I was in fifth grade the year I sang in a trio in the school show. The show had a patriotic theme and so our trio sang Lee Greenwood’s song, “God Bless the USA.” (Incidentally, it burned me out on that song so much that still, more than twenty-five years later, I can’t listen to it.)

I don’t know about your school, but in our school, the school show was a big deal. We practiced for hours and wore our best clothes. And on the day of the event, parents, grandparents, and next door neighbors would line the bleachers in the gymnasium/auditorium (it was a country school, so we had both in one room) to beam at their little ones on the stage. Now, for me, my grandparents didn’t live locally, and my Mom taught at a high school on the other end of the county, but my Dad – well, he was a pastor. He preached on Sundays, but on a normal weekday, he had at least some flexibility in his schedule. Usually. But on that day, though I strained my neck looking for him, when I stepped onto the stage, he wasn’t there. I prayed that he would walk in – even if it was at the end of the song, but he didn’t.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? In that place where we wanted something so badly that we felt life would never be the same unless we got it. But though we wished and hoped and prayed, we didn’t get it. It happens to all of us at one time or another. And personally, I learned to be afraid to want or believe or hope because I was afraid I would be disappointed. But I found that’s a dead-end road, because once your hope is gone, there really isn’t much left to live for.

Margaret Feinberg says, “Praying…is an act of trust, an act of faith, an expectant ‘What if God?’ When coupled with ‘But if not!’ this becomes a sturdy resolve.” (ebook location 1602)

That day, in fifth grade, I prayed that my Dad would come, but he didn’t. I don’t remember what happened now – surely an emergency with a church member – but at the end of the day, I didn’t love my Dad any less. And he didn’t love me any less.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Midwest to visit my friend (and our fellow book discussion member who is on a hiatus), Rick. And one evening, he and his sweet, lovely wife and I watched Despicable Me. We had all seen it before. But we enjoyed it. And as I was preparing for this chapter’s discussion, the movie came back to me…

Margo, an orphan, is in danger of falling from a rocket-ship to her death. Her foster father – who actually isn’t a very nice guy – Gru, steps out onto the wing of another rocket-ship and urges Margo to jump. He promises her that he will catch her. But Margo has been hurt before. She just can’t be sure that this man that she barely knows will catch her. No matter how sincerely he promises, it’s so hard for her to trust. But finally, she jumps…

Well, maybe Gru was a nice guy after all…

For a long time, I was like Margo. I had been hurt, and I had lost my hope and my trust. But I’m getting it back. Each time I stumble and there’s someone there to take my hand. Each time I fall and there’s someone there to put Hello Kitty band-aids on my boo-boos. Each time I find myself at the crossroads and there’s somebody there to help me find my path. And each time I jump and I don’t hit the ground. Trust comes back. Hope. And faith to know that when I pray, there is someone hearing my prayers that’s always who loves me enough to catch me.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Margaret Feinberg’s book, “Fight Back With Joy.” You don’t have to read the book to chat with us. But if you have written a response to this week’s chapter, feel free to link it up at the widget below. Then, go visit my co-facilitator and see what Jason has to say!

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About Sarah Salter


  1. Barbara Capps says:

    Well, this time you left me speechless… But another great lesson from your life helps all of us.. Love ya…

  2. You are a lovely soul, Sarah. 🙂 XO

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Aww! Thank you, Krista! That’s so sweet! But really, I’m a work in progress… one day at a time. 🙂

  4. Amen. God is so faithful and good to restore us as long as we’ll trust Him and those He puts around us (imperfect as they may be). Thanks Sarah. 🙂

  5. Sarah, so thrilled that you are gaining that trust and faith back in our heavenly father. Love the image of Margo trusting her father, Gru — just like God asks us to trust and have faith in him.

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