When A Smile Is A Victory

When A Smile Is A Victory


I had to walk from one end of the campus to the other, down the side of the brick gymnasium and into the hallway of the P.E. locker room where the lists for the volleyball team were posted. My name was not there.

I waited through the evening for the knock on the door that would signal my acceptance into the squad, expecting to hear the burst of happy squeals as they “kidnapped” me for the victory party, only to hear the phone ring in the kitchen. It was the call thanking me for my efforts.

The buzz started in the hallways, hushed tones that weren’t meant to be completely out of earshot. The five of them had apparently had a wonderful time at the birthday party. The one I didn’t find out about until it was over.

I stood in the doorway, groceries for dinner in my arms, so excited for a casual date night with the man I loved. It took him only two minutes to take me aside and tell me he couldn’t marry me-that I should go.

The email came days beyond the date I anticipated it would come. And it was to the point. The sterile response made me question if they had even read my proposal. One thing was clear, I wouldn’t be writing for them.

The test came back negative. Again. And the crib remained empty.

If not for the fact that I was actually breathing, I would have thought that my heart no longer beat inside of me.

Eyes that looked up to a list, were fixed on a door, and eyes that questioned a friend’s face, gazed at a happily ever after future, eyes that hopefully scanned a letter, and expected a plus sign, now brimmed with tears and darkened with despair.

And for a time, feet shuffled and shoulders slumped. Questions lobbied from heart to heaven with fierce punctuation and weepy groans.

But meditation restored me, perspective shifted me, and praise humbled me. Failure, rejection, disappointment and loss do not last when we grieve with our Holy God. But grieve we must.  The Psalmist helps us when our own words won’t rise.

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Psalm 3:3

I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. Psalm 57:2

God’s the one who rebuilds Jerusalem, who regathers Israel’s scattered exiles. He heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and assigns each a name. Our Lord is great, with limitless strength; we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does. God puts the fallen on their feet again and pushes the wicked into the ditch. Psalm 147:2-6 The Message

Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention. Psalm 42:5

The most significant victory we can attain is not necessarily when the judges approve, the invitations come, or the wedding day arrives. It is the first glance upward. The first brave step forward. It’s the first tentative smile. And the first heart’s hope.  It’s a victory called future, and it’s secure in God. No, the most significant achievements are not when we get what we worked for or fulfill our longings. The most powerful victories are the ones we attain when we try again, believing in God’s plan and embracing the journey.

YOUR TURN! How have you managed to overcome your own losses? What did that look like for you? How did God give you strength and comfort?  I love to hear from you!!

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory. Psalm 115:1

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Amber Lia

A former high school English teacher, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 4 little boys under the age of 10. She is the best-selling author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, say Something New. She and her husband Guy own Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach, or searching for Nerf darts all over her house, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at Mother of Knights (www.motherofknights.com).