From Heartache to Hope: A Two-Time 1st Runner Up’s Journey
When life has cut too deep and left you hurting
The future you had hoped for is now burning
And the dreams you held so tight lost their meaning
And you don’t know if you’ll ever find the healing
You’re gonna make it, you’re gonna make it.
And the night can only last for so long.
Whatever you’re facing, if your heart is breaking,
There’s a promise for the ones who just hold on.
Lift up your eyes and see. The sun is rising.
I’ve probably played “The Sun is Rising” by Britt Nicole about a hundred times over the past few weeks. It’s an interesting feeling...when you believe with all your heart that your prayer could be answered and squeal at the thought that this is it – it could really, truly, finally happen.
Like the moment before the love of your life gets down on one knee to propose and you can barely breathe. Or after dozens of interviews, you get a phone call and this could finally be the job. Or after four years of competing, placing 1st Runner Up, winning double prelims, and taking time off law school to train, this could actually, finally be “your year” to win Miss Texas.
For years, ever since high school, I had my guard up. I was afraid to let myself believe things like that could happen for fear of being let down. So instead, I built a glass box around me. People could walk up and I’d smile and wave hello, but I was very cautious about who I let inside my box and into my life to know the real me.
But this year, all that changed. This was my fourth and final year to compete for Miss Texas. I had gone from Top 10, to Top 5, to 1st Runner Up and double preliminary winner, and this year I was going ALL in. No regrets. I was going to break down that glass box once and for all, train ten times harder than last year, and just let myself believe that my dreams could actually come true. I just knew it would be worth it. So I took off a semester of law school to train full time.
Thanks to my incredible prep team, they set up about fifty mock interviews to ensure I was more than prepared. I had phone prep sessions with my coaches twice a week, worked out twice a day, learned how to home cook all my healthy, low-sodium, low-fat, high-protein meals, and practiced piano morning and night.
I made dozens of appearances, spoke before thousands of students across Plano, collected backpacks and suitcases for foster children in support of my platform, and did everything possible to make my dream come true.
And the thing is...sometimes we can do everything possible, and it still doesn’t come true. For one simple reason: God didn’t create us to have a perfect life; He created us to have a close, intimate relationship with Him. And sometimes it takes heartbreak for us to grow closer.
The night I was called as 1st Runner Up was undoubtedly the most difficult night of my life. When they called my name it was like slow motion, and my heart shattered into a million pieces all over the stage.
In addition to winning double preliminary awards as the pageant’s only double prelim winner again, I also ended up winning Overall Talent, Overall Fitness, and Overall Evening Gown. Which was such an honor to receive, but also made the pageant outcome even harder to swallow.
That night was like a crashing tsunami of so many unfamiliar emotions – pain, hurt, shock, heartache, and grief. You anxiously await for what you’ve let yourself believe will be the happiest night of your life, to be bursting with joy, but instead, suddenly you’re struck with a raging tidal wave of sorrow and pain, and when you’re finally alone, you collapse from the weight of your grief and crumple into a ball to the floor. Poof. Your dream is gone. And it’s never coming back.
"The Miss Texas title was never mine; it belonged to God. He could choose to give it to anyone He wanted to and I believe His plan is always best." - Christine Tang
It’s been exactly one month since that night. In the weeks that followed, while my family and I tried to quietly heal and recover, we found out my sweet grandfather got diagnosed with aggressive cancer. So it’s been quite a rough month for our family. When things like that happen, I want to look back and just ask God “why?” but instead, I’ve had to daily choose to look forward with faith. We have to choose to be grateful. We have to pursue joy. We have to actively persist living a life full of light and love. I believe with all my heart that when we entrust our life into God’s hands, He plans the absolute best for us.
So when something doesn’t go our way, we can find comfort and strength in the fact that God has something even better. We can never understand the magnitude, the depth, and brilliance of God’s magnificent plans, but I personally find comfort in reflecting on His faithfulness in my life for the past 24 years. And since He has never left my side, I will not leave His. I will not let myself be filled with anger or bitterness – I won’t give in.
People may say, “Christine, you were robbed.” But I wasn’t. The Miss Texas title was never mine; it belonged to God. He could choose to give it to anyone He wanted to and I believe His plan is always best.
My parents named my middle name “Diana” after Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, and I’ve always loved her for her compassion, humility, and grace. Despite having her crown and royal title taken away, she was and is still deeply, forever cherished by the world as the “Queen of Hearts.” Proving that we don’t need crowns, titles, or trophies to change the world – just a selfless, loving heart and a joyful spirit!
So I’m choosing a life of joy by being grateful. Grateful for the opportunity just to simply stand on the Miss Texas stage. Grateful for the chance to have had four years of priceless training and experiences. Grateful for my scholarships and awards. Grateful for my coaches, trainers, mentors and friends. Grateful for the life-changing lessons of learning how to break down the glass box...how to pick yourself up off the ground when you get hurt...and how to move on with faith knowing no good thing does the Lord withhold from those who love Him.
As we journey through the hills and valleys of life, we have to trust that God gives us those valleys to give us depth and dimension. And in that exhausting, tear-stained struggle climbing out of the ditch, tired but stronger, braver, and more resilient than before, that’s how He equips His best soldiers. God uses a degree of pain to change who we are, to make us better fit and able for the beautiful life He has planned for us to live. I wouldn’t have it any other way. So cheers to living lives of joy and gratitude!
May we never be defined by what we gain, but by how we live.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us.” – Ephesians 3:20
For His Glory,
Christine Tang - Miss Plano 2014
1st Runner Up to Miss Texas 2014, Overall Talent, Overall Fitness, Overall Evening Gown, Overall Fitness Preliminary Award, Overall Talent Preliminary Award, Quality of Life Top 10 Finalist
This article was written by Guest Blogger