#PreApproved Writer of the Week: Sandra King

June 10, 2014 | 28 comments

#PreApproved Sisterhood Series


Welcome to a new series, hosted here on the blog. Every Tuesday night, one of our PreApproved sisters will share her story on letting go of a love idol.

Together, we’re giving up our love idols, and we’re not taking them back.

We are already approved; we have nothing to prove. In Christ, we are #preapproved.

Coming in Second
Sandra Heska King

Once upon a time, I was a beauty queen.

But I was never crowned.

And no official queen portrait exists.

Because I didn’t earn the title.

In fact, the photo that always appears in the “parade” of past queens in the annual pageant program is of a formal portrait taken when I represented my hometown in another local pageant.

I’ve always hated that picture.

One year I gave my sister a faded photo of me in all my queenly loveliness that she fixed somehow and gave to those responsible for program updating. But by the next year, it had disappeared, and the old one reappeared.

It’s awkward when a stranger who’s just been told you were once a queen asks why your photo is so different from everyone else’s.

You hesitate because inside you’re remembering you were really only second best. And how it always seemed you came in second. When your friend got an A on her paper, you got a B. When she was valedictorian, you were almost salutatorian. But not—because four of you had close to the same grade point and voted to have only one representative. You fell 200ths of a point behind that person.

Second place. Again.

You remember how you actually won the talent competition that year with your baton routine to Tijuana Taxi. And how you dropped your baton, but somehow it bounced right back into your hand. But you continued like nothing happened, and the judges apparently thought it was on purpose. Or maybe they appreciated how you went on in spite of the fail.

You remember how shocked you were because the second runner-up tap-danced awesomely through Winchester Cathedral, but she won the swimsuit contest.

Later your mother said you should have won the swimsuit contest. (Meaning, you hope, that because she was your mom, she wished you’d won both.) But you really didn’t want to be known for your swimsuit anyway.

You remember the question you drew from the basket. “What does happiness mean to you?” And how you stumbled through some ridiculous answer, and maybe that’s what sunk you.

You laugh because you wished you’d thought of your mom’s after-the-fact response: “Happiness is not having to answer this question.”

In the end, they draped you with a first-runner-up sash and handed you a little cuckoo clock.

But you just tell the stranger the “real” queen was unable to carry out her duties, and you had to take her place.

You don’t share how nobody quite knew what to do when she had to step down. How you had to go yourself to retrieve the plastic flower crown and how the banner was missing. How you made your own banner that bore your title so you didn’t melt into the crowd or go unnoticed.

This year we’ll celebrate 50 years of our hometown festival.

I’ll go, and they’ll probably ask the “old” queens to stand up and be acknowledged at the pageant. And maybe my preferred photo will be in the program and maybe not.

But it’s all good.

Because I know I’m always in first place with Jesus, and I don’t have to earn a title. He’s laid up a crown for me in heaven, and His banner over me is love.

And it’s the same with you.

I’m Sandra Heska King, and I’m preapproved.

Sandra Heska King (AKA SHK) lives in Michigan and writes from a 150-plus-year-old family farmhouse set on 60-something acres surrounded by corn or soybeans or sometimes wheat. She’s a camera-toting, recovering doer who’s learning to just. be. still.

Sandra blogs at sandraheskaking.com and sometimes spills words in other places across the Internet. You can catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.



Click here to find out more about the Love Idol movement.

Click here to purchase the book that inspired the movement.

Click here to join us on Facebook as we lay down our Love Idols and declare our #preapproved status in Christ.



Click here to print the black and white preapproved cutouts.
Place these where ever your Love Idols have lurked!

A pink PreApproved printable: to frame, to put on your refrigerator, to give to a friend.
Click here to print. My gift to you, brave soul!

by | June 10, 2014 | 28 comments


  1. Patricia W Hunter

    I LOVE this, Sandra. Great story – and great storytelling. And that final image – a crown in heaven and banner of love. Wow!

    • Sandra Heska King

      Thanks, Pat. My mom used to say I was a queen who became a King. But I like the idea of being real royalty and belonging to THE King even better. 🙂 xoxo

  2. HisFireFly

    love this, love you
    and love that we’ll be casting crowns, side by side!

