Week 41: Monday – The Lion Within

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A Lion for a Princess

You ain’t good enough.

You ain’t pretty enough.

You don’t live in your palatial dream house.

You don’t come from a “picture perfect” family. 

What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror?

Is the value that you give yourself just based on how your friends and haters see you? Or simply determined by the circumstances that surround you?

Who are you really? What defines you?

Perhaps the greatest monarch in the history of England, Queen Elizabeth I may seem to us today as someone who had it easy in life. We all know that a lot of young girls fancy the “princess” lifestyle of endless luxury, fashion-forward dresses, sublime desserts, countless ladies-in-waiting, the admiration of the world, and, of course, the prince charming that will complete the fairy tale happy ending. But Elizabeth I, when she was still a princess, lived a life of uncertainty and public rejection, and growing up she had to come to terms with the fact that the murder of her mother, Anne Boleyn, was ordered by her own father King Henry VIII.

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Yes, Elizabeth was born a princess. Yes, she was the second daughter of the king of England. But her mother was, in fact, seen by the public only as the king’s illegitimate second wife who was only married by the king in the hope that she would produce a male heir to the throne.

When Elizabeth was yet to be born, everyone, including the palace physicians and astrologers, were expecting a prince. No one wanted another princess in King Henry’s household. After her birth, her mother once again became pregnant but the subsequent miscarriage convinced the king to have their marriage annulled and, if that is not enough, have her beheaded over trumped up charges of treason, incest and adultery.

Growing up motherless, Princess Elizabeth lived under the cloud of rejection as she was considered as a bastard by her own people and even by her older half-sister Princess Mary, daughter of King Henry’s first wife (who was seen by the public as the legitimate queen of England) Katherine of Aragon.

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However, in spite of all the rejection, Princess Elizabeth became an astute student of philosophy, history, languages and rhetoric as well as Protestant theology. One of her tutors, Roger Ascham, reported that the princess read more Greek on a daliy basis than some of the Prebendaries of the Church of England and that “her perseverance in her studies is equal to that of a man.”

Princess Elizabeth very well knew that she has every right to the royal perks that come with being born a princess but she purposely DID NOT enjoy the privileges and the trappings of being the daughter of the King of England. On the contrary, the princess decided to always carry a book wherever she went, dressed properly and modestly, and spent her money only on books and musical instruments. Eventually, the people of England changed their perception of her and she was finally viewed as a no-nonsense young woman. Princess Elizabeth did not allow the royal privileges before her to distract her from fulfilling  her destiny to be queen of the English throne nor did she use the murder of her mother as a reason for her to live a life of bitterness and vengeance. She did not allow the world around her to define her. She knew who she really was all along.

Supposing that we could ask Elizabeth I the question, “What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror?” She would most certainly answer with these words, “a queen, a warrior, a lion, a daughter of the Almighty God.”

Psalm 27

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.

4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.

Proverbs 3

3 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,

2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

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