A few weeks ago Chris and I were driving to the beach to meet friends for a weekend getaway. Round about 30 miles outside of Greenville, I cranked up some tunes to smooth us into our long car ride. With similar tastes in music I generally can hit the nail on the head, and find a jam that ‘jams’ with our moods. Scrolling across the Beats ‘Just For You’ feed, my eyes caught the words, “Disney Classics.” Feeling appropriately playful and craving a good kick of laughter, my index finger selected this play list.

After singly aloud, loudly, to several different jingles I broke out into obnoxious laughter. Turning to my husband’s face, I saw his puzzled expression. Evidently, he did not know and love these songs to level that I did.

Soon thereafter, tears came to my eyes; I’m aware this is why I’m so very blissfully hopeful. Bittersweet, muted sensations surfaced, I pulled out my iPhone to vent.

I wrote a few sentences in my notes, “I’m a child raised by Walt Disney. I believe that the impossible can happen, that evil always loses and that heroes come out on the other side winning.”

I’ve spent a lifetime with these characters, listening, watching, singing and laughing with princesses, and their animal companions. Maybe this is why I have three dogs with very odd, yet heroic names (Titus, Barnabas and Moses). Legs crossed on my parent’s blue carpet, bowl of Cheetos and Tarheels plastic cup of iced Dr. Pepper in hand, I encountered dancing tea pots, mermaids, lions, beasts, unlikely royals, orphans, dwarfs and baboons that lived in trees. I listened intently to their stories and walked with them through heartache, believing they’d always discover their destiny, kiss the prince or beseech the stolen kingdom. Each taught me to face fear with courage, to suppose the unmanageable can happen, know that evil does exist but good eternally triumphs.

Practicalities terrify me but the daunting adventures intrigue me. If ever I could organize my husband’s socks, instead I tackle issues like human trafficking, go figure.

8 years old I told the beautician at Fantastic Sams I wanted bangs like Anastasia, the 1997 animated film main character. Tall and proud I explained the sway of hair across her forehead and exactly where to cut. Mom helped in the elucidation behind my fascination to Anastasia’s coiffure, but I could tell the stylist just did not get it. Mom paid, I left half satisfied. Still to this day, if it not for my natural cowlick I’d rock Anastasia’s waved side bangs.

Anastasia

Anastasia’s tale is testimony of what I learned at The Allender Center Certificate Program, we can never escape our stories, they forever find us but when we know them we can better conquer evil. The tale is such, after a tragic curse caused Anastasia’s entire family to be murdered, she and her beloved grandmother; Marie absconded for their lives. In the tussle, Anastasia fell, hit her head, knocking her unconscious, but Marie escaped. The fall cleared her from all memory of her previous life. Years later she is a grown orphan. Marie longing to meet her granddaughter puts out a public advertisement offering a large sum of money for Anastasia’s safe return to her. Two men, recognizing grown up Anastasia’s resemblance to the advertisement, used clues to help her remember the tragic story and conclusively reunited her with grandmother.

Anastasia reclaimed her royalty, found her family and trumped the curse.

I believe in these same principles taught by Anastasia’s story, it’s the bizarre hope that propels us to search for who we truly are and lift evil’s hedge.

Sounds a lot like John 10:10 to me,

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

To know our stories, even if painful is life-bearing.


Anna Smith Anna Smith is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Restore One, where she works diligently on their chief project, The Anchor House. The Anchor House will be the first shelter in the nation designed to meet the needs of sex trafficked and sexually exploited American boys. Anna has a resilient passion to see sex trafficking victims experience true healing and restoration. In her spare time, Anna enjoys biking with her husband Chris, reading, cooking, throwing pottery, running and yoga. Learn more about Restore One here.