Before we get started on the “real” tales, I thought it important to share my own “mermaid tale.” As I said previously, everyone has a “mermaid tale” – or, as Christians say, testimony. We all have struggled with answering our “questions” of worth and love-ability, and we all struggle with the pull of the world on our souls.
I didn’t have that theory before this blog, though. All I knew was that mermaids were often seen as sex objects, or creatures who lured innocent men into sin and death; as such, I was hesitant to delve into these stories. I was convinced that God would condemn the mermaids.
I couldn’t have that. Mermaids were too near and dear to my heart. They were too much a part of my own journey for me to consider that possibility…
Xandra the Mermaid
I always liked mermaids, and I certainly would have loved to have been one when I was little. But as a senior in college, I began saying without a hint of irony “I am a mermaid.” This was after a series of painful, heartbreaking experiences. I felt desired and then used, wanted and then rejected, wooed and then reviled.
Without knowing it, I had allowed the world to answer my “question.” I knew I was “lovely” in man’s eyes, but I believed the loveliness caused only pain. Therefore, I needed to be able to protect myself from that pain.
In my mind, I had had a “mermaid experience.” Mermaids were both desired for their beauty, and then abused. Men wanted them, and then they hated them. (This is not always the case, but it’s what I thought back in college.)
And yet, as a powerfully magical creature, mermaids had the ability to fight back. They could take vengeance for the wrongs done them. Although abused for a time, they could gain the upper hand in the end.
Thus, in order to protect myself, I needed to be a mermaid.
Xandra the Warrior Princess
After college, I got involved with an amazing community of believers. I chose to start living like a survivor, and even changed my nickname to Xandra (I was Alex before). Because of the similarities of my name to “Xena,” my friends began calling me “Xandra the Warrior Princess.” It was an empowering name. I was a protector now, not a victim. There was no need to be afraid.
I had shifted from having the world answer my “question” to allowing God to answer my question. I went from trying out the “worldly mermaid” lifestyle, to fully embracing the “godly mermaid” lifestyle. (Of course, I didn’t give it that name then.)
However, there was still a shadow of a scar around my heart, a fear that the man I married would be as bad (or worse) than the men from college.
And then, there was Andrew, and my whole world changed. He was – and is! – everything I dreamed of and more! I never looked back…until I began musing over this series. Suddenly, I realized I’d stopped “believing” I was a mermaid. I didn’t even consider myself a “warrior princess” any more. I was just Xandra, Andrew’s wife, and I was more than thrilled to be that.
But why the shift?
Easy: I have the love of my husband. He shows me the epitome of God’s love. It is strong, secure, passionate, tender, and thoughtful. He protects me and values me.
Now, obviously I looked to God to heal my wounds, and He healed so many of them. However, there was always that fear lingering in my heart. So, I needed to be a mermaid; I needed to be a warrior princess.
That fear is completely wiped out now. I no longer need to be a creature of vengeance, for I am safe and dearly loved. I don’t need to self-protect, because I know both God and Andrew will always, always protect me. In short, I no longer need to be a mermaid, or a warrior princess.
But I still get to be!
Xandra the Warrior-Princess-Mermaid
I have decided to re-claim my “titles” – all of them. I can be a Warrior-Princess-Mermaid – and all for the glory of God! My first bout with the title “mermaid” was defined by worldly values. I was “free,” and yet trapped by man’s expectations.
But by the grace of God, Christians can also be “mermaids” (or mermen!). We are free in the protection God gives. We are free in the knowledge that our souls are safe, and always will be.
I am more free than any worldly mermaid – because I find my shelter in the Most High. I am fierce – fiercer than any warrior princess on behalf of her countrymen. Through Christ, I am free to be a warrior-princess-mermaid who revels in the glory of God’s created world, defending it from evil, and all the while looking forward to the eternal.
And you? Are you a worldly mermaid, whose freedom is confined to this earth? Or are you a mermaid (or merman!) freed by God to revel in His marvelous creation, and look forward to a day beyond this creation? If we choose to be freed by God, then we will be true mermaids indeed – free, un-tamable, and wildly in love with God.