I, honestly, don’t even remember how I met Stephanie.
But once you meet someone like her, you’ll never forget her. Stephanie has a sort of “regalness” about her. She says what she means with such depth and insight. It’s always a pleasure to read her thoughts or see her smiling face in the grocery store. She has a positive energy that is contagious. I hope it rubs off on you through this post. 🙂 Read on.
One of the most popular hashtags used on social media that described the masses of people who were supporting Hillary Clinton during her recent campaign trail for the presidency was “hashtag I’m with her” #ImWithHer. Hello, my name is Stephanie Strong. I am a mother, grandmother, entrepreneur, deeply sensing, free spirited woman who loves God from the very depth of my soul. One whose journey of authentic self-discovery was pivotal just a few short years ago. When I say, “I’m with her”, the “her” I am referring to is myself! I have to remind myself that I am with her, “me”!
I wasn’t always with me though. I was with the idea of being with the “her” I thought people wanted me to be. I The deconstruction of this imaginary ideal was a complex path on my journey. The path to this awakening took a turn when I began to question some of my beliefs for which I ascribed for most of my life, combined with asking myself some really tough questions. I realized that I was moving toward a personal paradigm shift, and what used to have meaning and relevance in my life became questionable and obsolete. Coming from a very conservative religious background, and very respectable yet restrictive upbringing, the butterfly I needed to be began to emerge.
The emerging process was a bit painful because I began the process of reimagining myself in a light that affirms God’s love for me rather than being smothered and weighed down with this concept of God’s love for me plus a whole lot of other rules, dogmas, and tenets.
As I began to pull back the layers of superficiality, pride, envy, self-deprecation, and marginal self-esteem, I sensed a movement was taking place in my life that would catapult me into a deep appreciation for the genius of God in creating me just the way I am.
In retrospect, I realize I was trying to balance a whole lot of life without having a reasonable understanding of myself, the world around me, and God’s purpose for my life. Even though I have come a long way, the road ahead looks much brighter than those which are behind me.
Juggling life can be extremely draining when you are a wife, mother, running a business, taking care of your health, and living with some semblance of purpose. However, the cool thing I realize now is that wherever any of us are on our journey to having a better understanding of ourselves is where we are supposed to be. I often look at the good, the bad, and the ugly and just smile. I smile because I can finally comprehend that I am the sum total of all three of those things, and a whole lot more potential and possibility.
If you have found yourself helplessly managing all the crazies of life, I’d like to share a few words of encouragement and reminders that may be helpful:
1. Know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and for God.
2. No matter how you got here, you are supposed to be here. The sooner you realize that the more you will appreciate your own person.
3. Being a woman is not exactly a cake walk, but it is one of the best gifts to the Universe. So own your womanhood by taking in all the goodness of being the crowning act of Creation. Look deeply in your eyes and say to yourself, “I’m with her”!
4. Be sure to schedule your “me” time before anything else. Work your schedule around your “me” time, rather than squeezing it in and risk going long periods of time without regrouping and re-centering. Because if you check out on yourself, you can’t help anyone else.
5. Be kind to yourself. Remember you are the gentle wind that carries the beautiful sense of being.
6. Be present in your life. You don’t get to sit on the sidelines of your life watching the essence of who you are drift on by.
7. Be selective about who you allow in your inner circle. If people are making more withdrawals then they are deposits, you are within your right to close their account.
8. Be generous.
9. Be grateful.
10. Be sure that when you are overwhelmed, you pause out. Be ok with excusing yourself from any environment that is too toxic. You owe it to yourself to say, “I’m with her”!
Be amazingly beautiful because you are!