mess and struggles and stuff of life…lived. They really lived.

Sometimes it’s the letting go of it all that leads us to dig deeper. Letting go of our tightly held dreams. Letting go of our need for control. Letting go of the desire to plan it all out. And realizing more fully that He has more for us than we could ever dream up for ourselves. It may look different. And the timing may seem off. But we can trust that He knows what He’s doing, and He has the best in mind.

Press on my friends. There is good in store.  

Today’s your day, to really live.

7 Verses to Remind You of His Goodness and Hope for Hard Times:

“You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.” Psalm 65:11

“To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Is 61:3

"...like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land." Zechariah 9:16

“The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“His compassions never fail, they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Debbie's HeadshotDebbie McDaniel is a pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids and a few too many pets, dramatist and writer. She has a heart to communicate God's hope though the everyday moments of life - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the ones that take your breath away.  A lover of every sunrise, forever needy of His grace, this Texas girl finds joy in the simple gift of each new day. Debbie invites you to join her at www.freshdayahead.com, and Facebook and Twitter