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  • Writer's pictureAdrea Tilford

Born To Be Queen Part I: The Lost Crown

Listen to me read this on Spotify (or anywhere you get your podcasts)


Well hello and welcome to the first episode of series 4: Amplify, God sees and hears every one. Today I'm starting with a supplemental writing for the series. It's a writing piece by me, Adi Tilford.  I first learned about the art of therapeutic storytelling from my sister-in-law Brit, when she encouraged me to check out Susan Perrow's work.  You can find some links to Susan Perrow's books in the show notes. Interestingly enough, the more I've learned, the more I've seen how the Bible is designed to be in a sense, a resource of therapeutic stories, especially the story is written about and the stories told by Jesus.  A therapeutic story is a story designed to help a person connect with their heart and a story that allows  for processing and redesigning of neural pathways.  Storytelling is a powerful tool for change. I'm certain, that is why it was Jesus's main mode of teaching.


I began my journey with therapeutic storytelling by using pre-written stories found in Perrow's books. Both in my home and sometimes even with learners in my classroom.  And when one particular story helped both myself and my daughter and some of our deep therapeutic work, I discovered that I held a hope to write a story that could possibly help others recovering from early life adversity.


I originally wrote this therapeutic story called Born to Be Queen, for my book when I was part of the Lisa Tyrkerst, book proposal, bootcamp. And since then, I have very slowly over time decided to let it actually have its own life as a story. That was an encouragement by several people who had read it as part of that book proposal.


Jesus used parables to help his listeners understand heavenly truths from an earthly perspective. And in this storytelling, I'd like to share with you a story that has healing truths about childhood trauma, recovery and empowered living. This story is going to be told in three parts. Part one today. Part two will be in series five. And part three will be in series six later this year. 


So.  May this story move you to healing and to connection that you need. Thanks for being here. Here I go. 


Born to Be Queen

PART I: The Lost Crown (First published Jan. 22)


There was once a beautiful, sprawling Kingdom. The Kingdom’s people felt at peace; they were safe and prosperous. Then tragedy struck. The gardens, which had been the kingdom’s greatest feature, receded, until there was only one small pocket of green left. The people hid in fear, complained often and struggled desperately in their grief. The one place in which the people found they could recapture the thriving essence of old was in the small, remaining garden, if only for a moment. 


It was for this reason, the queen decided to give birth in the garden. The child’s birth was celebrated with fervor because she was born to be queen. This baby girl was born in the spring at a time when the palace garden was budding with life, a bounty of bloom and beauty. On the day of her birth, the gardener placed a golden crown set with rubies and soldered roses upon her brow. As she grew up and walked in the trembling world outside of the garden, she could simply notice the sparkle in reflection or touch the cool metal upon her head to remind herself of the safety into which she was born. 


The child’s birth brought with it an immediate sense of joy to the kingdom. She was herself like the flowers of the field, lovely and beloved. Yet, as she grew she often found herself overwhelmed by the grief and loss found in every home, shop and field of her kingdom. When she was sent outside to play, which happened often while her parents toiled to survive the continuous eruptions that came like aftershocks from the Kingdom’s losses, she found herself returning to the place of her birth. The palace gardener had designed an exquisite flower display there, and the girl would often see Him tending and cultivating the blooms. She enjoyed watching his work and every so often she’d ask to help him with a small task. 


As all children do, the girl grew. She began to notice that some behaviors, like smiling and dancing were well received. Her parents and other children would draw near to the warmth of her smile and she was glad she could bring relief to the pain. Other behaviors such as crying, seemed to further the distress of those around her. The Kingdom was so full of distress that she felt there was no room for her own, so she smiled and danced, drawing people toward her radiant light. She pushed away or hid from the feelings that brought tears because she was too overwhelmed to handle them alone.


