“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 7:14
“You are not the queen of everything”.
That phrase first took its place in my regular parenting vernacular alongside the likes of, “don’t talk with your mouth full,” and “because I said so,” when one of my children was very young. At the time she and I were spending much of our bedtime reading with Ann Estelle; “the self-proclaimed queen of everything” and spunky protagonist of many of Mary Engelbreit’s children’s books.
As entertained as my daughter was by the antics of the feisty and precocious Ann Estelle, I often found myself relating well to (and commiserating with!) her parents. The truth was that I saw quite a bit of my daughter in Anne Estelle and her unshakable confidence that she knew the best way to do anything and everything! “Remember,” I would remind her. “You are not the queen of everything.”
I won’t say which of our children heard this gentle admonition most often or discuss the means (ahem, parent) by which she may have acquired this strong willed nature, but suffice it to say that this handy little phrase has been oft-used in our home over the last couple of decades. I had not, however, thought much about Ann Estelle or the “self-proclaimed queen of everything” in quite a while.
Then last week I was having one of those mornings when I was having trouble “being still.” My brain was swimming as I drove to work. I was frustrated with something one of our children had done that morning and was trying to work out the best way to parent through it. I was worried about some results we were waiting to receive and trying to plan our next steps. I was struggling over the right thing to do with a work-related problem, and was making mental lists of pros and cons. I was feeling guilty about having failed to be fully present in one of my close relationships recently and tried to plan for how I could “make it right”.
As I drove (and stressed), tears of frustration began to fill my eyes as it became crystal clear to me that not one of these situations was truly in my power to fix. I could stress, strategize, plan, organize and analyze all day long, but in the end, none of it was within my ability to resolve because none of it was under my control. “Stop it,” I chastised myself. “You are NOT the queen of everything!”
The voice in my head was right, of course, and I knew it. I’m not the queen of everything. I said a quick prayer asking God to give me the perspective to remember that He is in charge, not me, then turned the radio on to try to distract myself.
As I did, my tears of frustration turned into tears of clarity, repentance and gratitude. I recognized the song that immediately came through my car speakers as “King of Kings” by Hillsong United (You can check it out here if you aren’t familiar with it). In an instant, I was reminded of the very comfort that my soul needed that morning.
No, I am not the queen of everything, but the refreshing truth is that the word did not need a queen of everything because it was given a King of Kings. Jesus’s power is not only bigger than my small day to day problems and discomforts, he is the ruler of all the Universe and the one who has crushed sin and overcome death on my behalf. The King of all has dethroned the queen of everything and I’m so grateful that he has! Under his kingship I can relinquish the need to control and manage my circumstances and instead look for his grace and power at work in and through me in ways I never could have authored.
What about you? As we have studied the names of Jesus this Advent season, which one has given you new understanding? Which one has challenged you? Which one brings you comfort? Where have you found fresh insights or discovered something new about the person and work of Jesus? I pray that as we approach the manger this Christmas, our worship will be all the richer as we consider and give thanks for ALL that he is and has done.
In Jesus’ names,