When Everyone Else Sees Loss

by Tiffany Smiley

Tiffany Smiley is the author of TiffanySmiley.com, public speaker, and entrepreneur. Her story is a military spouse’s worst nightmare personified, and yet ultimately redeemed by God. Her husband Scott Smiley was severely injured in a suicide car bomb in Iraq. He survived, but he lost his eyesight, and their lives were forever changed. This article originally appeared on her blog, here.

Tiffany Smiley

via TiffanySmiley.com

I remember the day so well — 11 years of life cannot even erase it. It’s a story about not becoming what the world thinks you should become, and it starts in a corner hospital room in Walter Reed. Scotty and I had been there a week and, quite honestly, the future looked very bleak, there were so many questions and unknowns. It was hard to fathom that only a week earlier I was blissfully working my nursing shift looking forward to my career, to Scotty’s career, a big house, and maybe a few kids. A short seven days later, I was finding myself in a situation where all the forces around me screamed that my future, my hope, my career were over and that my life would now be lived in survival mode. 

Nothing felt familiar anymore, the dreams and plans of a week ago felt a million miles away, and they taunted me when I allowed my mind to think about them. I felt the weight of the burden and, even in that darkness, I knew if I believed it, we would become it.

On this day, Scotty was weak and tired and hadn’t really talked much at all. A commander came to visit him from another unit that had served with him in Iraq. He loved Scotty and had been immediately impressed by his leadership, grit, and friendly personality. As he came to visit, I could tell he felt the burden of our situation.

He was heartbroken; how could something so awful happen to such an incredible leader? He saw it as a loss — a loss of a successful career, a loss of a leader in the military, and a loss of a good life.  As he went to walk out, he looked at me with sadness in his eyes and said, “It’s such a shame; he was such a great leader,” and without even flinching and with complete confidence I said, “He still is and he still will be.”

Right then and there, I knew I did not have to listen to what the world thought Scotty and I should be. I only had to answer to God and the convictions in my heart. Somehow, my soul, my heart, and my instinct knew where to go. Several years later this lesson still rings true, whenever I get fearful, or confused or question, I believe against reason that I already know where I’m going. Everyday is an obstacle and everyday both Scotty and I face the choice to live as the world thinks we ought or live how our God has called us.  

“We are far too easily pleased. God wants better things for us. He finds our desires not too strong, but too weak” -C.S. Lewis

I often wonder what would have happened if I would’ve believed what the world was telling me? Or what if I would have believed what that military commander believed? I know without a doubt that Scotty and I would not have the same story that we live today. This story motivates me. Daily, what choice am I going to make? Will I live too weak or live too strong?  When everyone else sees a big loss, I will choose to see a gain.

From TiffanySmiley.com, "Tiffany’s journey has allowed her to wear many hats. She’s been a wife at home while her husband was deployed, a caregiver to an injured warrior, a nurse, a mother, a Christian in crisis and a Christian in good times, she’s an entrepreneur, media contributor and political activist passionate about making our country the best it can be." Hire her to speak at your next event!