    • Sandra Heska King

      Casting crowns and jumping in jewels. Love it. Love you.

  3. Melanie Dorsey

    This made me chuckle! I remember back in college when I was in a competition called, Parade of Favorites! It was the closest I’ve ever come to being a beauty queen. I didn’t win but all my friends and even some of my professors said I should have won or at least won in the talent division…ha…ha..I guess that’s what friends are for. By the way, I sang “Memory” from Cats. In a homemade costume. Oh my. Me-ow.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Parade of Favorites. That’s fun. Aren’t you glad we’re all His favorite?

      I was in three other pageants during my “reign.” I twirled again at one. And than sang a medley from Sound of Music at one, and a Spoonful of Sugar from Mary Poppins at another. Before then, I would have been terrified to be on stage in front of people.

  4. Kelly Greer

    Hey – I’m in first place with Jesus too! Love this Sandra! You are a beauty queen!

    • Sandra Heska King

      We’re all in first place with Jesus. Awesome! And you make me smile.

  5. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    There’s nothing second rate about that smile. That’s the real thing….and it shines through, Sandra. What a great post (and you have an AMAZING memory!)

    • Sandra Heska King

      Some things you just never forget. Wait… are you saying I’m old? 😉

      For the record… remember I said this year (next month) we celebrate 50 years of the festival? Yeah, I was the third queen. That makes me quite old. (And I’ve been asked to wear my crown. I still have it.)

      • Jody Ohlsen Collins

        Sandy,I’ll be 62 in August….and that ain’t ‘old’–we’re all just getting wiser and more beautiful.
        Regardless of age, I’m always in awe of people who can remember details of any kind. I get the gist of stuff, but the technicalities and small stuff–never could.
        No, you’re not old, you’re “A queen who became a King.” 🙂

        • Sandra Heska King

          And I’ll be 66 in January. We are well seasoned, Jody. But I thought I’d be wiser by now. I guess as compared to 18… 🙂

          I’ve forgotten way more than I remember. It’s a good thing I kept scrapbooks and notes. 😉

  6. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    Your beauty shines through no-matter-what. So grateful for you, sweet friend.

  7. Kris Camealy

    I love this, Sandy. You are a radiant woman! I adore you, with or without the crown. You shine Jesus.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Shining Jesus would be my greatest dream. Love you big, Kris!

  8. Rebekah

    I never was a beauty queen. I also know all about second place. Funny how a perfectionist can never get it perfect. But, the pre-approved shines the light of the Son and radiates Glory. You do this! Looking to Jesus, may our faces shine his beauty. Last night I was reflecting on this verse: “He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”

    • Sandra Heska King

      That’s how I’ve often described myself, Rebekah… a perfectionist who just can’t seem to get it perfect. Maybe that’s because I’m not God. Anyway, I’d much rather rest in being His prized possession. And when all of us shiners lock arms–wow! What light.

  9. SimplyDarlene

    Good night, Irene! That is some story. A cuckoo clock, really?

    A beauty queen I’ve never been
    accused of
    but a princess
    who holds a piece
    of the King’s ransom
    indeed I’m

    • Sandra Heska King

      Well, this is a Swiss festival, and it was years and years ago, just getting started. I might have even gotten two little clocks. And maybe a small scholarship–$100? But I only remember the clocks.

      GuiltyInnocent with you.

  10. Lyli Dunbar

    I am so thankful I don’t have to earn His love. Thanks for this sweet reminder (and that picture is AWESOME!). 🙂

    • Sandra Heska King

      Thanks, sweet friend. And yes… I’d much rather rest in His love than work to earn it. 🙂

  11. Bruce Barone

    I loved reading this!

  12. Lisha Epperson

    Loved this beauty queen back story Sandra. Especially the redemptive ending, where Jesus rushes in to give you the crown. I’ve meant to read this all week. So glad I found you at Coffee For your Heart.

  13. Marie Bride

    Dear Sandra,
    I am so behind due to family issues this year, but even though it was months ago I want to tell you how your post touched me!
    Thank You for sharing your heart her in the sisterhood of being #PreApproved!
    Love, hugs and Blessings



  1. Coming in Second - Sandra Heska King - […] be continued over at Jennifer Dukes Lee’s place as part of the PreApproved Sisterhood series. Join me […]

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