This post was originally published in 2017.
After watching Wonder Woman three times in the theater (and, yes, crying all the tears EVERY SINGLE TIME), I started seeing connections to my new favorite superhero everywhere. That’s coming in handy as I’m writing a new devotional for you, inspired by this summer’s movie. And, surprisingly, it’s also added another layer to the multiple viewings of Moana we’ve had at our house.
This summer has been, among other things, the season in which both my daughters and I became completely obsessed with a movie. For me, it’s Wonder Woman. For my three-year-old, it’s Moana. (And for my nine-year-old, it’s everything Harry Potter-related: books, movies, merchandise, theme parks. But I’m not about to delve into the possible messages and meanings behind that character or that story. At least not today.)
This spring I wrote about how a tiny scene in Moana moves me to sobbing tears each time I watch it. Briefly, our hero buckles under the weight of her calling and begs for a reprieve. I’ve felt that way more than once, and I bet you have, too. But what I’ve realized after watching (and watching and watching and watching) the movie again is that a good part of Moana’s strength to stand back up and fight her battle is remembering who she is.
Throughout her journey, Moana recites these words: “I am Moana of Motunui. You will board my boat, sail across the sea, and restore the heart to Te Fiti.” Over and over she reminds herself (and Maui, when he bothers to listen) who she is. She is Moana!
That reminded me of those unforgettable words from The Princess Bride: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” And, more relevantly, these words uttered with confidence and force in Wonder Woman: “I am Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.” Just like Moana, Diana found strength in remembering who she was — and not just her name, but also where and who she came from. By standing on the foundation of her ancestors and her upbringing, she was able to access every ounce of strength available to her.
You and I? We can totally do the same thing.
We may not have years of training in swordplay and acrobatics, and we may not have a magical lasso or impenetrable cuffs to wear on our wrists. But we have access to the most powerful Hero of all time, the One True God above all others — and He promises to give us all the strength we need.
When a worship song becomes the punch line for internet jokes and memes, it’s probably reached full saturation (at least of the American, evangelical, contemporary churches). “Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin seems to have made it to that point this year, and I’ll admit it’s not always been my favorite song. A while back, though, I noticed that if I could make it past the “good, good Father” lyrics that test my commitment to not roll my eyes in church, I get to sing these words:
“I’m loved by you. It’s who I am. (It’s WHO I AM!)”
I am Mary, daughter of the King, loved by the Almighty God. And you are, too. You are a child of the King, and you are loved by God. And that? That is all we need to know in those moments we feel weak or uncertain, when we doubt or fear or worry.
When we wonder if we can possibly take one more thing, one more piece of bad news — we are loved by God, and He will give us strength.
When we are afraid of the meeting, the phone call, the test results, the email reply, the incoming storms both figurative and literal — we are loved by God, and He will give us strength.
When we are secretly, deep down terrified that we will never be enough, that it will never get any better than this, that they won’t change (or we won’t), that this is all there is — we are loved. By God! And He promises that He will give us the strength we need.
It’s true that Moana and Wonder Woman are fictional characters who also have some magical abilities. But they also lean heavily on the same kind of reassurance we have in abundance for ourselves. They know who they are and THAT is what straightens their backs, lifts up their chins, and gives them the strength to step into the battle before them.
Do you know who you are? Do you know how STRONG you are? How amazing and capable and wonderful you are, simply because you are loved by God? It’s true. And I want to give you a gift to help you remember that! I’ve got a special email series and a devotional in the works, but today, RIGHT NOW, I want you to have these gorgeous prints inspired by both the movie and by Scripture. The print comes in two versions, and it’s completely free to anyone who subscribes to this blog.
Are you a subscriber? Then you will automatically receive your link to the prints today! And if not, well, what are you waiting for? Seriously, I promise to never spam you or sell your information (you can wrap the Lasso of Truth around me to make sure, if you want!), and I will send you great content about our favorite parts of pop culture and the ways we can find Truth in unexpected places. To sign up, just click here!
By the way, Wonder Woman is now available as a digital download. That’s an affiliate link, so if you click and buy, I’ll receive a small commission (so thank you, friend!).
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