MOORHEAD — Once upon a time, in a faraway land of Owatonna, Minn., a little girl named Kim dreamed of marrying a prince and living happily ever after…
So began the secret, interior story of Kim Larson. But not surprisingly, perhaps, her innocent, imaginative vision didn’t transpire.
“My dream of marrying a hometown boy and living on a farm near my parents never came true,” Larson writes in her new book, “Unraveling Fairy Tales.” “Nor did having half a dozen children or being a stay-at-home mom.”
She did marry and become a mother of two sons. When the first union didn’t end up “happily ever after,” however, Larson began searching for her true prince, ultimately finding no mortal man could fill her heart completely.
“Somewhere deep within, we know we belong to something greater: a kingdom; and to someone greater: a King,” she writes. “We sense a world beyond the tangible — a spiritual world where happily ever after is possible in the here-and-now.”
For years, Larson helped people realize their dreams of homebuying as a mortgage originator. But a layoff eventually allowed her to pursue her own, newly emerging dream.
“I've done many Bible studies over the years and felt called to write ever since having children,” she says, noting her love for her sons “helped me understand how much God loves us, His children.”
“Unraveling Fairy Tales: Learning to Live Happily Ever After,” the fruit of years honing her writing skills and soul, helps readers grow closer to God using fairy tales.
“We connect with fairy tales because of the parallels between the magical and spiritual worlds where strange creatures exist: angels, demons, and an antagonist — Satan — and where an all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful King rules, who happens to be our Creator and loving Father,” Larson says.
Proceeds from the book will benefit The Next Step ND, a financial and relationship-building program for human trafficking survivors.
While the book was designed mainly for women, since its June 2020 publication, she says some men in her life also have enjoyed the study.
“Women in particular, though, struggle with their identity and self-image,” she adds, explaining that in the Cinderella chapter, she addresses our identity in Christ. “Cinderella wears rags and is a slave, but by the story’s end, she’s dressed gloriously and married to the Prince.”
Further, the story reveals our transformation in becoming God’s children.
“We exchange our rags for Jesus’ robe of righteousness, and we become children of the King,” Larson says. “I found many Biblical correlations such as this woven throughout fairy tales."
Larson says she designed the study to be inviting and simple to use, with personal stories about her faith journey and lessons added for concrete examples.
“Though it’s intended to be a group study, the most important action will happen daily between you and God,” she says. “Of course, there is an additional benefit when discussing it with others. When we share our burdens, our loads lighten. When we confess our struggles, we diminish Satan’s power over us.”
Larson says she’s been inspired by other faith writers like Richard J. Foster of “Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth,” who says our spiritual practices “position us before God to better receive him.”
“That’s how I went into this,” she says. “I want people to be positioned to be able to receive from God what he wants for them,” adding, “Without the (Holy) Spirit’s anointing, it won’t do anything. It’s God who moves in us.”
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Pam Haugland, a life coach from Larson’s hometown, led a Bible study with the book when it was still unpublished. “She reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to do a test ‘pilot run.’”
Haugland says the study “takes the fairy tales every little girl grew up hearing and puts a unique spin on them.”
“It was fun to refresh our memories on some of these fairy tales we’d completely forgotten about.”
The study also helped her understand better “God’s character, how he feels about you, how he loves you, and how you’re intentionally made, which is the niche of my coaching,” Haugland adds. “I love helping women understand they’re enough and created the way they’re meant to be.”
For example, the chapter on “The Princess and the Pea” addresses perspective, expectations and attitude, and “Little Red Riding Hood,” spiritual warfare and “how it can sneak up on you,” she says, while “Chicken Little” deals with discernment and maturity and “how we can grow and learn to look at things different, including in our faith journey.”
Despite Larson’s inability to have predicted her book would coincide with a pandemic that has made group gatherings harder, Haugland says many people are reflecting on their priorities.
“One of the top Google searches right now is about faith and God,” she says. “God’s timing is perfect, and I trust he’s in this somehow.”
She adds that Larson is an authentic person with “a heart for God… She’s just the sweetest gal.”
Larson’s husband of 25 years, Chuck, has supported her in bringing her writing dreams to bear.
“It gives me great joy to see her so passionate about her writing, and seeing this book to the end,” he says, noting that his wife is “always there to lend an ear, give advice when needed and pray for people.”
“She just has an ability within her to listen to God and pass it on to others.”
In 2016, Larson entered an essay in the Great American Think-Off and was chosen as a finalist.
“I’ve also had a dozen short stories and poems published in regional anthologies, including the Talking Stick,” she says.
“Unraveling Fairy Tales” is available at many online bookstores, along with Melberg's in Moorhead, Barnes & Noble in Fargo and through Larson’s website, where group purchases receive a discounted price. The first chapter can be read on her website: www.kimalarson.com.
Salonen, a wife and mother of five, works as a freelance writer and speaker in Fargo. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and find more of her work at Peace Garden Passage, http://roxanesalonen.com/.