It has been a year since I began sharing the stories of overcomers. I have been blessed by each of these women. Their willingness to share their struggles and how they’ve fought to overcome them not only blesses me, but each of you as well.
Wisdom is so much more than knowledge. Knowledge is facts learned, but wisdom is applying those learned facts to our everyday lives. The overcomers I interviewed this past year have gained more than knowledge; they possess an overcomer’s wisdom.
This blog post is dedicated to these women as I share the wisdom they’ve learned from their unique challenges/struggles/hardships/tragedies.
Jill‘s years of sexual and domestic abuse led her to choose unhealthy relationships. Her words of wisdom: “I was addicted to having a relationship, at whatever the cost. I deserve better. Now I’m happy to be alone or in a loving, healthy relationship.”
Rochelle‘s abuse destroyed her self-esteem and self-confidence. It made her feel like a nobody. Her words of wisdom: “You CAN get out of the abuse. Believe you are somebody. Remember that God loves you.”
Abuse as a child and as an adult, combined with addiction to drugs and alcohol, make for a difficult past. Stacy‘s words of wisdom: “My past is not defining me. God doesn’t waste anything. If you are persistent, you can overcome.”
Taylor overcame acute lymphoma leukemia at a young age. Losing her hair several times and the numerous treatments impacted her childhood, but Taylor believes her cancer showed her how blessed she is. Her words of wisdom: “Cancer has taught me that you can’t judge anyone. You never know what someone else is going through. You never know when someone is going to take their last breath, so I value people more.” Such incredible wisdom from a sixteen year old!
Even though Cindy‘s progressive disease (CMT) has affected the strength in her legs and her hands, it doesn’t stop her from building her upper body strength. Her words of wisdom: “Don’t give up. Do the best you can with what you have for as long as you can!”
Tracie recently celebrated her two year anniversary of being cancer free! Breast cancer may have attacked Tracie’s body, but she fought back and won. Her words of wisdom: “Every woman should have her first mammogram by thirty five and every year after the age of forty. Detecting cancer early will increase the possibilities of successful treatment and remission.”
Dani‘s adrenal fatigue syndrome was caused by excessive stress and inconsistent healthy eating. Earning a degree in Integrated Nutrition taught her the importance of reducing her stress and implementing better eating habits. Her words of wisdom: “Adrenal fatigue syndrome is a stress-related disease that no one sees or understands. Learn to say ‘no’ (when you feel overwhelmed), because it is important to take care of yourself.”
Living in periods of severe depression and periods of severe mania will be an ongoing struggle for Tiffany. But she has gained this wisdom: “When I have a difficult day, I just dig in and get back on track. I write my thoughts down so negative thoughts won’t roll around in my head, hindering me.”
An unexpected injury at a road race could have caused Jessica to lose her leg. Thankfully, the surgery went well and Jessica has run several races since then. Her words of wisdom: “Have faith that no matter what happens, God always has a plan.”
Shannon put on extra weight while taking classes to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Losing the weight felt overwhelming but she learned, “Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Focus on what you can do. Make yourself a priority. If you take care of yourself, you will be a better wife and mom.”
As a child, Darlene‘s extended family wanted her to be a cripple and get money because of her Cerebral Palsy. Her mom was determined she would be normal. Her words of wisdom: “You have to trust God, because He can take a bad situation and turn it into good.”
Jennifer and her family survived Hurricane Katrina. Her words of wisdom: “God has shown me that when you are at rock bottom and there are no other life lines, He is there. He provides order among chaos.”
Losing a son when he was only thirteen days old was the worst of tragedies for Sharon and her husband. Almost two years after his passing, they had a daughter. Her words of wisdom about talking with a person who has lost a loved one: “Don’t say: It’s God’s plan; You’ll have more children; or You’ll see him in heaven. It’s better to just listen to the grieving person as they express their emotions and feelings.”
Kandy‘s mom didn’t know her daughter would have chromosomal translocation (a person who is higher functioning than a person with Down’s syndrome). Her words of wisdom: “We didn’t treat her differently because of her disability. We lived life normally and made her a part of it.”
Julie always wanted to be a mother. After years of trying, she and her husband adopted a baby boy. The years in between is where her words of wisdom come from: “Find a group of women who are also going through infertility. Support each other. Find people who will let you love on their children. It helps ease the pain.”
Because I am committed to continuing to share the stories of overcomers, I have already interviewed several more courageous women. You don’t want to miss their amazing stories!
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If you or someone you know is an overcomer, please contact me so we can set up an interview!
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