One day an older child from the Kingdom convinced the girl to leave the safety of the palace garden where the children often played. She remembered that the child once had been a very sad child and was sometimes violent with the other children. Nonetheless, the girl offered her kindness. As she followed the older child's lead, she noticed they were getting closer to the barren desert. Her heart racing, she hoped the child knew the way to water and that they would ensure her return to the solid ground of the garden. As night fell, she wondered when they would turn back, but the older child continued pressing on into the sandy wilderness. Day after day she wandered behind the leader becoming more uncomfortable, thirsty, desperate for direction and also - afraid to leave. She feared becoming lost in the throes of the desolate desert and so she never turned back.



One day the girl woke and the young person was gone. She desperately wanted to return to the garden, but she had no idea how to get there. So she lay on the hot sand, hopeless, alone and afraid. The searing sand rendered the child powerless, and she could not even find her voice to cry out for help. A smile could not save her now, and so she drifted to sleep.


When she woke, she saw Armadillo, his armor strong and his sense of direction sound. She crawled toward him, and he noticed her crown.  


Armadillo said, “You don’t belong here. Let me take you back to where you have come from.” 

As they journeyed back, Armadillo warned the girl of her probable fate, “Those discovered in the desert are a lot like me, protected by armor and living alone. Once people from your kingdom realize you’ve been playing in the desert, you will no longer be allowed to be queen. Do not tell a soul. Act as though you’ve never been to the desert. In fact, give that crown to me and I’ll mold it into the armor you will surely one day need to survive.” 


Armadillo fulfilled his promise and the girl saw the garden ahead. As she stumbled through the palace garden gates, her head hung low, the flower garden blurred. She listlessly followed Armadillo's parting request for payment. Knowing that she could never be queen, she placed her golden crown upon his back and turned before she could watch him lumber away. 


In her sorrow, the girl did not notice the gardener. His hands calloused from years of toil, tenderly removed the crown from Armadillo’s back. He whispered a gentle reminder in Armadillo's ear and patted him gently as he returned to the desert. 


No, the girl in her misery did not see any of this pass.


In the days that followed the girl lost her fervor for dancing. Each time she approached the garden gate, she trembled. She wondered, without her crown would her friends join her there? The garden itself no longer provided the comfort she remembered from her past. What could it give her other than being a painful reminder that she had journeyed into the desert and given up her crown?


One day as she trembled outside the garden gates, a peddler passed by with his potion cart full. The sign on the cart read, Fun and Fantasy Found Here. Curious, the girl wondered if the peddler’s wares might help her? She approached the cart, and the peddler peered down his long pointy nose. 


“Ah, my dear. You look like you could use a fantasy charm?” And as he offered her the bottle he whispered a poem in her ear, “Take this one to forget. Take this one to be fun. Take this one for your pain. You’ll need it just once.” 


The girl found truth in the promise of the potion, until the effects wore off. She soon found herself wandering the kingdom looking for the peddler, hoping to make the pain go away, trying to ignore the side effects that came with each potion. Trying to find the peace she’d had  before she’d been led into the desert and waking from each dose with less vibrance and more strife. As she pursued the peddler’s promises, she moved farther and farther from the garden and without even knowing it, the girl stopped visiting the garden.


As girls will tend to do, she one day awoke a woman. The potions and promises of the peddler continued to drive her from day to day. She found work she deemed worthy, and a man who had also walked in the desert to partner with her in life. Though it scared her deeply, the girl developed a longing to be a mother. On the day the child joined the family, the girl remembered the garden of her youth. She saw the innocence of her small daughter and she longed for her to wear the crown that had once sparkled so brightly from her own brow. She wondered, could she dare return to the desert to reclaim the crown that was once hers? Alas, the fear of the desert haunted her, so she asked the peddler if he had a potion that could help protect her child from the dangers that lurked there.


The peddler handed her a magical map. 


“Follow these steps, he said. “Do all this map says and you will steer clear of the desert.” 


And so the young mother held the map close to her heart and followed it diligently. For all the questions, the problems, the struggles: she consulted the map. The map gave her a sense of control and a pretense of peace that she could protect and defend her child from any encounters with the desert. The map comforted the woman and she placed her trust in its promise of safety. 


To be continued…


(P.S. I first published this on substack, but I am deciding to bring all my writing back to this space to be more streamlined and to help you know where to go!)


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